Jan 162012
 

Windstalk 825x 525New Media alumnus Rob Hussey points to this story about a proposal to tap the wind’s energy with “windstalks” rather than windmills. The idea is to harness the ability of a column made of piezoelectric material to convert the stress of bending with the wind into fossil-free electricity. Unlike a battery of conventional wind turbines, this artificial prairie would produce no friction and minimal noise. And look a mite prettier than a giant metal turbine.

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Nov 112011
 

Philips Microbe House 5Imagine an apartment where kitchen waste provides electricity, your interactive bathroom mirror helps prevent disease, and mushrooms in your composter devour plastic bags.

If you call yourself a twenty-first century design student, you should be studying this.

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Oct 102010
 

You gotta feel for corporate polluters like BP. First people stop buying their stuff. Now banks aren’t giving them loans. But not to worry: the Department of Homeland Security has them covered.

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4a789757de0e1bd810cb25cebc71312b via Byline Monsanto, the giant of agricultural biotechnology, has been buffeted by setbacks this year that have prompted analysts to question whether its winning streak is coming to an end.

Even banks are smelling a change in attitude:

http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=4bace2ca10b06640e129403b82716628 via Byline Some lenders are taking a stand on practices like mining and deforestation that may be risky to their reputations.

But don’t worry, Homeland Security to the rescue! (At least Nixon had the decency to keep his blacklists to himself.)

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/09/14/2254235/PAs-Dept-of-Homeland-Security-Shared-Oil-Shale-Protester-Info-With-Companies?from=rss via Byline Western Pennsylvania’s shale oil deposits have lately attracted interest not only from companies who have been extracting some of that oil, but from locals who object to what they perceive as sharp dealing by the companies involved, favorable treatment by the state government, and environmental degradation as a result of the extraction. Some of the most visible of those protesters, it turns out, have been tracked (including “Web traffic”) by Pennsylvania’s own Homeland Security department, and that information about them has been shared not only within the department, but with the oil companies themselves. Homeland Security director James Powers defended the information shared with the oil companies as part of a triweekly bulletin, saying “We want to continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.”

Sep 252010
 

I say release a swarm of rogue phospholipids on the Deepwater Horizon and let ‘em barnacle it over. And let some loose on Tony Hayward while you’re at it.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/09/19/232255/Self-Assembling-Photovoltaic-Cells dhj writes “MIT scientists have developed a self-assembling photovoltaic cell in a petri dish. Phospholipids (think cell membranes) form disks which act as the structural support for light responsive molecules. Carbon nanotubes help to align the disks and conduct electricity generated by the system with 40% efficiency. The assembly process is reversible using surfactants to break up the phospholipids. When filters are used to remove the surfactants the system reassembles with no loss of efficiency even over multiple assembly/disassembly cycles. The results were published September 5th in Nature Chemistry.”

Feb 172010
 

“Computer as furoshiki, here we come”–Bruce Sterling

BERKELEY — In research that gives literal meaning to the term “power suit,” University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibers that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles.

These nano-sized generators have “piezoelectric” properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches and twists.

http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/02/computer-as-furoshiki-here-we-come/

Feb 172010
 

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“Computer as furoshiki, here we come”–Bruce Sterling

BERKELEY — In research that gives literal meaning to the term “power suit,” University of California, Berkeley, engineers have created energy-scavenging nanofibers that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles.

These nano-sized generators have “piezoelectric” properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches and twists.

http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2010/02/computer-as-furoshiki-here-we-come/