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Automated Intersections
Written by Hank Green on 03/05/06   

{mosimage}How much gas is wasted at stop lights? How much of our lives? How much of our happiness is lost as we wait, inhaling fumes, blocked in on all sides by equally dissatisfied drivers. We don't really have stats on any of that, but we do know that 3.6 billion hours and 5 billion gallons of gas are wasted every year waiting in traffic.

Why do we do it? Because there's no better solution. But not for long! If we're gonna have to live with cars, we might as well find solutions to these horrible problems. Computer scientists at the University of Texas have created a program that can control simulated cars at a six-lane intersection without traffic lights or crashes . Of course, this assumes that every car is run by an automated system and I can imagine that it would be extremely frightening to be in one of those cars.

This model is amazing, to watch a hundred rectangles headed for eminent doom before missing one another by the width of a pixel. Think of all the gasoline that could be saved! But don't think about what would happen if the system crashed.

 You can also run the simulator with traffic lights, or you can design your own custom scenario (be careful though, cause I almost crashed my computer when I asked it to take control of an 18 lane highway.)



MAY 03

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More cell towers in Yellowstone?
Written by Dave Burdick on 03/05/06   
There's a thing here somewhere. Yellowphone. Cellowstone. I don't know. But the point is, Yellowstone National Park officials are looking at what their spokesman calls "an environmental assessment for wireless communications."

The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) nabbed some documents{mosimage} via that pesky Freedom of Information Act that showed that park officials had contacted a few telecommunications companies asking for ideas. No harm in asking for suggestions, I guess, but who wants cell towers in national parks?
Frankly, I'm okay if nobody can call me while I'm in the park. They should have just come with me in the first place.
And it's not as if there's no reception there now -- just spotty. The photo, by the way, is a tower that Yellowstone put up not too far from Old Faithful about five years ago.
Here's the AP story at
And here's the excitingly-titled "TELECOMS’ SECRET PLAN TO WIRE ENTIRE YELLOWSTONE PARK" press release at PEER's site. I'm getting shivers!

MAY 03

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Calif. EcoGeek Alert
Written by Dave Burdick on 03/05/06   
Do you live in California? Do you know what's going on in the gubernatorial race?

{mosimage}Here's your chance to figure out where (or if, I guess) the two Democratic candidates stand on environmental issues:

Tonight on KGO-TV in San Francisco, Treasurer Phil Angelides of Sacto and Controller Steve Westly of Atherton, the two Dems hoping to challenge Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger this year, will meet each other in a debate focused on the environment.


7 p.m., KGO-TV tonight (Wednesday)
Re-broadcast: 4 p.m., KGO-TV Saturday

It doesn't apply to everyone here, I know, but it's one of those things.

MAY 03

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E-newspapers: but what will I wrap birthday presents in?
Silly me -- I thought newspapers were just going to become obselete because everyone read them online. That might still be a bit drastic, and a daily economic paper in Europe called Les Echos is trying to strike a balance by producing the paper electronically using iLiad E-reader. {mosimage}
Readers use a tablet that weighs less than a pound. Currently e-newspapers are only available in black and white, with 16 shades of gray.
The real news is for the ad sales reps -- you can program the devices to show coffee ads in the morning and beer ads in the evening. Or if you happen to be reading your handy tablet near a Wi-Fi spot, ads may become more interactive to Mapquest you to their destination.

MAY 03

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Greenin' the suburbs
Written by Dave Burdick on 03/05/06   
Q: What happens when hippies grow up, become successful and move to the viagra pills for sale uk burbs?

Gas-powered leaf-blower bans. {mosimage}

Yep. Gas-powered leaf-blowers are bad for the environment and bad for the peaceful volume level required by subdivisions, etc., etc. A few forward-thinking and suburb-thinking cities have considered gas-powered leaf-blower bans.
Palo Alto, Calif., known for Stanford University among other things, enacted such a ban on June 13, 2005. Here's a sometimes snarkily-written FAQ on that city's ban .

And here's a site called Zero Air Pollution, Los Angeles. Guess what they want. Here's my favorite quote:

"There is no containing fugitive dust and Particulate Matter, once it is disbursed through the air in such a violent manner by any of the blowers."

They're so down with ending leaf-blowing that they get into stuff termed "fugitive dust," which sounds like what you'd call Harrison Ford's dandruff, but it might actually be even more dangerous than that. Here's one expert's description:
"Fugitive dust is a relatively new term for an old problem. Simply put, fugitive dust is a type of nonpoint source air pollution - small airborne particles that do not originate from a specific point such as a gravel quarry or grain mill. Fugitive dust originates in small quantities over large areas. Significant sources include unpaved roads, agricultural cropland and construction sites. Most rural Missouri citizens, particularly those living near unpaved roads, are familiar with the nuisance of very good site what is viagra fugitive dust (Figure 1). Recent research indicates that there are significant health considerations involved as well."
And here's the whole document, for more than you ever wanted to learn about fugitive dust .  

MAY 02

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America's Book Shelf -- Netflix for the Lit Nerds
I didn't know it could get better than my first love, the public library. But I'm completely sold on America's Book Shelf , a book exchange program that was just launched on Earth Day. {mosimage}
Here's what you do:
1. As a site launch promotion, ABS is offering free year-long memberships to the first 10,000 members. You go to the Web site and list 15 books you're willing to real cialis exchange.
2. Your books are now part of the virtual library. If a little bookworm across the country is dying for your copy of The Little Prince, ABS sends you a postage-paid envelope to send it to him.
3. Here's the only drawback -- you don't get the book back. The person that requested your book will just keep it on buy cheap cialis his or her bookshelf until it's requested again.
ABS owner Bill Denkler says, "For every 65 books shared through, we can help save one tree from the pulp and paper mills." The company also buys wind energy and uses completely recycled office supplies. 
Now who wants my Faulkner that I never read? 

MAY 02

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Power Supply Efficiency is LAME (but getting better)
Written by Hank Green on 02/05/06   

{mosimage}All that hot air coming out of the tail-end of your computer is waste. Most power supplies are around 50% efficient. But not all. Running a more efficient power supply can keep your computer cooler, help it live longer, and reduce your electricity bills.

80 plus is a program that is payed for by some electric utility somewhere. They certify power supplies that are more than 80% efficient. Right now, very few power supplies have been able to make the 80 Plus grade. But it's worth searching one out. Running an 80 Plus power supply can reduce your power consumption by 85 kWh per year heat output by 50%.

The question, really, is why we're not all already using more efficient power supplies. Basically, it's because we buy our computers from Dell, who is looking to give you the cheapest PC possible. Power draw and only here cialis generico heat output don't generally make the top ten when Dell asks consumers what matters to them. But maybe soon efficiency will be a bigger issue, and we'll see more 80 Plus certifications on new computers.

There's a 300 W power supply from Seasonic available now for around $50. And hopefully you'll see a lot more coming around soon.

Via: WorldChanging


MAY 01

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Saab's ethanol turbo
While we all understand the green benefits of pouring ethanol in our tanks, the folks at Saab realized one of its drawbacks -- it only has 75% of the potential energy of order levitra on line gasoline, leaving gunning-hungry drivers needing 20% more to keep up the horsepower.
Standard ethanol is a 85/15 ethanol/gasoline blend, and Saab realized its high octane rating -- 110 -- would work with a turbocharger. It created the BioPower engine, the first ethanol turbo. The engine runs with both gasoline and ethanol, but when it runs on gasoline it only gets 148 horsepower, and on ethanol it gets up to 184.
What's it all mean? If you want to daily viagra start gunning green, you'll be able to get up to 140 mph, but the car's still a bit heavy on the checkbook at $35,000.  

MAY 01

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Wooden Computing.
Written by Hank Green on 01/05/06   
{mosimage}Wood! It grows on trees! It's the most common building material in the world, it can be harvested sustainably, it's beautiful, it's nice to touch and look at, and it's completely ignored in consumer electronics.

But in the past few weeks, we've seen quite a few new electronic devices housed in wood, and so we went on a search. A long search, it turned out, for all the best, coolest and most useful products in wooden computing.

We found that wooden computer products did indeed exist, and have for some time, but that it's not something one comes across in America. In fact, most of the websites we're linking to here are in other languages. But the pictures, they're worth more than the words, so check it out. Beautiful designs made of sustainable materials. Mouse, keyboard, monitor, case, even the mouse pad, all now available in wood.

Tons of pictures after the ordering viagra online jump.

Wired Goes Green
Written by Hank Green on 30/04/06   

This month's issue of Wired magazine is all about the old environmental problems and a whole new set of environmental answers. It's the first issue of Wired I've bought in a long time, and the most hopeful piece of literature I've seen come out of the environmental movement...ever.

{mosimage}The cover, featuring an eerie picture of cheap canada generic levitra Al Gore, espouses “The Pro-Tech, Pro-Growth Fight to Stop Global Warming.” The magazine includes feature stories on Neo-Greens , people who understand, care and vote with their wallets, and one particularly ecogeeky article on “The Next Green Revolution .”

The thesis of this article (written by World Changing Editor Alex Steffen) is that technology isn't anti-environmental intrinsically, it's anti-environmental because most of it was conceived before we had a clue how the planet worked. The answer to our problems, thus, is not avoiding technology, but embracing and restructuring it.

“You don't change the world by hiding in the woods, wearing a hair shirt, or buying indulgences in the form of save the earth bumper stickers. You do it by articulating a vision for the future and wow it's great cheap levitra canada pursuing it with all the ingenuity humanity can muster.”

Thanks Alex, for writing a possible mission statement for EcoGeek that includes the phrase “Hair Shirt,” we definitely could never have done that on our own.

Is this article overly-optimistic, Utopian techno-pandering? Or is it a more clear outline of the future of the environmental movement? Probably both. And certainly worth reading.


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A Motorcycle crashed into a BMW and...Clever Car!
Written by Hank Green on 30/04/06   

{mosimage}The “Compact Low Emissions Vehicle for Urban Transport” (we agree, that does indeed spell CLEVUT) was created by a European Union and BMW as a concept for the next generation of automobiles. The idea is to take the fuel efficiency of motorbikes and mix it with the convenience and safety of buy propecia online without prescription cars.

Of course, this idea has been around for a while, and has resulted in all kinds of extremely dangerous prototypes and car-shaped bobsleds. The difference with the Clever car is that they're actually trying to be smart about it. First, a unique roll avoidance system actually allows the majority of the three-wheeled vehicle to lean into turns, just like a motorcycle. Also, they've created a very strong and uniquely designed frame to online cheap viagra deflect the impact of a collision away from the driver.

The good news is that it did pretty well in crash tests, and, with a top speed of 60 mph, it's not going to be involved in any really high speed accidents. The bad news is that it's still too revolutionary for anyone to adopt just yet. In other words, it's too cool to actually be cool.

The EU and BMW created five of them, three of which were destroyed in crash tests. So, if you want one, you're probably gonna have to become the CEO of BMW or some kind of european cialis Prime Minister. The number of innovations represented by this one meter wide, auto-leaning, 100 mpg, natural gas powered car are impressive. And, though we won't actually get to drive a Clever car, we may yet see it's offspring at a dealer nearby. Someday.


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We've got to keep 7 billion people happy without destroying our planet. It's the biggest challenge we've ever faced....but we're taking it on. Are you with us?