Business & Technology

Bamboo iPhone speaker amplifies music with zero electricity

The iBamboo speaker makes use of the naturally resonant properties of bamboo to provide zero-electricity amplification for the iPhone 4. Yeah, you could get more gadgets to go with your gadget, but this is probably cooler -- no wires, no energy use, and it adds as much Zen cool to your desk as a tiny portable waterfall (which would need to be plugged in anyway).

How oil and gas companies that deny climate change are adapting to it anyway

Next to agriculture, the industry most vulnerable to climate change is, arguably, the extraction of the very fossil fuels that are causing it, says Michael Cote at GOOD. And while this industry is spending millions to deny that climate change even exists and to block efforts to deal with it, it's also going to need to spend billions to cope with its effects. Sure, climate change sucks harder than a collapsed star, but at least it's leading to ironies so vast that only particles of sputtering dumbfoundedness can escape.

How we’ll get ultra-efficient solar cells by copying plants' 'quantum biology'

Some day solar cells will be as cheap as house paint, and the renewables vs. fossil fuel debate will seem as quaint as Whigs vs. Jacksonian Democrats. Getting there has inspired all kinds of crazy ideas, and the craziest, perhaps, is to do it exactly like plants do. Thing is, your average plant turns out to be exploiting tricks of physics that most scientists used to think were only possible inside a lab, under high vacuum, at the intersection of a bunch of laser beams cooling a handful of atoms to near absolute zero.

Your cable box uses more power than your refrigerator

Introducing the booze-fueled power plant

Bourbon's birthday was yesterday, but if you're anything like me, you're still celebrating. So you'll be glad to know that whisky -- we'll go with the Scottish spelling, because this is happening in Scotland -- is the newest addition to the Unlikely Biofuels Club. Helius Energy is building a 7.2-megawatt plant in Scotland that will run off of waste from whisky distilling. Isn't that so much classier than powering your car with Four Loko?

Google to spend $280 million to give you solar panels — free

The challenge with putting solar on your roof is that even if it saves you money over the long run, you're essentially pre-paying your utility bill for the next ten to 20 years -- and who has that kind of scratch? That's why SolarCity exists: to pay for and install those solar panels, and then lease them to you or sell you the power they produce, for less than your current utility bill. Google just dropped $280 million on the company because they think this is such a fantastic and, in their words, "safe" investment.

Russia building floating nuclear power plants to unlock Arctic oil

Houses made of bacteria could save 800 million tons of CO2

What would the world be like if we could build houses out of bacteria? For starters, the story of the Three Little Pigs might have ended very differently. But biomanufactured bricks, made of a mixture of sand and non-pathogenic bacteria, could also help house people in developing countries while saving almost 800 million tons of CO2 every year.

Green Jobs

Green jobs are real: U.S. solar employs more people than steel

People want to know: Are green jobs real? The answer is resoundingly "yes." With roughly 93,500 direct and indirect jobs, the American solar industry now employs about 20,000 more workers than the U.S. steel production sector.