The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

January 10, 2017 by  
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For an EcoGeek, there were many surprises at the 2017 edition of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). We’ve been watching the emphasis on green cars decline for a number of years. Some of that is in the mainstreaming of more efficient vehicles, with increased fuel efficiency standards, greater numbers of hybrid vehicles, and alternative fuels. But nothing brought home how far things have come quite so much as this year’s show. Last year, we thought , “the days of green cars being featured at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) seem to be over.” Where the “green” cars were once a niche item that were typically highlighted with special displays. This year, green is so mainstream that the 2017 Green Car of the Year is also the North American Car of the Year for 2017. Those awards, along with Motor Trend Car of the Year, all went to the Chevrolet Bolt. And there are many companies with multiple electric drive vehicles. Toyota, Ford, GM, and BMW each have a variety of options available. Some are all electric drive. Some are gas/electric hybrids. Some are smaller, shorter range commuter cars, while others are readily capable of long range trips. It is no longer the case that, if you want an electric drive vehicle, your selection is limited to the one model that a company offers. There are choices, and not just between this manufacturer or that one, but a variety within a company. Even Fiat Chrysler, which has in past years seemingly paid no attention whatsoever to eco-mindedness, has a hybrid Pacifica minivan, which offers an 83 MPGe rating. At this point, it seems that the automotive manufacturers don’t feel a strong need to keep pushing the market to accept electric vehicles or to get them to understand the benefits. That has been established with consumers, and it is now a matter of finding the right vehicles to meet the demand that they have fostered. What is exciting for us as EcoGeeks is that the pursuit of transformative technology continues. The lower level of the show has been an unpredictable sideline to the main floor show. In some years it has been almost like a ghost town. In others, it has offered a driving track with sometimes many different vehicles available to test drive. This year, the lower level was packed with dozens of different booths ranging from second-tier manufacturers (who make components and systems for the automakers), autonomous vehicle technologies, two different folding electric scooters, university racing and design programs, and a row full of developers of automotive- and transportation-related apps and services. As has been the case in previous years, hydrogen-fueled vehicles caught our eye as the next wave to watch in the transformation of the market. The joke about hydrogen fueled vehicles has long been that “Hydrogen powered vehicles are always 20 years in the future.” But now, after several years, that 20 years is starting to feel like it might be inching a bit closer. Where electric vehicles were a decade ago, hydrogen vehicles are today. They are something that some companies are dedicating some of their floor space to displaying. Toyota and Honda both have available hydrogen vehicles on display, and are selling hydrogen vehicles to consumers. In addition, GM, in conjunction with the US Army, has a fuel cell powered Colorado variant on display on the lower level as an investigational next-generation HMMV replacement which is slated for field trials later this year. Completely unrelated to attending the auto show, but perhaps a telling sign, while driving home on the highway on Sunday night, I passed a tanker truck carrying a load of liquid hydrogen. Perhaps it’s the shape of things to come.

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The Surprising Green Lining at 2017 NAIAS

MIT’s fusion reactor sets new world record

October 14, 2016 by  
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MIT ‘s nuclear fusion reactor Alcator C-Mod set a new world record on its last day of functioning at their Plasma Science and Fusion Center . Due to lack of government funding, the experimental reactor closed the end of September, right after scientists broke the plasma pressure record. MIT set the previous record over a decade ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0SzyJr73uE Fusion energy powers the sun, but it’s not so easy to replicate on Earth. In order for scientists to successfully generate fusion energy, plasma must reach a certain temperature, be confined for a certain amount of time, and reach a certain particle density. Density and temperature create pressure, which according to MIT is two-thirds of what scientists require to successfully create fusion energy, so pressure records are a big deal. Related: Princeton experimental fusion reactor breaks after $94 million upgrade The last record, set in 2005, sat at 1.77 atmospheres. The new record of 2.05 atmospheres means MIT improved pressure by around 15 percent. When Alcator C-Mod set the world record, the temperature inside the reactor was more than 35 million degrees Celsius, which is roughly twice as hot as the sun’s center. Other fusion experiments have attained such high temperatures, but at much lower pressures. The plasma in the reactor generated a staggering 300 trillion fusion reactions every second. The area required for this feat was tiny; according to MIT, it was just 1 cubic meter, or about the size of a coat closet. Alcator C-Mod operated for 23 years until Congress decided to stop funding it in 2012. They ultimately decided to fund Alcator C-Mod for three more years, a time period that ended September 30, 2106. Scientists praised MIT’s accomplishments. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory former deputy director Dale Meade said in a statement, “The record plasma pressure validates the high-magnetic-field approach as an attractive path to practical fusion energy.” If you have questions about nuclear fusion energy or the reactor, MIT scientists, faculty, and students will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on October 20 at 1PM EDT. Via MIT News Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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MIT’s fusion reactor sets new world record

Tiny alpine hut is a cozy refuge in the harsh yet spectacular Slovenian Alps

October 14, 2016 by  
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Engineer and mountaineer Karlo Korenini designed the original 1936 bivouac shelter, which impressively withstood the elements for 80 years despite its simple construction. The new upgraded and improved Bivouac II is a replica of the old hut, which was airlifted and donated to the Slovenian Mountaineering Museum , and is located in the same wild area in the Julian Alps. The new bell-shaped hut was airlifted into place and was built to be as easy to maintain as possible and is capable of withstanding hurricane force winds and heavy snow loads. Related: Exceptional prefab alpine shelter overlooks mind-boggling mountain views Laser-cut and pre-bent aluminum plates were used to clad the steel-framed building and chosen for their aesthetics and durability. Specialty REFLEX glass with superior insulation was installed to let light into the hut. The less than nine-square-meter wood-lined interior fits six people and includes a folding table, overlapping bench, storage, and other elements for a cozy and relatively comfortable experience. + Bivak II na Jezerih Via ArchDaily Images via Anze Cokl

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Tiny alpine hut is a cozy refuge in the harsh yet spectacular Slovenian Alps

Globally resilient enterprises: What do they look like?

November 2, 2015 by  
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About a decade ago, former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano wrote about the advent of “the globally integrated enterprise” in “Foreign Affairs.” He argued that such companies must be structurally, operationally and culturally different from the multinational corporations of the past so they can respond to complex supply and demand conditions.

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Globally resilient enterprises: What do they look like?

INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike

January 3, 2014 by  
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The average American drives almost 10% less each year than they did a decade ago – but that’s still a lot! In 2010, Americans travelled 40% further by road than Canadians, 60% further than Australians, and twice as far as Brits. Shrink That Footprint just launched a new infographic that shows which countries lead the way for miles traveled by train, plane, and bike – check it out after the break! The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: american drivers , green lifestyle , green transportation , infographic , shrink that footprint , sustainable transportation , transportation in the usa , us transportation infographic        

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INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike

Clayton i-house Modern Prefab Built in "Sustainable Community"

August 12, 2011 by  
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Images credit i-house One of the lessons in the first wave of modern prefab, almost a decade ago now, was that it was easy to get excited about small green designs, but you had to have a place to put them. The same issue is facing the current pioneers in the tiny to not-so-big house movements; they don’t fit in conventional developments. Finally, this is beginning to change, as developers and entrepreneurs experiment with what are still very niche markets. At Green Bridge Farm in Georgia, one can find both green prefab and tiny houses, not to mention an organic farm. One of the first homes… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Clayton i-house Modern Prefab Built in "Sustainable Community"

Arctic Sea Ice May Expand Or Contract Over Next Decade, Before Disappearing By Mid-Century

August 12, 2011 by  
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photo: NASA ICE / CC BY Apropos of Arctic sea ice melting on track to set a new record low this year: There’s some new research on how quickly we might see an entirely ice-free summer . Scientists from the National Center for Atmo… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Arctic Sea Ice May Expand Or Contract Over Next Decade, Before Disappearing By Mid-Century

Dick Cheney Ushered in Era of GOP Climate Denial: NY Times

October 19, 2010 by  
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Photo: Creative Commons, Karen Ballard , Wikipedia Former Vice President Dick Cheney may have been more responsible for the near-decade of climate inaction that the Bush administration oversaw than anyone else. It was he who hewed closest to the climate denial script a decade ago, and perfected the art of insistently calling into question peer-reviewed, consensus-backed science as an ironclad excuse for inaction. In an op-ed, the New York Times links Cheney’s denial strategies to..

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Hövding Helmet Is An Airbag For Your Head

October 19, 2010 by  
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This woman is wearing a bicycle helmet. Studies have shown that helmets are an impediment to cycling for some, particularly women, who don’t like what it does to their hair.

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Hövding Helmet Is An Airbag For Your Head

Mystical Mt. Fuji is Tourist-Polluted

September 8, 2010 by  
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Image from oldphotosjapan : Mount Fuji in Clear Weather by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Mt. Fuji in Japan is one of the most famous and iconic mountains in the world; it has been the subject of endless photographs, poems and paintings over the centuries

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Mystical Mt. Fuji is Tourist-Polluted

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