Sci/tech

'Anti-noise' silences wind turbines
August 11, 2008 11:35 AM - Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

If wind energy converters are located anywhere near a residential area, they must never become too noisy even in high winds. Most such power units try to go easy on their neighbors' ears, but even the most careful design cannot prevent noise from arising at times.

Solar Powered Air Conditioner Released
August 11, 2008 11:06 AM - , MetaEfficient

A company called GreenCore Air has released an air conditioner than can be powered by a single 170 watt solar panel. The GreenCore air conditioning unit can heat and cool a 600 square foot room. It runs on DC power, so there is no need to put an AC inverter between the solar panel and the air conditioner. This eliminates the power losses associated with converting AC to DC.

'Edible Optics' Could Make Food Safer
August 11, 2008 10:43 AM - Tufts University

Imagine an edible optical sensor that could be placed in produce bags to detect harmful levels of bacteria and consumed right along with the veggies. Or an implantable device that would monitor glucose in your blood for a year, then dissolve. Scientists at Tufts University's School of Engineering have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to design such "living" optical elements that could enable an entirely new class of sensors.

Is Hydrogen the Fuel of the Future?
August 9, 2008 02:48 PM - E-Magazine

The jury is still out on whether hydrogen will ultimately be our environmental savior, replacing the fossil fuels responsible for global warming and various nagging forms of pollution. Two main hurdles stand in the way of mass production and widespread consumer adoption of hydrogen “fuel-cell” vehicles: the still high cost of producing fuel cells; and the lack of a hydrogen refueling network.

Birds head north as climate heats up
August 9, 2008 02:44 PM - SUNY College

A study by researchers at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) has documented, for the first time in the northeastern United States, that a variety of bird species are extending their breeding ranges to the north, a pattern that adds to concerns about climate change.

The First LEED Platinum Data Center
August 9, 2008 02:34 PM - , MetaEfficient

ADC (Advanced Data Centers), a company based in San Francisco, is set to build the country’s greenest data center. Because of its efficiency, the project stands to save its owner from $1.8 million to $2 million in energy costs. ADC says its new center will be 25-30 percent more energy efficient than the industry standard.

The Greenest Notebook Computers Of 2008
August 6, 2008 11:25 AM - , MetaEfficient

Earlier this week, we reviewed the greenest desktop computers, so now let’s take a look at the greenest notebooks! Notebooks are typically much more energy efficient than desktops. They are, however, no greener than desktops in other regards — they typically contain the same hazardous components, and they are not easily recycled. However, a few green notebook computers are now on the market. Here’s a short survey of the greenest ones available:

Solar Offers A Future for Kenya’s Youth
August 6, 2008 10:35 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Frederick Ouko left western Kenya when he was 20, in search of a college education. Like about a third of Kenya's rural youth, he was unemployed. And like many who move to the capital city of Nairobi, he settled in Kibera. He founded the Kibera Youth Community Programme, an effort to provide alternatives to drug abuse and crime - such as theater productions, HIV/AIDS awareness projects, music recording, and soccer matches. To fund about a third of the youth projects, Ouko turned to a technology that may lead to improved conditions throughout Kibera: solar power.

Kenyan courts consider terminating biofuel plans
August 6, 2008 08:49 AM - , SciDevNet

The Kenyan courts are considering halting the first stage of a US$370 million biofuel project that aims to replace up to 20,000 hectares of coastal grassland with irrigated fields of sugarcane. A judicial review of the project, based at the Tana River Delta on the northern Kenyan coast, was granted last month (11 July) after a campaign from environmental groups such as Nature Kenya and the East Africa Wildlife Society,and nomadic cattle-farming groups. The project is intended to generate electricity — up to 34 megawatts a day at its peak — from sugar refining and up to 20 million litres of ethanol fuel annually from molasses.

New map aims to help battle for Arctic territories
August 6, 2008 08:43 AM - Reuters

British researchers unveiled on Wednesday what they billed as the "first ever" Arctic map to show key disputed territories in the resource-rich region. The map -- which highlights Arctic areas where boundaries are already agreed, as well as areas where claims have been made and where disputes could break out -- is designed to help world powers as they battle over rights to the remote but potentially lucrative area. "The map is the most precise depiction yet of the limits and the future dividing lines that could be drawn across the Arctic region," said Martin Pratt, director of research at the Durham University's International Boundaries Research Unit (IBRU).

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