A few pictures

Apparently Jay has a bowel movement. Not sure why he feels the need to immortalise it on his licence plate though.
JaysBM licence plate

There can be few things less appetising in the supermarket than this: Ham & chicken flavoured knob.
Ham and chicken flavoured knob

Grand Theft Panto? (Sorry, a little joke for the gunzels.)
Tram with GTA advert on it

By the way, my old car finally got taken away the other day. Apparently the engine is going to be extracted and sent to the Sudan — probably not to go into another car, but to work a pump or something. Wow. My old rustbucket might be helping a whole village somewhere.
Car being taken away

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

18 replies on “A few pictures”

The knobs are fully manufactured meat, just a cheaper version of spam. Buy that stuff from the deli, it is tastier and fresh. I hate personalised number plates, just keep it normal, personalised plates annoy me and there is something wrong with the people who drive those sort of cars. I like GTA 4, it is a great game, pity it was censored.

On the topic of using car engines to power something for which they were not originally intended . . .

An interesting quote from Frank Fisher’s book ‘Response Ability’ (p122):

“to provide all of Victoria’s electricity you only need to couple some 50,000 of our overpowered cars – just 2 per cent of the state’s cars – to generators.

This was from a paper he wrote in 1997, so the exact figures may have changed.

Not to suggest we should actually try this. But the point about how (in some analysis, needlessly/wastefully) powerful our cars are and the relativities of the amounts of energies involved, is quite pertinant.

Tony: Interesting. (Though I am somewhat cautious about Frank’s calculations, given his views about PT revenue vs expenditure…)

Reuben: It certainly looks similar to some types of dog food, but it was not labelled as such, and was in the human food section.

Michael: Under what law?

Not sure how transparent the figures are for PT revenues and how they’ve changed over the last 10 years?

It should be easy to calculate the number of cars required by taking Vic’s total electricity generation capacity and dividing by the kW of the average engine (somewhere around 100kW?.

Don’t have time to look up the figures today, but I will sooner or later.

OK, I couldn’t resist . . .

– Victoria’s 2006/7 generation capacity 8,983 MW (8,983,000 kW). DRET figures.

– ‘Average’ Australian car – let’s take a new Holden V6 3.6L petrol engined VE. Develops 180kW.

– So, 49,905.5 VE’s will produce the same amount of power as Victoria’s electricity generating capacity.

I also worked the figures in another way, based on actual consumption (kWh) rather than on capacity(kW):

– 51.4TWh consumed in Vic in 06/07.

– Using same cars, it would require 32,597 running 24 hours per day for that year to generate the same power.

Given that Vic imports and exports electricity with other states over the national grid, the actual consumption is probably the most relevent figure.

Now if we were to convert that to wind turbines . . .

I forgot the % of cars . . .

– Vic had 3,818,062 registered vehicles in Mar 2007 (

– 49,905 cars = 1.3%

– 32,597 cars = 0.85%

What does that tell us about the amount of energy used in our cars compared with the amount of electricity we use?! Electricity is usually the ‘bad boy’ of energy in Vic because of the GHG emissions from the brown coal. But it’s not the only story.

Tony, thanks for the calculations. Fascinating. Just shows how much energy is wasted moving people around.

PT patronage figures are publicly available though not exactly prominently so. Track Record shows the fare revenue payments to Connex and Yarra Trams. They get 40% each, so taking the last 12 months from the most recently published figures gives farebox revenue of $513.7 million. (Slightly lower than I thought it would be.)

G’day Daniel,

My local Coles has a sign by the turnstile saying “No unauthorised photography.”

I’ve read about people being *escorted* from Shopping Malls for taking photos.

The closest thing I could find was this reference on a NSW photography website:

Regards, Michael.

PS. I’d be inclined to ignore these rules. Shivers you’re not even (technically) allowed to take photos at railway stations!

I have never seen or heard of any meat product called “knob” and I went to culinary school. I have never seen or heard of a “dog roll” or any other refrigerated pet food until I came to Australia. I am sure a dog would like a “knob”. Cats tend to be more choosy eaters but perhaps they would like “knob” too. Does it contain mechanically seperated chicken??

Usually only about 40% of the enegery fed into a power plant arrives at one’s home or business as useable electricity. The rest is lost as heat to condenser cooling water, stack heat up the flue from the boiler, and losses with resistace in transformers and powerlines. I have read that 60 cycle power, which is used in the USA and Canada, has less losses in distibution as transformers (and motors too) are more efficent at 60 cycles than at 50 cycles(Hertz, Hz).

Car engies are even less efficent. Only about 25% of the enegery from fuel burnt drives the car. The rest is lost as heat through the radiator and exhaust pipe. Enegery is also lost as heat when the brakes are used. Using the heater in your car actually puts some of this otherwise lost heat to use keeping you warm on a cold day. Diesel engines are more efficent than gas/petrol engines.

I know I am tired when I mispell “energy” 3 times in a row. “Engine” has 2 n’s. At least I can still compose a paragraph.

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