Using Giant Floating Turbines in the Future

Last year we looked at a company testing floating wind turbines in Alaska and how they want to use these turbines in remote locations. The testing seems to be going well and other companies have taken note. The amount of potential energy high in the atmosphere is massive and these floating turbines are well suited to capture that energy.

Over at Gizmodo they looked into the future of how these wind turbines can be used and their potential for transforming how we produce energy.

This is all to say that we use a lot of power, and could probably harness a lot more of it using wind turbines. Which brings us back to the question we started with: What if we changed the climate with wind turbines? I know this sounds totally crazy, but I swear to you this is something that scientists have actually looked into. So naturally, I talked to one of those scientists.

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A Model Hotel in Vienna Employs Refugees

Vienna is a ritzy and classic city which has seen a lot of history through the rise of the Habsburg family. It’s a city where tourists flock to due to its ornate beauty and opulence.

Magdas Hotel is a hotel in Vienna which has done something unique: it employs refugees while they await their paperwork to be cleared. The hotel crowdfunded support for the program and is now a great model of how to use the talents of refugees who have trouble finding work in their respected fields.

“This building which is now a hotel was once an old people’s home,” Martin Gantner from Caritas told Al Jazeera. It was renovated and charitable donations were used to procure furniture, he said.

“Through crowdfunding, we collected 70,000 euros [$76,000] for the hotel last year,” Gantner said. The organisation uses all the profit from the hotel to pay salaries and buy supplies.

“It is just awful and pointless that refugees remain jobless for years because they legally cannot work, even though some of them are so talented,” Gantner said.

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Coal Continues to Falter

Coal was a great power source at the turn of the last century because it was easy to transport and plentiful. The obvious problem is that it basically kills the planet when you burn it and that’s not going to change despite the whole ‘clean coal’ propaganda. The good news is as we enter the 21st century coal is losing out to better energy sources. This is great because coal is the worse thing ever.

Slate has an article looking into the fall of coal and notes that less-destructive natural gas is being used. We need to curb the use of natural gas too but at least getting rid of coal is a step in the right direction.

Simply put, the U.S. energy industry has stopped building coal-fired plants, and is adding plants that don’t use coal. So far this year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s April infrastructure report, no new coal capacity has been added, while natural gas (1.5 gigawatts), solar (937 megawatts), and wind (633 megawatts) have each added a decent amount of production capacity. Of the nation’s installed electricity-producing capacity, coal only accounts for 27.5 percent, compared with 42.2 percent for natural gas.

Wall Street has soured on coal producers like Walter in part because today’s results look bad, but largely because tomorrow’s results look even worse. The stock market is famously a futures market—investors are making bets based on future cash flows they expect companies to produce. It’s difficult to see a positive future when the main coal customers are literally dismantling the machines that burn coal.

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Berlin’s New Rent Laws Helping People Faster than Predicted

In cities all over the world housing people is an issue and some cities have it worse than others. In Berlin, where things weren’t awful they decided they waned to stop a downward trend that cropped up in the rental market. Renters were confronted with a market that was inhumane and the city took action.

Barely a month after the German capital introduced a new set of rules that limits rent increases within a given area, figures collected by ImmobilienScout24 show that the average cost of new Berlin rental contracts has dropped 3.1 percent within a month. This can’t be written off as an example of a general countrywide downward trend. In other German cities where such laws haven’t yet been introduced, rents have remained more or less static. This is good news for the legislators of Berlin’s Senate as their new law is doing exactly what they promised the electorate that it would.

The new law introduced on June 1st—called the mietpreisbremse or “rental price brake” in German—works like this. An overseeing body fixes a standard median rent per square meter for each city district, using figures based a biennial state census of rents. No new rental contract within the district is then permitted to charge over 10 percent more than this amount. This still means that price increases for new rentals are possible, but if they come, they happen far more slowly.

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Adidas and Parley for the Oceans Make a Shoe

The sportswear manufacturer Adidas has partnered with Parley for the Oceans to make a shoe that uses refuse from the oceans. This is a great example of reusing waste and is one first step Adidas is taking in making their manufacturing process more environmentally friendly.

With any luck this may lead others to gather the

Taylor constructed the Adidas x Parley shoes using the brand’s existing footwear manufacturing process, but replaced the yarns with fibres made from waste plastic and fishing nets.

“This way there is no reason why materials with similar characteristics to those that we use every day with conventional production processes cannot be simply replaced by ocean plastic materials,” Taylor told Dezeen.

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