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Power

Submission + - The Rocky Road to Wind Power

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times has an interesting story on the logistical problems involved in transporting disassembled towers that will reach more than 250 feet in height from ports or factories to the remote, windy destinations where the turbines are erected. In Idaho trucks laden with tall turbine parts have slammed into interstate overpasses requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs, in Texas the constant truck traffic is tearing up small roads in the western part of the state where the turbines are being rapidly erected, and in Maine a truck carrying a big piece of turbine got stuck for hours while trying to round a corner near Searsport. "It left a nice gouge in Route 1," said Ben Tracy, who works nearby at a marine equipment store and saw the incident. On a per-turbine basis, the cost of transportation and logistics generally varies from around $100,000 to $150,000, said John Dunlop, an engineer with the American Wind Energy Association and experts say that transportation logistics are starting to limit how large — and as a result how powerful — wind turbines can get. There is talk of breaking a blade up into multiple pieces, but "that's a very significant structural concern," says Peter Stricker, vice president at Clipper Windpower who added that tower bases were getting too large to squeeze through underpasses. But a partial solution may be at hand. While vast majority of turbine parts now travel by truck, in Texas and elsewhere, some wind companies are looking to move more turbine parts by train to save money but even the train routes must avoid low overpasses when big pieces of wind turbines are aboard. "It's not your typical rail-car shipments," said Tom Lange, a Union Pacific spokesman."
Security

Submission + - Linux and on-line banking

An anonymous reader writes: As a long-time Washington Mutual customer, I have recently had to come to grips with the on-line banking system of its new owner, Chase at https://chaseonline.chase.com/. They claim to support Firefox. At first things looked OK. But then I opted for paperless statements. At first glance it looks like a win-win situation; the bank doesn't have to send out statements, and I don't have to carefully file them away. But to my disgust, their asp-based statements do NOT display in Firefox on Linux, (v. 3.0.10).

I sent off a request, and John Macaibay from their Internet Service Center, replied that I should use IE on Windows, or Safari.

Now I don't own a Mac, and for security reasons, I refuse to do on-line banking from a Windows machine, or to use IE for any reason.

Am I being too paranoid?

Are there any banks that do fully support Firefox on Linux?
Space

Submission + - Astronomers catch glimpse of oldest known event (google.com)

Ravalox writes: Astronomers around the world got a glimpse at the oldest known cosmic event when telescopes around the world turned their attention to an incoming gamma ray surge from an explosion; anticipating infrared radiation, which normally follows a gamma burst, that never arrived. The star which exploded was 30 to 100 times larger than our own sun, and erupted about 13 billion years ago. Ego Berger, assistant professor of Astronomy at Harvard, put it in these terms; "At that point the age of the universe was only 600 million years," he said. In other words, Berger said, he was looking "95 percent of the way back to the beginning of time."
Science

Rydberg Molecule Created For the First Time 127

krou writes "The BBC is reporting that the Rydberg molecule has been formed from two atoms of rubidium. Proven in theory, this is the first time it's been created, reinforcing the fundamental quantum theories of Enrico Fermi. Chris Greene, the theoretical physicist who first predicted that the Rydberg molecules could exist, said: 'The Rydberg electron resembles a sheepdog that keeps its flock together by roaming speedily to the outermost periphery of the flock, and nudging back towards the centre any member that might begin to drift away.' It's a sheepdog with a very short life-span, however; the longest lived molecule only lasted 18 microseconds. Vera Bendkowsky, who led the research, explained how they created the molecule: 'The nuclei of the atoms have to be at the correct distance from each other for the electron fields to find each other and interact. We use an ultracold cloud of rubidium — as you cool it, the atoms in the gas move closer together. We excite the atoms to the Rydberg stage with a laser. If we have a gas at the critical density, with two atoms at the correct distance that are able to form the molecule, and we excite one to the Rydberg state, then we can form a molecule.'"
Debian

Ubuntu 9.04 Is As Slick As Win7, Mac OS X 871

An anonymous reader writes in with an opinion piece from ZDNet Australia. "Here's what the official press release won't tell you about Ubuntu 9.04, which formally hit the streets yesterday: its designers have polished the hell out of its user interface since the last release in October. Just like Microsoft has taken the blowtorch to Vista to produce the lightning-quick Windows 7, which so far runs well even on older hardware, Ubuntu has picked up its own game."

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