Business & Technology

Ken is leaving Barbie over her deforestation habit

Barbie's got a dangerous addiction to endangered Indonesian hardwood, and Ken isn't putting up with it anymore. Once he found out Mattel packaging uses wood from the fragile Indonesian rainforest, at least some of which is from evil conglomerate Asia Pulp & Paper, he was out of there, girl.  This video leans a little hard on the "Ken is gay or at least metrosexual" trope, which is dumb because a) yeah, like we need more entrenched gender roles ("OMG, boy + doll must = stereotypical swishy gay guy!") and also b) Ken has no genitals, so can he really have …

Secret electric supercar to be unveiled in Korea by end of year

If you thought the all-electric Tesla Roadster was fast — it can go from zero to 60 in 3.7 seconds — wait until you get a load of the forthcoming electric supercar from little-known Leo Motors of South Korea. Details are sketchy, but the company claims that within six months, it will show off a vehicle that goes from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. That level of acceleration would make it the second fastest electric vehicle in the world, after the all-electric Shelby SuperCars Aero EV. (The Areo EV is no slouch when compared to conventional vehicles, by the …

Solar-powered bikini lets you charge gadgets with your boobs

Everybody knows you're not supposed to get a tan anymore. So what's the point of lying out on the beach, if you're just going to wear SPF 800 sunscreen? Well, if you're sporting designer Andrew Schneider's solar bikini, you can at least be charging your iPod while you nurse your pale yet cancer-free flesh. The bikini is covered in photovoltaic film strips terminating in a USB connector. You can get five volts out of it, which is standard maximum voltage for a USB, which means you can plug in your phone or your music player, or your external keyboard if …

Why the next light bulb you buy will last 22 years

By 2014, it will be illegal to sell traditional incandescent light bulbs in the U.S. You've got a handful of alternatives, and one of them, the LED bulb, will last up to 22 years. And the quality of the light it produces will be every bit the equal of traditional bulbs — maybe even better. This might come as a shock to the trendsetting readers of Grist, but three quarters of the sockets in America are still occupied by incandescents. A recent survey conducted by GE revealed that the same proportion of Americans have no idea that the light bulb …

Critical List: EPA gives chemical industry a pass; Rolls-Royce owners snubs EVs

The EPA could ask chemical companies to report on Americans' exposure to their products, but it's not. "Where's there's coal, there's opportunity": The energy industry funds brainwashing — sorry, "education" — for students. The Grand Calumet river ferries about 200,000 cubic yards of toxic crap into Lake Michigan each year. The federal government is cleaning it up. Slowly. Bill McKibben lays out the strategy for pushing back on Obama's energy choices. Rolls-Royce owners poo-poo electric cars. The company's CEO thinks it's because his customers live in sprawly suburbs where 100 miles, the range of most EVs, just won't cut it.

Green Cars

Americans want fuel-efficient cars — can Detroit keep up?

The fuel-efficient Ford Focus is in high demand. The Ford Econoline van? Not so much.Photo: Ford Motor CompanyCross-posted from Climate Progress. This post was cowritten by Tyce Herrman. With gas prices just below the $4 per gallon mark and possibly climbing to $5 per gallon later this summer, Americans are demanding more fuel-efficient automobiles. But U.S. automakers are having trouble keeping up with that demand, according to a poll by Reuters: Higher car prices and a shortage of fuel-efficient vehicles likely threw a roadblock in the U.S. auto industry’s recovery path in May, when the Japan crisis had its biggest …

How solar power will become cheaper than fossil fuels in three to five years

Are you ready to flip the bird at your utility company? Lord knows you probably will be after you get the bill for what's shaping up to be an especially hot June. Luckily, a whole host of companies working on improving a novel solar technology would like to help you do it. The new tech is called thin-film solar, and the global research director of GE thinks it will soon be cheap enough to compete with the retail price of electricity from the grid. This is called "grid parity" and it's the Holy Grail of rooftop solar. When this magic …

Once and for all, do cell phones cause cancer?

Maybe. The World Health Organization has released a report [PDF] on the connections between cell phone use and cancer. It concluded that cell phones are a "possible" carcinogen, and there was much out-freaking. But what does this really mean? It does not, it turns out, mean that cell phones definitely or even likely cause cancer. It would be more accurate to say that the report says cell phones do not definitely NOT cause cancer. The majority of studies still show no causal link between cell phone use and cancer, writes science blogger extraordinaire Ed Yong. All studies have limitations, which is …

Renewable Energy

Apollo and BlueGreen Alliance merge — a smart move at a time of clean-energy trouble

Last week, the Apollo Alliance and the BlueGreen Alliance, two of the most important national nonprofits supporting clean energy development and good jobs, announced that as of July 1, they would merge. The much larger Minneapolis-based BlueGreen Alliance, a five-year-old collaboration of big green groups and unions, will become the parent of San Francisco-based Apollo, which was founded in 2003 and gained its renown for being the first organization to understand that the transition to an economy primarily fueled by something other than oil and coal could produce a flurry of useful results — jobs, climate action, energy security, and industrial …

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