Potential largest offshore wind farm in the world auctioned off for record price – CNN

Potential construction is still at least nearly a decade away, but if the project were completed today, it would be by far the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The three leases offered for auction by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Thursday fetched $135 million apiece by the time bidding closed on Friday. The previous record for such a lease was $42.5 million, set in 2016 for the rights off New York’s coast.

Numbers from the Interior Department, which oversaw the process, showed the area could become the world’s most prolific offshore source of wind energy. It projected the area could generate up to 4.1 gigawatts, enough electricity to potentially power nearly 1.5 million homes.

Currently, the largest offshore wind farm in the world is what’s known as the “Walney Extension,” off the coast of the United Kingdom. It has a capacity of roughly 700 megawatts, less than one-sixth the maximum capacity the US government is estimating could result from the Massachusetts deal.

That prediction is a best-case scenario, not without its caveats. The 4.1 gigawatt figure comes from a 2016 Energy Department estimate of the potential wind power per square kilometer offshore, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management spokesman Stephen Boutwell said. It has not been adjusted based on the area’s geography and weather patterns, and the 2016
report notes the full “nameplate power capacity is not the best indicator of potential from an energy production or economic perspective.”

Nancy Sopko, director of offshore wind policy and siting for the American Wind Energy Association, said her organization is confident the three new leases would produce a minimum of 800 megawatts each, or 2.4 gigawatts total. That would still make the new Massachusetts wind farms the world’s largest offshore project.

“This is an unprecedented day for offshore energy development,” Sopko said. “It’s smashed every expectation.”

Wind power developers have long had an eye on Massachusetts but have not yet successfully brought a project to fruition. A 2001
proposal for 130 wind turbines off Cape Cod sunk under opposition from the fishing industry and the peninsula’s tony landowners, such as the Kennedys, who feared obstructed views. The developer called it quits on the project in 2017.
America offshore wind farm nccorig_00010622

In the meantime, the nation’s first offshore wind farm opened near neighboring Rhode Island in 2016. It produces enough electricity to power the entire community of Block Island.

The leases auctioned off this week face a long road to development, Boutwell said. Over the next year, the winning bidders will develop plans to assess the area’s wind using meteorological towers and buoys. They’ll then have five years to conduct the testing, after which they will submit plans to federal officials, who will conduct an environmental review.

Sopko, the wind energy association executive, said the Massachusetts auctions show the desire of large oil and gas companies to get into offshore wind power. She said there are few firms with as much expertise in operating large offshore rigs.

“The marrying of these two industries is going to create a lot of opportunities,” Sopko said.

Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is a supporter of wind power.

President Donald Trump, however, has voiced opposition to wind turbines.

“The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed,” he said on the campaign trail. “You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”

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Report: Carnival cruise passenger aboard falls overboard off the Florida Keys – 13WHAM-TV

by Sinclair Broadcast Group

WASHINGTON (SBG) – A passenger has reportedly fallen overboard on a Carnival cruise ship off the coast of the Florida Keys.

It is not known at this time if the passenger fell or jumped.

The cruise ship has displayed images of the young man as crews and security conduct a search of rooms on the ship.

Carnival issued a statment to passengers aboard the ship saying that cameras on the ship confirmed that the passenger did fall overboard.

“We are continuing our search and rescue efforts for our missing gust. I am sorry to say that our ships camera system has confirmed that he went overboard. Our Care Team is currently assisting his family on board,” Carnival said.

The cruise line added that they are working in conjunction with the U.S. Coast Guard to search the area where he was last seen. Carnival was also working to assist passengers to reschedule their flights.

The cruise set sail from Miami, Florida Dec. 10 and returned to the same port Friday. An NBC news report states the U.S. Coast Guard believes the young man went overboard south of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys they also called the act “intentional.”

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Forget pot, Elon Musk is now raving about ramen – CNET

 Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is a hopeless ramen-tic.

The billionaire, who earned a scolding from NASA for briefly smoking marijuana on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast in September, posted about another craveable item on Thursday night.

“Ramen is sooo good,” Musk tweeted, decorating the phrase with emoji of hearts and bowls of the tasty Japanese noodle soup.

By midday on Friday, the tweet had been liked more than 260,000 times and retweeted more than 57,000 times.

It didn’t take long for fans to start joking about a connection to the infamous smoking podcast, including some who noodled around and Photoshopped Musk and ramen into combo images.

And there were jokes about Musk’s Mars dreams.

Others just wanted to post photos of their own favorite ramen meals, or offer restaurant or recipe recommendations (always get the egg).

Of course, some had to tease about ramen’s famous reputation as an inexpensive meal, considering Musk’s own bank balance. “Yeah, but how many years can you afford to splurge like that?” cracked one Twitter user.

Musk must’ve satisfied his ramen craving on Thursday, because on Friday, he was back to tweeting about Tesla.

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Stock Market Bears Deliver A Beating To The Bulls – Investor’s Business Daily

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Del Monte canned corn recalled in 25 states – AL.com

Alabama is among 25 states where Del Monte Foods has announced a recall of canned corn.

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the recall affects 64,242 cases of Fiesta Corn Seasoned with Red & Green Peppers.

The recall is taking place due to under-processing during the commercial sterilization process. There have been no reports of illness to date in association with eating the product.

The recall is for 15.25-ounce (432g) cans with the following UPC number printed on the label: 24000 02770. The product will also have one of the following “Best if Used By” dates stamped on the bottom of the can:

  • August 14, 2021
  • August 15, 2021
  • August 16, 2021
  • Sept 3, 2021
  • Sept 4, 2021
  • Sept 5, 2021
  • Sept 6, 2021
  • Sept 22, 2021
  • Sept 23, 2021

Other states included are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, El Salvador, Haiti, Guyana, Uruguay, Aruba, Panama, Saint Lucia and Suriname are also included.

Affected products can be returned to the place of purchase for a full refund or exchange. Consumers with questions may contact the company by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-800-779-7035, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m Eastern Time or through the company website.

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What’s knocked markets off course? – BBC News

A man walks by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 12, 2018 in New York City.Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Are US stock markets entering a darker period?

Just a few months ago, US financial markets seemed headed for a third year in a row of hefty increases.

But shares have tumbled since October, retreating to lower levels than at the start of the year.

That decline continued on Friday, as weak economic data in Europe and China sparked a late afternoon sell-off, sending all three major US share indexes lower.

The Nasdaq dropped almost 2.3%, the Dow fell 2% and the S&P 500 sank 1.9%.

For those invested in US stocks, the double-digit gains in seven of the last 10 years may still feel pretty good.

But as Wall Street debate turns to just when a recession might begin, many investors are bracing for a rough patch.

What’s behind the shift in sentiment?

1. The tech boom was overblown.

At their peaks in October, the Dow and S&P 500 were up about 8% since the start of 2018. The Nasdaq had increased 15%.

But the stock market surge was always a bit suspect.

It outpaced other economic measures by a large margin and was driven by the tech sector, which accounted for roughly half of the gains on the S&P 500 up until mid-August of this year.

Now some of the biggest winners – such as Apple and Facebook – have stumbled, dragging down the markets and making the weakness elsewhere more visible.

All three indexes are off 10% from their earlier peaks – a decline often considered a correction.

Until tech recovers, a broader market bounce is unlikely, said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management.

“Looking to 2019, volatility is likely to represent the norm rather than the exception,” he says. “By many measures, the degree of investment difficulty is on the rise.”

2. Interest rates are rising.

Image caption

How much higher will the Fed go?

US central bankers have been raising interest rates since 2015, moving away from the unusually low rates put in place during the financial crisis as economic growth rebounds.

Analysts are worried about how much more expensive borrowing might get – and whether companies and households will be able to handle the increased costs.

Fears have been tempered recently by signals from the US Fed suggesting it may enact fewer rates rises in 2019 than previously expected.

But some still worry about the risks from corporate debt levels, which have hit historic highs – with an increasing percentage of the loans made to companies with already large debt loads.

3. US economic growth is slowing.

US growth is expected to slow to 2.5% in 2019, down from about 3% this year, according to the IMF and Federal Reserve.

Some closely watched industries and financial indicators are already flashing warning signs of a more serious contraction.

In October, sales of existing homes had fallen more than 5% compared to 2017. Construction spending has started to slip and growth in consumer spending been less robust than expected.

Meanwhile, business optimism is in retreat.

Indeed, nearly half of US financial officers believe the nation’s economy will enter a recession by the end of 2019, a recent Duke University survey found.

4. The White House is a wild card, especially its trade policy.

Image copyright

Image caption

Investors are worried about rising costs related to tariffs

Investors loved US President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cuts. But his trade policy has them tied up in knots.

In March, Mr Trump ordered tariffs on foreign steel and aluminium, as well as on billions of dollars worth in annual trade from China. He’s threatened more, including on foreign cars.

The tariffs have already raised costs for US companies – and economists warn they threaten to slow growth, adding to recession worries.

Markets aren’t sure about White House strategy, and an ongoing investigation of Mr Trump’s election campaign ties to Russia has only added to uncertainty emanating from Washington.

“If these investigations produce some sort of smoking gun that throws us into a constitutional crisis, that might prove destabilising,” says Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

5. Threats from overseas – like Brexit.

Image copyright

Image caption

The US central bank has flagged Brexit as a near term risk to the financial system

The IMF expects the global economy to expand 3.7% in 2019, but the growth has become more uneven.

The US Federal Reserve recently flagged issues in Europe, China and emerging markets as some of the biggest threats to the American economy, with Brexit high on the list.

Indeed, as much as US indexes are down, financial markets elsewhere have dropped even farther.

The Global Dow is down around nearly 9% so far this year, and the MSCI world index is down about 8%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index has fallen about 6%; Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index is about 13% lower in 2018. The Shanghai Composite has dropped more than 20%.

The Stoxx Europe 600 is off almost 11%. France’s CAC 40 has dropped almost 9%, London’s FTSE 100 has declined nearly 11%. and Germany’s DAX is down more than 15%.

So stormy seas likely lie ahead.

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Dow Jones Marks 7-Month Closing Low; Apple Struggles – Investor’s Business Daily

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Video from Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity shows stunning view of Earth from the edge of space – NBC News

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 / Updated 

By Minyvonne Burke

Video shot from Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity as it soared towards the edge of space during its successful test mission Thursday shows a stunning view of the Earth from space — and the company’s founder Richard Branson overcome with emotion.

In it, VSS Unity, also known as SpaceShipTwo, flies high above the ground before its rocket motors are ignited, pushing the craft upward. As a large crowd cheers from the ground at Mojave Air and Space Port in California, Branson covers his face with his hands and appears to cry.

“Many of us cried tears of joy when we reached space, and the air really was filled with love as we celebrated the milestone flight,” Branson said in a blog post following the mission.

“I’m so proud of the Virgin family every day, but today I am prouder than ever,” he added.

VSS Unity reached an altitude of 271,268 feet (51.4 miles) during Thursday’s flight, past the 50-mile mark the government uses to define the edge of space. It was the first time out of the craft’s four test flights that it was able to reach space.

It’s also the first vehicle built for commercial use and piloted by humans to reach space, according to Branson.

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity comes in for a landing after its suborbital test flight on Dec. 13, 2018, in Mojave, California.Gene Blevins / AFP – Getty Images

Euphoria wasn’t the only emotion flowing through the crowd Thursday. Love was also in the air.

Following the flight, an engineer with Virgin Galactic’s aerospace-system manufacturing organization dropped to one knee to propose to his girlfriend.

“What better way to propose than with a ring that had just flown to space? Huge congratulations to the happy couple,” Branson wrote in his blog.

The next goal for Virgin Galactic is to fill VSS Unity with paying customers eager to catch a glimpse of the Earth from space. So far, about 800 people have paid $250,000 each for tickets.

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Robinhood Introduces Checking and Savings Accounts With 3% Interest, No Fees – Droid Life

Robinhood, the investment app that has probably changed the trading industry some, thanks to no fee transactions and a super easy-to-use app, announced checking and savings services today. It sure sounds like a pretty big deal too.

Within the Robinhood app, you now have access to checking and savings (early access for now), both of which earn 3% interest yearly. There are no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, no replacement card fees, and no minimum balance requirements. And yes, they will hand you a MasterCard debit card and give you free cash withdrawals at 75,000 ATMs.

They are taking sign-ups for checking and savings now, with cards starting to arrive in January 2019.

If you have questions about how it all works, a good FAQ is here.

Google Play Link

Robinhood Checking Savings Card

// Robinhood

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Virgin Galactic Takes Off, and Space Tourism Draws Nearer – WIRED

For the first time since the US retired the Space Shuttle in 2011, humans have taken off from American soil and gone into space. This morning, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic rocketed two test pilots beyond Earth’s boundaries and brought them back safely, in a giant leap toward finally making commercial space tourism a reality.

The mission was Virgin Galactic’s fourth powered test flight of VSS Unity, the craft it expects to use to haul wealthy sightseers into space. The two pilots started their journey at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the California desert, slung under the belly of Virgin’s twin-hulled, carbon fiber launch vehicle, the VMS Eve.

Once they were 43,000 feet up, Eve released Unity, and the pilots in the latter powered the rockets for 60 seconds—longer than ever before—to shoot upwards at Mach 2.9, nearly three times the speed of sound. Mark “Forger” Stucky and Frederick “CJ” Sturckow climbed to 51.4 miles, 1.4 miles beyond the line the US Air Force uses to demark the edge of the planet. That’s high enough to see the star-spotted black of space, as well as a pretty spectacular view of the Earth, as a video show from Unity shows:

To quote mission control: “Unity, welcome to space.”

Unity then reentered the thick atmosphere at supersonic speed, in what the team calls a “feathering” configuration, with the tail folded for better aerodynamics. It then glided back to the the spaceport for a smooth landing, like the Shuttle used to. The touchdown met with cheers from anxious teams on the ground, as well as their families and a bunch of media crews. Along with its congratulations and assurance that it’s down with space tourism, the FAA announced it will hold a ceremony in Washington to bestow Commercial Astronaut Wings on Stucky and Sturckow. (Stucky was also a Space Shuttle pilot; he’ll be the first person to get his wings from both NASA and the FAA.) The craft was also carrying four NASA research experiments and a passenger-mimicking mannequin named Annie, according to the BBC.

“We will now push on with the remaining portion of our flight test program, which will see the rocket motor burn for longer and VSS Unity fly still faster and higher,” Branson said in a statement after the landing.

When Virgin Galactic starts commercial operations, up to six passengers at a time will get three days of training and preparation at Spaceport America, in New Mexico, before take the trip, along with two pilots. Once at altitude, they’ll spend a few minutes in zero gravity, during which they’ll be allowed to unstrap and leave their seats. The company also plans to host (paid) space experiments, unbolting the seats and swapping in racks of kit.

Richard Branson companies are not creatively named, but they do cover a wide array of transportation schemes. Virgin Trains is the go-to rail service in the UK for trips from London northwards, Virgin Atlantic operates flights from the UK to the US and beyond. Now Virgin Galactic hopes to join the family as the go-to space ferry for paying customers who want a taste of the astronaut life.

Branson’s tourism idea is rather conservative compared to plans from his fellow space-going tycoons. Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently announced its first paying passengers would be a Japanese billionaire and a handful of artists of his choosing, who will slingshot around the moon, possibly by 2023. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is also planning short tourist flights, but in the long run wants to send rockets beyond Earth’s orbit.

Virgin had originally planned to get to this point years earlier, but delayed its program when Unity’s predecessor crashed in 2014, killing one pilot and injuring another. Now back in action and making real progress toward a commercial launch, it has a backlog of 600 people from 50 countries who have reserved places for a paid trip into space, and a look back at the Earth from a new perspective.

More Great WIRED Stories

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