Autoriarhiiv: sanhei

Improvements for hotels

Commonly in hotels the room keycard has to be inserted into a slot for the lights in the room to turn on. An annoyance occurs when the lights are reset each time the card is removed and re-inserted, such as when leaving and re-entering the room (this problem and most of the subsequently mentioned ones are based on Courtyard by Marriott Chennai, but some are based on other hotels). Typically all the lights turn on and the unnecessary ones have to be turned off one by one. A simple and cheap microcomputer could remember the on-off settings of the lights and keep these until reset. Another similar problem is that the temperature of the AC or heating, as well as the fan speed, gets reset when the keycard is removed from the slot. Thus the AC has to be readjusted after each re-entry.

The keycard should work consistently, not require several attempts to operate the lift or open the room door.

It is a nice touch for a hotel to have a steam room, sauna or jacuzzi next to the fitness centre, but it would be even better if these were in working order and clean. Another nice touch is to provide slippers in the room, but if these are child-sized, then they are not very useful for an adult male. If there are two pairs of slippers in a room, then different-sized pairs would be reasonable and almost as cheap to provide as same-sized ones.

If (free) wifi is advertised, then it would be nice if it was working. Wifi problems can be detected automatically (by wifi-enabled devices placed in the corners of the hotel remotest from the routers) without waiting for annoyed guests to contact the front desk.

An electric kettle in the room is good for making tea, but placing glasses next to the kettle invites an absent-minded person to pour hot water into these, which cracks them.

The carpet should not shed hair that sticks to socks and anything else it comes into contact with (by floating in the air for example).

The fitness centres in hotels are typically less than 25 square metres. It is possible to choose machines and weights for a small room in such a way that cardio and all major muscle groups can be trained, but hotels seem to choose the machines randomly, e.g. three ellipticals and a stair stepper, but no rowing machine. Or two quadriceps training machines (leg extension and leg press), but no hamstring training machine (prone leg curl). This is despite the fact that quads are easy to train without a machine (do squats with or without weights), but hamstrings difficult.

A common problem in hotels is street noise in the room, which may be expensive to fix if the hotel construction quality is bad. One hotel in which the room was quiet despite a busy street outside was Sheraton New Delhi. A possible reason for its quietness was that the windows had two layers of packet glass, consisting of two or three layers each.

Hotel breakfasts should have a list of ingredients next to each dish, not just the name of the dish, especially when the name is unfamiliar to most visitors, e.g. the name is in the local language for a traditional ethnic dish. The list of ingredients would be especially helpful to people with food allergies, but the non-allergic would also benefit – it is easier to choose with more info. The ingredients in the list should be ordered, starting with the ones that constitute the largest percentage of the dish.

The arrangement of dishes at buffet meals should make it logistically convenient to get food, i.e. movement to and from the dishes should be unrestricted (no closely placed tables blocking the way) and similar foods should be located together. Sometimes hotels make strange food placement choices, for example I have seen soups and meat dishes alternate. Rydges on Swanston in Melbourne placed all the dishes in a small recess off the dining area, so there was a traffic jam of people trying to get into and out of that nook with their plates.

Made-to-order (live cooking) dishes at buffet meals could be prepared and distributed faster if their order system was computerised and the eaters could order the dishes from their smartphones. Peak demand time can be predicted and the cooking started in advance to speed up the delivery of the dishes. Such just-in-time production has economies of scale, so is especially easy for larger buffets.

The hotel room logistics are often strange, e.g. a narrow corridor leading from the door to the room, with wardrobes built into the side of the corridor. The doors of said wardrobes open outward, blocking the corridor. On the other hand, in the Chennai Marriott bathroom the shower stall and the the toilet were behind the same sliding door. To access the toilet, the door had to slide in front of the shower, and to access the shower, the door closed off the toilet. This would be annoying if two or more people stayed in that suite and tried to use the shower and toilet simultaneously, because both could not be behind a closed door at the same time.

Another logistical problem in both hotels and apartments is a toilet door that opens inward. When the toilet is small, the door almost hits the pot, making it difficult to maneuver around the door for entry and exit. Some toilets are so tiny that when sitting on the pot, the knees touch the opposite wall. In this case, it would be better to place the pot diagonally so the knees fit in a corner.

Two doors at the ends of a short corridor that both open into the corridor are impossible to open at the same time, which lengthens the time of passing through both doors.

Some hotels want to show how modern they are by replacing light switches with small touchscreens with LED backlighting. The little LED lights are numerous enough to somewhat light up the room when the ceiling and other lights are turned off. For sleeping, it would be good to be able to turn off the LED lights of the touchscreens.

If a motion detector turns on the light, then being able to switch off the motion detector and the light would be preferable. Sometimes the light is unnecessary, such as during the day with curtains open. The sudden bright light may also be annoying, for example when visiting the bathroom at night.

Hotel beds are usually short, so people over 180cm have their feet over the edge, unless they lie diagonally. Luckily hotel beds are usually wide, so their diagonal is significantly longer than the long side.

Avoiding an animal on the road

When a bike or car heads towards a squirrel, the squirrel first dodges to one side and then runs away in the other direction. Birds fly directly away from the oncoming vehicle, so stay in front of the vehicle for a few seconds. These behaviours are presumably evolutionary adaptations to avoid predators. For example, the squirrel’s dodge probably misleads a predator to alter course in the direction of the dodge. The larger predator then has more difficulty than a small agile squirrel in switching direction to the opposite side of the dodge.
In avoiding vehicles, these escape patterns are counterproductive. A predator tries to collide with the prey, but a vehicle tries to avoid collision. A squirrel’s dodge confuses the driver or cyclist, who then tries to pass the animal on the opposite side of the initial feint, which is exactly the direction the animal ends up running in. The best way to avoid collision may be to just keep going in a straight line and let the animal dodge out of the way. A constant direction and speed is easy to predict, which lets the animal avoid being in the same place at the same time as the vehicle. Keeping one’s course and speed also avoids accident-prone sharp turns and sudden stopping.
If a predator was smart and knew about the dodging behaviour, then it would go opposite the initial dodge. But then the squirrel would benefit from not switching direction. In response to the squirrel just running in one direction, the predator should run in the direction of the squirrel’s initial movement, etc. This game only has a mixed strategy equilibrium where the squirrel randomises its direction and whether it dodges or not, and the predator randomises its response to the squirrel’s initial movement direction. Dodging takes more energy than just running to one side, so the dodge must have a benefit that outweighs the energy cost, which means that the predator must be less successful when the squirrel dodges. Some factor must make it difficult for the predator to swerve opposite the squirrel’s initial direction. For example, if most prey keep running in one direction instead of feinting, then the predator may be on average more successful when following the initial movement of the prey. The cognitive cost of distinguishing squirrels from other prey must be too large to develop a different strategy for chasing squirrels.
The same game describes dribbling in soccer to avoid a defender. It would be interesting to look at data on what proportion of the time the attacker feints to one side and then moves to the other, as opposed to just trying to pass around the defender in the initial movement direction. It is more difficult for both players to switch than to keep moving in one direction, but presumably the player with the ball finds it relatively more complicated than the defender. In this case, to keep the other player indifferent, each player only has to switch direction less than half of the time, but the defender relatively less frequently. If the attacker feints and the defender does not switch direction, then the defender looks clumsy and the attacker a good dribbler. Reputation concerns of soccer players (who are after all entertainers) may make them switch direction more often than a pure winning motive would dictate.
Similarly, soccer players may use flashy moves like scissor kicks more often than is optimal for winning, because the flashiness makes the player popular with fans.

Majade esiküljed ühel joonel vähendavad kuritegevust

Kui tänaval olijad on kaugele näha, siis takistab see kuritegevust, alustades pisi-väärtegudest nagu prahiloopimine ja grafiti. Nähtavuse jaoks on hea kui hoonete esiküljed on ühel joonel, et ei tekiks nurgataguseid, kus silma alt ära olla. Samuti peaksid uksed olema maja fassaadiga ühel joonel, sest ukseorvas saab ka varitseda. Rõdualused, ukseorvad ja muud kõrvalised nurgad meelitavad ka kodutuid, kes tihti jätavad sinna prahti. Linnaplaneerimis- ja ehitusreeglid peaksid nõudma hooneomanikelt nurgataguste ja ukseorvade kinniehitamist või aiaga blokeerimist, eriti kõrge kuritegevusega linnades. Pahategudeks ebasoodsa keskkonna tekitamine on ka omanike huvides.
Kui otsida tänava ühele joonele ehitamise negatiivseid tagajärgi, siis üks võimalik probleem on tuulekoridori efekti suurendamine: sirgel tasaste seintega koridoril on väiksem tuuletakistus kui jõnksulisel paljude nurgatagustega tänaval. Tuuletakistust saab suurendada puid istutades või majade ülakorruseid suures plaanis konarlikuks ehitades (eenduvad rõdud, taanduvad korrused, mittetasapinnaline fassaad). Tänava heaks nähtavuseks piisab esimeste korruste joondamisest ja siledaks ehitamisest.

Saving ventilation cost by using the wind

Most large modern buildings have active ventilation built in, meaning that electric fans drive the air through the building. The airflow direction is usually fixed at construction time. However, if the wind happens to blow from the opposite direction to the ventilation flow, then the fans require extra energy to counter the wind. On the other hand, if the wind agrees with the airflow in the building, then the fans may not need to be run at all. To save electricity, a building could have a wind direction sensor (a weather vane) on the roof connected to a switch that reverses the ventilation fans, so that the fans always pump air in approximately the same direction as the wind. If the wind is strong enough, a wind speed sensor (a small windmill or windsock) on the roof could stop the ventilation fans altogether.
The tradeoff for this adaptive ventilation system is the initial fixed construction cost and the ongoing maintenance of the weather vane, windsock and controller of the fans. All the extra components of the system (relative to the current unidirectional ventilation) are cheap and robust, so the both the fixed cost and the maintenance should be negligible.
Current ventilation systems have differently shaped air inlets and outlets in the rooms, which suggests that the system requires a particular airflow direction. In this case, adaptive ventilation may be much more expensive than the current ones, because the ventilation shafts and air vents need to be doubled. To avoid the need to build twice as many shafts and vents, have just the air inlets and outlets of the whole building switch roles with the wind direction. The rest of the system can remain unidirectional when the valves from the building’s inlet and outlet to the rest of the system switch appropriately. The air inside the building can then move in the opposite direction of the wind some of the time. In this case, the electricity saving is only realised if the building is sufficiently airtight, which is the case for modern highrises that have unopenable windows. If the air is allowed to move through the building independently of the ventilation and the wind is opposite the airflow in the system, then the fans have to overcome the air pressure difference like in the current systems. This wastes electricity.

When to open windows to cool or warm a building

My uninsulated apartment building went from too cold to too hot in about a week, which is normal in Canberra. People have started to open the windows in the stairwell in addition to their apartment windows. The timing of the opening seems a bit misguided – people open the windows in the morning. During daytime, the air outside is warmer than the air inside the stairwell, but during the night the outside air is colder. To state the obvious: to cool down the building, open the windows for the night and close them for the day. Currently the opposite seems to happen, although I counter this trend by closing the windows in the morning when I notice them open.
In general, if you want the building cooler and the outside air is colder than the inside, then open the windows, but if the outside is warmer, then close them. If you want the building warmer and the outside air is colder than the inside, then close the windows, but if the outside is warmer, then open them. This could easily be automated with temperature sensors outside and inside the building connected to a thermostat and small electric motors opening and closing the windows. Such a system would save some of the heating and cooling costs of the building.
There may be non-temperature reasons to open and close the windows, for example to let smell out of the stairwell or to keep insects from coming in. The second reason is not relevant for my building, because all windows have bugscreens and the exterior doors have a gap an inch wide under them, which the insects can easily use to get in.

Treening igasuguseks tegevuseks on järk-järguline

Kogu inimtegevus on treenitav samal põhimõttel: alustada väikeselt ja suurendada järk-järgult koormust, harjutada pidevalt ja järjekindlalt. Näiteks avaliku kõnelemise oskuse omandamiseks ei minda kohe suure auditooriumi ette tähtsat kõnet pidama. Esmalt harjutatakse sõprade ringis oma arvamust välja ütlema, öeldakse peolauas tooste, seletatakse oma eriala teistele. Edasi võib esineda väikesele seltskonnale ebaolulistel teemadel, laulda karaoket, rääkida peol lava pealt anekdoote. Järk-järgult muutuvad kuulajaskonnad suuremaks, esinemised olulisemaks, teemad vähem tuttavaks, rohkem vastuoluliseks ja emotsionaalseks.
Ettevõtjaks saamiseks peaks harjutama planeerimist ja korraldamist. Esmalt organiseerida väikese osalejate arvuga lühikesi üritusi, siis järjest suurema rahvahulgaga pikemaid ettevõtmisi. Näiteks alustuseks võib planeerida perepuhkuse või korraldada sünnipäevapeo. Need nõuavad väikest töötundide arvu, korraldaja on üks inimene, osalejad on tuttavad ja viltuvedamised pole kriitilised. Edasi võib planeerida matka, kus peab mõtlema varustusele, marsruudile ja võimalikele eriolukordadele. Võib ka algatada sõprade ringis huvialaklubi. Hea on osaleda suuremate ürituste korraldamises esmalt lihtsa käsutäitjana ja siis juhtivamatel kohtadel, et õppida teiste vigadest, harjutada koostööd ja juhtimist.
Seda koormuse järjekindla vähehaaval suurendamise põhimõtet paistavad järgivat ka õppeasutused. Tartu majandusteaduskonnas nõuti ainetes igal aastal pikemaid esitlusi, alguses niisama paar minutit tahvli ees ülesannete lahendamist (mitte hinde peale), lõpus pooletunnist bakalaureusetöö kaitsmist olulise hinde saamiseks. Yale ärikoolis oli palju igasuguseid klubisid ja üritusi, mida enamasti vedasid MBA tudengid. Eesmärgiks oli ilmselt nii inimeste üksteisega tuttavaks tegemine (võrgustumine), huvitava tegevuse pakkumine kui ka tudengitele juhtimis- ja korraldamiskogemuse võimaldamine.
Koormuse suurendamine ei tähenda tingimata lõppeesmärgiks oleva tegevuse harjutamist, ega pea sellega isegi väga sarnane olema. Mõnikord on kasulikum harjutada tegevuse isoleeritud osi, millest olen kirjutanud postituses „Miks treening erineb tegevusest endast”.

Tenancy Ending Checklist

Before the final inspection:
Give or receive valid notice of ending tenancy in writing, resolve any dispute about this.
Confirm any arrangements for agent/landlord to access property in writing.
Schedule final inspection.
Disconnect all utilities connected in your name.
Calculate rent payable until end of tenancy and pay that amount.
Cancel direct debit if necessary.
Clean property as needed when compared to incoming condition report.
Arrange for carpet cleaning if necessary.
Remove any additions, alterations you have done to property.
Print 1) bond refund form, 2) move-in condition report (keep a copy), 3) filled or blank move-out condition report, 4) key receipt to take to final inspection. 5) Put the move-in photos and video on a laptop/other device or print them to take to final inspection.

On the day of final inspection or move-out day:
Take photos of meters (date stamped).
Take photos/videos of condition of property and do your own condition report.
Bring the required forms, photos and video to the final inspection. Attend final inspection.
Return keys and get a receipt or sign a photocopy.
Resolve any issues with condition of property.
Sign bond refund form and lodge with Office of Rental Bonds (you or the agent can do this).

Toidukalorite täpsem mõõtmine

Praegu mõõdetakse toidukaloreid, summeerides toidus sisalduvatest süsivesikutest (miinus seedimatu kiudaine), rasvadest ja valkudest saadud energia. Iga komponendi energiasisaldust mõõdetakse pomm-kalorimeetris, mis on kahekestaline anum, kestade vahel vesi, milles on termomeeter, ja sisemise kesta sees põletuskamber. Toit põletatakse kalorimeetri keskel ja vee temperatuuri tõus mõõdab toidu energiasisaldust. Näiteks USA seadus (Nutrition Labeling and Education Act 1990) nõuab toidusiltidel olevate kalorite arvutamist ülaltoodud toidukomponentide kokkuliitmise meetodil (mida kutsutakse Atwateri süsteemiks), mille puhul ei pea iga tootja valku, rasva ja süsivesikuid põletama, vaid peab kasutama järgnevaid keskmisi kalorisisaldusi: rasv 9 kcal/g, valgud ja süsivesikud 4 kcal/g. Need sisaldused mõõdeti paljude katsete keskmisena ülalkirjeldatud kalorimeetris põletamise meetodil.
Probleem selle meetodiga on, et peenestatud ja kuumtöödeldud toidu energiasisaldus on põletamisel sama kui toorel peenestamata toidul, aga viimane imendub seedetraktist organismi oluliselt halvemini. Seega söögist saadud kalorid ja muud toitained võivad kordades erineda toidusildil olevatest. Näiteks raamatu Modernist Cuisine kohaselt ( seedub toorest porgandit närides 3% selles sisalduvast beetakaroteenist, keedetud porgandist 6%, toore porgandi püreest 21% ja keedetud püreest 39%. Kodus lihtsasti kontrollitav näide on maapähklite ja tükkideta 100% maapähklivõi erinev seedumine: peale pähklite põhjalikku närimist on väljaheites ikka heledaid pähklitükikesi näha, aga pähklivõi söömise järgselt mitte. Nendes pähklitükikestes sisalduvad toitained jäid organismil suures osas saamata, sest ainete difusioon kõvast pähklimaterjalist välja on väga aeglane. Veel äärmuslikum näide on, et kui pähkleid (samuti herneid, maisiteri jne) tervelt neelata, ei omasta organism neist peaaegu midagi. Seevastu USDA toitainesisalduse andmebaas ( näitab maapähklite ja maapähklivõi puhul ligilähedaselt sama kõigi toitainete sisaldust ja energiakogust.
Seedimise efektiivsuserinevust toore ja kuumtöödeldud toidu vahel võtab USDA teatud määral arvesse, korrutades kuumtöödeldud toidu vitamiinisisaldused koefitsientidega ( See arvutus on muidugi ebatäpne, sest ei arvesta, kui kaua ja mis temperatuuril on toitu kuumutatud. Näiteks pisut keedetud poolkõvadest riisiteradest omandab organism palju vähem toitaineid (jällegi, kui väljaheites on tükikesi näha, siis neist tükikestest ei imendunud seedimisel eriti midagi) kui püreeks keedetud riisist. Samuti võib võrrelda kikerherneid ja hummust (mis on kikerhernepüree).
Täpsem ja peaaegu sama lihtne toidukalorite mõõtmismeetod oleks koguda teadaolevast toidukogusest seeditud väljaheited, kuivatada ja kalorimeetris põletada, ja siis võrrelda vabanenud soojusenergia hulka sama koguse kuivatatud toidu põletamisega. See diferentsiaal-kalorimeetria võtaks automaatselt arvesse efektiivset või vähemefektiivset närimist, toidu kuumutamist, peenestamist või muud eeltöötlemist. Mida paremini keedetud ja peenestatud toit seedub, seda vähem jääb sinna kehast väljutamise ajaks kaloreid (ja muid toitaineid) järele. Lahutades väljutatud põletuskalorid sissesöödud põletuskaloritest, on tulemuseks organismi imendunud energia.
Selleks, et ühe toidu kalorisisaldust ülaltoodud viisil mõõta, peab sellest toidust tekkinud väljaheite selle toiduga vastavusse viima. Üks viis on, et katseloom või inimene sööb päeva või paar järjest ühte ja sama toitu, nii et katseperioodi lõpuks ei segune väljaheites mitu erinevat sööki. Teine viis on määrata, mis ajal söödud toit millisel ajal väljub. Näiteks võib igale söögikorrale lisada erinevat (toitainevaest) toiduvärvi või raskestiseeduvaid tükikesi nagu amarantiterad või millimeetrised porgandikillud. Värvi või tükikesi on väljaheites näha ja nende abil saab määrata seedimise kestuse. Siis saab eraldada eri toitudest tekkinud ekskremendid ja neid ükshaaval mõõta.
Kuivatamise ja põletamise saaks tõenäoliselt asendada ka põhjaliku jahvatamise ja siis aeroobse fermenteerimisega süsihappegaasiks ja veeks, aga see meetod võtab vist kauem aega.

Mahlad säilivad jahutamata kui kork kiirelt tagasi panna

Tavalised toidupoest ostetud greibi- ja apelsinimahlad püsivad 20-kraadisel temperatuuril avatuna üle 10 päeva värsked kui kork peale väljavalamist kiiresti peale tagasi panna. Loomulikult ei tohi otse mahlapudelist juua, korgita pudelisuud puudutada ega muul viisil pudelisse mikroorganisme sisse lasta, sest muidu läheb mahl vähem kui ühe päevaga käärima. Külmikus hoitud avatud poe-õunamahl püsib värske kaks-kolm nädalat, jällegi kui pakk kiirelt avada-sulgeda, et mikroobide sissepääsu minimeerida. Ilmselt on õhus lenduvaid mikroorganisme piisavalt vähe või pole nad mahlas elamisele spetsialiseerunud, nii et nende väikeses koguses mahla sattumisel kulub pikk aeg enne kui nende arv nii palju kasvab, et nende elutegevuse jääkaineid mahlas märgata on.
Rasvavaba piim püsib avatuna külmikus värske ka viis päeva peale „parim enne“ kuupäeva kui kork alati kiiresti peale tagasi panna ja üldiselt hoiduda mikroobe pakki laskmast. Samadel tingimustel hoitud täispiim (3,5% rasva) läheb päev-kaks peale „parim enne“ kuupäeva hapuks. Ma ei oska seda säilivuserinevust selgitada.
Kauasäiliv piim (nii rasvavaba kui täispiim) püsib avatuna toatemperatuuril värske vähemalt nädala, jällegi kui mikroobe sellesse mitte sisse lasta. Kreeka jogurt säilib samuti toatemperatuuril vähemalt nädala, isegi kui seda lusikaga pakendist süüa, mis suubakterid sinna sisse laseb.

Huulte lõhenemine sõltuvalt tavalisest näoilmest

Huulte lõhenemine on tõenäolisem inimestel, kelle tavaline näoilme on neutraalne või morn, sest sellise ilmega on huuled horisontaalsuunas keskele lühenenud. Kui nad siis naeratades, süües või muul põhjusel järsku huuled pikaks venitavad, siis huule limaskest rebeneb. Seevastu enamasti laialt naeratavatel inimestel on huulte limaskest venitusega harjunud ja vastavalt horisontaalsuunas laienenud (nahk ja limaskest reageerivad venitusele rakkude paljunemisega, nii et pikenevad venitussuunas). Huulte laia asendisse venitamine pole siis protsentuaalselt nii suur limaskesta pikenemine kui tavaliselt lühikeses asendis huultele. Lisaks võib tihe huulte naeratusega venitamine limaskesta elastsemaks treenida. Nii venivam limaskest kui protsentuaalselt väiksem pikenemine vähendavad rebendiohtu, ehk huulelõhesid tekib vähem.
Huulelõhede ennetus on niisiis üks motiiv positiivse ilmavaate poole püüdlemiseks ja ameerikalikuks pidevaks naeratamiseks.

Põhjuslik seos huulelõhede ja näoilme vahel on kahesuunaline: kui inimesel huuled naeratades lõhenevad, siis see pisut valus kogemus tekitab nii teadliku kui alateadliku naeratamisest hoidumise. Inimene hoiab näoilme neutraalse, et mitte huuli rebestada. Kui huuled on juba lõhenenud ja kipitavad, siis tuju langeb, nii et näoilme muutub morniks. See kahesuunaline põhjuslikkus on tagasisideahel: morn ilme soodustab huulte lõhenemist (isegi kui mitte naeratada, võib huule limaskest rebeneda suure suutäie haukamisel või täishääliku hääldamisel) ja see omakorda morni ilmet.