Good with the wind

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I used to read Apartment Therapy regularly when I was editor of the Life at Home section, but as a cleansing after that job disappeared, I redid almost all my favorites and I'd not thought of it again until this week, when my sister, Judy, sent me a link from an AT derivative site, On it this morning, I found a tantalizing bit of video — posted on YouTube by Popular Science — about a very different take on wind turbines. They have no rotors, take up a small, small fraction of the space, and are far cheaper to make. Its shape is not dissimilar to a fluorescent light tube, but without the glass cylinder. A piece of kite-making material is suspended through the middle under tension and it vibrates when wind passes through it. That motion is then converted into electricity. If you recall the tale of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, a suspension bridge that was destroyed by the effects of wind four months after opening in 1940, then you're familiar with the concept — mechanical resonance — behind this device. The present in the video says these small turbines can be made for very short money, which would especially be a boon in the developing world. This presumes, of course, that this concept can and will reach production status soon, and not just end up as another cool idea that never came to pass. In the video, they power a radio, a light bulb, and a clock. In the meantime, I just want to marvel at the ordinary, which this time is the route this information took to reach me and you. My sister in Israel told me about a group in New York (I think) that posted a video from a magazine on a video aggregation service who knows where. That's still amazing, even if it's ordinary, right?

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