18 comments on “Dyson\’s a typical engineer

  1. Dyson is not a typical engineer, in that he’s made himself a billion or so sterling. It seems fair to suppose that he understands the workings of capitalism better than any of us.

  2. Thames Water already have a solution and that is to build a number of reservoirs. Unfortunately, the NIMBYs in places like Abingdon and their friends in parliament are getting in the way.

  3. Paul B, I hate to disagree with what is generally the voice of reason, but I’m not sure being a good businessman means you’re a good economist.

  4. Brunel is overrated. So is Ford, so (I suspect) is Edison, but at an altogether more elevated level. The Wright bros seem to me to be underrated.

  5. dearieme: I’m going to have to disagree with you on Brunel. He was a truly gifted engineer. Ford was skilled at mixing engineering and business, and Edison (may the foul demons of hell eternally snack on his wobbly bits) was a genius at stealing ideas. He was also responsible for an early example of marketing triumphing over a better idea, which in itself is enough to condemn him in my opinion.

  6. Tim Almond

    And another solution is to stop leakages. This report discloses that Thames Water has the worst record for water leaks nationally.

  7. dearieme.

    I think You’re setting the bar very high if you regard Brunel as overrated, I’d be genuinely interested to know why you think that.

  8. Water is hardly a limited resource with 70% of the Planet covered with it, it falling out of the sky, vast reserves of it underneath our feet, it running over the land, and coming up past our noses at times.

    It being,too, the ultimate recyclable resource we use.

    The limiting factor is collecting, processing and transporting enough of it to the point of demand in sufficient quantity to meet demand.

    But yes the point is “price”.

    Water in the UK is “free” like the NHS so people can use as much of it as they want – stands to reason you should use as much of it to get your money’s worth.

    Since it is “free” you should be grateful for what you get, and stop complaining if Nanny says you can’t have all you want.

    Water leaking into the ground, or hosepipe bans results in no loss of revenue to the water company.

    There is a simple solution (for the NH non-S too) which is used on the Continent.

    Metering. Charge at the point of use.

    Customer pays for what goes through their meter – not free so better be careful.

    Supplier gets paid only for what goes through meters so better make sure plenty does.

    No money for water leaking into the ground, no profit in hosepipe bans.

  9. “But perhaps the more pressing demand is for the water you never knew you used. Industry uses vast quantities: it takes 11,000 litres to manufacture a single pair of jeans. And farmers are thirsty, too: it takes 20,000 litres of water to make a kilo of coffee – before you even boil the kettle.”

    I hate these statistics, they’re so pointless. “it takes 11,000 litres to manufacture a single pair of jeans.” Translation, it rains on cotton plants.

    4 million litres (51 inches) of rain and snow fell on my garden last year and it all either soaked away or was sucked up by plants.

    In South Carolina, cotton grows between March and September, during which they get about 35 inches of rain, or 1000 litres per square meter.

    You need 24 ounces of cotton to make jeans, and the average yield is 1.3 bales an acre, which is about 650 pounds (or 433 pairs of jeans) in 4046 square metres. So each pair of jeans uses 9.3 square meters of cotton field. and gets 9,300 litres of rain.

    In other words, of the 11,000 litres of water needed to make a pair of jeans, 85% of it just falls out of the sky.

  10. Matthew L ” Edison (may the foul demons of hell eternally snack on his wobbly bits) was a genius at stealing ideas”
    That may well be so but he was also a genius at systems. Other people had the ideas for electrical lights but he put together the system of Power stations etc that made it a feasible proposition.

  11. Umbongo,

    As Thames Water includes London, where digging things up is going to be a lot more expensive and complicated complicated than in Norwich, Ipswich or Northampton (Anglian water) that’s hardly surprising.

    Do you have the data that the journalist is using?

  12. Brunel was voted something-or-other by the great unwashed, when James Watt or Geordie Stephenson were available.. Those two changed human history: Brunel changed the means of getting to Bristol.

  13. dearieme – “Brunel was voted something-or-other by the great unwashed, when James Watt or Geordie Stephenson were available.. Those two changed human history: Brunel changed the means of getting to Bristol.”

    I doubt it was the great unwashed. After all, Brunel changed the means of getting to Bristol elegantly. Watt and Stephenson built those nasty dirty steam whatsits.

    Sounds like the usual British middle class prejudice to me.

  14. Tim Almond – “Thames Water already have a solution and that is to build a number of reservoirs. Unfortunately, the NIMBYs in places like Abingdon and their friends in parliament are getting in the way.”

    I am sure they have a solution. But do they want to use it? Thames Water needs to build more dams which they may use one year in ten. Maybe one year in four now. That is a massive capital expense which most years won’t even be used.

    You can see why the water companies prefer to declare a drought once in a while and refuse to let us water our gardens.

  15. I doubt it was the great unwashed. Sounds like the usual British middle class prejudice to me.

    Actually it was Jeremy Clarkson. Hardly the one you’d accuse of middle class prejudice.

  16. Tesla was a crackpot, and in my opinion overrated. He had some good ideas early on but then went down a path of lunacy. A good engineer would have realised that wireless power just wasn’t going to work the way he wanted it to.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>