Business & Technology

Lobster golf balls: Possibly the most bourgeois green solution ever

Finally, researchers have come up with a biodegradable golf ball for use on cruise ships! So when you knock your ball off your GIANT ENERGY HOG FLOATING CITY, it will only brain a dolphin, not collect on the bottom of the ocean. Earth: saved! The balls are made out of lobster shells, so that after you take off your linen bib and leave the captain’s table, you can put on your plus-fours and repair to the Lido Deck to hit the remains of your meal into the sea. Other upcoming recycling projects include an all-natural massage chair for your island …

Are the Kochs to blame for gas prices?

Remember when we said that, despite an upcoming Republican onslaught of not-intended-to-be-factual statements, Obama is not to blame for high gas prices? Well, guess who is? Maybe Koch Industries, according to ThinkProgress. Koch Industries has openly speculated in "contango" oil market manipulation, buying up crude oil and storing it offshore to artificially drive down supply. In 2008, Fortune magazine wrote that this sneaky business could be raising gas prices by "by anywhere from 20 to 40 cents a gallon." Classic Koch. ThinkProgress doesn't offer any evidence that a Koch binge is the reason behind our current oil prices. There's so …

Wind turbine suffers catastrophic failure; no one is irradiated

Last month, a wind turbine on a North Dakota wind farm suffered a "catastrophic failure" when "oversight" and "human error" — features of energy infrastructure which scientists suggest are unavoidable — led to the enormous turbine falling off its mount. The most recent reports indicate that so far the only casualties are a wide swath of grass and possibly a family of voles. So far no evacuation zone has been declared. There are no threats to sea life, and the fallout from the disaster was not detectable thousands of miles away. Cleanup efforts are in progress, and will not include …

Military miracle turns fuel exhaust into water

Man, if there's two things you don't have enough of when you're deployed in the desert and insurgents keep blowing up your fuel runs, it's beer and Wii. Wait no, it's diesel and water. Luckily researchers have devised a way for soldiers to turn one into the other. Membranes full of tiny tubes condense vehicle and generator exhaust, turning the vapor into liquid water and stripping contaminants along the way. The average soldier needs about seven gallons of water a day — for drinking, but also for cooking and bathing and so forth. This new tech could make that amount …

The budget deal slows innovation and slashes rail, green jobs, and cleanup programs

This year’s budget negotiation hacked away at a lot of important programs.Photo: Dan ConwayCross-posted from the Wonk Room. The Republican slash-and-burn budget accepted by President Obama to avoid a government shutdown will put our fragile economic recovery in jeopardy. Moreover, the cuts are ideologically motivated, preserving massive subsidies for fossil fuel polluters while knocking out support for a cleaner, more innovative economic future. The cuts [PDF] and funding prohibitions from Obama’s budget request include: Environmental Protection Agency: $1.6 billion, including $50 million from science and technology programs, $110 million from environmental programs and management, $4 million from buildings, $10 million from Superfund, $797 …

Recycling robot is Terminator for trash

Finnish company ZenRobotics has developed a robot that can sort out recyclables from construction trash … about half the time. Doesn't sound exciting? That's because you haven't seen the company's awesomely over the top trailer. IN A WORLD … WHERE CONSTRUCTION TRASH MAKES UP 50 PERCENT OF THE WASTE IN U.S. LANDFILLS … ONLY ONE ROBOT … CAN SAVE US ALL … FROM HALF OF THAT.

Renewable Energy

California solar has a sunny week

A rendering of the future Ivanpah solar plant. Photo: BrightSource EnergyIt’s only Tuesday but two milestones have been reached this week in the long march toward a carbon-free future. On Monday, BrightSource Energy became the first solar power plant developer to complete the financing of a large-scale project in two decades. The United States Department of Energy finalized a $1.6 billion loan guarantee BrightSource’s 370-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System solar thermal power plant now under construction in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. (The feds initially had pledged $1.37 billion but threw in another $230 million Monday.) As the …

Google goes all in on solar — to the tune of $168 million

Google has saved you from getting lost, running out of email storage space, and not knowing trivial facts about 90s TV shows. And now it’s going to help save you from a dystopian Mad Max future by investing in solar energy. The company just bet $168 million on solar tech, in the form of the Ivanpah “power tower” plant in the Mojave Desert in California, which should be finished in 2013. Power towers are simple: lay out an array of mirrors — 346,000, in this case — and aim them at a tower full of water. On a sunny day, …

Sustainable Business

Pro sports are going greener, and that means the rest of us are too

The Seattle Sounders don’t just have crazy fans. Their facilities have a 57.6 percent landfill diversion rate.Photo: Mike HPro sports may not seem like a natural ally for environmentalists. Players fly from Boston to Los Angeles and back for a single game. Leagues and teams convince cities to build expensive and often unneeded new facilities with taxpayer money. Fans clog up roads as they drive to games and clog up trash cans with hot-dog wrappers and beer cups once they arrive. But six teams representing six major North American sports leagues have kicked off a new effort to make themselves …

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