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U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden
by Michael Keller
Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 
See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.[[MORE]]

U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden

by Michael Keller

Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 

See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.

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3-D Interactive Display Uses Fog As Screens

Engineers have built an interactive display using a tabletop system and mounted personal screens made of fog. Projectors light the fog for each user and a camera system monitors movements, allowing each person at the table to manipulate and share three-dimensional data.

A team at the University of Bristol in the UK say their device, called MisTable, is see-through and reach-through. Both fog screens and the table display can be manipulated by users.

"The personal screen provides direct line of sight and access to the different interaction spaces," said Sriram Subramanian, a professor of human-computer interaction. "Users can be aware of each other’s actions and can easily switch between interacting with the personal screen to the tabletop surface or the interaction section. This allows users to break in or out of shared tasks and switch between individual and group work."

Compare this to the Displair, by Russian inventor Maxim Kamanin. See the MisTable video below.

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science education vintage bell archive gif black_and_white electricity magnets

A brief explainer on how an electric bell works, courtesy of a silent 1927 film called “A Film Lesson in General Science: Communication.” 

From the Prelinger Archives.

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tech science bioplastic plastic materials engineering gif biodegradable manufacturing

This California blackeye pea plant is shown growing over a three-week period in soil enriched with nontoxic, biodegradable plastic made of shrimp shells. 
Scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering made the bioplastic so it can be used to manufacture cell phones, toys and in any other product in which regular plastics are used. Mixing in waste from wood processing called wood flour to prevent shrinkage, the team found that the material could be used in casting and injection-molding processes to make large 3-D objects. It also breaks down in two weeks and releases valuable nutrients into soil when it does, they say.[[MORE]]
Their work on the bioplastic was published at the end of February in the journal Macromolecular Materials & Engineering.
The chitosan that goes into making the bioplastic is a form of chitin, the second most abundant organic material on Earth. It is present in fungi and insect and crustacean shells.
"There is an urgent need in many industries for sustainable materials that can be mass produced," said Dr. Don Ingber, the institute’s founding director, in a statement. “Our scalable manufacturing method shows that chitosan, which is readily available and inexpensive, can serve as a viable bioplastic that could potentially be used instead of conventional plastics for numerous industrial applications.”

This California blackeye pea plant is shown growing over a three-week period in soil enriched with nontoxic, biodegradable plastic made of shrimp shells. 

Scientists at Harvard’s Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering made the bioplastic so it can be used to manufacture cell phones, toys and in any other product in which regular plastics are used. Mixing in waste from wood processing called wood flour to prevent shrinkage, the team found that the material could be used in casting and injection-molding processes to make large 3-D objects. It also breaks down in two weeks and releases valuable nutrients into soil when it does, they say.

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