Fuel-Cell Car Crosses America

In 1999, Daimler-Chrysler unveilled a fuel-cell concept car. On June 5, the car completed a 16 day trek across America. Check out GM’s fuell-cell concept car, too.

Found via slashdot.

>  6 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

The Ashden Award

The aim of the Ashden Award is:

“to support a project that will provide support to a rural community in a developing country, in a way that alleviates poverty and improves the quality of life, while remaining fully responsive to existing cultural values. The project would need to provide an energy source either for income-generating or agricultural activities or for improving educational or healthcare facilities. The project should have an exemplary value, that could encourage the use of environmentally-friendly, sustainable sources of energy in similar contexts.”

Check out some winning projects.

>  5 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

The Doomsday Clock

“For nearly 55 years, the Bulletin [of the Atomic Scientists] clock (a.k.a. the ‘Doomsday Clock’) has been the world’s most recognizable symbol of nuclear danger. The first representation of the clock was produced in 1947, when artist Martyl Langsdorf, the wife of a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, was asked by magazine co-founder Hyman Goldsmith to design a cover for the June issue.... This simple design captured readers’ imaginations, evoking both the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of military attack—the countdown to zero hour.... The idea of moving the minute hand came later, in 1949, as a way to dramatize the magazine’s response to world events.”

See the current time.

>  2 June 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Squeeze Power

Aladdinpower is the world’s first and only hand held and operated regulated generator capable of charging rechargeable batteries instantly, just by squeezing your hand together.” Each unit includes a universal connecting cell phone cable and a high powered emergency light. Coming soon, the foot powered StepCharger.

>  28 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in ,

Water, Hydrogen Power Island

“According to this article in The Herald Newspaper, the island of Islay, on the West coast of Scotland is set to become the world’s first Hydrogen Fuel Cell powered island. Scientests at Napier University wish to use the existing Wave Power Station to treat sea water and store the resulting hydrogen in fuel cells. The first plan is to power a building, moving on to powering the entire island in a decade.” From

>  15 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , ,

Light. Cheap.

Instigated by Dr. Dave Irvine-Halliday, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Calgary, Canada, the Light Up the World Foundation “introduces a safe, simple, healthy, reliable and affordable form of home lighting, using white light emitting diodes. This rugged home lighting system will allow people in some of the poorest and least developed rural communities to light up their homes and raise their quality of living.... The lights are powered by a relatively cheap, belt driven pedal system and rechargable battery. It takes less than half an hour to put enough charge into it to run a set of 8 WLEDs for an entire evening.”

Found via slashdot.

>  9 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

‘Friendly Fire’ Deaths Traced to Dead Battery

“The deadliest ‘friendly fire’ incident of the war in Afghanistan was triggered in December by the simple act of a U.S. Special Forces air controller changing the battery on a Global Positioning System device he was using to target a Taliban outpost north of Kandaha.... Three Special Forces soldiers were killed and 20 were injured when a 2,000-pound, satellite-guided bomb landed, not on the Taliban outpost, but on a battalion command post occupied by American forces and a group of Afghan allies, including Hamid Karzai, now the interim prime minister.... The Air Force combat controller was using a Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver... to calculate the Taliban’s coordinates for a B-52 attack. The controller did not realize that after he changed the device’s battery, the machine was programmed to automatically come back on displaying coordinates for its own location.”

From the Washington Post.

>  5 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , ,

Remember Plutonium

In 2001, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced a competition

“to focus the world’s artists, architects, and visionary thinkers on a problem that has all but stumped the world’s policy makers, scientists, and leaders: the problem of plutonium disposal. Plutonium stays radioactive for thousands of years, can be made into nuclear bombs, and is deadly if ingested. But simply hiding it away prevents the world from learning anything from its folly. The challenge: to design and build a facility where all the world’s plutonium can be safely stored for all eternity (or 240,000 years, whichever comes first), where tourists can visit and acknowledge the folly of creating as much explosive plutonium as humanly possible, and something that’s beautiful and grand and awe inspiring.”

There are quite a few technical considerations. Check out the contest rules and the winning designs.

>  5 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

The Clockwork Radio

In 1991 Trevor Baylis saw a television programme on AIDS in Africa. A health worker noted that advice on how to prevent the disease spreading further could be broadcast by radio if only radios and in particular batteries were not so expensive, often costing more than a weeks food for a family. So Trevor invented a clockwork radio powered by hand crank. The radios are produced in South Africa at a factory which is partially owned by seven disabled organisations and which actively seeks to employ the disabled. The rest is history.

A modern array of stylish, rugged, crank-powered radios and flashlights are available for purchase from Freeplay.

>  2 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , ,

(Solar) Power to the People

Grupo Fenix is a non-profit organization that supports renewable energy and sustainable development in Nicaragua, especially in low-income communities. The group works with students at the National Engineering University in Managua to develop low-cost, high-efficiency solar ovens for cooking or drying wood as well as solar cells for generating electricity for lighting and recharging expired batteries in a country with extreme poverty and very little infrastructure. The group also employs landmine survivors, teaching them how to install and maintain the solar units. The solar units are recycled from silicon wafers from the U.S. that are not quite pure enough to make computer chips out of.

>  2 May 2002 | LINK | Filed in , , , , ,

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