Sci/tech

Lark song suffers when group struggles
March 19, 2008 09:04 AM - Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - Larks sing better when they live in thriving groups and their song suffers when they are under threat, according to a study by Spanish scientists. The four-year study in Spain's Ebro River Valley showed the complexity of song by male Dupont's Larks was correlated to how long a colony had been established and how many chicks had been born.

Gretchen Daily Wins Sophie Prize for Inspiring "Conservational Conversation"
March 18, 2008 09:31 AM - , Green Pages

Gretchen Daily is not your typical biologist, nor does she subscribe to typical conservationist lines. Instead, her astounding work, which has earned her the honour of the 2008 Sophie Prize, focuses on the bottom line: where conservational efforts can be the most economically profitable choices available. She's been compared to Rachel Carson, who had revolutionised the agricultural industry. Her scientific work not only presents the tremendous diversity and intrinsic value of ecosystems and species, but also monetises and quantifies such attributes for economic consideration.

The all-electric Subaru R1e to be tested in NYC
March 18, 2008 09:23 AM - , Private Landowner Network

Technologically we could build solar power plants so expansive, covering such a large area, that they could be seen from space. But we don’t have to. We could plaster the world’s deserts with solar photovoltaic or concentrated solar thermal power plants to provide many times the amount of power needed to run the world’s economies. But we don’t have to turn the world’s deserts into energy-generating industrial sites. Large scale solar power plants can be built anywhere where sun-drenched real estate is affordable.

Stunning Solar Building Will Generate More Power Than It Needs
March 17, 2008 02:20 PM - , MetaEfficient

The Masdar Headquarters building will produce more power than it needs (an energy positive building). In fact, the solar roof (one of the largest in the world) will be constructed first, and it will power the construction of the rest of the building. The video link on this page has a great view of the sun-infused interior. The 1.4 million square foot building was designed by Chicago architecture firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill.

The Next Generation Of High-efficiency Plastic Solar Cells
March 17, 2008 02:08 PM - American Chemical Society

Alan J. Heeger and colleagues point out that plastic solar cells, fabricated from bulk heterojunction materials comprising semiconducting polymers and fullerenes, have already demonstrated promising performance. However, researchers do not understand how to control the nano-scale morphology and are looking for ways to optimize the solar cell performance for practical use. Heeger, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000 for his pioneering research on conducting polymers, is widely recognized for his ongoing efforts to improve solar cell efficiencies.

Kite-Driven Beluga Skysail Completes 12,000 Mile Journey and Proves Concept
March 17, 2008 09:53 AM - , Triple Pundit

“We can once again actually ‘sail’ with cargo ships, thus opening a new chapter in the history of commercial shipping” Thus is the verdict from MV Beluga Skysails captain Lutz Heldt upon completion of the vessel’s 12,000 mile round-trip maiden voyage. The crew and vessel were at sea for nearly two months, giving the “skysail” concept ample opportunity for testing and tweaking.

Japan sailor takes on Pacific in wave-powered boat
March 17, 2008 05:35 AM - Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese sailor has set out from Hawaii for Japan, hoping to complete the 7,000 km (4,400 mile) journey using only the power of the waves beneath his boat. Garlanded with flowers, 69-year-old adventurer Kenichi Horie waved from the deck of his catamaran-like boat as he set off on the latest of many challenges he has taken on since he became the first Japanese to sail solo across the Pacific in 1962, a video of his departure from Hawaii showed.

World’s First Wave Powered Boat
March 13, 2008 09:36 AM - , MetaEfficient

Ken-ichi Horie, a 69 year old Japanese sailor, is planning a solo 4,350 mile trip from Hawaii to Japan using an innovative wave powered boat. If successful, the trip would earn him a Guinness record while simultaneously proving the viability of wave powered propulsion. His boat, the Suntory Mermaid II, turns wave energy into thrust using two fins mounted beneath the bow. These fins move up and down with the waves and use them to generate “kicks” that propel the boat forward. Another green element of the journey: all of the radios and electrical equipment are solar powered.

China reassures scientists not to fear failure
March 13, 2008 02:42 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will tolerate experiment failures by its scientists to ease pressure, encourage innovation and cut the chances of fraud, a top official said on Thursday. Worried about being left behind in global technological advances, China has launched a campaign to pour more resources into scientific research to boost "home-grown innovation."

Hydromatic Introduces New Technology for Clothes Dryers
March 13, 2008 01:25 AM - , Green Lodging News

ORLANDO, FLA.—At the 2008 International Builders’ Show, Hydromatic Technologies Corp. launched a new technology for clothes dryers that will reduce the appliances’ energy consumption up to 50 percent and cut clothes-drying time by up to 41 percent. As one of the most energy consuming appliances, clothes dryers are not required to abide by energy standards. With Hydromatic’s technology, dryers will finally go “green,” and the company is poised to set energy standards for this high-consuming appliance three years ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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