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Articles by Adam Stein

Adam Stein lives in Chicago.

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Dwell magazine and Inhabitat have teamed up to sponsor a “Reburbia” competition in which designers re-envision suburbia in ways that make environmentalists seem as scary and dingbatty as possible.

The finalists include a lot of inspiring ideas, but my favorite by far is the proposal to have menacing 3,000-foot-tall robots stomp into suburban villages, rip the homes out of the ground, and install them in bleak, Matrix-like hives.

“By radically retrofitting suburbs, the old methodology of horizontal sprawl is supplanted with a scheme of vertical-core sprawl freeing the suburbanite from the demands of automotive travel.” Unless, of course, the suburbanite feels like traveling from his prison tower to one of the neighboring prison towers. The project is green because the robots will drill into the earth to tap geothermal power, which is a great idea for suburban villages that happen to sited on top of active volcanoes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention Vehiforce: “Generate Energy With Your Parked Car!” This isn’t some pie-eyed scheme to tap into the battery pack on futuristic electric vehicles. No, this ... Read more

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  • Digital downloads are greener than CDs

    Several studies have looked at the climate impact of internet infrastructure and information technology, and other studies have attempted to compare the relative efficiency of internet retailing vs. traditional bricks-and-mortar stores. A new study takes a different spin on the subject, comparing the energy embodied in physical products with their digital, network-based counterparts. The result […]

  • What does it mean for a car to get 230 miles per gallon?

    GM has created a bit of buzz around its claim that the Chevy Volt gets 230 miles to the gallon in city driving. From the internet a great chorus has replied: “This number doesn’t make any sense!” And it doesn’t.

  • Cash for Clunkers is a hit. Does it work?

    The unexpected popularity of the cash-for-clunkers program has sent congress scrambling to find more funding. About 250,000 people have taken advantage of the incentives to trade older cars for ones with better fuel efficiency, burning through the first billion dollars in about a week. The price tag of the program has given politicians something to […]

  • Oil prices and the recession

    Economist James Hamilton crunched some numbers and found that the current recession can largely be explained by sub-prime mortgages financial derivatives imploding credit markets insolvent banks winged monkeys the surge in oil prices in 2007 and 2008. It’s a result so unexpected that even Hamilton claims not to believe it entirely, but perhaps we shouldn’t […]