About Jim Barr
I live in Mid Bedfordshire England. I retired from lecturing in Computer Studies at a local College of Further Education in 2005. That was my last "carreer" but most of my working life has been spent using skills in electrical / electronic and mechanical engineering.
I have a wife and two sons, all hard working, one keen engineer and one studying Physics at Manchester.These days I try to promote renewable energy systems, via The National Energy Foundation who I work for about one day/fortnight. At home we try to use our resources sensibly but the pressure to consume is high! There is a great deal of miss-information about renewables, several of the companies building micro turbines are making unrealistic claims about their predicted output, this will back fire in a few years when the folk who have invested in them find there are NOT as good as expected. this will give renewable energy a bad name.
My hobbies include dinghy Sailing and up till a few years ago, I was quite keen on horse riding, I even spent a few months working on a small cattle station in Australia. I also spend some time exploring ways to use renewable energy at a domestic scale, in particular recycling of domestic grey water.
My book on how to build and use small scale windpumps was prompted by the unpredictable weather and droughts we get from time to time. By the time I published that book, the developments in my design meant a new book was needed, that book was published by LILI this year 2006
The design of my turbines was based largely on those in Australia, I used to look out for them in the bush as an emergency water supply, like when the road vanished Just south of Lake Eire South Australia, and we had to cross a small ravine by driving on the railway track!
A few high points of my life, (apart from wife and kids) relate to the 70's when I did some wandering in an effort to find myself! While working at Imperial College I was able to join an expedition in Malta, researching a saturation diving technique. Me, a bit slimmer and a lot fitter!!
The following year I was invited to join a marine archeology expedition in Sicily, we failed to find what we were looking for but actualy found a 2000 year old boat which proved just as interesting, to me anyway. We did have a cook but took turns cooking to give her a chance to do some diving as well, my main roles were photography and conservation, here is me tending "Jims takeaway "fish kebab"
Another of my interests is computer based artificial life. This was prompted by living in the Australian bush in the 70's, long before I had any knowledge of computers. I spent many hours watching the activities of neighbouring ant colonies and found the simplicity of the individuals and complexity of the groups fascinating
The Ant model is not supposed to model the ant behavoir that inspired it, but simply models the interaction of two communities one of which is predator on the other; both communities breed, grow eat, die, etcetera. over the past few years, I have lost much of the original source code of these models and during the same period PC's have got faster, the result is that most of the models will not run and I do not have code to modify and fix! He Ho, that's life