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The bug in wind-power

Engineers have long been baffled by the fact that the power from wind turbines can drop dramatically even while operating in high winds. Now, researchers have finally found an explanation: bugs splattered on the blades. The scientists at the Energy Center of The Netherlands studied the air flow over turbine blades that had been "artificially roughened on their leading edges" to ascertain that the bugs were to blame.

Measuring Earth's motions

Los Angeles - Scientists have unveiled a $20 million system expected to revolutionize the study of earthquakes by measuring the Earth's movements down to the millimeter. The Southern California Integrated Global Positioning System Network, a joint project by universities and federal agencies, uses satellites originally designed for military navigation to measure the constant movements of the jigsaw puzzle plates that make up Earth's crust. The resulting measurements will enable better prediction of the timing of quakes, provide clues to their relation, and identify faults not currently linked to seismic activity.

Self-cleaning windows

Toledo, ohio - Washing windows may go the way of doing the dishes by hand or defrosting the refrigerator, if a new window glass can live up to its billing. Pilkington North America announced that it will introduce by the end of the year a window that uses the sun's ultraviolet rays to break down dirt, and rainwater to wash it away. The windows will be about 20 percent more expensive than basic windows, which cost between $200 and $600.

Space station's new airlock

Kennedy space center, fla. - Depending on the weather, space shuttle Atlantis was scheduled for a 5:04 a.m. EDT liftoff this morning. The five-man crew will deliver a $164 million airlock to the International Space Station, completing the station's first phase of construction.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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