10 sustainable Halloween decorations for your green home

October 17, 2018 by  
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Halloween is just around the corner, but when it comes to decorating your home for the spooky holiday, it can be a challenge to keep things eco-friendly. Most store-bought decorations are made with non-recyclable plastic and covered in toxic paint or synthetic fabrics. But there is no need for frivolous spending and waste when it comes to decorating for Halloween. There are some great DIY ideas that you can use to upcycle things that are already lying around your house, allowing you to keep your environmental impact to a minimum. Egg carton bats Upcycle your egg cartons by using them as bat decorations. With some non-toxic black paint, ribbons, glue and googly eyes, you can make these cute egg carton bats from Crafts By Courtney. Bed sheet ghosts This idea is extremely easy, and all it takes is some old white bed sheets, leaves or newspaper and some string. Simply stuff your old sheets with leaves or newspaper and tie some string around the sheet to make the head. Then, hang them from  trees  to add a spooky effect to your front yard. Related: 6 DIY Halloween decorations made with upcycled materials Milk jug skeleton Dairy containers can come in handy when it comes to making sustainable Halloween decor. Save your old milk jugs and turn them into skeletons with string, scissors, a craft knife, glue and a hole punch. This idea from the Recycle Guys is a fun project to do with your kids, and it won’t cost you any more than the price of the milk you already drink. Yarn spider webs This simple Halloween decorating idea comes from Instructables , and all you need is yarn and scissors. Start by laying out a basic horizontal and vertical frame from the yarn, and then start weaving more yarn to make a web. You can find the step-by-step instructions here . Giant trash bag spiders If you put spider webs on your front porch, then it makes sense to add some giant spiders . According to Money Crashers, you will need some large black trash bags, leaves or newspaper, zip ties and a glue gun to make this creepy crawly. Mad scientist lab With some mason jars — or old baby food, pickle, olive or sauce jars — you can turn your home into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Put animal toys, eyeballs or other strange objects into each jar with some water and non-toxic or natural food coloring, and fill a shelf (or a window) with some crazy Halloween experiments . Mummy cereal boxes Who doesn’t have some old bed sheets lying around that don’t fit any bed in the house? I know I do, and white ones make the perfect Halloween craft item. Cut the fabric of an old sheet into thin strips, and cover a cereal or cracker box with the sheet pieces to make it look like a mummy . Then, add some googly eyes to make the perfect mummified decoration. Front yard cemetery With some used cardboard boxes, non-toxic paint, scissors and wood stakes, you can turn your front yard into a cemetery for Halloween. Make tombstones to place all over your yard, and if you add some artificial moss from a craft store, it will make it look even more authentic. For something you can use year after year, create your own tombstones from concrete . Ghostly lights Yet another idea for used milk jugs , you can make ghost lights with black construction paper, string LED lights , some googly eyes and a little glue. You can light up your walkway or front porch with these little ghosts. Gourds This is an obvious eco-friendly choice, but you don’t have to limit yourself to carving pumpkins for Halloween. Instead, you can wrap gourds in bows or paint them with non-toxic paint to create environmentally friendly decorations. If you want to keep things really simple, use plain gourds and pumpkins to decorate your dinner table, add some color to your front porch or line your steps or walkway. Then, compost your pumpkins and gourds after Halloween to help fertilize your garden. It is possible to go green at Halloween, you just have to look around the house for items that you can reuse to help reduce the problem of holiday waste. The options are endless when it comes to DIY  eco-friendly Halloween decorations. When you opt to make a few instead of buying plastic items at the store, the environment will thank you. Via  Care2 and Apartment Guide Images via Gurney Halleck , Quazie , Lenore Edman and Shutterstock

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NASA announces alien life could be thriving on one of Saturn’s moons

April 13, 2017 by  
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In a live broadcast today, NASA researchers announced the agency has uncovered the existence of key ingredients for life as we know it on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus . Scientists already knew that the moon had liquid water on the surface, due to the presence of geysers spewing water near the moon’s south pole. Now, hydrogen has been detected in those jets of water, which suggests the strong possibility that Enceladus’s oceans could support microbial life. It may seem strange that an ice-covered world like Enceladus is being looked at as a potential source of extraterrestrial life, but beneath the planet’s icy shell spans a worldwide ocean over a rocky core. The ice is thought to act as a protective outer layer for the sea, the same way that our atmosphere protects Earth and makes life possible on our own planet. In fact, NASA is closely observing many of these “ ocean worlds ” for signs of life. While Enceladus’s geysers have been known to scientists since 2005, this is the first time the Cassini probe has been able to detect any traces of possible life within them. It’s believed that the plumes originate in a hydrothermal system within the moon’s core, estimated to be 2 1/2 times more powerful than the one that drives Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs. Despite the icy outer shell, the gravitational pull of Saturn provides heat for the water in the moon’s interior, another encouraging sign for the development of life. Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars This new information about the moon comes from October 2015, when the Cassini craft flew into the plumes themselves, a mere 30 miles above the moon’s surface. The probe was able to capture particles from the plume inside a piece of equipment called an Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer, which can analyze the makeup of material encountered on its journey through space. The probe detected a number of interesting organic molecules, including molecular hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. The level of hydrogen , in particular, was surprising to researchers . This volatile gas isn’t easily captured on small, icy worlds like Enceladus, so there must be some chemical process beneath the surface producing the molecules. It may be that hot water from the ocean is flowing into iron-rich cracks in the sea floor, causing a chemical reaction that is constantly replenishing the ocean’s supply of molecular hydrogen. This is the same process that happens in Earth’s own hydrothermal vents , which helps fuel the strange and diverse ecosystems of the deep oceans. Because we’re familiar with exactly how this process supports Earth life, there’s a strong possibility that life could thrive on Enceladus in the same way. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have the instruments necessary to detect life directly on these watery worlds – only to look for the chemical indications of an environment that could potentially support it. Related: NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system NASA also today announced that they had found evidence of similar water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa , though less is known about their makeup. Unlike the Saturn Cassini mission, scientists don’t currently have an up-close view of Europa. Instead, they had to rely on data from the Hubble Space Telescope , which has been monitoring the moon to try to learn more about the makeup of its oceans. We may not know for certain until the 2020s, when NASA’s Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to launch. Via NASA Images via NASA/JPL

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10 green crowdfunded projects you’ll want to know about

January 26, 2016 by  
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Crowdfunding can help the newest ideas get a start towards becoming real. Check out these cool ideas, from the simple to the genius to the strange.

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Pee-powered socks turn your feet into a walking power plant in an emergency

December 14, 2015 by  
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Desperate times call for desperate measures, and you know ‘urine’ trouble when you have to rely on your own bodily fluids as a source of electricity. Yet, on occasion, to riff on a popular adage, it happens . Ioannis Ieropoulos’s team at the University of the West of England in Bristol (UWE Bristol) has developed a pair of socks that use urine as fuel to create enough electricity to send an emergency distress signal. This strange sock system uses microbial fuels cells (MFCs), in which bacteria consumes nutrients from the urine and create electricity as a byproduct. Read the rest of Pee-powered socks turn your feet into a walking power plant in an emergency

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NASA releases new images of mysterious 8,000-year-old earthworks in Kazakhstan

November 2, 2015 by  
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Space buffs are forever stunned and amazed by the things NASA finds out in the universe, but some days, it’s the discoveries the agency reveals here on Earth that are the most fascinating. NASA has released photos of some curious formations in the ground in Kazakhstan , and even the space agency’s scientists aren’t really sure what the patterns are all about. The formations, known as the Steppe Geoglyphs, are thought to be around 8,000 years old and NASA hopes that releasing the images will help unlock the mystery behind the strange patterns. Read the rest of NASA releases new images of mysterious 8,000-year-old earthworks in Kazakhstan

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Japanese scientists develop glass almost as sturdy as steel

November 2, 2015 by  
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Researchers in Japan believe they’ve found a way to create glass that is nearly as strong as steel . A material so resistant to shattering has thousands of applications, and those behind the science are hopeful they can start production soon. So, just how did they find an answer to every butter-fingered smartphone user’s dream? Read the rest of Japanese scientists develop glass almost as sturdy as steel

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10 Solar Power Innovations to Watch Out For

September 21, 2011 by  
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Shallu Sharma: Solar power innovations 10 Solar power innovations to watch out for The Sun has blessed us all with an alternative energy form which could be used in various ways to generate energy without harming environment and depleting natural resources. The day is very close when all the electronic gadgets we use will work on solar power. Given below are 10 solar power innovations to watch out for. 1. Converting Infrared Light to Electricity Infrared Light to Electricity Converting Infrared Light to Electricity Using visible light to produce electricity is a normal trend these days but researchers have found a new technique producing electricity by using Infrared rays. Titanium and Vanadium are added to the solar panel’s semiconducting material, which absorbs visible light as well as infrared light to produce electricity. The whole system has absorption limit of 63% as compared to 40% that of conventional system. 2. Thin Film Solar Record Thin Film Solar Record By US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Necessity is the mother of invention. This quote holds its true significance here. The shortage of silicon in the past few years has forced researchers to find out new alternative for thin films. In the same regard, the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has come up with thin solar film which resembles silicon film in appearance as well as functionality. This solar film is formed using copper indium gallium diselenide and is 19.9% efficient. 3. CoolEarth Inflatable Solar Balloons Solar Balloon CoolEarth Inflatable Solar Balloons Most of the companies are trying to cut down on the use of photovoltaic cells as they are very expensive. But the question is that if not photovoltaic than what? To answer this question CoolEarth is working on its inflatable solar collectors. These balloons are 400 times cheaper than the concentrators of similar size and can be mounted on wires further reducing any installation charges. Maintenance is as easy as installation. Any small damage could be healed with tape and replacement also takes not more than 15 minutes. 4. ‘Hairy’ Thin Film Solar Panels Thin Solar Film ‘Hairy’ Thin Film Solar Panels History is full of strange and weird inventions. To add to it, one researcher has found out a technique of growing light absorbing nanowires on carbon-nanotube material. This strange research of growing high efficiency photovoltaic material has been carried out by the researchers of McMaster University. The aim is to produce cheap and high performance solar cells. 5. Moth Eyes Biomimicry for Solar Panels Moth-Eye Moth Eyes Biomimicry for Solar Panels Silicon is coated with anti-reflective material to increase its light absorbing capability so that more electricity could be produced from it, but still the process in not very effective. To find a solution to this problem, researchers noticed that moths have non-reflective eyes for defense against night predators. Moth-eye efficiency could be realized from the fact that it reflects back only 2% light. 6. Day4 Energy’s Innovation Day4 Energy’s Innovation Day4 Energy’s innovation to improve solar cells There have been many successful innovations in the laboratory that have defeated the performance of solar PV, but only few were feasible enough to reach the market. Day4 Energy’s has recently made a practical innovation by increasing the efficiency of their solar cells to 17-18%, which could reduce its cost by approximately 25%. These solar panels will be soon available in the market. 7. 1366 Technologies Bringing Solar Power Closer to $1/Watt 1366 Technologies Innovation 1366 Technologies bringing Solar Power closer to $1/Watt 1366 Technologies, silicon photovoltaic manufacturing company is ready with its prototype of multi-crystalline silicon solar panel. Making three different innovations to the conventional multi-crystalline silicon solar panels have improved its efficiency by 20%. 8. Solaria: 90% of the Power with 50% of the Silicon Solaria’s solar cells Solaria: 90% of the Power with 50% of the Silicon Solaria’s solar cells produce 90% of the usual solar panel’s energy by using only 50% of silicon. Thus it is very cost effective method of producing energy. Unlike conventional solar panels that have silicon covering all over the surface, Solaria slices the silicon into small strips and places them away from each other so that they no wrap the whole panel surface. Instead, a molded plastic cover collects the entire light from panels and transfers it to the silicon strips, thus increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost. 9. Sunrgi’s Extremely Concentrated Photovoltaic Cells Sunrgi’s Photovoltaic Cells Sunrgi’s extremely Concentrated Photovoltaic Cells Sunrgi have claimed that they will shortly create electricity at wholesale cost of 5 cents kWh by using an innovating technique. They will do so by focusing Sun’s light to 2,000 times into exceptionally efficient solar photovoltaic cells. 10. Japan Hopes to Have Solar Power Station in Space by 2030 Power Station in Space Japan’s Solar Power Station in Space by 2030 Japan has always amazed world with its innovations and technologies. With the intention of doing the same, Japan is working on a Solar Power Station that will be installed in space by 2030. It will be a massive and a costly investment. It is estimated that orbiting portion alone could stretch for kilometers and weigh 10,000 tonnes.

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Squeal Wheels Tour: The Top 10 Cutest Electric Cars

September 20, 2011 by  
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[ By Steve in Art & Design & Energy & Fuel & Geography & Travel . ] Electric cars are good for the environment, inexpensive to operate and are an ideal choice for busy city commuters. They’re often small due to the need for light rolling weight but do they have to be so cute? These 10 electric cars and electric car concepts add a fluffy dollop of squeal appeal to your sustainable, pollution-free driving experience. The Electric One Person Car (images via: Miikka Skaffari , Brilliant Michael and My Desultory Blog ) That’s it, “The Electric One Person Car”? Considering the $36,000 price luxury retailer Hammacher-Schlemmer has stickered this single-seat three-wheeler with, you’d think they would at least pay a marketing consultant a few bucks to come up with an attractive name to match its undeniably cute styling. (image via: Yeeeeee ) The Electric One Person Car is made by Myers Motors of northern Ohio and is also known as the the NmG (No More Gas, duh). You may have seen a gaggle of them in Austin Powers in Goldmember . They’re available in your choice of White, Coral, Magenta, Red, Orange, Yellow, Lime Green, Green, Aqua, Dark Aqua, Teal, Blue, Lilac, and Purple… just like Skittles! Why just taste the rainbow when you can drive it? Peugeot’s 1001 Nimble (images via: AutoMotto ) Looking like an extra-large motorcycle helmet and not a whole lot larger, the Peugeot 1001 Nimble rolls along city streets on a quartet of rubberized spheres… not tires, spheres. That ought to give you a hint the pyramidal people-mover won’t be rolling anytime soon, or at least until Goodyear Spheres are sold at your local Wal-Mart or Pep Boys. (images via: Gajitz ) On the bright side, the Nimble is able to spin a full 360-degrees, even while in motion. This attribute should provide endless snorts & giggles at the fast food drivethru or after being pulled over by the police. Oh, the hilarity! Nissan’s “Smiling Vehicle” (images via: E-News , InventorSpot and Trendhunter ) Cute cars are supposed to make you smile. When the car smiles back, on the other hand, either you need to see a shrink or you’ve just encountered the Nissan Smiling Vehicle . Yes, “Nissan Smiling Vehicle” is yet another unimaginative, dishwater-dull name for an eminently interesting car but it DOES really smile so all is forgiven. (images via: Just Labradors ) The deformable polymer plastic in the Nissan Smiling Vehicle’s front end wasn’t designed to form a frown (that’s what Photoshop is for) but hey – you want drivers to express their real emotions or not? Cestar’s Sunset & Felstar (images via: Cestar ) The three-wheeled Sunset and Felstar made by Shandong Celstar Electric Vehicle Co Ltd may not smile when called upon like Nissan’s unique concept, but China’s just getting into the car biz and the tech know-how isn’t quite up to Japanese levels. Besides, these cars are made to be sold and as such, their “smiles” are forged in metal and screwed to their “faces”. Such is life in a Communist paradise, my friends. (image via: Cestar ) All politics aside, there’s something both alluring and endearing about the grinning grills Cestar’s sedans so frequently flaunt. Complemented by a pair of round, eye-like headlights and a blue sky-painted dash background, these cars positively scream “CUTE!” “BamGoo” Bamboo-bodied Car (images via: Gizmodo and Colors Of Swallowtail ) Didn’t Cheech & Chong once build a van out of marijuana? The “BamGoo” follows the same sort of concept though instead of customs agents, drivers need only fear hungry panda bears. Hopefully their extreme case of the munchies isn’t the result of running into Cheech & Chong. (image via: Japan Probe ) The BamGoo can travel 50 kilometers (30 miles) on a full charge and was developed by a team from Japan’s Kyoto University with sponsorship from the city of Kyoto. The project’s aim was to raise awareness of environmental transportation issues while promoting traditional Kyoto bamboo craftsmanship. Personally I’d prefer a nice, immobile wicker chair. THINK City (images via: AutoBlog Green , Treehugger and GreenCar ) Having recently learned of one Saab story, is the world ready to give Scandinavian cars another shot? Perhaps, if the THINK City is any indication. Made in Norway, the zero-emissions, all-electric THINK City can run up to 180 km (108 miles) with a fully-charged battery and boasts a top speed of 100 km/hr (60mph). (image via: MotorCarWin ) You can buy a THINK City if you live in Europe and they’re priced reasonably enough so that you don’t suffer a debt crisis… sorry, Greece. Driving a THINK City confers a few benefits as well, such as London drivers not being subject to the congestion charge. Get one charge, avoid another – works for me! Electric Trabant (images via: AllWorldCars ) Some people say the Ugly Duckling from Mother Goose was cute. Those people never saw (or smelled) the Trabant, the un-loved national symbol of the former GDR along with some very burly “female” Olympic swimmers. Is the Trabant ready for a comeback ? At least with electric propulsion it won’t stink up the neighborhood. Is it cute? Definitely… if we compare it with the duckling ugly original Trabant. Mega MultiTruck (images via: Steck Automobile AG and StockphotoPro ) The Mega MultiTruck is one of a number of small vehicles made by French microcar manufacturer Aixam-Mega. While the company’s electric cars are certainly stylish enough, it’s the MultiTruck that epitomizes cuteness by reminding us of our childhood. The Mega MultiTruck not only looks like a scaled-up Tonka toy, it can be modified in a number of ways depending on the user’s preference… though probably not by snapping the parts together. (image via: Araba Ruyasi ) You might think the term “electric truck” is a misnomer as trucks typically require both power and torque – not typical features of electric vehicles. Mega MultiTrucks are quite popular in the EU, however, appealing to buyers with economy, utility and their compact size perfectly suited for oft-narrow European city streets. Chinese Chika (images via: Gizmag , Automopedia and Electric For Car News ) Out to pick up some cute chicks? Better your odds by cruising in a cute Chika from China Automobile. Officially known as the Tang Hua XY08 Chika , the car displays generally pleasing curves with the only straight lines appearing on the horizontally striped grill. What’s up with that logo badge, though? Is that the company founder? Cheeky move, Chika dudes! (images via: Automopedia ) The 4-wheeled, 2-doored Chika is China Automobile’s bold step towards creating an original styling theme and they may have just done it. Unless, that is, blueberries have something to say about it. Japan’s Wrapping Electric Ad Cars (images via: Tokyo Times ) You can’t buy one of these electric “ad cars” but would anyone really want to? If there’s such a thing as Cute Overload, this is it. Besides, by all appearances they come in threes. Operated by the Wrappin company and often seen rolling merrily through the streets of Tokyo, these cars are wrapped in vinyl anew for every ad campaign. By this point it would seem their original flimsy bodies have been significantly augmented by untold layers of ad vinyl. (image via: Natebeaty ) There are plenty of reasons to buy electric cars. GM and the folks who work at the Chevy Volt manufacturing plant think so, but they may be a tad biased. Does the cute quotient of an electric vehicle factor into your decision to buy it – or pass it by? Considering the alternative to cute styling on a small car is something like a slab-sided golf cart, maybe going cute is the way to go! Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebEcoist: Top 15 Most Eccentric & Innovative Electric Vehicles A look into the strange and imaginative world of electric vehicle design, from ultra-futuristic concept cars to designs that’ll be available within the year. 15 Comments – Click Here to Read More »» Thinking Outside the Lot: 3 Futuristic Parking Lot Designs Parking lots usually look like little more than wasted urban space. These three futuristic parking lot designs take parking complexes to a whole new level. Click Here to Read More »» Radical Rent-a-Bikes Generate Eco-Friendly Energy Power from bicycles is not an entirely new energy idea but this highly creative public use could take the technology to the next level as people rent them. 3 Comments – Click Here to Read More »» [ By Steve in Art & Design & Energy & Fuel & Geography & Travel . ] [ WebEcoist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

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7 most innovative European renewable energy generating ideas

September 20, 2011 by  
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Pratima Kalra: Energy from renewable resources Innovative ways to produce energy using renewable resources European Union ranks number two in the world in developing as well as operating renewable energy power plants through the length and breadth of the European Union. They are currently experimenting with all possible sources of renewable energy including solar energy, wind energy, geo thermal energy, etc. Many parallel test stations have been set up for this purpose around the world. Once these pilot experiments are successful, permanent establishments will be created at various locations that will try to match the energy production of conventional plants. Read on to know more about such experiments. 1. Solar Islands Solar Island Colossal solar panels with a diameter of 100 meters Swiss Center for Electronics and Micro technology in Neuchatel, Switzerland aspire to build solar islands for generating electricity. They have gained approval and are under contract with the United Arab Emirates government to work on this project. Colossal Solar panels, with a 100 meter diameter will be topped to cover the desert. The panels will trap solar energy and produce 250KW energy every hour. 2. Volcano power Volcano Power Use of Geo-thermal power to generate energy The underground volcanic activity is the main source of power for Iceland. Geologists in Iceland want to exploit the full extent of underground temperatures to produce even more power. For this, they will dig 5 kilometer deep wells under the Icelandic Deep Drilling Project, supported by aluminum mining company Alcoa. The depth of these wells will allow 450KW of energy from 600 degree centigrade temperatures. 3. Solar Chimney Solar Chimney The chimney is installed with pressure turbines to convert heat into energy Solar Chimney power plant has been designed by Germany’s Solar Millennium that will have the mechanics to convert 65% of the solar radiations into heat by passing them through a glass roof. The trapped heat inside will rise in the chimney’s. The chimney will be fitted with many pressure turbines that will convert the heat into mechanical energy and subsequently to electricity. 4. Deep sea wind farm A deep sea wind farm Wind farms operating at a depth of 45 meters The Beatrice Wind Farm in Scotland has been chosen by Talisman Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy for setting up a deep sea wind farm. To avoid the wind farm being an eyesore for public, they have set it up 25 kilometers off the shore. The wind farm operates at a depth of 45 meters. Each wind turbine when installed will produce 5KW energy. 5. Sea Serpent The sea serpent This serpent looking generator is capable of producing 750KW of energy using wave power ‘Sea Serpent’ is the name of the Pelamis generator, which is 160 meters long and uses wave energy to produce 750KW of power. It was ideated by Iberdrola subsidiary Scottish Power and will be set up near European Marine Energy Center which is part of Northern Scotland. The organization plans to install about 4 of these sea serpents each with a capacity to produce 750KW of power. 6. Biomass power plants Biomass power plant Using waste leaf stalk and other residual material for producing energy Spain’s Abengoa is working on the model of a biomass power plant to be set up Salamanca, Spain that will generate energy from approximately 70 metric tons of biomass ethanol per day. Residual material left after harvesting crops, rotting leaves and other food stalk, etc., will be converted into ethanol and then electricity will be produced from this ethanol. Pilot projects have already been carried out in New York and England. 7. Wind and hydrogen hybrids The wind and hydrogen hybrid Renders wind energy more reliable Statoil Hydro is eager to render wind power more reliable. For the same, it has set up a test project at Umira, a small island off the west coast of Norway. The surplus wind energy is converted into hydrogen by using electrolysis. This hydrogen is stored in fuel cells and when it becomes calm again, the engine installed in the cell converts back the hydrogen into electricity. The technology is still underway and might take some time to become fully valid.

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The Onion Uncovers Strange Disturbance in Herd of Climate Scientists (Video)

August 2, 2011 by  
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Nation’s Climatologists Exhibiting Strange Behavior (Season 1: Ep 5 on IFC) Evidently, something is causing large numbers of a common breed of researcher known as “the climate scientist” to act increasingly agitated. As the Onion reports, nobody is really certain what it is they’re responding to, but one thing is for certain: Nobody has any idea what has the strange creatures worked up. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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