The company that literally turned energy generation into child's play -- it makes a soccer ball that generates energy -- has a new way to charge your gadgets while running around and having fun. Now kids can generate energy not just when they play soccer, but when they jump rope. Just 15 minutes of jumping rope can power a small device.
The rope "uses the spinning rope to generate an electrical charge in the handle," says Treehugger. At $129, this isn't one of those devices that's going to save you much money. It's more a donation to the organization, which is aiming to bring the cost down to a price point that works for the developing world.
Norse Energy is a failure when it comes to its core business -- drilling for gas and oil. Despite America's huge drilling boom, the company is bankrupt. Unable to turn a profit as a driller, the company has taken to suing governments and officials that limit fracking, blaming them for its undoing.
Attorneys for the company's trustees filed a lawsuit Tuesday against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and two state commissioners, claiming that the state's fracking moratorium had brought about the company's undoing. The Press & Sun-Bulletin reports:
The suit asks the court to force the Cuomo administration to finalize a study that will determine whether large-scale fracking -- a controversial technique to help extract gas from shale formations -- can proceed in New York, arguing that repeated delays in the state’s decision-making process are grounds for a judge to intervene.
In May 2010, as BP prepared to try to staunch the flow of oil from beneath the wrecked Deepwater Horizon rig by dumping mud over the blowout, some of the company's engineers knew the effort was bound to fail. But the mud-dumping plan, codenamed Top Kill, moved forward anyway as the world's media watched on. Sure enough, Top Kill failed to staunch the leak.
One of the engineers who knew the effort would fail, Kurt Mix, later tried to keep that a secret from investigators. When Mix found out that his iPhone was about to be seized, he deleted more than 100 text messages -- messages such as "Too much flowrate – over 15,000." In that message, Mix was warning a colleague that 15,000 barrels of oil was leaking every day, which was too much oil for the operation to handle, and three times the flow rate that BP had stated publicly.
The presumably panicked decision to delete the texts on Wednesday led to the 52-year-old Texan being found guilty by a jury of one charge of obstruction of justice -- a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. He avoided conviction on a second, similar charge. His attorneys vowed to appeal. From the AP:
The [Plant Protection Products and their Residues] Panel found that acetamiprid and imidacloprid may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory. It concluded that some current guidance levels for acceptable exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid may not be protective enough to safeguard against developmental neurotoxicity and should be reduced.
We say "further restrict" because the use of imidacloprid is already severely restricted in Europe, barred for two years from being used on flowering crops and plants because it kills bees and other pollinators.
Steve Sammartino (who describes himself as a "Melbourne entrepreneur and marketing guy") and Raul Oaida ("a 20-year-old self-taught technology genius from Romania who Steve met on the internet") have made something really, really fun. It's a car. Usually we are not so excited about cars. But this one is made out of four rubber wheels, "some load bearing elements," and more than 500,000 LEGO pieces.
The seats are made of LEGOs. The hubcaps are made of LEGOs. The engine is made of LEGOs.
The Atlantic recently compiled a year’s worth of writing advice from authors like Amy Tan, Michael Pollan, and Stephen King, all condensed into one tidy article. Notably, Pollan credits digging around in the dirt with helping him solidify the ideas in his books. Cool, right? Here are some of his tidbits:
I kept reading, and I kept gardening ... I'd learned a set of values from Thoreau in the library, but it was only when I tested them -- in the crucible of an actual garden with actual pests on an actual patch of land -- that I was able to form my values more fully.
Pollan made the link from plate to farm to oil fields when reading Wendell Berry. Realizing that “eating is an agricultural act,” as Berry wrote, dramatically changed Pollan’s perspective -- and gave him something to write about:
When I point out to a genetic-engineering enthusiast that the technology hasn’t lived up to its hype, I often hear the same rejoinder: “We’d have all sorts of amazing transgenics out there if it weren’t for the bans and oppressive regulations.”
So I set out to determine if this was true. Is there evidence that groups fighting against GMOs have thwarted good technologies that would otherwise make agriculture more sustainable? I asked several plant scientists if there were actual examples of projects that had been abandoned.
Kevin Folta, a plant scientist at the University of Florida, emailed to tell me about the BS2 tomato. It has a gene that protects it from bacteria of the genus Xanthomonas. Here’s a lovely animation by Duc Phan Tran, explaining how Xanthomonas attacks a plant, and how resistance works:
By using the BS2 tomato, farmers could avoid spraying their fields with antimicrobial heavy metals. And, Folta said, the plants are shovel-ready. “BS2 tomato is alive and well at UF” Folta said.
But there’s no reason to try to get this tomato into the hands of farmers, Folta said.
“It costs too much -- [getting through the regulatory process would cost] $5-10 million on the cheap side, takes too long, and then you just have the products smeared by activists that threaten whole industries if they consider adopting transgenic approaches.”
Q.The holidays are coming, and with them, lots of pies. Pies that go better with whipped cream. I use a foamer bottle to make whipped cream, quickly, easily, and with far less mess than doing it by hand or with a stand mixer. But I just realized: The cartridges I use are CO2! So I'm using a greenhouse gas just to make whipped cream! I'm feeling ridiculously guilty. Is it really all that much? How much CO2 would be released generating the electricity to power a mixer to do the same thing?
Steve, a.k.a. Grossly Conflicted about a Minuscule Part of My Life!
A. Dearest Steve,
Welcome. You’re among friends here. I wouldn’t have a column if not for people grossly conflicted about minuscule parts of their lives.
I must start by breaking the news that the situation is worse than you think: The cartridges (also called chargers) you’re using in your whipped-cream foamer are most likely filled with nitrous oxide, not carbon dioxide.
I’m helicoptering over a thousand-mile mess of dirt-dusted glaciers, spongy tundra, and bristling forest in the far north of British Columbia. My gut wobbles as we drop past mountain ridges toward our destination: a soupy, pea-green bog dotted with a handful of black ponds. Fed by whitewater trickles draining the peaks around us, it’s a sucking, primordial muck reminiscent of an antiquated dinosaur mural, or a day-glo panel from Swamp Thing’s origin issue. And sure enough, it’s the birthplace of something big, ancient, and slippery: the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine -- three of the largest salmon rivers on the West Coast, all born here or near here in the Sacred Headwaters.
But the Sacred Headwaters doesn’t owe its growing fame to the chinook, coho, and silver salmon races that have been flapping up these rivers since before the Bering Strait opened to pedestrians. For that, we ultimately must thank what lies buried directly 2,000 feet below: 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas trapped inside vast beds of coal.