Carmakers Seek Engine of the Future
October 22, 2007 01:38 AM - Marcel Michelson
TOKYO (Reuters) - Oil is getting scarce and the internal combustion engine adds to pollution, therefore the car of the not too distant future needs a new motor. But what?
Delegates at the Nikkei automotive conference here, in the week of the Tokyo Autoshow, reviewed the industry's sputtering progress towards new power systems in the knowledge that if they do not come up with a solution the sector may come to a halt.
"In the long-term, it's very clear that on-road transportation has to decouple from petroleum for both dependency and greenhouse gas emissions reasons, and the pathway for that is electric drive," Michael Milikin, editor of the Green Car Congress publication, told Reuters.
Don't go near the baobab at Nigerian heritage site
October 22, 2007 12:43 AM - Estelle Shirbon
SUKUR, Nigeria (Reuters) - Visitors to Sukur are warned not to approach a certain ancient baobab tree because, villagers say, it turns people into hermaphrodites.
It is an atmospheric introduction to this Nigerian World Heritage Site for the trickle of outsiders who come, but villagers who trek up and down from the remote hillside community are ready for an injection of modernity.
A road would be a start.
Crisis was "accident waiting to happen": Greenspan
October 22, 2007 12:22 AM - Emily Kaiser
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An unusually high degree of risk taking across asset classes made recent financial market turmoil all but inevitable, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Sunday.
"The financial crisis that erupted on August 9 was an accident waiting to happen," Greenspan said in a speech on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings. "Credit spreads across all global asset classes had become suppressed to clearly unsustainable levels."
"Something had to give."
"If the crisis had not been triggered by a mispricing of securitized U.S. subprime mortgages, it would eventually have erupted in some other sector or market," Greenspan said.
Solar cars race from Australia's top to bottom
October 21, 2007 11:41 PM -
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Sun-powered-car enthusiasts from around the world raced into the Australia outback on Sunday at speeds nearing 100 kilometres-per-hour at the start of the World Solar Challenge.
Thousands of onlookers crowded the streets of Darwin in Australia's tropical north for the beginning of the 3,000-km (1,863 mile) race, a biennial event since 1987, gawking at the sleek foil-like vehicles resembling giant microchips.
The only rule over the mostly straightaway course through Australia's "red centre" in temperatures that can exceed 50 degrees Celsius is that the custom-built vehicles run on nothing but the sun.
"The drivers will be sitting on between 90 and 100 kilometres per hour as much as they can, though most are capable of going faster," said race coordinator Chris Selwood.
"But this really is not just about who is the fastest, it's more about energy efficiency and management," he said.
Georgia declares state of emergency over drought
October 21, 2007 10:45 PM -
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Georgia has declared a state of emergency over its worst drought in decades and appealed to President George W. Bush for federal aid, newspapers said on Sunday.
Low rainfall in the Southeastern United States has caused a drought in several states, including swaths of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North and South Carolina.
Gov. Sonny Perdue asked Bush to issue a federal disaster designation for the drought-affected parts of the state that would empower him to order less water released from Lake Sidney Lanier and make federal funds available to state and local governments.
It would also enable low interest loans to be offered to Georgia businesses hurt by the drought, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Bush Poses With Bird, Touts "conservation"
October 20, 2007 06:37 PM - Chris Baltimore
ST MICHAELS, Maryland (Reuters) - President George W. Bush took a nature outing on Saturday to tout new federal initiatives aimed at protecting migrating birds and two fish species prized by anglers.
Bush took a break from bruising battles with Democrats in Congress over his agenda on children's health care, domestic spying, the budget and the war in Iraq to walk around a wildlife preserve in the scenic Maryland countryside.
He later headed to Chesapeake Bay to sign an executive order to protect striped bass and red drum fish -- two once-abundant species that have faced over-fishing.
California cities asked to switch off lights
October 20, 2007 04:24 PM -
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Barbara residents are being urged to switch off their lights for one hour on Saturday in the first such organized bid in the United States to promote energy saving.
Much of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Los Angeles International Airport will go dark between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m., apart from essential safety lighting. Lights in city buildings will be switched off and millions of residents in the three cities are being asked to follow suit.
A Sustainable Holiday Spirit, in Mason, Michigan
October 19, 2007 03:48 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN
Ingham County, Michigan - The city of Mason, in Michigan has decided the spirit of the holidays includes the spirit of sustainability. And you'll see it brightly displayed on their holiday tree on the Ingham County Courthouse’s west lawn. For starters the city is replacing its incandescent holiday lights with energy-efficient LED Christmas lights. The 1200 new LED lights replace 500 old incandescent ones, draw a quarter of the power, 864 watts compared to the previous 3276 kilowatt hours; use professional weatherproof connectors and durable epoxy plastic, not glass bulbs. And, all 1200 lights can be plugged into one standard outlet. This will save the City about $250 each year while adding over 700 lights to its tree.
Save the Environment, Use Your Computer
October 19, 2007 12:28 PM -
REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - Save the environment, use your computer. Here's how: the EPA estimates you can save up to $75 per year by activating the power management functions on your desktop computer. Support.com offers tips to consumers to help them save both energy and money by reducing the power consumption of their computer. Desktop or laptop, you can save energy by:
1. Turning your computer off completely when you know you will not be using it for more than several hours, such as overnight.
2. You can still save energy when your computer is not shut down completely by setting the power management functions on your computer to put both your monitor and computer (CPU, hard drive, etc.) into “sleep” mode after a certain amount of time of non-use, which saves energy when you are not actively using your computer. Set your monitor to go into standby mode first, followed by your computer.
Afghan city takes action to save ancient minarets
October 19, 2007 10:50 AM - Sayed Salahuddin -Reuters
A group of mediaeval minarets in the Afghan city of Herat could be saved thanks to the closure of a busy road threatening their foundations.
The minarets, standing at more than 100 feet, are all that remain of what was once a brilliantly decorated complex for Islamic learning and devotion on the Silk Road on the outskirts of the western Afghan city.