What do women find sexy? Hybrids. They're chick magnets.
So says a survey by General Motors that found nearly nine in 10 women would rather talk to a guy in a Prius than a Porsche. Dumping the SUV in favor of an econobox would make you more popular at parties, too. Eighty percent of respondents said they find people who drive fuel efficient cars more interesting than those that don't.
Personally, we've never found people at parties give two shakes about what you rolled up in, but maybe we're attending the wrong parties. The survey found 45 percent of respondents consider gas guzzlers a fashion faux-pas.
We're not about to trust the company that brought us the Pontiac Aztek to know the first thing about what's sexy, but GM's survey underscores consumers' changing attitudes toward fuel efficiency as gas flirts with four bucks a gallon.
and from Oregon
"For him to come to Oregon as an environmental president, but his big strategy is to do more drilling and to have a gas tax holiday for three months, that's a phony solution," he said.
Pitching his message to Oregon's environmentally-conscious voters, Obama called on the United States to "lead by example" on global warming, and develop new technologies at home which could be exported to developing countries.
"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK," Obama said.
"That's not leadership. That's not going to happen," he added.
IBM has just squeezed the most power ever out of the smallest area of solar panel. By focusing the sun over 2300x, they were able to pull 70 watts of usable electric power out of one square CENTIMETER of silicon photovoltaic panel.
Of course, the concentrator itself is quite large. But as the silicon photovoltaics are undoubtedly the most expensive piece of any solar installation, decreasing the amount needed dramatically reduces costs. Recently we reported on another company, Sunrgi, working on a similar technique, with similar claims of extremely inexpensive solar power. Both of these companies have had to face the same problem, keeping the photovoltaics from frying even when exposed to the power of thousands of suns. Sunrgi uses a proprietary cooling system, but this means that they can only concentrate solar power to around 1600x.
IBM, who has a LOT of experience cooling silicon (though generally not in the form of photovoltaics) has a more advanced system.
In the past week, there has been a whole lot of noise in the media about the DOE's recent investigative report. The report lays out a detailed analysis of the United States' ability to obtain 20% of its electricity from wind by 2030. I know that does not sound like much, but in reality it is a very ambitious goal and one that many within the industry doubt. The report is about as in depth as you will find these days and is worth a quick perusal.
This is good news.
A new forecasting report from the U.S. Department of Energy asserts wind power could generate 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2030.
The scenario, "while ambitious, could be feasible if the significant challenges" identified in the report are overcome.
"To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security, clean power generation at the gigawatt-scale level will be necessary, and will require us to take a comprehensive approach to scaling renewable wind power, streamlining siting and permitting processes, and expanding the domestic wind manufacturing base," said Andy Karsner, DOE assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The report, "20% Wind Energy by 2030," was released Monday. The DOE notes that the report does not compare the 20 percent wind scenario to other energy options, nor does it lay out any specific action plan. Rather it was written to examine the costs, challenges and key impacts of obtaining 20 percent of the nation's energy from wind power in 2030.
More than 300 gigawatts of wind power capacity would be needed to meet the DOE's 20 percent scenario, up from 11.6 gigawatts in mid-2007. Wind turbines currently generate a little more than 1 percent of the country's total capacity. One gigawatt is enough to power roughly 650,000 homes.
To reach that level, the wind industry would have to quicken its pace of installations more than fivefold by 2018, to 16 gigawatts a year, up from 3 gigawatts a year today, and then sustain that pace through 2030.
Fritz Haeg has been turning American lawns into life-giving, sustainable gardens from coast to coast with his project Edible Estates. We’ve been following these lawn-eating transformations for quite some time, so we are beyond excited to see the book Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn go to print. This read is filled with commentary and projects from some of todays most innovative thinkers including Haeg, Diana Balmori, Rosalind Creasy, and Michael Pollan.
The Edible Estates project relies on the generous and ongoing support of art, gardening, and landscaping organizations, volunteers, and homeowners. The project is not meant to transform each lawn into a garden, but to open us up to the possibilities of self-sustenance, organic growth, and perpetual change.
Haeg’s initiative is a much needed counter activism to some frightening statistics about lawns. His own research points out that North Americans devote 40,000 square miles to lawns, more that we use for wheat, corn, or tobacco. And, also that Americans spend $750 million dollars a year on grass seed alone while only 1-2% of America’s food is locally grown - 6-12% of every dollar’s worth of food consumed at home comes from transportation costs.
It's a no-brainer. Bicycling is cheap transportation and good for the environment. But not all bikes are created equal and while they're all cheap compared to cars...some can seem a bit steep. And then there's the whole pedaling thing...call me lazy, but I like the idea of my vehicle moving me, instead of me moving my vehicle. It's certainly a less green alternative, but far greener than a car. Unfortunately electric bikes can cost upwards of a couple of thousand dollars, but an extraordinarily inexpensive option is being produced by California company Currie Technologies.
The $350 hybrid electric bike 388-PP can reach top speeds of 18 miles per hour and the range is 15 miles.
A rack-mounted regular Sealed Lead Acid rechargeable battery powers the all-terrain bike. The battery, which is detachable, takes between two to four hours to charge up.