Air Conditioning Many of us have been very pleased in the recent hot weather to have been, at times, in places where there is air conditioning. In our cars, in supermarkets and in offices and other places. It is rather strange that whilst it is considered worthwhile to install air conditioning in these places it does not seem to be worthwhile for most people to install it in their homes. I have said ‘air conditioning’ as that is the popular description of ‘air cooling’ because most of these systems are simply air coolers. Strictly speaking one could only justify using the term ‘air conditioning’ if there was some control over humidity as well as temperature. One might go further and suggest that ‘conditioning’ should also include filtration. Air cooling requires nothing more than a refrigerator plant similar to that used in domestic refrigerators and freezers and it is obvious that a cooler for air cooling should not be significantly more expensive than friges and freezers, so why haven’t we got more in our homes? There is one problem, just as with friges and freezers, there will be some heat generated, this is the heat extracted from the air, the moisture in the air and the heat generated by the motor and it all has to go somewhere, one cannot put it back into the room that one is trying to cool, if you do you will be heating the room, not cooling it. Of course with a cooler in the room there would be some water condensing on the cooler and this may have the effect of lowering the relative humidity in the room and that could make it a more pleasant atmosphere but, unless the heat produced was extracted from the room, the temperature would not fall. A proper cooler therefore needs to have an exhaust from the room to take the heat away. That implies a small increase in the cost because of the need to make a hole through the outer wall and install a pipe with a suitable guard at the outlet to keep out unwanted pests, furthermore it makes the cooler into a semi-permanent fixture. It is surprising, however, that no manufacturer seems to have produced a low-cost portable cooler with a flexible exhaust pipe, perhaps with a broad flattened end, that could be put out of a window. I am sure there are many people who would have been very pleased to have had such a device in their bedrooms during this recent very hot weather. The same device could be used to good effect in the lounge in the evenings. Of course it is possible to buy low cost coolers of the evaporative type, these you top up with water, the water is drawn into a porous material and air is blown over that. The water is evaporated taking heat from the air and producing a cooling effect. This water is absorbed by the air and the absolute humidity of the air is increased as a consequence, the relative humidity is also increased because of the increase in humidity but also because of the lowering of the temperature. How much benefit one obtains depends on the relative humidity of the ambient air, if the ambient relative humidity is high the rate of cooling is reduced and the relative humidity in the region of the cooler becomes even higher. Some new houses have had air to air heat pumps installed in place of a boiler and some installers are offering these heat pumps for retro-fit. These are essentially refrigerators that are cooling the external air and using the heat extracted to heat the building. They have the potential ability to provide the convenience of electricity with the running costs of a boiler or less. Anyone considering the installation of an air to air heat pump needs to be wary because some of these units are not achieving the performance promised. Properly installed, however, these heat pumps have the potential ability to be reversed so that they can deliver cool air in the summer.
Trump and Putin Regular readers will be aware that I have, on more than one occasion, expressed some understanding of Russiaâ€™s actions under Putin, and expressed some disappointment at the reaction by the West. I exclude from this any sympathy or understanding for the attempt to poison Mr Skripal and his daughter. When Trump met Putin he voiced his opinion that we should do more to co-operate with Russia in many fields and stop regarding Russia as an enemy, despite my dislike of Trump his words were music to my ears, of course we should stop regarding Russia as an enemy and look to ways in which we might work with them. Unfortunately as soon as Trump returned home he was attacked from many quarters for these views and forced to deny his own words, claiming that they had been misinterpreted and that ˜wouldn't had been used when he had actually said ˜would" (or vice versa). Everyone knew that this was untrue and it was regarded as a source for comedians' jokes, but the result was that the American hawks were placated and the usual animosity towards Russia was restored. It seems to me there are too many people in the US with a vested interest in maintaining a state of enmity with Russia, perhaps in the UK also, so that the dream of working with Russia as opposed to working against them can never be realised. Russia is a vast country rich with mineral resources, it has large areas suitable for food production with the potential to greatly increase food production. The Russian people have demonstrated over centuries that they have great talents in the fields of art and science and are capable of great achievements. They have nothing to gain from any expansionist policies and have much to gain from a stable peace so that they can continue to develop their own country to the benefit of its people. Why would we be afraid that they might attack us? They do have a right to be regarded as one of the worlds superpowers, they are bound to take a close interest in the happenings in countries on their borders. It is quite possible, if not probable, that they would attempt to influence elections in western democracies and meddle in the internal politics of their neighbours, but no more so than the US has done over many years with its neighbours to the south and the countries in eastern Europe, including Ukraine.
House Spiders We are coming to the time when we will see many more house spiders of varying size and type. In my view spiders are pests, not so much in themselves but because they make cobwebs and that significantly increases the task of day to day housekeeping. The ones most guilty of leaving webs are the quite small ones and those with very small bodies and long thin legs. When I see one I am tempted to kill it to put a stop to its web making games but I have a built in reluctance to killing spiders, more so than with other insects. I am not sure why this is but I have the impression that I am not alone in this. I know there are those who will tell me that spiders are our friends because they eat other things that we don't like, but I am sure that does not influence my reluctance to kill. Do others have this resistance to killing spiders? If so why? Is it some sort of folk lore passed down to us?