<CharlieDigital/> Programming, Politics, and uhh…pineapples

15Oct/07Off

Science: It Works, Bitches!

On a recent late spring trip, my wife and I visited Hyannis, Massachusetts.  During some free time, we had a chance to walk down to the beach and take a stroll.  We were greeted at the beach by a thick mist and an unbelieveable wind blowing off of the ocean.


About a week or so later, I was reading some articles regarding how Edward Kennedy pulled the NIMBY card regarding the erection of a massive array of wind turbines off of the coast of Hyannis as a source of alternative energy.


The benefits for the region seems clear:



Environmentalists say the $770 million wind farm -- enough to power 3 out of every 4 homes in New England's most coveted vacation region -- would be a crucial step toward clean, renewable power, without burning a single barrel of Middle Eastern oil, and at a time when scientists are issuing increasingly urgent warnings about the effects of global warming.


But the opposition from the politicos seems to be avid.



Massachusetts' Republican Gov. Mitt Romney and Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, whose family compound in Hyannis would look out at the wind farm -- have warned that the unsightly turbines would depress property values and damage the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism.


I guess some would consider an array of wind turbines to be "unsightly".  But to me, it is a stunning view of progress and scientific achievement of the highest order; it is a beacon into the future in which we learn to live with nature and not in spite of it.


So the question is, how can we effectively tap the awesome power of wind in a cost effective manner without touching a nerve with the NIMBY crowd?


Enter Shawn Frayne's windbelt concept.  It is an idea so simple in its execution and so elegant in its design, that it's nearly indistinguishable from magic (of course, there's solid science behind it as well).



Frayne’s device, which he calls a Windbelt, is a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Prototypes have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines.


Science: It Works, Bitches!

Posted by Charles Chen

Filed under: Awesome, News Comments Off
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