Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Morning Linkfest - Power to the People

Good morning Vietnam (as Robin Williams said ...)

PICTURE: There's no better example of the energy past and present, meeting its future: Gas station in Nags Head, NC that fell victim to Hurricane Earl's winds.

Here's some articles I've found interesting in the past little while:

Blame the damn plankton for creating those hurricanes and typhoons. (via New Scientist)

The Salt Palace convention center in, where else, Salt Lake City, is getting a rooftop full of solar (America's largest rooftop installation) - enough to supply fully one-quarter of its electrical needs. The convention centre is more than 700,000 sq.ft. in size, including the exhibit and meeting space, and the grand ballroom. (via Solar Feeds)

Are huge solar panel efficiency gains just around the corner? We've all heard that "green is the new gold", but maybe black is the new green. (via inhabitat)

Thorium nuclear reactors? "There is no certain bet in nuclear physics but work by Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) on the use of thorium as a cheap, clean and safe alternative to uranium in reactors may be the magic bullet we have all been hoping for, though we have barely begun to crack the potential of solar power.  Dr Rubbia says a tonne of the silvery metal ... produces as much energy as 200 tonnes of uranium, or 3,500,000 tonnes of coal. A mere fistful would light London for a week." Apparently the stuff also "eats its own hazardous waste". Sounds too good to be true?  (via Telegraph)

Another Pollyanna take on infinite energy production? "Take sunlight, add water, and there you have it: free energy. Plants have been doing this for quite some time, splitting water's hydrogen apart from its oxygen, but our efforts to turn water into a source of free hydrogen fuel by mimicking them have borne no fruit. The problem is that splitting water takes more energy than conventional solar-cell technology can realistically deliver. But now we may be tantalisingly close to having economically viable sun-powered water splitters, and with it all the clean-burning fuel we want." (via New Scientist)

Wind power takes an upgrade, both visually and on the efficiency front, via a "wind lens" that boosts wind speed. (via inhabitat)

'The average American (just one of 309 million) uses up some 194 pounds of stuff—food, water, plastics, metals and other things—per day, day in and day out. We consume a full 25 percent of the world’s energy despite representing just 5 percent of global population. And that consumerism is spreading, whether it be the adoption of cars as a lifestyle choice in China or gadget lust in the U.S. “Consumerism is now spreading around the world,” says Erik Assadourian, a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute. “Is this going to keep spreading? Or are countries going to start recognizing that this is not a good path"?' (via Seed Magazine)

In the totally underwhelming category: "Australia's leading energy [retail] companies today added their voices [by open letter] to calls for the next government to introduce a carbon pricing mechanism as soon as possible, joining a coalition of civil society groups which yesterday issued a statement demanding the introduction of a new climate change bill. The letter said a price on carbon is required if Australia is to meet its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to five per cent below 2000 levels by 2020." (via BusinessGreen)

There's something rotten in Denmark Greenland. Arctic ice melting is slower this year than the record-setting year of 2007. "This low has yet to be surpassed, but the extent of sea ice is not all that matters, as Barber found. Look deeper and there are even more dramatic changes. This is something everyone should be concerned about because the transformation of the Arctic will affect us all."  (via New Scientist)

Sure our brains are huge - but are they large enough to figure out we must change - change or die? Green bikes in London start taking off. But all is not smooth sailing. (via Business Green)

Sometimes it's the really simple things we forget to change - the poorly weatherstripped door for instance, leaks out a lot of hot or cool air, and therefore wastes energy. Ever wonder what that annoying water drip wastes and the cost? Apparently, "there's a [free] app for that". (via inhabitat)

Passivhaus meets solarhaus. The result? Four times the energy you need to run the house. (via inhabitat)

And finally, I thought I'd close with this one - an attempt to "depower the people". Changing behaviours via incentives - nine ideas. Workable? Some are already. (via greentechmedia)

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