Wind turbine manufacturers are dipping toes into energy storage projects

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Danish company Vestas Wind Systems is one of the biggest makers of wind turbines in the world, recently surpassing GE’s market share in the US. But as the wind industry becomes more competitive, Vestas appears to be looking for ways to solidify its lead by offering something different. Now, the company says it’s looking into building wind turbines with battery storage onsite.

According to a Bloomberg report, Vestas is working on 10 projects that will add storage to wind installations, and Tesla is collaborating on at least one of those projects. Vestas says the cooperation between the two companies isn’t a formal partnership, and Tesla hasn’t commented on the nature of its work with Vestas. But the efforts to combine

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Wild dogs in Africa engage in fascinating voting behaviour

Neil Jordan

Though humans like to think of themselves as the only creatures on Earth who vote on what to do, they aren’t. Many social animals engage in consensus-seeking behavior, from meerkats to honeybees to Capuchin monkeys. In these species and more, members of the group weigh in about what their next move should be.

Now, a new study of African wild dogs in Botswana adds another animal to the voting pool. It turns out that these endangered, undomesticated dogs “vote” on whether to start hunting by making noises that sound just like sneezes.

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Our galaxy’s second biggest black hole may be “lurking” in a gas cloud

Enlarge (credit: FORS Team, 8.2-meter VLT Antu, ESO)

The biggest object in our galaxy is remarkably difficult to see. The core of our galaxy houses a supermassive black hole that weighs in at over a million times our Sun’s mass. And when it’s actively feeding on matter, it should be very bright. Yet for years, all we knew was that there was some sort of radio source there.

Evidence of a black hole at the center of our galaxy came indirectly by tracking the orbit of a nearby star. This demonstrated that there had to be something extraordinarily heavy in a very small region of space, strengthening the case that the object was an immense black hole.

Now, researchers are making a similar case for

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For politicians, the more data, the more they ignore

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There are few types of people we like to complain about more than politicians. They’re often painted as two-faced, blockheaded liars—with the possible exception of the ones you voted for. But politicians’ views are typically in line with the bulk of the people who identify with their party, and it’s not always clear whether the politicians are driving their party or if everyone’s just marching to the beat of the same drum.

After all, politicians’ thought processes shouldn’t be much different from those of voters. All of us are subject to biases and cognitive cheats that block out information we don’t like. Is it fair to hold politicians to a higher standard, given that they’re the people we elect to

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It looks like yet another satellite is breaking apart at GEO

ExoAnalytic Solutions

On August 26, the Indonesia based, state-owned satellite operator PT Telkom disclosed an “anomaly” in the pointing of its satellite in geostationary orbit. Company officials said that although they and contractor Lockheed Martin expected to restore service to the satellite, it was moving customers to another satellite as a precautionary measure.

However, new evidence gathered by a US-based firm that tracks objects in geostationary orbit, ExoAnalytic Solutions, suggests the satellite may be falling apart. The company uses algorithms to review data collected by its global network of 165 optical telescopes for anomalies, and one of its instruments in Eastern Australia spotted the satellite apparently breaking apart.

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This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same

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HOUSTON—Lightning crashed all around as I dashed into the dark night. The parking lot outside my apartment building had become swollen with rains, a torrent about a foot deep rushing toward lower ground God knows where. Amazingly, the garage door rose when I punched the button on the opener. Inside I found what I expected to find—mayhem.

In dismay, I scooped up a box of books that had been on the floor. As I did, one of the sodden bottom flaps gave way, and a heavy book splashed into the water: From Dawn to Decadence, a timeless account of the Western world’s great works by Jacques Barzun. Almost immediately, a current from the rushing water beyond the garage door pulled

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As climates cool, adaptation heats up

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While natural selection is a big part of evolution, the theory now embraces much more than that. One of the big concepts that explains a lot of the pattern of evolution throughout history is called “adaptive radiation.” Adaptive radiation is a process in which environmental changes create new resources, challenges, and environmental niches, enabling rapid diversification of organisms from a single ancestral species.

Adaptive radiation provides a sound explanation that captures the effects of the interactions among organisms on species diversification. However, non-biological effects—the details of how environmental changes interact with species—are not easy to incorporate into this model and have not been extensively explored.

In a recent investigation published in PNAS, a team of scientists

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To keep EpiPen sales up, Mylan threatened states, sued making bogus claims

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Note: EpiPens are sold in the UK by Meda Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Mylan in 2016. They can be acquired for just £45 a piece online in the UK. But the US and UK healthcare markets are quite different beasts…

Pharmaceutical company Mylan sued West Virginia in 2015 to keep its EpiPens on the state’s “preferred drug list,” which, if successful, would mean that the state’s Medicaid programs would have to automatically pay for the pricey epinephrine auto-injectors.

The bold and unusual move by Mylan—which ultimately failed—is yet another example of the aggressive marketing and legal tactics the company used to boost profits from EpiPens, which halt life-threatening allergic reactions. Since Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007,

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UK has first coal-free power day since the Industrial Revolution

Enlarge / London’s coal-powered Battersea Power Station in 1937. Yes, originally it only had two chimneys but was extended after World War II. (credit: Fox Photos/Getty Images)

In 1882, the world’s first coal-fired public-use power station opened in London at 57 Holborn Viaduct—today a fairly nondescript location in the centre of London close to Blackfriars. On Friday, some 135 years, a few monarchs, and an entire Industrial Revolution later, the UK power grid had its first ever day without coal energy.

The National Grid control room announced on April 21 that from 11pm on Thursday to 11pm on Friday the UK’s electricity demand was supplied without firing up some coal power plants. The UK’s power mix for the day was: 50.3% natural gas, 21.2% nuclear, 12.2%

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March for Science brought out great minds—and signs—at 600 events worldwide

Nathan Mattise

AUSTIN, Texas—“We are here today because the importance of science in our nation is in dispute,” Dr. Art Markman told the assembled crowd outside the Texas State Capitol. “And I have to lecture a bit because I’m a professor.”

Evidently, professors weren’t the only ones compelled to act at this weekend’s March for Science. Activists, writers, engineers, scientists, coders, kids, dogs, religious leaders, a PhD student preparing to give his dissertation next Friday, and a joke-telling robot named Annabelle gathered side-by-side among thousands ready to march at the Austin event.

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The life-saving treatment that’s being thrown in the bin

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Transplanted umbilical cord blood can be used to treat or cure more than 80 conditions, from leukemia to sickle-cell disease. For Mosaic, Bryn Nelson follows the story of one man, Chris. After being diagnosed with leukemia in his early 40s, his best chance of survival comes in the form of blood from three babies he’ll never meet, nor even know the names of. This article was first published by Wellcome on Mosaic and is republished here under a Creative Commons licence.

TA few hours before beginning chemotherapy, a man named Chris faces his cellphone camera with a mischievous smile and describes a perfectly absurd milestone at 1.37pm on a Wednesday. “There is no more beautiful moment in a man’s

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Study claims a link between diet sodas and stroke and dementia

(credit: Phera Laster / Flickr)

Excessive intake of sugar has been linked to a huge variety of health problems, many of them a consequence of the obesity that’s also linked to excessive sugar. That’s led many people to switch to drinks with artificial sweeteners that aren’t metabolized by the body. A new study is now suggesting that these sweeteners are associated with their own health risks, namely stroke and dementia. But the study doesn’t get into causality, and there’s enough oddities in the data to suggest that it’s not time to purge your fridge just yet.

The study, run by a collaboration of Boston-based researchers, relied on a cohort of individuals that had been recruited starting in 1971. On average, every four years since, the

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Mobile industry loses its bid to stop Berkeley’s cellphone warning law

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On Friday, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the City of Berkeley, allowing the city to keep its law that requires radiation warning signs in all cellphone stores within the city limits.

The CTIA, the cellphone industry trade group, sued the city to stop the law from taking effect by asking a lower court to impose a preliminary injunction. The group argued that forcing retailers to display the warning (pictured below) constituted compelled speech, which violates the First Amendment. After the district court didn’t impose the injunction, the CTIA appealed to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

(credit: Rebecca Farivar)

The 9th Circuit concluded that Berkeley’s disclosure “did no more than alert consumers” to FCC safety disclosures.

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