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Monday, April 14, 2008

Craziest Green Technologies

Our 12 Favorite Green Technologies

With all the excitement surrounding the worldwide push to “go green”, there have been some fascinating innovations that make it easy and even fun to save energy. Thanks to their creativity, we are entering an age where saving energy is almost as convenient as wasting it. Here are 12 green inventions that are helping us make this a cleaner planet.

Solar Powered Cell Phones

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

German researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have created a prototype for the world’s first-ever solar powered cell phone. While full-fledged solar panels are still quite large and expensive, the researchers have integrated smaller, high-efficiency cells into the phones which, they claim, offers a module efficiency rate of 20%. In other words, the phone will stay steadily charged as long as it gets roughly 2 hours of sunlight per day. Failing that, the phone can still be charged via conventional methods.

Power Generating Revolving Doors

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Ever feel like a farm animal when you’re passing through those huge glass revolving doors, bunched up next to other people who are probably feeling the same way? Well now, everyone can take heart in the fact that they are helping the environment each time they pass through these doors. The New York design firm Fluxxlab has created a revolving door that harnesses the kinetic energy of the door’s revolution and converts it to usable electricity. In a busy New York City or L.A. office building, this could add up to some serious, carbon-free power!

Ice Energy

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

With summer right around the corner, homeowners nationwide are dreading the huge spike in electricity bills that air conditioning season will cause. It is a pain virtually all homeowners know. Fortunately, one innovative company has stepped forward with a solution: Ice Energy, with their “Ice Bear” installation. The Ice Bear integrates with your air conditioner, freezing water overnight when the temperatures are lower and the electricity is (in most places) cheaper. During the day, the ice cools the air conditioner’s refrigerant instead of using fresh electricity to do it. The end result: roughly 30% energy savings when the AC is in use.

Bamboo Clothing

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Clothing made out of bamboo, you ask? No, it’s not a joke, and it’s actually quite comfortable! Shirts Of Bamboo has found a way to turn this Panda snack into wearable items of clothing, ranging from shoes to bathroom attire to shirts and slacks. The secret to the eco-friendly use of bamboo lies in how fast it grows; a bamboo plant grows several feet per day and matures to full growth in only four years, compared to 25 years or more for average species of trees. Bamboo is also completely biodegradable, which translates to virtually no perceptible impact on the environment. Combine these great benefits with the fact the bamboo clothing is thermo-regulating, anti-microbial and requires no chemicals, and it’s a wonder more people aren’t wearing bamboo already!

Wind-powered bicycle light

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Everyone agrees that it’s far safer to ride a bike at night with a safety light that identifies you to motorists. The only problem is the dozens and potentially hundreds of batteries those lights will consume over a lifetime of riding. Luckily, a company called Duck has created a bicycle light that draws its power from the wind resistance you generate! As you pedal furiously into the sunset, the wind spins tiny blades that deliver electricity to a bright LED light via a hidden copper coil. A small, rechargeable lithium ion battery kicks in if and when you aren’t actively pedaling anywhere.

Solar Powered Aircraft

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Don’t let the picture fool you: we can’t (yet) harness enough of the sun’s energy to get this plane off the ground. What these solar panels can do, however, is provide enough juice for the pilot to conduct his pre-takeoff diagnostics and checks. The panels also send a continuous flow of power to the plane during the flight, which translates to less fuel being consumed per flight. The savings will be huge when major carriers start incorporating solar technology into their commercial flights!

The Eco-Kettle

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Most of us look forward to that fresh morning brew when we wake up and stretch out in the morning. Unfortunately, we also boil twice the volume of water that we actually need to boil our tea or coffee water. Think it’s a trivial amount? Think again: experts estimate that we’re wasting almost 50 light bulbs worth of energy each time we do this. So what’s a green coffee lover to do? Enter the Eco-Kettle, which you fill and regulate the amount of water you use with a measuring button that knows how much water you want. Just specify how much you need – a single cup up to a full jug. By the time you rush out the door with your coffee or tea in hand, you’ll have racked up a water savings of 30%!

Solar Powered Dehumidifiers

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

This decide makes damp, uncomfortable indoor humidity a thing of the past! Using solar energy, musty, choke-inducing air inside your home or office is neutralized with fresh, dry, sun-warmed air from the great outdoors. Best of all, there are absolutely no running costs incurred by using the device, and your carbon footprint will be markedly reduced. Visit the link below to inquire about having a SolarVenti dehumidifier fitted for the outside of your home or office.

Green Roofs

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

While many cities are engaged in a death match with developers who want to encroach upon their green spaces, some municipalities are thinking outside the box and taking the fight to the rooftops. That’s right, the rooftops! In many cities, the roofs of buildings and office blocks now house gardens, flowers, and even fully-soiled and grown lawns of green grass. While this may sound silly at first blush, green roofs are far more than just an environmental affectation. One financial benefit is lower air conditioning costs, as the green roofs cut down on the heat that gets trapped in the building. Many speculate that over time, green roofs will even improve the air quality in busy cities. It’s a win-win!

Fast, Stylish Electric Cars

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

What’s the biggest problem with hybrid cars? Face it: while we love the concept of eco-friendly vehicles, we hate how they look! The typical hybrid car is a boxy, futuristic-looking heap of plastic that looks like something George Jetson dreamed up in outer space. The other major drawback is that most hybrid cars are severely lacking in the power department. However, one company is revving their engines in an effort to leave both of these problems in the dust. Tesla Motors, backed by the founders of Google and PayPal, has created an all-electric car that looks like a Mustang and can go from zero to sixty in 4 seconds. The vehicle emits only 1/3rd third the carbon-dioxide pollution of hybrids and can drive 250 miles per charge on its lithium-ion battery.

Water Powered Gravity Clock

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

This alarm clock from delivers you the time using nothing but water and the natural force of gravity. The secret is a “battery pack” that holds the water required for the clock’s operation for months at a time without being refilled. When you’re running low on power, just add more water straight from the faucet. Other features include an alarm, temperature reading, a timer, and a special gravity sensor which allows you to toggle between functions just by tilting the clock at a different angle (ie, changing its center of gravity.) Best of all: the entire clock is itself recyclable!

Solar Power Harnessing Backpacks

Craziest Green Technologies - Going Green

Ever dream of being a walking, talking power generator? Maybe not, but thanks to this new backpack from Voltaic Systems, this dream is becoming a reality. To the naked eye, it passes for a totally normal backpack, but to the trained observer, there are solar panels affixed to it that capture the sun’s energy as you walk across campus, up a mountain, or just about anywhere with sunlight. The best part: the pack is outfitted with standard connections for cell phones, iPods, USB, and more, allowing you to put the 4 watts per hour of sunlight that you capture to use on virtually any device you desire.

World's Longest Slam Dunk

Crazy video of a Japanese jumping off a trampoline to slam dunk a basketball. Could this be the world record slam dunk from a trampoline.

'OpenMac' Promises $399 Headless Mac... But Not From Apple

Monday April 14, 2008 12:14 AM EST
Written by Arnold Kim

A company called Psystar has started advertising a $399 computer called "OpenMac" which claims to be a Leopard compatible Mac built from standard PC-parts. For $399, you get a tower computer with the following specs:

- 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
- 2GB of DDR2 667 memory
- Integrated Intel GMA 950 Graphics
- 20x DVD+/-R Drive
- 4 USB Ports
- 250GB 7200RPM Drive

Many of the components can be upgraded, however. For example, the graphics card can be updated to a GeForce 8600GT 512MB for $155 more.

Psystar is marketing this as a cheaper and more expandable alternative to a true Apple Mac.

When comparing base configurations, the Mac Mini costs 150% of the price of the OpenMac while offering poorer performance, smaller storage space, and RAM. Not only that but the Mac Mini doesn't have the option for an nVidia GeForce 8600 video card like the OpenMac does so playing games on it is a lost cause.

The company claims that the machine is Leopard compatible with some "minimal patching" but does offer Leopard pre-installed. This is reportedly accomplished by using parts that are known to be compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, as well as the use of an EFI emulator.

With the EFI V8 emulator it is possible to install Leopard's kernel straight from the DVD that you purchased at the Apple store barring the addition of a few drivers to ensure that everything boots and runs smoothly.

Readers should note that these claims have not been independently verified, so this should not seen as an endorsement of this product. However, the technology appears to be derived from the osx86project, which has allowed hobbyists to install Mac OS X on their non-Apple PCs.

The concept is an interesting possibility, and will certainly draw the attention of Apple. The use of Leopard on non Apple-branded hardware is a violation of its End User License Agreement (EULA) and is specifically prohibited.

Chismillionaire Approved- The Signature Suites at MGM Grand

The Skylofts at MGM are still the Chismillionaire's favorite, but these units are really clean and would meet the approval of most any skeptical spouse or girlfriend. No gaming at the facility, so the pace is a bit more relaxed. Flat screens in the bathroom, fully equipped kitchens, balconies in most suites complete this great package.

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Chismillionaire intrigued by the Anti Shoe

Learn to walk again with these Bad Larry's

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Laser triggers electrical activity in thunderstorm for the first time

Device on mountaintop takes first step toward manmade lightning

WASHINGTON, April 14—A team of European scientists has deliberately triggered electrical activity in thunderclouds for the first time, according to a new paper in the latest issue of Optics Express, the Optical Society’s (OSA) open-access journal. They did this by aiming high-power pulses of laser light into a thunderstorm.

At the top of South Baldy Peak in New Mexico during two passing thunderstorms, the researchers used laser pulses to create plasma filaments that could conduct electricity akin to Benjamin Franklin's silk kite string. No air-to-ground lightning was triggered because the filaments were too short-lived, but the laser pulses generated discharges in the thunderclouds themselves.

"This was an important first step toward triggering lightning strikes with laser beams," says Jérôme Kasparian of the University of Lyon in France. "It was the first time we generated lighting precursors in a thundercloud." The next step of generating full-blown lightning strikes may come, he adds, after the team reprograms their lasers to use more sophisticated pulse sequences that will make longer-lived filaments to further conduct the lightning during storms.

Triggering lightning strikes is an important tool for basic and applied research because it enables researchers to study the mechanisms underlying lightning strikes. Moreover, triggered lightning strikes will allow engineers to evaluate and test the lightning-sensitivity of airplanes and critical infrastructure such as power lines.

Pulsed lasers represent a potentially very powerful technology for triggering lightning because they can form a large number of plasma filaments – ionized channels of molecules in the air that act like conducting wires extending into the thundercloud. This is such a simple concept that the idea of using lasers to trigger lightning strikes was first suggested more than 30 years ago. But scientists have not been able to accomplish this to date because previous lasers have not been powerful enough to generate long plasma channels. The current generation of more powerful lasers, like the one developed by Kasparian’s team, may change that.

Kasparian and his colleagues involved in the Teramobile project, an international program initiated by National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France and the German Research Foundation (DFG), built a powerful mobile laser capable of generating long plasma channels by firing ultrashort laser pulses. They chose to test their laser at the Langmuir Laboratory in New Mexico, which is equipped to measure atmospheric electrical discharges. Sitting at the top of 10,500-foot South Baldy Peak, this laboratory is in an ideal location because its altitude places it close to the high thunderclouds.

During the tests, the research team quantified the electrical activity in the clouds after discharging laser pulses. Statistical analysis showed that their laser pulses indeed enhanced the electrical activity in the thundercloud where it was aimed—in effect they generated small local discharges located at the position of the plasma channels.

The limitation of the experiment, though, was that they could not generate plasma channels that lived long enough to conduct lightning all the way to the ground. The plasma channels dissipated before the lightning could travel more than a few meters along them. The team is currently looking to increase the power of the laser pulses by a factor of 10 and use bursts of pulses to generate the plasmas much more efficiently.

Lightning strikes have been the subject of scientific investigation dating back to the time of Benjamin Franklin, but despite this, remain not fully understood. Although scientists have been able to trigger lightning strikes since the 1970s by shooting small rockets into thunderclouds that spool long wires connected to the ground, typically only 50 percent of rocket launches actually trigger a lightning strike. The use of laser technology would make the process quicker, more efficient and cost-effective and would be expected to open a number of new applications.


Kasparian conducted the research with his colleagues at CNRS, the University of Lyon, the University of Geneva, École Polytechnique and ENSTA in Palaiseau, France, the Free University of Berlin and the Dresden-Rossendorf Research Center as part of the Teramobile project. This work was funded jointly by the CNRS, DFG, the French and German ministries of foreign affairs, Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Fonds national suisse de la recherche scientifique, and the Swiss Secrétariat d'État à l'Éducation et à la Recherche.

Paper: "Electric events synchronized with laser filaments in thunderclouds," Jérôme Kasparian et al, Optics Express, Vol. 16, Issue 8, April 14, 2008, pp. 5757-63; abstract at

About OSA

Uniting more than 70,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics. For more information, visit

Public release date: 14-Apr-2008
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Contact: Colleen Morrison
Optical Society of America

Sony's new Bravia HDTVs double as framed art

If you like the idea of a wall-mounted HDTV but can't quite bring yourself to hang a big piece of gadgetry on the wall where your family pictures should be, Sony has a solution for you. Their recently-announced E4000 line of LCD HDTVs are designed to look like a framed picture, and will actually display a static artistic work of your choice when you're not actually watching TV. The sets will ship with six pre-installed images, including Van Gogh's Wheatfield with Cypresses and you can add your own pictures via USB drive. You'll even get four different "frame" options--Midnight Sky, Aluminium, Pearly White and Dark Walnut.

According to Sony, 1080p 32" and 40" sets are planned, as well as a 720p 26" set. No prices or release dates have been announced yet.

blog post photo

blog post photo

Red Bull Air Racing the next Big Thing

This is great stuff

7 (More) Abandoned Wonders of the Former Soviet Union [PICS]

There are abandonments all over the world, but the former Soviet Union has some of the most interesting, unique and strange abandoned infrastructure. The complex political, military and social history of the country can be understood in part through these deserted island fortresses, radioactive mines, incredible estates and abandoned cities.

read more | digg story

Bahrain World Trade Center Activates Wind Turbines

by Jorge Chapa

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins Architecture Firm, Bahrain WTC, Wind-powered skyscraper, windscraper, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

You may remember that about a year ago we brought you news of the Bahrain World Trade Center, which was designed to have three giant turbines provide power to the building. Well, this past Tuesday, the project was finally completed, with the final testing and installation of the enormous wind turbines which power the building. This week, Bahrain WTC has, for the first time, activated all three 29m-diameter turbines at the same time!

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins Architecture Firm, Bahrain WTC, Wind-powered skyscraper, windscraper, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

It may not sound like much, but for such a high profile project, this represents a huge step. When we first brought you news of the project, the turbines had just been installed. And for the past year, all have slowly been tested and balanced, to ensure that they were working properly. But as of now, the project team can lay claim to having successfully incorporated a technology which had never been proven on a building, and certainly not at this scale. The three wind turbines are expected to provide around 10-15% of the power for both towers, representing about 3.5% of the total cost of the project.

“Having all three turbines spinning simultaneously represents an historic achievement for this landmark project and Atkins is excited to have been a major player in turning the original idea into reality” said Simha LytheRao Senior Project Manager for Atkins, designers for the project.

+ Bahrain World Trade Center Turbines Spin for the First Time
+ Video of BWTC Turbines in Action

Here’s a clip on the BWTC turbine construction (in Spanish)

BAHRAIN WORLD TRADE CENTER Wind Turbines, Manama, Wind Power, Eco Scraper, Atkins Architecture Firm, Bahrain WTC, Wind-powered skyscraper, windscraper, Green sky scraper, Bahrain Eco Building, Bahrain WTC

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Grand Canyon's 55-million-year-old secret

An ancient river may have laid the canyon's foundation.New dating of the canyon's Upper Granite Gorge suggests that this older, 1,000-metre-deep gorge may have been a rough template for the eastern third of the Grand Canyon.

read more | digg story

What was he/she looking at?! What a way to go! (PIC)

Frozen in the throes of terror for eternity!

Yankees will donate once-buried Red Sox jersey to Boston-area charity

Updated: April 14, 2008, 8:05 AM ET

Construction Worker Tells His Side Of 'Jerseygate'

NEW YORK -- A construction worker's bid to curse the New York Yankees by planting a Boston Red Sox jersey in their new stadium was foiled when the home team removed the offending shirt from its burial spot.

After locating the shirt in a service corridor behind what will be a restaurant in the new Yankee Stadium, construction workers jackhammered through the concrete Sunday and pulled it out.

The team said it learned that a Red Sox-rooting construction worker had buried a shirt in the new Bronx stadium, which will open next year across the street from the current ballpark, from a report in the New York Post on Friday.

Yankees president Randy Levine said team officials at first considered leaving the shirt where it was.

"The first thought was, you know, it's never a good thing to be buried in cement when you're in New York," Levine said. "But then we decided, why reward somebody who had really bad motives and was trying to do a really bad thing?"

On Saturday, construction workers who remembered the employee, Gino Castignoli phoned in tips about the shirt's location.

"We had anonymous people come tell us where it was, and we were able to find it," said Frank Gramarossa, a project executive with Turner Construction, the general contractor on the site.

Red Sox Jersey

AP Photo/Frances Roberts

A worker at the new Yankee Stadium pulls a David Ortiz jersey out of the concrete. A Red Sox fan had placed the jersey in the concrete beneath the stadium in the hopes of jinxing the Yankees.

It took about five hours of drilling Saturday to locate the shirt under 2 feet of concrete, he said.

On Sunday, Levine and Yankees CEO Lonn Trost watched as Gramarossa and foreman Rich Corrado finished the job and pulled the shirt from the rubble.

In shreds from the jackhammers, the shirt still bore the letters "Red Sox" on the front. It was a David Ortiz jersey, No. 34.

Trost said the Yankees had discussed possible criminal charges against Castignoli with the district attorney's office.

"We will take appropriate action since fortunately we do know the name of the individual," he said.

A spokesman for Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said Sunday he did not know whether any criminal charges might apply.

"It's typical Yankees," Castignoli told the Boston Herald on Monday. "It's not like I snuck in there. It didn't do any structural damage. I didn't put anyone in harm's way."

Castignoli, 46, said he became a Red Sox fan during his childhood in 1975 when he idolized slugger Jim Rice.

As construction began for the new Yankee Stadium, Castignoli said his union got after him to work on the project. The Red Sox fan was reluctant.

"I would not go near Yankee Stadium, not for all the hot dogs in the world," he told the Herald.

But he relented, and hatched the plan to plant the jersey. He said he worked just a single day at the stadium project.

"It was worth it," he said.

Levine said the shirt would be cleaned up and sent to the Jimmy Fund, a charity affiliated with Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Along with that, New York will send a Yankees Universe T-shirt, which is sold to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

"Hopefully the Jimmy Fund will auction it off and we'll take the act that was a very, very bad act and turn it into something beautiful," he said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Chismillionaire's Monday Deal of the Week

Gran Turismo: 5 Prologue $36.66

First High Definition Moon Map Released, Uranium Sites Located

Selene, Japan's lunar spacecraft and HD peeping Tom, keeps sending stunningly-detailed information from our crystal clear Moon to trashed Mother Earth. These first-ever high definition global topographic maps of the Moon were created using 1,127,392 point measurements, taken with its laser altimeter. And they are just preliminary versions.

So far Selene has collected six million data points, and it keeps going on. These 3D data points are all being processed now to further enhance what already is the most detailed topographic map in the history of space exploration.

JAXA—Japan's space agency—also announced that the Selene mission has gathered detailed information regarding the mineral composition of parts of the Moon's surface, including thorium, potassium, and uranium sites.

This topographical and mineral information will be crucial for the planning for future manned lunar missions, including the foundation of permanent lunar posts. And they can always include them in the next edition of Rand McNally's Moon Road Atlas, so astronauts can keep it in the glove compartment. [JAXA]

Audi TTRS set to launch next year

TTRS: Even hotter version of Audi TT coupe on the way

TTRS to get half an RS6 engine

By Paul Horrell

Audi's TTS (pictured) hasn't made it to the streets yet, but the TTRS is already under test for launch in calendar year 2009. It uses what amounts to half of the RS6's V10 engine, a highly turbocharged direct-injection straight-five cylinder, mounted transversely.

It will make north of 330 horsepower and is lighter than the 250HP V-6. It gets teamed with the six-speed twin-clutch S-Tronic transmission.

I love scotch! scotchy scotchy scotch

We have Angus MacKilt stuff! From the makers of our Angus MacKilt T-shirts, wear our Scotch hat or hoodie to display your heritage with humor.

Scotch Hoodie: Makin' White Men Dance
STSH – $48
Wear our Scotch Hoodie and stay warm on a cold winter day! Deluxe, really-nice-quality black hooded sweatshirt with white lettering. As an extra-nice added touch, each has "uisege beatha" printed on the sleeve (Scots Gaelic for "water of life", and the origin of the word whisky).


Scotch Hat: Makin' White Men Dance
STSH – $15
Wear our Scotch Hat and watch heads turn and people grin! (Even an occasional chuckle). Deluxe quality, one-size-fits-all adjustable ball-cap. Black with white lettering.