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JUN 20

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Arctic Sea Ice on Track for Record Low Levels This Year
Written by Philip Proefrock on 20/06/12   

Earlier this year, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the Arctic reached the unhappy milestone of 400 parts-per-million. Now, information coming from the National Snow & Ice Data Center indicates that this year's Arctic sea ice is on pace to shrink to its smallest levels ever.

One of the clearest examples of the effects of global warming and climate change is the buy tramadol overnight cod receding of the Arctic ice cap. The NSIDC indicates that this year's sea ice is already slightly smaller than it was in 2010, which was the previous record for this time of year. It is also smaller than it was in 2007, which was the year that had the ice cap shrink to its smallest size in September of that year.

Starting the summer with the smallest Arctic cap on record is not an auspicious sign, for the Arctic or for the planet.

image: NSIDC


JUN 18

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All-Electric Sea Plane Takes Flight
Written by Megan Treacy on 18/06/12   

A single-seat, all-electric sea plane has successfully taken its first test flight. The FlyNano was originally designed as a hybrid electric/petrol engine "fun flyer" craft, but with advances in batteries and electric motors since its debut over a year ago, the FlyNano has instead gone all-electric.

The FlyNano features a lightweight carbon-fiber body and has a cruising speed of 87 mph. The rudders are controlled by pedals and the throttle and steering are controlled by a stick. The one thing it's lacking? A windshield. But the company is using this as a selling point with the philosophy of "feel the levitra price in canada wind" and recommending helmet and goggles when flying.

Sea planes aren't exactly high priority on the list of transportation modes we'd like to see get an all-electric makeover -- it's pretty equal with electric jet skis -- but any transistion away from fossil fuels is welcome and, well, the sea plane is pretty cool.

The Finnish makers of FlyNano hope to get the plane on the market by the end of next year with a price tag of $40,000.



JUN 17

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Bioplastic Made from Waste Shrimp Shells
Written by Philip Proefrock on 17/06/12   

Insect cuticle is a pretty versatile material. Layers of brand cialis chitin, a biopolymer, are built up to make strong, lightweight material that composes the exoskeleton and wings of insects. Now, scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have developed an artificial version of insect cuticle called 'Shrilk' that is as strong as aluminum allow but with only half the weight.

The synthetic insect cuticle is made from chitin which is obtained from waste shrimp shells. By varying the level of moisture during the cheap discount cialis production process, the stiffness of the material can be varied, allowing flexible or very rigid products to be made with the same material.

Since it is biodegradable, Shrilk is also being investigated for a number of medical uses, including use for sutures that need to be particularly strong and as a scaffold for tissue regeneration. It is also being suggested as a low-cost and biodegradable alternative material for things like trash bags and packaging.

image: Public Domain by Siga/Wikimedia Commons


JUN 15

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Robots Aid in Wind Turbine Maintenance
Written by Philip Proefrock on 15/06/12   

Inspecting wind turbine blades is a dangerous and expensive part of operating a wind farm. But now it may be possible to have robots do the dangerous climbing work, and allow the inspector to stay safely on the ground.

Turbine blades need to be regularly inspected as part of its regular maintenance. We've seen the (catastrophic) videos of follow link how to buy cialis in canada what happens when a turbine blade fails. Inspection helps identify blades that need repair or replacement, before further damage occurs.

The robots for this task have been developed in partnership between International Climbing Machines and GE. The first tests of the robot were successfully carried out at a wind farm in Texas. In addition to the high-definition cameras the robots currently carry, GE is exploring the use of microwave scanners that could give inspectors an ability to "see inside" the blade and gather more information than a conventional visual inspection.

image: GE Newscenter

via: NA Windpower


JUN 14

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Inequality in Trees Reflects Income Inequality
Written by Philip Proefrock on 14/06/12   

Comparisons of aerial images between lower- and higher-income neighborhoods show that income inequalities are demonstrated through the canada viagra number of trees present. Higher income areas have more trees, while less affluent areas also have fewer trees.

"They found that for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent. That’s a pretty tight correlation. The researchers reason that wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on private and public property. The well-to-do can afford larger lots, which in turn can support more trees."

The original study was published in 2008, but gained much more recent attention when it was posted by Tim De Chant on his blog, Per Square Mile. The original story has now been followed up with images that demonstrate this inequality in regions all over the globe.

We know that having access to the natural world is a good thing.  This goes to show that, rightly or wrongly, there can be a price tag attatched to it.

image: from Per Square Mile

via: Treehugger and BoingBoing


JUN 12

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1.5 Gigawatts from a Thermal Chimney Power Tower
Written by Philip Proefrock on 12/06/12   

Solar towers are again getting some notice. According to recent news, a company called Clean Wind Energy, Inc. is trying to build a 3,000 foot (914 meters) tall tower to produce electricity. When the tower is operational, the company expects to visit web site buy levitra online no prescription have, on an hourly basis, "1,100 to 1,500 megawatt hours available for sale to the power grid."

Solar power towers are one of the more unusual concepts we've come across at EcoGeek. More properly, we should be calling them something like 'thermal chimney towers' to differentiate them from the solar towers which are targets for fields of solar reflectors.

To further complicate the matter, there are two types of solar chimney towers: updraft and downdraft. Updraft towers require a large area covered with transparent material to heat the air at the base of the tower in order to make it rise through the chimney. Downdraft towers pump water to the top of the tower where it is sprayed as a fine mist to cool the generic viagra pill air and induce it to fall. In both cases, wind turbines at the base of the tower are turned by the moving air to produce electricity.

The tower that Clean Wind Energy is proposing is of the downdraft type, which may be problematic in the American desert southwest, where water is already scarce. Treehugger's article on the project also notes one of the major drawbacks to this kind of power generator: "Of course, there's the problem of dedicating large amounts of water in a desert city to the tower, and the energy required to send it 3,000 feet up. One third of the energy produced by the tower goes to that pumping."

Several years ago, we first noted that Enviromission, an Australian company with an updraft tower design, was trying to get their first solar power tower built in Arizona. That company found Arizona more conducive to their business model than building a tower in the Australian desert, and their project also seems to be moving slowly forward. Whether either one of these towers (or both) gets built remains to be seen.

via: Treehugger


JUN 12

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Pollution Causing Bug-Eating Plants to Go Vegetarian
Written by Megan Treacy on 12/06/12   

Every once in a while we hear of an unexpected consequence of pollution or climate change and this one is particularly interesting. Scientists at Loughborough University in England found that an increased level of nitrogen in rainfall over bogs in Northern Europe was causing carnivorous plant species to cut back or stop consuming insect prey because they were now getting more nitrogen through their roots.

Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants and from transportation is causing the uptick in nitrogen in the rain. By taking samples of plants in different bogs and analyzing the nitrogen they contained, the scientists found that plants in areas where the pollution was light got 57 percent of their nitrogen from insects, but in areas with heavy pollution that number fell to 22 percent.

The plants are responding to the extra nitrogen by making their leaves less sticky and changing their color to more green instead of insect-attracting red, making bogs where nitrogen pollution is high easy to spot.

This change is actually to the plants' detriment. The plants originally evolved to be carnivorous in order to survive in the low-nitrogen environments of brand viagra professional the bogs, but now that the plants are switching their diet they will find it harder to compete with non-carnivorous plants that are equipped better for a high-nitrogen environment.

"In the sites with more nitrogen deposition, these plants now get much more of their nitrogen from their roots, but they still have to bear the residual costs of being carnivorous, and other plants without these will be better able to survive,"said Dr. Jonathan Millett, the report's lead author. "So it's quite likely we'll see less abundance and purchase tramadol cod perhaps local extinctions from carnivorous species. The individual plants get bigger and fitter, but the species as a whole is less well adapted to high-nitrogen environments and will lose out over time."


Images via Wikimedia Commons


JUN 07

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Solar Power Program Will Bring Electricity to Remote Villages in India
Written by Megan Treacy on 07/06/12   

A new initiative by SunEdison will see the installation of distributed solar power plants around India, bringing electricity to areas that have never had it before. Through the program, called Eradication of Darkness, SunEdison will design, install and manage the solar power systems in remote villages across the country.

According to the United Nations, one in five people in the world do not have electricity and  over 400,000 of these people live in India.  Lack of electricity limits education and economic opportunities and makes populations more vulnerable to sickness and famine.

Already the solar company has installed a 14-kilowatt solar energy plant in Meerwada, India that is supplying electricity to 400 villagers that were relying on kerosene lamps for light and purchase viagra in canada walking 3 km for drinking water.

The program will be implemented in stages as funding from government grants and private investors and corporations, as well as logistical partners, are acquired. As of now, 29 villages in the Guna District have been identified for the next phase of installations.

An integral part of the program is educating the villages' residents on solar power and electricity, including safety training,

“As challenging as logistics are in rural electrification, it is important that residents have a voice in the development, deployment and management of viagra alternative uk a solution,” said Pashupathy Gopalan, Managing Director, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Operations, SunEdison. “We have worked very hard to understand their needs and provide education about the possibilities of electricity. We believe education is one of the most important aspects to ensuring the project’s success.”

via Press Release



JUN 06

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Hawaii Has Statewide Plastic Bag Ban
Written by Philip Proefrock on 06/06/12   

The beaches of Hawaii will be a little cleaner; the streets a little neater, now that an effective statewide ban on disposable plastic bags has gone into effect. Although it's not a law at the state level, the bag ban is effectively a statewide ban, since all of the counties of Hawaii have enacted plastic bag bans individually. Of course, it's easier when there are only four counties involved.

Bags are still permitted in some instances, including uses for pharmaceuticals, frozen foods, newspaper delivery, live fish and generic cialis india dry cleaning, to name a few. But non-biodegradable non-reusable bags are otherwise now subject to ban, and businesses that still use them face fines for each day of violation.

image: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Ivy Main / Wikimedia Commons


JUN 05

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LEED Upgrade Being Delayed to 2013
Written by Philip Proefrock on 05/06/12   

The US Green Building Council has announced that the planned revision of the LEED green building system which was due later this year has now been delayed until at least the middle of next year. What was supposed to be called LEED 2012 is being renamed LEEDv4 (the current version, LEED 2009, was version 3).

LEED is a developing system, not a fixed standard. Previous transformations have revised and reoriented the rating system, and this has helped to advance the cause of green building.  The intent of the USGBC has been to continue to push the construction industry to make buildings better. However the present perception is that the new LEED pushes too much, too fast. In his letter announcing the change, USGBC President and CEO S. Richard Fedrizzi wrote, "We intend to do everything we can to ensure that the market is ready for LEED v4 because it represents progress on both carbon reduction and human health improvements."

LEED is getting criticism from many different directions. It has been assailed by Congress, which has specifically prohibited the visit web site canada levitra online Department of Defense from expending any funds to achieve LEED gold or platinum certification. Arguments over standards for the certification of wood have been particularly contentious. And just this week, congressional hearings on green building science are being held.

Previously on Ecogeek: New LEED for Greener Buildings; New LEED Certification Will Require Energy Reporting


JUN 04

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Carbon Footprint of E-Readers Higher Than Print
Written by Philip Proefrock on 04/06/12   

Digital delivery of cialis cheap no prescription content for e-readers is a rapidly expanding market. Many assume that, because trees aren't being cut down and used to maufacture paper for books, e-readers (including the Kindle, Nook, iPad, and the like) are a greener way to read books and magazines. But a broader look at the use of these devices that includes the life-cycle of the e-readers themselves paints a much bleaker picture about how green they really are.

The article first looks at the carbon emissions for an average adult reader who reads 6.5 books per year. Paperback books have a footprint of 26 kilograms (over 57 pounds) of CO2, as compared to just under 70 grams (about 0.15 pounds) for the e-reader. But the tables are turned drastically when the carbon footprint of the reader is added in. The carbon footprint for this average reader is almost identical (130 kilograms or 285 pounds) when expanded over 5 years.

But how many people still use 5-year old electronic devices? Assuming a 2-year replacement cycle, the chart shows that the iPad carbon footprint outstrips that for the print reader, and even the more efficient iPad2 has more than double the emissions over a 5 year period. High-volume readers and those who hold on to their electronic devices for longer periods may make the e-reader a more suitable choice, but technological alternatives aren't always all their proponents would like consumers to believe.

link: The Millions

via: Treehugger


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