Here at EcoGeek we’ve been long-time supporters of e-book readers. The publishing industry (including books, newspapers and magazines) is a serious environmental threat with a huge carbon footprint and raw materials that result in the harvesting of some 125 million tress per year.
So we were excited. But as the realities of ebooks set in, and they actually began to explode in popularity (with Amazon.com now selling more Kindle books than hard-covers) we got apprehensive. Would this new trend really be good for the environment? The answer…thankfully, is a resounding “Yes.”
The Kindle device itself, of course, has a carbon footrprint caused by manufacturing and shipping all of its parts around. And it does use electricity (though, really, a very small amount compared with devices like laptops or even some cell phones.) But while I still love real books for a lot of reasons, I’ve got to give it to the Kindle. Authors are getting paid more, consumers are paying less, and (according to a study from The Cleantech Group) as long as the devices replace the purchase of more than 22.5 NEW (not used) books in the lifetime of the device, it will be a positive force for the environment. This seems to be roughly one year’s use of the Kindle. Of course, if you’re replacing newspapers and magazines with your Kindle chances are you’ll go carbon negative faster than that.
But if you’re thinking about getting a Kindle for green reasons, make sure you know you’ll be replacing more than 20 new books on the thing before you upgrade, otherwise you’re not just wasting your money, you’re hurting the environment.
My dad was a magician at sniffing out great places to eat. We’d drive by some hole-in-the-wall we’d never seen before, and he’d point and say, “that’s where we’ll eat, it’s good.” Then I’d scramble to check out the hole-in-the-wall’s rating using the Yelp app on my iPhone, to see if he was right. The [...]
This week’s must-have iOS games features plenty of zombies, addictive games galore and some fantastic bargains guaranteed to keep you entertained this weekend. There’s also two retro classics thrown in for good measure. Check out Cult of Mac’s favorite games from the past week after the break! www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_gZns_PbF4 Squish The Zombies — ($0.99) iPhone — [...]
This week’s must-haves include applications to view and manage your CloudApp account, keep track of your to-dos in style and translate tweets from your foreign friends. Check out Cult of Mac’s favorites from the past week after the break! Cloud2go – ($1.99) iPhone – Productivity If you’ve been waiting for an app that allows you [...]
Great things come in small elegant packages and this one belongs to that genre. It’s a tiny Pad Foot that promises to alter user interaction with Apple iPad. As simple as it could get the Pad Foot lets you use your favorite gadget with utmost ease and comfort in both portrait and landscape position. Next time before thumping your fingers lousily on the iPad for typing a message or viewing a slide show, just position the Pad Foot under your iPad for that stable performance. The wonderful delight has been manufactured using 3d printed polyamide and weighs just 15 grams. Read the rest of this entry »
After a tiring day at work, we need a cool and calm place with soft music playing at the backdrop to relax ourselves both mentally as well as physically. Taking stress out of your sleeves, designer Raquelly Dias has come up with a device concept that stimulates your senses to soothe your body and mind. Dubbed the “Senses,” the futuristic gadget combines three different functions, as it other than playing soft music also work as massager and an aroma diffuser to release your stress. The Senses can be used either as a headset to massage your head or you can rest it on the nape. Moreover, user can adjust it according to the size of their head or neck, thanks to the simple yet ergonomic design.
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Thoroughly functional in form and design, the Biquattro electrical bike makes you feel like pedaling for weekly shopping trips to the market. Both electric and human powered, the bike converts into a bicycle and tricycle with ease according to the need. The rear wheels part to form a tricycle mode apt for carting weekly purchases otherwise too heavy to bear. In the bicycle mode the slim and easily manageable bike is just perfect for running small errands while negotiating through city traffic.
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The vintage circuit board touches the zenith of neat aesthetics with its retro yet stylish ultra modern feel. Theo Kamecke has created an amazing collection of exquisitely decorated chests, sculptures and boxes using horizontal and vertical grids etched from circuit boards. Built using a technique called marquetry popular among furniture makers, Theo used the circuit grids to cover the hardwood carcass of the box creating an amazing polished metal effect. It’s quite amazing to see boring and complex network of circuit grids finding such incredible use. Read the rest of this entry »
Drawing inspiration from the fitted Italian suits, Danish designer Frederik Tjellesen has come up with a car concept that seems to revive the DeTomaso models of the past. Hailed as “DeTomaso Ghepardo” (meaning “Cheetah” in Italian), the sports car apart from its sleek and elegant design also flaunts Ecoboost technology and methanol fuel cells to provide a safe and sustainable ride. Powered by either a Ford twin-turbo 3.5 V6 engine (producing 465bhp) or an electric powertrain comprising four in-hub motors (each providing 110 hp), the futuristic car employs a methanol fuel cell stack placed underneath the trunk to power the electric motors. To quote Frederik Tjellesen,
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Concrete is not often the greenest material choice, particularly since concrete production is one of the largest single sources of carbon emissions globally. But, for wind turbine towers, the use of concrete bases can provide a number of significant benefits, including reducing the amount of concrete needed for the footings for a tower by more than two-thirds. Concrete bases can also be more economical to install and can provide faster construction times for wind towers and also can raise tower height to increase power production.
The wider footprint of the precast concrete base also adds stability to the foundation of the tower. With the precast concrete base, load is spread over a wider area, and a simpler ring footing can be utilized, which results in a 60% – 70% reduction in the concrete needed for the footing of the tower. This can result in a net reduction of the total amount of concrete used. The ring footing is easier to construct as well, since the problems associated with a mass pour can be avoided.
In addition to the construction benefits, the concrete bases increase the overall tower height to raise the turbine into more powerful winds or to allow the use of larger diameter blades. Metal towers are reaching limits for transportability and constructibility, but adding precast concrete tower base can add 30 meters (almost 100 feet) of height to the tower. This can allow larger diameter turbines to be used with existing metal towers.
Concrete tower bases can also be locally produced, rather than needing specialized manufacture as with steel towers. Precast concrete sections for these bases are actually more transportable, since they are produced in sections that are assembled together once on site. Concrete is also a sturdier product, which is less susceptible to damage and rusting and does not require regular painting like steel.
Atlas CTB White Paper (PDF)
via: North American Windpower
The State of California has granted approval for a new solar thermal power plant. The 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project is the first solar thermal power plant to be licensed in the United States in nearly 20 years. Commercial operation is expected to start by the third quarter of 2011.
Several other solar projects are also in the pipeline and seeking approval by the end of the year, including the Brightsource 400 MW solar tower. More than 4 GW of other solar thermal projects are also pending with the state.
Beacon Solar will be an array of solar focusing parabolic troughs spread over a 2,012 acre site in Kern County, California. The approval process required a solution to local residents’ objections to the great amount of water the project would require. The final agreement will have the project use recycled water from a nearby community instead of drawing directly from the local aquifer. The project expects to use nearly 1600 acre feet (1.97 million cubic meters) of water annually.
The state of California has mandated that 20% of its electrical power come from renewables by 2010. While it does not look like that target is going to be met, the approval of several hundred megawatts of solar thermal power will help get the state closer to that goal.
A new IKEA store planned for Centennial, Colorado (just outside Denver) will be heated and cooled by geothermal energy.
IKEA got assistance from the fine scientists at NREL in designing and constructing a geothermal system located under the store’s parking garage. At 500 feet under the ground, 130 pipes will pump liquid that will help to heat or cool the store depending on the time of year (in the summer, ground temperatures will keep the liquid cooler than surface air and vice versa in the winter).
During times of extreme temperatures, the geothermal system won’t be able to get the job done on its own, but during most of the year, the system should be able to maintain comfortable temperatures in the store. IKEA is using this location, which opens next year, as a pilot test for the technology and if it’s successful, the company plans to install similar systems in other North American stores.
We all know big box stores are total energy hogs, so it’s exciting to see a company that runs those type of stores replacing some of the traditional energy sources they use with clean energy.
via Triple Pundit
American automakers, as well as foreign manufacturers selling in the US have a few full-size pickup trucks with diesel engines, but for years a small pickup with a diesel engine has not been available. That is set to change as Indian car maker Mahindra & Majindra has received EPA approval to sell its small pickups in the US.
The company is producing small pickups with a 2.2 liter common-rail turbo diesel engine that has 140 horsepower and gets up to 30 miles per gallon. Mahindra trucks have features including 6-speed automatic transmission, electronic stability control, traction control, active rollover mitigation, and 4 wheel ABS brakes. Although these are small pickups, the company claims a cargo capacity of 2,765 pounds (1,254 kilograms), which is greater than the cargo capacity of many other full-size pickups. The company has a two-door model, which has a 7.5 foot (2.29 meter) long cargo bed, as well as a four-door version of the pickup.
The price for the pickup is set to start around $22,000. The company expects to begin selling its trucks in the US by the end of the year, and plans to follow that with a diesel SUV in 2011 and a hybrid SUV in 2013.
A Colorado company is introducing a system that will allow wind turbines to generate power even when the wind is not blowing. The SmartGen hybrid gas-wind turbine enables wind turbines to produce energy at periods of low wind, by turning the turbine with compressed air generated at the base of the tower from a turbo-compressor that is run on natural gas or biogas.
Even more importantly, the SmartGen system can be retrofitted into existing wind turbines, allowing existing facilities to increase their performance. This is likely to be particularly compelling for installations seeking to extend their production while remaining free of fossil fuels. In areas where biogas production is also available nearby, a wind power facility that is generating renewable energy credits could likely also produce power from biogas in this manner as another form of renewable power and thereby remain 100% renewable energy based.
A smart clutch disengages the wind blades from the machinery when the compressor is engaged. The company also notes that the exhausted air from the air motor cools dramatically when it is released, which can help provide cooling for the generator nacelle and may even help prevent fires in the housing.
“Large wind turbines, even in good wind resource areas, typically generate rated power only 30% of the time because the wind blows intermittently or at a low wind velocity,” according to the company. Utilizing other fuels to keep the turbines generating power means that the system better employs the investment in equipment, instead of having it sit idle for much of the time.
via: North American Windpower
Happy Friday! Here’s this week’s selection by Mac Games and More featuring fun casual games you can play into the weekend. The games include a heroic game for kids, an adventure through an amazing maze, a ranch with an empty field as your canvas and more. A Gypsy’s Tale – The Tower of Secrets – [...]