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Christopher Mims' Posts

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A battery large enough to power the U.S. would be the size of 2,200 Walmart SuperCenters

The U.S. uses about 500 gigawatts of power at any moment. Is it possible to cover that whole demand with emissions-free power sources? Well, nuclear, which has virtually no greenhouse gas emissions, could account for about 20 percent; the rest would have to be renewables. And renewables are intermittent, so they'd have to be backed up by about 80 gigawatts worth of batteries, says Davide Castelvecchi at Scientific American.

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Newt’s new energy slogan doubles down on the crazy

It's not clear who Newt Gingrich thinks he's fooling, but over the weekend his team unveiled this nifty new graphic on which he apparently plans to hang the entirety of his comeback for the GOP nomination, and KQED political reporter John Myers was there to capture it:

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DOE-funded battery breakthrough to halve cost, triple range

A new breakthrough from California-based Envia Systems will yield lithium-ion batteries that are less than half the cost of current cells, while also having three times the energy density. And guess who funded it? The Department of Energy. That's right: Sometimes, when the government invests in innovation, it pays off moon launch-big.

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LEGO buys $500 million worth of wind turbines

The world's third-largest toy manufacturer is going to be putting "made with wind power" labels on all those boxes of LEGOs, and not just because they bought their power from utilities with wind turbines. Kirkbi A/S, the family holding company that owns LEGO, will be buying actual wind turbines representing fully a third of an offshore wind farm, reports Reuters.

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The best of the U.S. Army’s ‘Going Green’ Pinterest

For those of you who are out of touch with what the young people and Mormons are all about these days, Pinterest is this really big, Facebook-but-for-images type thing, and it's kind of wild that the Army is on it, because it's mostly pictures of cats, clothes, and cupcakes. They even have a collection of images for their "green" efforts, from which we plucked a few of our favorites.

Source: flickr.com via U.S. on Pinterest

MODOC, Ill. -- Visiting Patriot, an 11-pound female Bald Eagle and World Bird Sanctuary bird expert Sara Oliver. The meeting took place Feb. 4, 2012 at Eagle Trek 2012 at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kaskaskia Lock & Dam.

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Chihuahua-size horses caused by climate change

Sifrhippus and modern horse. (Illustration by Danielle Byerley, courtesy University of Florida.)

After they first appeared in the fossil record, horses got smaller as a result of a warming planet, says a study just published in Science. Thing is, proto-horses weren't that big to begin with -- Sifrhippus, the first horse, only weighed 15 pounds -- so by the time the climate was done with them, they'd shrunk down to 8.5 pounds, or about the size of Paris Hilton's dog Tinkerbell.

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Submarine data will be declassified for climate science

The British Royal Navy's nuclear submarines regularly cruise under the Arctic ice cap, looking for Russkie subs lost since the Cold War or bumping into whales or whatever. While they tool around, they’re recording environmental data with sensitive instruments all the while. Now some of that data is going to be declassified in order to aid climate scientists' study of the polar oceans, which are melting and wreaking havoc on global weather patterns already.

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Map shows avalanche of cellulosic ethanol projects on the way

In the battle between food and fuel, cellulosic ethanol might not be a great idea or even a viable solution to our energy woes, but enzyme company Novozymes says it's coming, regardless. (Cellulosic ethanol is different than the regular kind -- it's produced from "leftover" crop waste that is first digested by enzymes.)

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Why all promises to make gas significantly cheaper are fantasies

It speaks to the gross ignorance of the overwhelming majority of Americans -- or else the deep cynicism of our politicians -- that we even have to address this, but for the nth time ever, here we go!

Unless the world economy crashes or intercessory prayer starts working, no one on the planet has the power to significantly lower the price of gasoline at the pump. Especially not Newt Gingrich.

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Urban farming in Detroit gets the documentary it deserves

Urban Roots is a documentary about farming within the city limits of Detroit, and as such, it’s a handy way to get an education on the subject in something like 90 minutes.

It's showing March 6 at the San Francisco Green Film Festival.