Cardboard Bike Helmet Better than Plastic

By Charlie Sorrel @ Wired June 7th, 2011 Kranium is a bike helmet that is made from the same cardboard used for the boxes you find at the supermarket. This material, along with some clever construction, turns out to be a lot better at absorbing impact than the more usual polystyrene-filled lids. Anirudha Surabhi’s design absorbs four times more impact energy that the polystyrene equivalent, and — unlike regular helmets which break on impact — it survives longer. One Kranium was smashed five times in a row and still passed the British Standard (EN ...

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Your cable box uses more power than your refrigerator

By Christopher Mims @ Grist.org 16 Jun 2011 10:30 AM If you have a cable box and a DVR, their combined power draw is a stunning 446 kWh per year -- more than a new refrigerator. And two-thirds of that energy gets sucked down when the boxes aren’t even in use. In fact, they draw almost as much power when the TV is off as they do when they're playing content. Eighty percent of U.S. households pay for TV, and cumulatively, we spend $2 billion a year on electricity for our set-top devices. Just eliminating the power they draw when not in use would reduce ...

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GE Sees Solar Cheaper Than Fossil Power in 5 Years

By Brian Wingfield @ Bloomberg Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors within three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, the global research director for General Electric Co. (GE) “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,” Little said yesterday in an interview in Bloomberg’s Washington office. The 2009 average U.S. retail rate ...

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How climate change is starving the world

by Jess Zimmerman It was supposed to take until 2080 for food prices to double. Sure, climate change can make arable land into irrigation-hungry desert, and increase the likelihood of crop-destroying severe weather (and wildfires). But ironically, increased carbon dioxide also helps plants grow, so this was all supposed to be under control for the foreseeable future. Turns out: Nope. Prices had already doubled or even tripled for some staples before the recession, and they're on their way back up. World hunger is poised to increase at a speed not ...

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Energy efficiency most effective way to reduce emissions, says EPA

by energyefficiencynews.com The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says in new guidelines out this week that energy efficiency is likely to be the most cost effective way for industrial facilities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The guidance has been issued to help state and local air permitting authorities with new rules covering large emitters, such as power plants, refineries and cement production facilities. Under the Clean Air Act, from January 2011, large industrial emitters planning new facilities or making major modificat...

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Backpacker tourism can be beneficial for poor countries

The financial advantages of hosting backpackers often outweigh any social costs By: Mark Hampton Patrick Kingsley (Gap years: Wasted youth?, 6 September) is right to highlight some of the social problems associated with backpackers at Full Moon Parties in Thailand, Goa and elsewhere. He also describes the common self-image articulated by many backpackers that they are, somehow, not tourists themselves. His interview with Jez captures this disconnect: "Most of the people here are backpackers," he insists. "Backpackers are infinitely different to tourists. ...

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Techo-Leapfrogging At Its Best: 2,000 Indian Villages Skip Fossil Fuels, Get First Electricity From Solar

photo: Nomad Tales via flickr If you ever need a great example of technological leapfrogging in practice, here it is: In the Indian state of Orissa, the state government has decided to electrify approximately an additional 2,000 villages by March 2012. But rather than hook them up to coal-fired power plants, it will be using decentralized solar power. Biomass, wind power and a variety of small-scale hydropower projects are also in the mix. Express Buzz reports that currently there are 395 villages powered through solar, with an additional 205 to be ...

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Wake Up, Freak Out

Wake Up, Freak Out HD cut from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

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Ecuador looks to its own people in the battle against climate change

Ecuador's indigenous peoples are proactive in adapting society to deal with global warming, effectively guiding the government by: John Vidal Ecuador's Yasuni park where, as part of the climate change battle, oil will be left in the ground if donors pay half its value. Photograph: Dolores Ochoa/AP We left thirsty Peru and have reached Quito in Ecuador on the great Oxfam/Guardian Andean climate journey. First stop is to meet the government and community leaders of a state that stretches from the Pacific coast, over the mountains, and deep into the ...

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Does cold weather disprove global warming?

The skeptic argument... It's freaking cold! "Austria is today seeing its earliest snowfall in history with 30 to 40 centimetres already predicted in the mountains. Such dramatic falls in temperatures provide superficial evidence for those who doubt that the world is threatened by climate change." (Mail Online) What the science says... It's easy to confuse current weather events with long-term climate trends, and hard to understand the difference between weather and climate. It's a bit like being at the beach, trying ...

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