Podcast Goodness: Breathalyzers and the MARS Turbine

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Greetings, earthlings. Chuck here from the Stuff You Should Know podcast program. How about we just get right to the goodness, isn’t everyone else really busy? Plus I refuse to talk about the weather again until early October.
This week on the show, we rapped about a couple of science topics that were pretty cool. One has been around a while and one is not quite ready for public consumption. Tuesday’s show was about DUI breathalyzers, which have surprisingly been around since the late 1930s, and in use by the police since the 1940s. Back then they were called “drunk-o-meters” and for some reason Josh laughed every time I said that word. We explained the nuts and bolts of how the three main types of alcohol breath test worked. Here in Georgia, they use the infrared versions, but lucky for me I’ve never seen one up close. We were both pretty surprised at how complex these little gadgets are, and we were also not so pleasantly surprised to know that the reading can fluctuate depending on where you breath is coming from.
Yesterday we covered the MARS turbine. This is a really cool look into the future of green energy production, in this case, via the wind. Now wind energy isn’t new, but the MARS turbine is looking to take it to its logical next step — the sky. Regular wind turbines do a pretty bang-up job for what they can muster, but the MARS, by virtue of being up to 700 feet higher than the highest land-based turbine, really kicks some windy butt. The great thing about the MARS is that it doesn’t exact a toll on the environment because of the instillation process. They just float there, spinning like a giant inflatable football, sending mechanically generated energy down a tether to the ground, where it’s converted to usable electrical energy with the help of a transformer. More than meets the eye indeed.
Have a great and safe weekend, folks. Let’s hear from you in the comments below.
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