Temperature gradients are the basis of thermoelectric generators. The potential difference allows for the creation of electrical current. What does this have to do with Tornadoes?
One scientist, Louis Michaud, plans on harvesting a by-product of large scale temperature gradients – tornadoes – to generate electricity. The core of his proposed power plant, called the Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE), will generate a tornado and harvest energy from the resulting air currents. In order to supercharge and sustain the vortex, the power plant will feed it waste heat generated by the turbines. This creates a cutoff switch in case of emergency, such as if a giant, permanent tornado next door to your house escapes its earthly bondage to reign destruction upon its human oppressors. If the waste heat is cut off from the vortex, the vortex dries up.
Early calculations by Michaud predict a possible 200 megawatt output from such a power plant, enough to power a small city. (source)
IGP (Integrated Graphics Platforms) have been the bane of gamers, especially mobile gamers, for many years. Created for use by casual computer users who want little more than to write Word documents, play flash games, and watch YouTube, they often fall well below the mark for acceptable DVD/Blueray playback and PC Gaming. For mobile users, the choice between a dedicated GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) and an Integrated GPU merits consideration. Integrated GPUs use much less power, create less heat, and result in an all around more mobile system. Dedicated GPUs use more power, create much more heat, but allow gamers on the go to play the latest and greatest with a few tweaked settings. Intel’s IGP solutions, the GMA series of integrated graphics (GMA 915, GMA 950, X3100, upcoming X4500), have been the most common and also the most frustrating. Intel doesn’t do graphics, so their IGPs are very hit and miss, especially in running games properly. ATI/AMD’s solutions, such as the X1250, as well as Nvidia’s solutions, such as the 7150, provide more acceptable gaming performance, but still not enough to play high intensity games very effectively at medium/high settings.
AMD/ATI finally broke the mold, their new 780G motherboard chipset contains the HD3200 IGP, which offers a significant performance improvement over all other IGPs. While a dedicated GPU will still perform better, the HD3200 is an important step forward. In a mobile system, the 780G is part of AMD’s PUMA platform, which also offers an external port allowing an external GPU to be connected to the laptop, something not practical or effective until this point. The following video compares the HD3200 with an older X3100 (which has been replaced by the slightly improved, though still lacking, X4500).
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Alaska is getting geothermal. Modern estimates indicate that at least 25% of Alaska’s energy needs could be drawn from geothermal sources, including one active volcano, Mount Spurr. Accordingly, Alaska has begun surveys of the volcano and is leasing surrounding area to geothermal ventures.
If geothermal sources around the US were fully tapped, they could provide about 25% of the entire nation’s energy needs! Geothermal sources include hot springs and volcanoes, heat is extracted for use in creating steam to run electric generators. How exactly this is done, I’d like to know myself.
Some estimates claim 80% of the USA’s geothermal sources have yet to be discovered. (source)