This Wind-Powered Tumbleweed Robot Aims to End Desertification

Robots have a hard time walking. They're getting better! But we're a ways away from having a robot that you can send on an excursion through a dune-covered desert. That's why, when he wanted to design a robot to collect climate data, designer Shlomi Mir looked to nature. Specifically, to tumbleweeds. » 2/06/14 1:40pm 2/06/14 1:40pm

How Wind and Dust Are Spreading a Deadly Fungal Disease

Called the "silent epidemic," a little-known fungal disease called valley fever has become ten times more common in the past decade. Its fungal spores are being spread by dust storms in the American Southwest. Exactly why valley fever suddenly increased has nagged at public health officials, but a piece in The New Yorker » 1/15/14 5:20pm 1/15/14 5:20pm

Be Totally Entranced By These Technicolor Winds Swirling Around Earth

Earth from above is a beautiful sight and, apart from cats and porn, there's almost nothing the internet likes more at the moment than data visualizations. Combine the two and you've got solid gold—or in Earth's case, a stunning, technicolor look at global wind and weather conditions. » 12/13/13 4:00pm 12/13/13 4:00pm

Car avoids getting crushed by a semi-trailer that was tipping over

Some days you get incredibly lucky. This guy who managed to record a video of a semi-trailer truck almost tipping over and crushing his car just had one of those days. The road was wet, the winds were strong and the truck was about to lose control and fall over. You don't want any of that when you're driving next to… » 12/06/13 10:37pm 12/06/13 10:37pm

This Wall of Paper Pinwheels Turns Air Into Art

Thousands of paper windmills seem to spin effortlessly in The Wind Portal, an installation by Lebanese artist Najla El Zein at London's V&A Museum this month. However, the production process wasn't exactly effortless. In fact, extreme accuracy was required to build this massive wall of wind, because it relies on air—and … » 9/30/13 12:00pm 9/30/13 12:00pm

The World's Biggest Test Bench Puts Wind Turbines Through the Wringer

Vestas' latest and greatest offshore wind turbine, the 8 MW V164, is designed to operate for a quarter century with minimal upkeep. To ensure that these massive turbines (their blade sweep area is equal to three football fields) are robust enough for 25 years of service in the North Atlantic, Vestas tortures its… » 8/21/13 11:30am 8/21/13 11:30am

How to Inspect Windmill Blades Without Ever Leaving the Ground

Getting to the top of a wind turbine is no small feat—akin to summiting the Washington Monument—and even more difficult when the wind farm is at sea. So rather than force human inspectors to make the perilous climb, Helical Robotics has developed a magnetic turtle to do it for us. » 4/26/13 11:30am 4/26/13 11:30am

The World's Biggest Wind Turbine Is as Broad as an Airbus 380

The first commercial offshore wind turbine that Siemens created 30 years ago had 5-meter long blades and produced a paltry 30kW. A lot can change over three decades. The company's newest offshore model isn't just the biggest in the sea; it's the biggest anywhere. » 11/20/12 4:40pm 11/20/12 4:40pm

This New Battery Will Store Excess Wind Power Using the Air Itself

Wind farms simply aren't reliable sources of steady power, which is why many rely on enormous battery systems to store excess current for times when the wind isn't gusting enough to meet our energy demands. Problem is—the production of these batteries is itself a drain on resources. So what if, instead of lithium and… » 10/10/12 11:30am 10/10/12 11:30am

The Big Bad Wolf Ain't Got Nothing on the World's Only Category 5…

When Hurricane Andrew rolled ashore in South Florida back in 1992, it destroyed $27 billion worth of property. The storm was the third most destructive to ever hit the US, an outcome due in part to the insufficient building codes of the time. Structures simply weren't built to withstand the storm's fury. These days,… » 9/12/12 11:30am 9/12/12 11:30am