Science & Technology

The Unchained Goddess

One fact of climate change not widely recognized even by environmentalists is just how long ago the basic science and implications of the greenhouse effect were established. Victorian scientists were fascinated by the ice ages, and named carbon dioxide as a possible cause in the mid-1800s. At the end of the 19th century, chemist (and future Nobel Prize winner) Svante… read more →

Wind dome simulates violent weather

This is an old-ish story, but Christmas is a slow news week, and anyway it's kind of cool: Tyler Hamilton reports that the University of Western Ontario is building a first-of-its-kind hexagonal wind tunnel capable of simulating real-world wind conditions such as tornadoes, storm downbursts, low-level jets, and gusts. The system will have many uses, chief among them improving the… read more →

The Copenhagen Wheel

I hold the possibly idiosyncratic view that hybrid electric bicycles could be a significant mode of transportation in the future. Hybrid electric bicycles add a battery pack and a motor to a standard bike frame, providing a boost to riders as they pedal up hills, haul loads, or just cruise around town. Although bicycle purists look down on them, hybrids… read more →

Toyota to sell plug-ins, but mass adoption still a long way off

Responding to competitive pressures, Toyota has is now planning to sell a plug-in Prius in 2011: > Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, dominates the current generation of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, but it has refrained from rushing lower-emission cars like the plug-in hybrid to market. Instead, Toyota has focused on plans to introduce regular hybrid technology to all its models by… read more →

Some pollution can protect against other pollution

It's no great secret that humans are a significant source of many chemicals and nutrients used by other organisms throughout the world. For instance, plants breath in carbon dioxide, which we emit in gabs, and they also use nitrogen, which we distribute in fertilizer and fix in combustion engines. Both are essential for plant growth, but could it be that… read more →

Chemical reactions in the atmosphere

The relative greenhouse effect of different gases in the atmosphere are compared based on their annually averaged "radiative forcing," a measure of how much energy each gas emits or absorbs per unit area. This is well understood phenomena: laboratory tests of gas interactions with radiation are applied in radiative transfer models of the atmosphere to determine how much heating or… read more →

State of climate science

Via Clean Break, John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, offers some useful thoughts on the recent controversy surrounding the emails stolen from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Holdren touches on the current state of climate science, the significance of the emails, and the nature of the scientific process.… read more →

Hacked emails show some scientists are rude

I'm as disappointed as the next person in some of the conduct evident in the hacked emails of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Although I generally have some sympathy for a derogatory tone taken towards the so-called skeptics -- after all, deniers tend to be a community wholly devoted towards misrepresenting and misusing climate science… read more →

Smart grid round-up

Lotsa smart grid news these days: Barack Obama announced $3.4 billion in stimulus funding for smart grid projects. A good chunk of that goes to smart meter deployment and demand response programs. Another huge chunk goes to grid modernization. $3.4 billion isn't that much in the scheme of things, but cash-for-clunkers haters can feel good that real money is being… read more →

Is your backyard ready for wind energy?

Do you ever look out your window, watch the branches swaying in the wind and wonder whether you could be generating your own wind power? Well iPhone users, you can now download the app you never knew you needed… it will tell you whether you it's windy enough for your own personal turbine. Mariah Power. *Windspire Me* uses the phone's… read more →
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