Business & Technology

We should all have plastic money like Canada

Canada has unveiled new polymer bills, which will replace paper $100 bills and, by 2012, paper 50s and 20s. They're super slick and futurey-looking (even though they still feature pictures of the prime minister from 1911). More importantly, they're designed to prevent fraud and will be better for the environment than paper money.

How better window glass will extend electric cars' range

As you already know if you’ve tried to chug your car up a hill on a really hot day, cranking the AC reduces fuel efficiency. In an electric car with a limited range to begin with, that's a big deal, and can mean shaving dozens of miles off the distance a vehicle can travel on a single charge.

New solar cells can be printed right onto buildings

The world's largest dye-sensitized solar cell has just made an appearance. These cells have a couple of major advantages over traditional solar cells: one, they're incredibly cheap, and two, they can be printed right onto the materials used to make a building. Right now they’re being incorporated into girders manufactured by Tata steel.

Solar-powered laptop lets you play outside while you work

What's the best way to piss off a computer scientist? Buy her a laptop that only works when it gets enough sun. It's the perfect gag gift for the basement-dwelling, vitamin D-deprived coder in your life.

Texas' fracking disclosure law has huge omissions

Yesterday we told you about Texas governor Rick Perry doing something right for once -- he passed of a law forcing drillers to disclose the chemicals used in the controversial and environmentally destructive practice of hydraulic fracturing. Turns out the law has a bunch of loopholes that corporations are duty-bound to exploit in accordance with their legal obligation to maximize shareholder value, even if doing so threatens people’s health. Maybe you've heard this story before?

Food

Dumpster diver says: Trader Joe’s must stop wasting food

I feed my family food from the dumpster, as explained in my new documentary "Dive!" But we need supermarkets to stop throwing good food in the dumpster in the first place.

Climate & Energy

The small-c conservatism of U.S. power companies

The U.S. power sector is biased in favor of the familiar. It's not well-suited to producing the risk-taking and innovation we need in clean electricity

The Pope is getting a hybrid car

The next popemobile will be a hybrid -- not just a hybrid between a pick-up truck and a dunking booth, like usual, but a gas/electric hybrid car that can go around 16 miles in all-electric mode. 

Small nuclear reactors get their first customer, but are no panacea

Small nuclear reactors are the mobile homes of the the nuclear power universe -- they can be built in factories rather than on-site, then shipped to their destination and hooked up to the local power grid without any expensive upgrades to transmission infrastructure.