Business & Technology

'Solar highways' transform our crumbling infrastructure into something useful

Okay, we know YOU ride your bike everywhere. But the country’s 4 million miles of roads, and 50,000 miles of interstate highway, probably aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Isn’t there anything productive we can do with this giant car playground? Well, we can cover it with solar photovoltaic panels, so it’s at least providing some energy.

Nuclear power's new marketing strategy: hide behind some windmills

The tagline on this advertisement for German Atomic Forum ("founded in 1959 to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Germany") is "CO2 Emissions = Zero."

Thanks to the recession, recycling is booming

A few years ago, the only people who came in to Alliance Recycling in Emeryville, Calif., were were pushing shopping carts. Now, the same center is seeing people pull up in late model cars.

Critical List: Mitt Romney doesn’t believe in carbon; Halliburton’s profits are up

Mitt Romney doesn't think carbon is a pollutant and doesn't think the EPA should regulate it. But he has said that we should reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. May he doesn't understand what those words mean? The hybrid electric flying car! (Brought to you by the military-industrial complex.) Climate change could wipe out whitebark pine trees in the West, but the Fish and Wildlife Service can't be bothered to list the trees as endangered, or even threatened.

In the future, cleaning robots will sniff out air pollution

Researchers at the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science have kitted out a Roomba -- you know, one of those robotic vacuum cleaners that cats ride around on and act out Citizen Kane -- to evaluate air quality. Lights on the Roomba indicate the presence of evaporated alcohol, and a long-exposure photo, above, can show which parts of a room are clean and which are fumey. Blue lights in the above photo mean that the robot detected polluted air.

North Korea runs on wood-burning trucks

If you've ever wondered what we'll do after we've run out of cheap oil, other than eat each other, you have only to look to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a.k.a. North Korea. Ever since the shipments of crude from the USSR and China dried up, they've had to improvise.

NYPD puts 50 Chevy Volt cruisers on the streets

The next time you're sitting in the bus lane, humming "Don't pull me over Mr. Officer" as NYC's finest ambles up to your window to ask for your license and registration, check your rear-view mirror. If you're lucky, you can take solace in the fact that you've just been nabbed by an officer driving one of the city's 50 brand new plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt cruisers.

Wind Power

Koch brothers declare war on offshore wind

The dirty-energy-loving Koch brothers have put out a “cost-benefit analysis” of New Jersey offshore-wind plans that finds lots of costs and not so many benefits.

Panasonic capitalizes on earthquake by replacing factories with ‘smart towns’

Panasonic, the largest appliance maker in Japan, has announced plans to shutter 20 percent of its 230 factories in order to cut costs. But rather than lose that land, the company is capitalizing on Japan’s post-earthquake need for housing. It’s replacing the factories with “smart towns,” featuring "solar panels, energy-efficient refrigerators and rechargeable batteries," the company tells Bloomberg.

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