Mankind has long been fascinated and perhaps envious of the ability of the bird to fly in the air with such ease and elegance. Inspired by the humble wing, the first ever man-made aircraft that could be controlled and sustained was invented by the Wright brothers in the early 1900s. Their first successful flight took one pilot over a distance of 120 feet in 12 seconds, at an altitude of 20 feet. Impressive as this was at the time, we have since come a long way in our aviation technologies. Steaming through the skies above our heads there are now 500 tonne hunks of carefully engineered metal that can carry upwards of 500 people over the entire stretch of the Pacific Ocean in much less than a day. A reasonable guess as to what this post might pertain to would be something along the lines of the mechanics of flight, right? Truth be told, I didn’t think this introduction through very thoroughly, but just go along with it…
Besides from being a series of popular first-person shooter video games, half-life is an important factor to consider in any applications of radioactivity. It seems quite a weird quantity at first glance; we usually talk about the lifespan of things, rather than half a lifespan. But as you will see, the ‘half-life’ is far more logical, because the lifespan of a radioactive substance is… well, infinite (theoretically).
I will bravely assume that any electrical apparatus in your household does not have a 100% energy efficiency, i.e. the useful energy you obtain is less than the energy you put in. It is obviously preferred to have 100% efficiency because not only do you get more out of your money, but it also saves more fossil fuels, a finite resource. Energy inefficiency is an issue that has plagued the civilisation for centuries, and scientists strive to find ways of obtaining maximum efficiency wherever possible.
In the summer of 2010, an 80 m tall, 1.65 MW wind turbine was constructed in the small town of Falmouth in Massachusetts, by a private company called Notus Clean Energy. This wind turbine has the capacity to displace 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide on average every day, and to date, the turbine has generated over 16 GWh of electricity, enough to provide for 670 homes.