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Discovery Channel Story "The new solar array will add about 14… - delta_november

Jun. 13th, 2007

08:52 am

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Discovery Channel Story

"The new solar array will add about 14 kilowatts of power-generating capability to the station. To put that in perspective, a 100-watt bulb left on for 10 hours uses one kilowatt."

It's one thing for a journalist not to understand what he/she is doing, but it's another to write patronizing folksy explanations that are flat-out wrong.  Could they not stick to telling me how many football fields are covered by the arrays?

leftofcool, I blame you for leaving Discovery :).

Comments:

[User Picture]
From:leftofcool
Date:June 13th, 2007 01:23 pm (UTC)
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hey, that's an AP story. i can only hope that somebody who actually worked for Discovery proper would have a slightly larger slice of clue. :P :)
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[User Picture]
From:delta_november
Date:June 13th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
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You're quite right about your power bill. The thing is that a "kilowatt" is different from a "kilowatt hour". It's like the difference between the speedometer and the odometer on your car. You are billed on the energy that you have used (kilowatt hours, e.g. odometer). At any given moment you are using a certain amount of power (kilowatts, e.g. spedometer).

The space station arrays give 14 kilowatts of power. A 100 watt bulb for ten hours consumes one kilowatt hour of energy. Power and energy. Apples and oranges.

It would have been so simple to write "The array will produce enough power to run 140 100 watt bulbs continuously." I'm not even sure if that's needed. Is the general public not smart enough to know that a 100 watt bulb uses 100 watts? Once you tell them that a kilowatt just means 1000 watts everything else should become clear.
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