Doesn't it seem wrong to you that your laptop uses less power than a light bub? I mean, a computer has the power to change your world AND cast an eerie glow in my cave-like office.
Well, thanks to the compact fluorescent light bulb (CFLs,) light bulbs no longer have to be electron-sucking bulbous space-heaters. In fact, according to a report just published by the International Energy Agency
swapping all of the world's tungsten bulbs with CFL's would cut the world's energy use by 10%, far more than is planned to be saved by solar and wind power in all but the most progressive nations.
And the CFL's last for years, AND they produce a very pleasant light AND they're getting to be darned cheap. That's the power of technology, save the world by making it an easier place to live in.
At some point you probably went through the painstaking process of loading all your tunes onto the computer. Well, now you're stuck with a stack of CDs and don't know what to do with them. The new music exchange service La La, enables CD trading for just $1.49, allowing several people to use each CD, keeping discs in circulation instead of going on the landfills or cluttering up your valuable closet space.
Once you become a member, the service encourages you to list all the CDs you want to exchange as well as ones they would be interested in receiving. Once an exchange is arranged, the recipient pays $1.49, of which 63 cents pays for shipping the disc. Netflix-style shipping kits (prepaid standard envelops) will arrive in the mail after you list your first CD at the site.
Twenty cents of each dollar you pay goes either directly to the artist. Or, if the artist no longer holds a copyright (think Beethoven,) those 20 cents go into a charitable fund to provide health insurance for musicians. The site is Inspired by a Wikipedia style information model. Fans and artists jointly decide whether a musician who applies for compensation will get paid under the system. This model has the potential to transform music-industry economics, giving musicians a major cut of the proceeds while largely freezing out record labels and other intermediaries. Whatever remains after shipping and those 20 cents goes to running the company.
Your computer probably has a 300 watt power supply, most do. But your
computer doesn't use 300 watts. It could, if it wanted to, but power
supplies very rarely get maxed out. Usually computers run at around 80
watts, less than your average lightbulb, a remarkable thing,
considering what they can do. Your monitor is a different story. Add
in a 17 inch LCD and you can add in another 60 watts.
But the Fantsuam Foundation of Nigeria has just produced a
computer that can be powered by a single small solar panel with an
output of roughly 8.5 watts. The computer has no moving parts, the
hard drive is solid state flash, which we've touted the power saving
What's important is that it's possible. The 'Solo' has one gig of
storage, one gig of RAM (both solid state), and a 14 inch monochrome
LCD keeps costs and power use down as well. The system maxes out at
$1,200, a fair price considering that the unit comes with a solar panel
and rechargeable battery. It's a ways off from Negroponte's $130 laptop,
but at 8.5 watts, I'm impressed no matter what the pricetag.
Anything that removes a wire or frees
up an outlet has a place in my office. My battery charge has a
permanent place hanging from my wall charging double and triple A's
that power my wireless mouse, my Sony Librie
, my digital camera, various remote controls, etc. But the Everfast USB charger
promises to rid my ofice
of those wires and free that battery outlet. Unfortunately, my USB
outlets are not in extreme abundance either. But it would be nice to
be able to charge my batteries right here where I sit, and not have to
get up and walk all the way across the room to replace my mouse
The chargers accept two batteries at a time, either AA or AAA and
charge nickel metal hydride batteries (always make sure you're using
the right battery with the right charger.)
So, if you want to reduce your heavy metal waste without taking up
extra outlets, or if you're too lazy to leave your workstation to get a
fresh pair of AAA's you might want to look into this.
Popular Science is currently featuring the "10 steps to end America's fossil fuel addiction.
" Their steps make a lot of sense to me and they even quote Amory Lovins
, sustainability guru, in their tenth step.
So, here are the steps, the details are definitely worth a read:
1 Harness the Wind
2 Make Power where we use Power
3 More Hybrids
4 Better Ethanol
5 More Solar
6 Use Hydrogen
7 Wave Power
9 Make gas from Trash
10 Use less energy
All together, an excellent article. Nothing in it is controversial or new, but it's exciting to see something so EcoGeek
featured so prominently.
Possibly the most interesting thing about the article, though, is the excellent graphic by Nick Kaloterakis that shows a gas pump twisted into a light bulb. Upon inspection, howver, it's quite obvious that this 3D model was originally a gas pump twisted into a noose, and it's just been very slightly reworked to look like a light bulb.
I don't actually have permission to use these images, of course, please don't sue me.
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