Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Monday, 25 November 2013

New specifications for the 2014 Formula One season

The 2014 Formula One season will bring with it some of the biggest changes to Formula One racing’s technical regulations for quite some time. Not only is the sport adopting new 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines, there are also tweaks to the rules concerning aerodynamics and a far greater emphasis on energy recovery systems. Here is a summary of the main changes:

Engine - it’s out with 2.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 engines and in with 1.6-litre V6 turbo engines, revving to a maximum of 15,000rpm. The current engines produce more than 750bhp, whilst the 2014 units will produce around 600bhp with additional power coming from Energy Recovery Systems (see below).
The Ferrari 2.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 engine
The new Renault  1.6-litre V6 turbo engine

Gearbox - gearboxes are to have eight forward ratios - rather than the current seven - which each team must nominate ahead of the season.

Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) - in 2014, a larger proportion of each car’s power will come from ERS which, together with the engine, make up the powertrain or power unit. As well as generating energy under braking, ERS units will also generate power using waste heat from the engine’s turbocharger. Unlike the current KERS - which give drivers an extra 80bhp for six seconds per lap - the 2014 ERS will give drivers around 160bhp for 33 seconds per lap. To compensate for the extra power being generated under braking by ERS, teams will be allowed to use an electronic rear brake control system.

Fuel - to promote fuel efficiency, fuel will be limited to 100kg per race. At the moment fuel is unlimited, but teams typically use around 160kg per race.

Minimum weight - to compensate for the increased weight of the 2014 powertrain, minimum weight has been increased from the current 642kg to 690kg.

Exhaust - unlike today where two exhaust tailpipes are used, the 2014 regulations mandate the use of a single tailpipe which must be angled upwards to prevent the exhaust flow being used for aerodynamic effect. Additionally, bodywork is not allowed to be placed behind the tailpipe.

Nose height - for safety reasons the height of noses will be reduced in 2014. The maximum height is currently 550mm, whereas next year it’s 185mm.

Front wing - front wings will be a little narrower next year with the width reduced from 1800mm to 1650mm.

Rear wing - the rear wing will also look a little different in 2014 compared to this year’s models. The lower beam wing is being outlawed and the main flap will be slightly shallower in profile.

Reproduced from

Saturday, 16 November 2013

All those little white butterflies

Visitors to South Africa travelling through Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo
recently, must have noticed that they were in the company of thousands of little
 white butterflies, fluttering steadily in more or less the same direction. These
are the brown-veined whites (known in Afrikaans as the grasveldwitjie), the
colouring of the undersides of their wings giving them their name, their scientific
name being Belenois aurota.
The butterflies originated from the Southern African interior, where most of their
larval hostplants grow naturally. The good rains in January and February and
the subsequent rush of new leaves saw the females laying their eggs on their  
specific food plants in great abundance. Within days millions of tiny caterpillars
hatched and ate their way steadily but surely “out of house and home”.
These caterpillars then pupated
and emerged as butterflies, to
go in search of a mate and a new
 food plant to lay their eggs upon,
 and so the cycle continues until
the larval food plant supply is
finished. This phenomenon is known
as population explosion.
Adults that have as yet not procreated
will disperse to look for their food
plants elsewhere and will somehow
keep moving in a south-easterly direction
 towards the sea off Mozambique. Most will unfortunately perish en route due to total exhaustion.
 A few nectar plants in your garden helps to sustain the travellers.
Reproduced from an article by Lieveke Noyons

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Jacarandas of Pretoria

Some background to the Jacarandas of Pretoria

October heralds the blooming of the jacarandas in Pretoria and hundreds of tourists can be seen photographing this spectacle in Arcadia, The small suburb of Pretoria where we live. Credit for this belongs to JD Celliers who imported two jacaranda trees, Jacaranda Mimosifolio, from Rio de Janeiro in 1888.


 He planted them in the front garden of his home Myrtle Lodge in Sunnyside, now part of Sunnyside Primary School at 146 Celliers Street. These trees are still standing and bear a bronze plaque and can be viewed during school hours.


In 1898, James Clark, a keen horticulturist obtained a contract from the government to plant hundreds of jacarandas throughout the city. The trees did so well that he was charged with the task of lining all the major streets of Pretoria with jacarandas. Government Avenue is unique with its double row of jacarandas on either side. It is the only street in Pretoria with a double row. They were planted like this to provide complete shade for the government officials walking to the Union Buildings from Bryntirion Estate. 

 The jacaranda has been declared a Category Three invasive alien plant, which means, in terms of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, No. 43 of 1983, as amended in March 2001, it can be kept only under certain strict conditions in South Africa. The plants are not allowed to occur anywhere except in biologically controlled reserves, unless they were already in existence when the regulation came into effect. This means that existing plants do not have to be removed by the land user. However, they must be kept under control and no new planting may be initiated and the plants may no longer be sold. Other plants in this category include syringa, Australian silky oak, St Joseph’s lily, sword fern and New Zealand Christmas tree. 

While the rest of Pretoria goes mauve in October, Herbert Baker Street in the suburb of Groenkloof goes white, but also with jacarandas. The white species was introduced in 1962 by a resident by the name of H. Bruinslich and were imported from Peru.
A deadly fungus has been eating away at the roots of many of the city’s jacaranda trees for some time. Trees in some parts of the city are at different stages of disease as branches fall off and leaves dry out.
I cannot imagine Pretoria without its Jacarandas!

Reproduced from The Arcadian of November 2013