Harry Potter fans will like this one. Scientists in India have found their own “fantastic beasts,” including one triangular brown arachnid that looked like J.K. Rowling’s mischievous Sorting Hat. After the scientists trapped the hat-like spider, examined and dissected it, one of the scientists said it became “abundantly clear” they’d discovered a new species. That meant naming the spider. It became Eriovixia gryffindori.First offshore wind farm in U.S. is online
Until last week, all of the wind power generated in the United States was landlocked. But in a first for America, the ocean breeze is now generating clean, renewable power offshore — electricity that will supply a small island community off the coast of Rhode Island. On Monday, the country’s first offshore wind farm started spinning its turbines to bring electricity to Block Island, a vacation destination with few year-round residents that had previously relied on diesel-fueled generators for power. The Block Island Wind Farm’s five turbines can power about 17,000 homes.
Big hopes for tiny, high-jumping robot
A study in the journal Science Robotics describes a new one-legged robot that can leap high into the air and spring off walls. One day, the robot’s creators hope it will be used in search and rescue situations, where it could help save lives. The secret to the robot’s success is in its single leg, which is made up of several links with very specific dimensions. Each gives the robot mechanical advantage — the same principle that makes a crowbar a good tool for prying things open. The mechanical advantage multiplies the small amount of force from the robot’s tiny motor, creating a lot of energy to put into the leap.
Satellite mission will give climate insights
A new satellite mission announced by NASA could answer some key questions about the global carbon cycle and provide important insights on tackling climate change. The Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory, or GeoCARB, will provide detailed daily observations of the Americas, including measurements of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the health of vegetation on the land below. This monitoring is intended to help scientists better understand the way forests in North and South America influence the exchange of carbon dioxide and other gases between earth and atmosphere.