Largest Wind Turbine EVER

Germany has broken a new record in the pursuit of green energy: the central European country is now home to the largest wind turbine in the world! The towering metal structure is 584 feet high, an astounding height that becomes 808.7 feet when one of the three blades is pointed straight up.

The turbine, which stands as part of four in the German town of Gaildorf, was built by Max Bögl Wind AG. The quartet should produce about 10,500 MWh per year (which is about the energy that 1,050 houses in the U.S. would use). This is all due to height: with every additional meter in turbine height, the energy output increased by roughly .75% (because if higher wind speeds and less air turbulence).

The project wasn’t cheap, however. It rang it at around $81 million, and it’s return is only about $7.6 million / year. While it will certainly make a profit one day, that definitely qualifies as a long term investment. However, the investment isn’t only in value, but in the planet and the people of Germany and the rest of the world.

Globally, wind farms have prevented over 600 million tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere, and every year that number only gets higher as more and more are built. Larger and more efficient turbines may be the way to go – once we see how Gaildorf likes theirs!

European EV Competition Heats Up

One of the biggest inhibitors to the spread of electric vehicles is the lack of a reliable charging network across the world. Gas stations are entrenched in our culture, but alternate fuel stations are not, and until that changes, EVs will always be a novelty item. In the U.S. heavy hitter Tesla is rapidly changing the landscape with their superchargers, and in Europe, the advance is lead by a coalition of automakers and battery companies.

BMW, The Volkswagen Group, and Daimler, among others, plan to build a charging network along major routes and thoroughfares across the continent. They are starting right in the middle (not surprising, given the German nature of many of the companies) with Germany, Austria, and Norway, and intend to have 20 stations ready to go by the end of this year.

In the next three years, they hope to increase that number to 400.

However, the aforementioned Tesla also has big plans for Europe, and won’t yield to this coalition just because they’re the home team. Tesla recently announced a huge supercharger station in Norway, with 42 stalls and 145kW capacity. Still, the competition is bound to be fierce, which can only be good for EV consumers – and the planet. We’re excited to see where these powerhouses of industry go next!


It’s Hard To Not Spend Money

Even the most frugal spender would tell you that it’s almost impossible to go a significant amount of time without spending money. When we were kids, it seemed like $10 dollars could stretch over an entire month (heck sometimes several months), but as adults many of us will regularly spend that much before lunchtime.


So could your average person go a full month without spending any money?

Probably not, after all most of us have phone bills, car payments, insurance payments, rent, basic food necessities, etc. Now how about if you take these essentials into account? Let’s break things down. Let’s say your average monthly expenses look like this:

Rent: $1200

Utlities: $180

Car Insurance: $50

Phone Bill: $80

Essential Food Costs: $500

Total Expenses Per Month: $2010

Notice a category missing? Most people would allocate a miscellaneous category for unforeseen expenses in their monthly budget, like an occasional cup of coffee at Starbucks, or maybe a movie with friends. Could you cut those expenses out of your budget completely and essentially go a month only paying essential expenses?

For Jeff Vrabel, a brave individual who tried to go a month without spending money, this turned out to be a resounding no. During the course of this experiment he spent his money a little bit more conservatively than normal, but he wasn’t able to completely cut out unnecessary expenses at all. Sometime, the urge to pick up a quick snack, the necessity of buying a gift, or a deal simply too good to pass up got in the way of his ambitions.

Whatever the situation may be, it’s clear that committing to not spending any money outside of necessities can be insanely difficult. Instead, focus on smarter spending habits. Finding cheaper ways to indulge yourself makes for a far better (and more attainable) alternative.

Surprising Upside To Global Warming

There’s some good news on the environmental front, but it might be a double-edged sword, scientists say. In 1987 the Montreal Protocol was signed by 197 countries as a promise to stop the growth of a hole in Earth’s ozone layer by limiting their release of certain chemicals. NASA announced in September of this year that the hole is now the smallest it’s been since the accord was signed.

However, this may not be due to human efforts – at least not entirely. It turns out that the Antarctic Vortex may have prevented the chemical reactions that cause ozone deterioration from occurring. The vortex is the result of warmer temperatures (due to global warming) combining with the low pressure system above Antarctica. In other words, global warming may temporarily be helping the ozone hole.

Goddard Space Flight Center chief Earth scientist Paul A. Newman explained the unexpected phenomenon by comparing it to another weather event. “It’s like hurricanes. Some years there are fewer hurricanes that come onshore…this is a year in which the weather conditions led to better ozone [formation].”

However, this is not to say that the Montreal Protocol hasn’t been instrumental in the ozone hole’s reduction. Without the efforts of the international agreement, NASA estimates that 65% of the ozone would be gone by 2065! As it happens, the hole shrinks every day – sometimes aided by rising planetary temperatures!

How To Not Ruin Your Credit

If you ever plan on buying a home, a new car or even just renting an apartment, you’re going to need credit. Sure, technically if you have enough cash you might not, but if you’re like most people….you probably don’t.

The stigma behind credit cards, coupled with endless horror stories of crippling debt, can definitely make it seem like credit cards and loans are things you should live without. With that being said, having healthy credit can do a world of good and if you’re smart about it a good credit score is definitely possible to attain. Here are some tips to help make that happen.

Tip #1

Don’t close a credit card account. Sure after paying off a large balance, it can be tempting to close the account for good. Doing so however reduces your available credit, which isn’t good for your overall credit score. If you don’t want to deal with the temptation of using the card, hide it somewhere, but don’t close it.

Tip #2

Don’t swear off using credit cards. You might think that not using your credit might help you avoid amassing tons of debt, but that won’t help your overall score. Responsible credit usage over time is what helps your score, so not using your credit actually hurts it.

Tip #3

Don’t ever make a late payment. Period. If you can’t pay off the entire payment, at least pay the minimum balance. Late payments can stay on your credit history for a long time and can really hurt your overall score.

Tip #3

Just because you got that shiny new Amex card with a $3,000 credit limit doesn’t mean you should let your statement close with a $2,000 balance. You should keep your credit utilization to roughly 20% of your total limit. Anything more than that can actually hurt your credit.