A small island in American Samoa is making the switch from diesel generators to 100 percent renewable energy. Ta’u, the easternmost of the Samoan islands, has just been equipped with a new microgrid, with 1.4 megawatts of solar generation capacity and 6 megawatt-hours of battery storage. It’s enough to power the entire island. With an area of just 17 square miles, Ta’u has a population of fewer than 1,000 people, and until now, they have relied on almost entirely on diesel generators. Now, more than 5,000 SolarCity solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpack battery storage systems could save the island nearly 110,000 gallons of diesel fuel each year, which amounts to about 2.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The microgrid is covering about 99 percent of the island’s power needs.

California tower sinking faster than thought

Engineers in San Francisco have tunneled underground to try and understand the sinking of the 58-story Millennium Tower. Now comes an analysis from space. The European Space Agency has released detailed data from satellite imagery that shows the luxury high-rise is continuing to sink at a steady rate — and perhaps faster than previously known. Engineers have estimated the building is sinking at a rate of about 1-inch per year. Data from the Sentinel-1 twin satellites shows the Millennium Tower sunk 1.6 to 1.8 inches over a recent one-year period and almost double that amount — 2.6 to 2.9 inches — over its 17-month observation period.

Scientists measure atom changes in zeptoseconds

You’ve probably never heard of the word “zeptosecond.” So far, there hasn’t been all that much to say about the absurdly low order of magnitude, which is one trillionth of a billionth of a second, or 10-21. But researchers have recently measured the changes to an atom in zeptoseconds, making it the “smallest division of time yet observed.” The team’s experiments involved firing “an unspeakably brief, extremely ultraviolet laser pulse at a helium atom.” How brief? Just 100 to 200 attoseconds, which are also pretty darn quick at 10-18 seconds. With the right readings and calculations, the scientists were then able to track what happened every 850 zeptoseconds.

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