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JAN 10

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Connected Cars a Theme for NAIAS 2012
Written by Philip Proefrock on 10/01/12   

Both the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit and best prices for levitra the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas are underway this week. I went to the auto show (largely because it's closer), but a lot of levitra delivered overnight this year's emphasis seems to be on the integration of cars with cloud computing.

Green cars are present, but they aren't the focus they have been in previous years. In their floor displays, Chevrolet's Volt, Nissan's Leaf, and the Toyota Priuses (among others) are just another part of the lineup, without a lot of special attention. The Honda Civic Natural Gas car, which won the Green Car of the Year, sits off to the side of the Honda display like a tacked on afterthought.  Everyone may still have EVs and hybrids, but it seems that they're an expected part of a complete line, and don't need to be emphasized as in previous years.

Several manufacturers presentations focused on making the car a connected platform, emphasizing smart features like navigation and integration with social media. Ford's 'Cloud' presentation is a 12-seat ride that raises up above the show floor into a 360 degree panorama presentation about the connectedness of their systems.

More broadly, this starts to present the car as a service rather than just a product; the connectivity the car offers instead of a thing that one has. One of Ford's displays around the 'Cloud' exhibit graphically shows the percentage of automobile owners in several world cities. If automakers are starting to see this as a trend, there could be something more revolutionary going on, and even more overlap between NAIAS and CES may be forthcoming in the cialis pfizer 50 mg coming years.

New Uranium Mines Banned from Grand Canyon Area for 20 Years
Written by Megan Treacy on 09/01/12   

The Obama administration has officially banned any new uranium mines in the land adjacent to the Grand Canyon for the next 20 years.  During the Bush presidency, mining companies filed thousands of new land claims in northern Arizona near the national park.  In 2009, Secretary Salazar ordered a temporary ban on any new claims, but now those lands are safe for at least 20 years.

The ban protects one million acres of land surrounding the Grand Canyon from new mining claims, but the 3,200 existing mines will not be affected and 11 new mines already under construction will be allowed to continue to develop.

Although this ban seems like a no-brainer, there was a decent amount of opposition since the price for uranium is high and the area is rich in uranium deposits.  This ban doesn't just protect the where can i purchase cialis beauty of the place, but more importantly the health of the ecosystems and millions of daily cialis people who live within the Colorado River Basin.  At least one creek in the park has been found to be contaminated by uranium and high levels of arsenic have been found in the area from old mining operations.

via The Guardian

Image via Luca Galuzzi



JAN 05

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GM Encouraging Chevy Volt Drivers to viagra 100mg Come in for Battery Work
Written by Megan Treacy on 05/01/12   

The Chevy Volt has hit its first snag, but GM seems to be handling it in stride.  After some battery fire issues during crash testing, GM is taking steps to ensure that Volt drivers have a safe vehicle on their hands.

According to the AP, GM is encouraging Volt drivers to bring their vehicle into a dealer where mechanics will "strengthen the structure around the batteries."  Extra steel will be added to the plates that surround the batteries making them better protected during an impact and preventing any coolant leaks that were the cause of levitra best buy the crash test fires.  The fix has been confirmed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency.

This isn't a formal recall, but affects about 8,000 cars out on the road and only here usa levitra another 4,400 for sale.

Initially after the test fires, GM offered Volt drivers an opportunity to sell back their cars or to be provided a loaner replacement.  To prevent fires after any real-world crashes, GM has been sending out teams to cialis transdermal drain batteries after being notified by the vehicles' OnStar system.

via AP



JAN 03

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Hailstorms and Tornadoes Thrive on Car Exhaust
Written by Megan Treacy on 03/01/12   

If you wanted something else to blame on the internal combustion engine, you can now add tornadoes and hailstorms to the list.  Scientists have found that both weather events are more likely to occur during the week than the weekend due to the higher levels of pollution in the air from our workday commutes.

The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres, looked at summer storm patterns in the eastern U.S. from 1995 to 2009 and found that hailstorms were occurring at a rate of about 20 percent above average midweek and about 20 percent below average on Saturday and Sunday. The team then looked at EPA records of summertime air pollution in the eastern U.S. and found that it peaks midweek.

The reason is that water particles cling to pollutants in the air, floating up higher in the atmosphere where it's colder and creating more hail.  Pollutants also create tornado-friendly conditions by making the air warmer.

The western U.S. doesn't experience this same phenomenon since the air is dryer and cloud masses are too high and cold for the air pollution to interfere with.

via National Geographic

DEC 31

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Progression of how to get cialis no prescription US Cities Reaching Solar Grid Parity
Written by Philip Proefrock on 31/12/11   

Grid parity in cost between solar power and levitra tadalafil grid-supplied electricity is likely to begin being reached in the US in as little as 2 years, and within the next 25 years, many of the largest metropolitan areas will reach the point where solar is less expensive. An animated map from Energy Self Reliant States shows the picture.

This timeline includes no government subsidies in the calculations. It uses a baseine cost of solar power in 2011 at $4.00 per watt, installed. Using the average residential grid supplied electricity price for each metro area, it makes the how can i buy cialis in canada two assumptions based on present trends to determine when the price of solar drops below grid: the cost of solar decreases by 7% per year, and the grid electricity price increases by 2% per year.

Based on these assumptions, the San Diego CA metropolitan area will be at solar parity in 2013, and within the next 25 years, many of the largest metropolitan areas will reach the point where solar is less expensive.

via: BoingBoing


DEC 30

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Turn the Eiffel Tower Green?
Written by Philip Proefrock on 30/12/11   

A concept to turn the Eiffel Tower into a giant green wall has been proposed as a symbolic statement of "the reconciliation of nature and mankind."The plan calls for 600,000 plants to be attached to the structure using hemp sacks filled with soil as the growth media. An irrigation system comprising 12 tons of tubing would be used to provide water for the plants.

The installation would not be permanent, and would be removed after a few years. But, once in place, the installation would help remove an estimated 87.8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

"Should it not be the levitra discount duty of engineers to imagine a new future where nature is brought back into the heart of the city," said a statement from Ginger, the company behind the proposal. With an estimated cost of nearly 100 million dollars for the project, that's more than a million dollars per ton of CO2. Hardly the most cost effective carbon sequestration, but certainly a visible one.

image: CC-BY 3.0 by Taxiarchos228

via: Sustainablog

Using Light to only today usa levitra Make Solar Panels
Written by Philip Proefrock on 30/12/11   

A new optical furnace that uses intense light rather than a conventional furnace to heat the silicon to make solar cells saves about half the energy needed. The process uses a furnace with "highly reflective and heat-resistant ceramics to ensure that the light is absorbed only by a silicon wafer, not by the walls inside the furnace." The process was developed by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

In addition to providing improved efficiency in the production of the cells, the optical furnace also does a better job at removing some impurities, which makes for better output from the finished panels. Eventually, researchers on the project believe that this could provide a four percentage point increase in the efficiency of the solar cells produced with this method.

image credit: NREL/Dennis Schroeder

via: Treehugger


DEC 28

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Higher Efficiency with Quantum Dot Solar Cells
Written by Philip Proefrock on 28/12/11   

Photovoltaic technology has taken another step forward as researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have demonstrated a photocell with an external quantum efficiency over 100 percent using quantum dots. The new cell uses a process called Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) that produces more than one electron-hole pair per absorbed photon, and reached a level of 114 percent.

This development offers the possibility of increased efficiency in solar panels, and the technology is able to be manufactured using high-throughput roll-to-roll manufacturing. With the use of quantum dots, photocells could theoretically see as much as a 35 percent increase in power conversion efficiency above contemporary cells. The research cell was constructed as a "layered cell consisting of antireflection-coated glass with a thin layer of a transparent conductor, a nanostructured zinc oxide layer, a quantum dot layer of lead selenide treated with ethanedithol and hydrazine, and a thin layer of gold for the top electrode."

Note that this does not mean that the entire panel would have a total efficiency above 100% (which would be thermodynamically impossible). The quantum efficiency means only that the number of electron-hole pairs created in the cell is greater than the number of photons that are absorbed. Nonetheless, the advance provided by MEG could lead to the next generation of even more efficient solar energy collectors.

image: Lawrence Berkeley Lab and CC-BY-SA 3.0 by Opticks3


DEC 22

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Austin May Ban Plastic and Paper Bags
Written by Megan Treacy on 22/12/11   

The City of Austin, Texas may enact one of the toughest bag bans in the country come 2016.  The city council is set to cialis generic canada vote on the ban next month that would require retailers to only offer reusable bags.

The ban would include a three-year adjustment period starting in 2013 for retailers and consumers to get prepared where single-use bags could still be purchased at 25 cents each.  Once 2016 hits though, only reusable bags would be allowed and cheapest viagra anywhere that would include City of Austin facilities and all city events.

Some single-use bags would be exempt from the ban, including:  restaurant carryout bags, bags for wine and beer, dry cleaning bags, newspaper delivery bags and bags that hold meat, fish, produce, bulk foods or pharmaceuticals.

Reusable bags would be defined as bags that are made of canadian pharmacy ed fabric or durable materials or thick paper or plastic with some recycled content.  The city would pay for an aggressive marketing campaign to get the word out about the ban with proceeds from the 25 cent fee.

via Austin Statesman

Image via mtsofan


DEC 21

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Self-Healing Circuits Could Lead to Longer-Lasting Electronics
Written by Megan Treacy on 21/12/11   

A team of engineers at the University of Illinois have figured out how to create self-healing circuits in electronics and batteries, a discovery that could lead to longer equipment life and make a nice dent in the piles of e-waste plaguing the planet.

As electronics have become more complex, one small circuit failure can render a device useless, especially since it is hard or often impossible to diagnose where that failure occurred to fix it. Nancy Sottos, an engineer working on the project said:

"In general there's not much avenue for manual repair. Sometimes you just can't get to the inside. In a multilayer integrated circuit, there's no opening it up. Normally you just replace the whole chip. It's true for a battery too. You can't pull a battery apart and try to find the source of the failure."

The solution her team came up with was an army of microcapsules about 10 microns in diameter dispersed along a circuit. When a crack occurs in the circuit, the microcapsules break open and viagra soft release a liquid metal that fills in the crack and restores the tramadol cod saturday electrical flow. The time between a failure and the microcapsules filling the crack is only a few microseconds.

In tests, 90 percent of the samples were healed to 99 percent of their original conductivity. It also require zero human intervention. Only the microcapsules intercepted by a crack opened while the others remained intact.

The engineers see this breakthrough as especially useful for air and spacecraft where miles of conductive wire would have to be gone through to diagnose a failure. The team, which originally used microcapsules to create self-healing polymers, want to see what other applications they may have.

via Physorg


DEC 20

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Google Invests $94 Million in Four Solar Projects
Written by Megan Treacy on 20/12/11   

Google has really been cranking out the solar energy investments this year.  Just a few months ago, the company put up $75 million toward rooftop solar installations out West and in the spring they made headlines by investing $168 million in Brightsource Energy's huge Mojave Desert project.

Now, in time to make us feel all warm and fuzzy during the holiday season, the tech giant has announced that they're investing $94 million in a group of four solar projects by Recurrent Energy.  This latest investment brings the total of the company's renewable energy investments to almost $1 billion.

The four solar photovoltaic projects will have a combined capacity of 88 MW and will be located near Sacramento, California.  The projects will provide enough power for 13,000 homes.  A power purchase agreement has already been signed by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District for 20 years.

via Treehugger


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