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November-December 2015

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Big: New Testing Methods Unleash Weather's Fury at Full Scale

Furious winds are lifting off the roof, and in a moment, the walls will surely fall. This house is being ravaged by a storm, yet there's no hurricane in the forecast. Instead, we're watching a video, shot inside a cavernous test chamber at South Carolina's Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IIBHS). Banks of monster fans are pummeling a two-story frame house with gale force winds; each damaging gust is expertly controlled by computers. Rain can be added to increase the damage factor.

NICK D'ALTO is a mechanical engineer who writes about technology, society, and adventure.       

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