Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our Nation's Capital

We're in Washington, DC, with students at the National Council for Science and Environment Conference, which this year is on Energy and Security.

These are students Rae, Katrina, and Matt outside the Botanical Gardens on the National Mall, where there are now two wind turbines, a Windspire and a Skystream.

I'm interested in Windspires, although the simple physics indicates that they're probably not cost effective in any but the strongest winds. Our calculations show that Skystreams need nine meters/second to be cost effective in Maine, which only exists on our highest peaks. I expect Windspires are about the same.

But they are architecturally interesting, adding intrigue to the landscape, like a sculpture.

The other great thing I saw was NASA's new climate model visualizer, essentially a collection of giant monitors several feet wide and tall, showing the second by second results of a climate model.

Very cool.

Finally, the obligatory shot of Congress, which all the conference speakers agree is in total gridlock on Energy and Security.

Never mind. This too shall pass.

While science and education march on.

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