Posts about Australia

Solar Tower Power Generation

How Australia got hot for solar power

In Australia Enviromission looking to build a 1,600-foot tall “solar tower” that can power 100,000 homes.

The tower will be over there,” Davey says, pointing to a spot a mile distant where a 1,600-foot structure will rise from the ocher-colored earth. Picture a 260-foot-diameter cylinder taller than the Sears Tower encircled by a two-mile-diameter transparent canopy at ground level. About 8 feet tall at the perimeter, where Davey has his feet planted, the solar collector will gradually slope up to a height of 50 to 60 feet at the tower’s base.

Acting as a giant greenhouse, the solar collector will superheat the air with radiation from the sun. Hot air rises, naturally, and the tower will operate as a giant vacuum. As the air is sucked into the tower, it will produce wind to power an array of turbine generators clustered around the structure.

The result: enough clean, green electricity to power some 100,000 homes without producing a particle of pollution or a wisp of planet-warming gases.

View Discovery Channel segment on EnviroMission

Scientific Illiteracy

Scientific Illiteracy and the Partisan Takeover of Biology by Liza Gross, Public Library of Science:

Since 1979, the proportion of scientifically literate adults has doubled—to a paltry 17%. The rest are not savvy enough to understand the science section of The New York Times or other science media pitched at a similar level. As disgracefully low as the rate of adult scientific literacy in the United States may be, Miller found even lower rates in Canada, Europe, and Japan—a result he attributes primarily to lower university enrollments.

While the 17% figure does not amaze me I am surprised that the scientific literacy has doubled since 1979.

A comparison of science education achievement: International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (TIMSS), Average science scale scores of eighth-grade students, by country (2003), top 13 shown below:
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Science and Engineering Jobs

Alarm as white-collar jobs vanish overseas (link broken so I removed it), Australian Financial Review:

The council’s draft report, a copy of which was obtained by the Australian Financial Review, says Australia needs to respond by investing in education and research and development, and by linking up with developing knowledge sectors in China and India.

There has been a steady progression up the value scale in work sent to low-cost countries – from manufacturing to data processing, call centres and computer software.

Now there is evidence that China and India are competing for high-level jobs in financial services, industrial design, architecture, research and development, engineering, medicine and even management areas such as human resources and business consulting.

Every country realizes the value to their economy of jobs in science, engineering and technology. Countries are taking steps to create a environment that will attract those jobs. Countries that do this less effectively will suffer.

Previous posts on the topic of economics, science and engineering