Try not to jiggle while watching these amazing bladeless wind turbines.

This article originally appeared on 05.12.16


The wind: A cool breeze, a breath of fresh air, a pollen delivery system.

When it's not inverting your umbrella, knocking over your pitcher of iced tea, or sadistically ushering a balloon away from a crying child, the wind is capable of doing some pretty powerful stuff.


Photo by Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images.

Most notably, the wind can generate electricity, which, for the most part, involves turbines that look like this:


Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.

You've seen them, I'm sure. Those giant, futuristic looking propellors that slowly rotate and are the perfect tension-driving backdrop for a helicopter chase scene?

A startup in Spain called Vortex, however, has recently come up with a new design for the turbines. It looks like this:

Image via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

It's called Bladeless, and it's a wind turbine with — you guessed it — no blades.

The bladeless turbines are massive poles jutting out of the ground. Because they're thinner than a regular wind turbine and have no blades, more of them can fit into a space, meaning more electricity can be generated while taking up less real estate.

So how does the bladeless turbine generate power?

Get this: It freaking jiggles.

Jiggle jiggle jiggle. GIF via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

Here it is from a different angle:

Jiggle jiggle jiggle. GIF via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

You're jiggling now too, aren't you? Come on, I know you are.

JIGGLE JIGGLE JIGGLE. GIF via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

Besides being contagious and relatively adorable, as far as wind turbines go, that jiggle motion is actually based on a fascinating branch of science called aeroelasticity.

Aeroelasticity is the study of how elastic things move when exposed to constant energy — like how a bungie cord might fare in a tornado.

A good example of aeroelasticity-gone-wild happened in 1940 at the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, when it was blasted with winds up to 40 mph. The suspension cables absorbed the impact but made the bridge vibrate and undulate, causing a positive feedback loop known as an aeroelastic flutter, where each vibration made the next vibration even worse.

GIF via Laughterpiece Productions/YouTube.

The whole bridge started swinging wildly out of control, and then...

GIF via Laughterpiece Productions/YouTube.

Thankfully, no one died, and engineers actually learned several important lessons about bridge design.

The designers of the bladeless turbine also learned something from the Tacoma Bridge disaster.

The bladeless turbine design actually captures the power of aeroelastic flutter and uses its magnified vibrations to create power from less wind than the old turbine designs could.

GIF via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

The company says that its design is 40% cheaper than traditional turbines because the huge blades those require are expensive. Plus, they expect upkeep to be cheaper since the bladeless turbines have fewer moving parts. Bladeless turbines will also be quieter and create less wind disturbance, which are both popular arguments against bladed turbines.

All of this is to say — we humans are getting better and better at harnessing the power of the wind.

Here in the United States, we're actually better at harnessing the wind to power people's homes than you might expect. There are currently over 48,000 wind turbines generating 74,512 megawatts of electricity in nearly every single state, which made the U.S. one of the top countries in wind energy in 2015.

All that clean energy, here and around the world, is (slowly) helping us reduce carbon emissions and fight back against climate change, and innovative ideas like the bladeless turbine are constantly seeking to make that process easier.

Maybe one day you'll look outside and see a hundred bladeless turbines jiggling happily away in the wind. And when, or if, that day comes, I bet you'll be jiggling too.

Jiggle jiggle jiggle. GIF via Vortex Bladeless/YouTube.

Check out the full Vortex Bladeless video here:

Photo courtesy of Yoplait
True

When Benny Mendez asked his middle school P.E. students why they wanted to participate in STOKED—his new after school program where kids can learn to skateboard, snowboard, and surf—their answers surprised him.

I want to be able to finally see the beach, students wrote. I want to finally be able to see the snow.

Never having seen snow is understandable for Mendez's students, most who live in Inglewood, CA, just outside of Los Angeles. But never having been to the beach is surprising, since most of them only live 15-20 minutes from the ocean. Mendez discovered many of them don't even know how to swim.

"A lot of the kids shared that they just want to go on adventures," says Mendez. "They love nature, but...they just see it in pictures. They want to be out there."

Mendez is in his third year of teaching physical education at View Park K-8 school, one of seven Inner City Foundation Education schools in the Los Angeles area. While many of his students are athletically gifted, Mendez says, they often face challenges outside of school that limit their opportunities. Some of them live in neighborhoods where it's unsafe to leave their houses at certain times of day due to gang activity, and many students come to his P.E. class with no understanding of why learning about physical health is important.

"There's a lot going on at home [with my students]," says Mendez. "They're coming from either a single parent home, or foster care. There's a lot of trauma behind what's going on at home...that is out of our control."

Photo courtesy of Yoplait

What Mendez can control is what he gives his students when they're in his care, which is understanding, some structure, and the chance to try new things. Mendez wakes up at 4:00 a.m. most days and often doesn't get home until 9:00 p.m. as he works tirelessly to help kids thrive. Not only does he run after school programs, but he coaches youth soccer on the weekends as well. He also works closely with other teachers and guidance counselors at the school to build strong relationships with students, and even serves as a mentor to his former students who are now in high school.

Now Mendez is earning accolades far and wide for his efforts both in and out of the classroom, including a surprise award from Yoplait and Box Tops for Education.

Yoplait and Box Tops are partnering this school year to help students reach their fullest potential, which includes celebrating teachers and programs that support that mission. Yoplait is committed to providing experiences for kids and families to connect through play, so teaming up with Box Tops provided an opportunity to support programs like STOKED.

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This article originally appeared on 5.7.15



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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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