Monday, May 28, 2012

Naturally Air Conditioning a Room

(Thermodynamics - 101)

(Click on image to see full size)

My Study is an east facing room with bay windows on the second floor of an old building in Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada - a badly insulated wood frame house.

In the winter the light I get through those wonderful bay windows is essential to maintaining balance through the short, low-light days of winter - as I try to manage clinical depression without medication.

In the summer though, the room is a green house - good for the cactus plants that I husband in the bay window - but an impossible room to work in with out Air Conditioning. The house has central air conditioning, but the system is too small to make a difference in the morning, in this room.

Last year I noticed that the back of the house was a lot cooler in the morning than the East end of the house. I figured out that it's because at the back of the house there is an urban forest. There are seven 100 foot tall maple trees in a huge open area between the backs of the houses facing Jones Av and the backs of the houses fronting on Coady Av. The forest canopy keeps that Commons area at least 10 degrees cooler at all times of the day. In the morning - before the sun reaches it's zenith - the temperature remains close to that previous evening's low (depending on wind speed and direction).

This morning I set up a oscillating fan (not oscillating) into the north facing window of the bay window set. Next I cut an exact cardboard shape to fit between the circular housing of the fan and the square opening of the window (with all the sliding windows and the screen removed). The result is a high efficiency air evacuation system. 100 percent of the air being expelled through the window is flowing into the room through the doorway (no blow-back turbulence at the window). The doorway connects to a hallway which leads to the back kitchen door, where cool air from under the tree canopy is sucked into the house down the hall, and into my study.

I did this last year as well - but without all the efficiencies I've now perfected.  I've discovered that the small fan in the centre of the room that I added this morning is a *really* important component. With the addition of the small central fan - the room itself  becomes very efficient Heat Exchanger!

Last year I had the fan pointing *at* the window (screen and sliding windows in, less that 1 square foot of area for air expulsion (really inefficient, lots of counter-current turbulence). The cool air from under the tree canopy simply traveled straight across the room and out the window. The only heat exchange happened along a band of air - 7 feet high, conical in shape (I surmise), and 14 feet in length. Some turbulence along it's length created some heat exchange - but generally much of the cool air stayed in the core of the column and flowed directly out the window - never coming in contact with hotter air, and thus never affecting an exchange of energy.

Now, with a strong flow of air, and the small fan directing the column towards the corner of the room, the column becomes a thin sheet of air - which flows around the edge of the room - forced to change directions at least three times - once, as the two columns of air collide, and twice more at the corners of the room (dotted line in drawing).

The result of this set up has been magnificent!

The Bay windows on the left of the drawing face east - into the rising sun. In it's morning arch the sun's most intense point is about 10:00am (direct into window, combined with the least dampening from distance travelled through earth's atmosphere) - the room can easily reach 40°C. With this set up, at 11:45am the temperature of this room was 20°C. Outside temperature at 12 noon: 26°C.

Amazingly, while I was writing this up I had to put on a long-sleeved pull-over - it's too dam cold in here! :)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Speedsailing round the world - the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 
(Alicante Spain, November 5, 2011 to Galway Ireland, July 7 2012 )

Ports Map
(see interactive version at:

I've sailed once; in a race, on Lake Erie. As a deck hand I almost fell off the boat in the middle of the race while assisting with trimming the jib sail. We won.

A week ago I was reading about a regular errant ball fetcher for the San Francisco Giants who had recently drowned in a sailing accident during a race off the Pacific coast. A web site called Sailing Anarchy covered the story really well and I ended up following on Twitter. I love the name, 'Sailing Anarchy'.

Yesterday in my Twitter stream, a tweet link to a video:

Image of Tweet - click on Image, see original Sailing Anarchy tweet (in new tab)

On a Volvo Ocean Race2011-12 leg stop-over in Miami, Sailing Anarchy's Scot Tempesta interviews speedsailing veteran Mike Sanderson, Skipper of VO-70 "Team Sanya" about funding, the VOR classification - and having his boat's rudder ripped out of the vessel in fifth leg of the race.

 is the leading edge design classification yacht race - it's the F-1 of yacht racing. It allows the most advanced technology available, towards speed - in a race around the globe that follows the fastest trade winds, the fastest ocean currents, in the world's fastest sailing boats.

It's Extreme Sailing.

"Volvo Open 70" according to National Geographic:
Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race sends superfast sloops circling the globe—the hard way.

Following the prevailing winds, the course is deliberately plotted through some of Earth’s most inhospitable environments. As a result, the eight boats competing in the 2001-02 race can expect to face three-story swells, iceberg-strewn seas, and ship-swallowing squalls.

Sailing around the clock, the 12-person crews suffer for speed. Fresh food, mattresses, pillows, and even reading material are verboten—too heavy. Everyone shares a single cabin, which wouldn’t be so bad if they had the time and the means to bathe.

The winning crew doesn’t get a cash prize—but they can count on a crystal trophy, a slap on the back, and perhaps sailing’s best bragging rights.

"Rudder Blow Wounds Sanya"

Today (Saturday, May 26th) an update from Team Sanya off the coast of Nova Scotia, sailing the Gulf Stream with an assist from a swirl of tropical storm Beyrl (circled in red in the image).

SSEC Composite Image Global Montage May 25, 2012, 12:00 noon - UTC

SSEC Real time storm frame (forecast for May 26, 2012, 13:20 UTC - Tropical Storm Beyrl)

Live X with Aksel Magdahl - Leg 7/Day 5 - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12

2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race Youtube Playlist - Leg 5 -

THE VOLVO OPEN 70 RULE / Version: 3 / Amendment: 3 / Date 01/02/11 -


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"On Some Faraway Beach"
from, "Here Come The Warm Jets"
by Brian Eno

Via a blog post -

Listen to more Brain Eno at Youtube's new "Artist's Playlists" series -

And, if your interested, Eno's previous incarnation Roxy Music