Hey Adrian...I feel bad about replying so late, but summer's been very busy so far, and weekends are typically the only time when I can think clearly about things not related to my current obligations.
Anyway, yes, I am an electrical engineering student; I'll try to give you my best answers for your questions:
1. Yes, it is one of the goals for many systems. Power transmission is a classical example--hence why we increase voltage and decrease current using step-up transformers for long-distance lines, and in some of the largest grid sections, utilize high-voltage DC
instead of AC. Joule heating (I^2 * R) is the enemy of low-voltage systems, and by stepping up the voltage, we can use smaller-diameter lines and decrease the losses too.
2. Most certainly. The semiconductor industry (and of course, the computer industry) is always changing because of this, and as you asked in question #1, part of this has to do with increasing efficiency. Higher speed/power and smaller size are two other major reasons obsolescence occurs.
3. A good physical representation of I've learned about inductance and capacitance is the hydraulic analogy
. Magnetic hysteresis
, on the other hand, is a measure of how well certain ferromagnetic materials' dipoles "remember" their alignments after an external field has been applied and then removed.
You can try understanding hysteresis yourself with a paperclip and a strong magnet: stroking the paper clip several times in one direction with one pole of the magnet will cause the steel's randomly-aligned atomic dipoles to align mostly in one direction. The clip is now a magnet itself, able to pick up other small items. However, steel has a relatively-poor hysteresis; the clip will probably lose some of its pulling power after some time if left alone (it's more pronounced if subjected to physical abuse and/or strong heating
). This is why hard disk platters and cassette tapes are made with a material with a high hysteresis--so that their data remains readable after years of even non-writing activity.
Hopefully that helps! And about your privacy concerns: no, I don't have a password-protected gallery. Basically, I never post what I don't want people to see online; it's one of my lines of defense against people who pry around for personal data.