October 28, 2003

*Ask Jen

Susie writes, "Pixy said:'Well, the U.S. version is a puny 110-volt device that would explode if I tried to plug it into our manly Aussie electricity.' Why is Australian electricity more manly than American electricity?"

Because Americans are more energy-conscious (strangely enough) and develop electrical appliances to use as little energy as possible. Or something like that.* Plus those (non-North American) outlets are all misshapen. But you can get step-down convertors and adaptors to travel with you to such strange lands as Australia and Europe. That way you can use your hairdryer. Yay!

*(Actually, the appliances apparently use the same energy...we use twice as many amps as they do. I'm not an electrician, so can't really explain this.)

Reader Jeff asks, "Why don't bears in zoos hibernate?"

Because they are constantly fed by their keepers and their enclosures remain warm throughout the winter. Hibernation only occurs with lack of food and with temperatures below freezing.

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at October 28, 2003 12:01 AM


I can help with the electricity question. It's because our grids were standardized and in place well before serious construction of the same began elsewhere. They learned from our errors. 220v is much more efficient than 110v.

We've been expanding and overbuilding and supporting a more costly system from the very beginning because we didn't want to go back and fix things when they were still small enough to do so.

Posted by: Jim at October 28, 2003 05:46 AM

Susie moved to Connecticut?

Posted by: Victor at October 28, 2003 02:04 PM

Sure you can use your hairdryer, for about a minute. If you just have an adapter without a converter the hairdryer overheats. But man does it blow hard and get really hot for that minute. Then you have to wait a few minutes for it to cool.

Posted by: Veeshir at October 30, 2003 02:44 PM