|Beauty and the geeks: Maggie Gyllenhaal and friends|
Last night Al Gore won an Oscar and didn’t announce his candidacy for president. It barely seemed to matter, though. With some stock footage and what amounts to little more than a KeyNote presentation (albeit a fancy one with some kickin’ graphics), Gore has gotten people to worry and care about the environment more than anyone in office ever did. Even the academy took up the appeal—boasting last night about their initiatives: partially recycled paper for their ballots! organic food at the Governor’s Ball! discussion of using hydrogen fuel cell buses for transportation next year! Okay, so it’s hardly a revolution, but it’s a start and more and more companies have been heeding the call and trying to clean up their act. Even we here at PopSci are brainstorming ways to lessen our carbon footprint. (Watch for an online environmental program in the coming months.)
Meanwhile, in all our excitement over the declining state of the world and the possibility of Gore2008, we neglected to report on those other, smaller-but-in-no-way-lesser Oscars—the Scientific and Technical Academy Awards, hosted this year by the lovely Maggie Gyllenhaal. These Oscars too ended up with a green tint, awarding a special commendation to those who worked on an industry-wide conversion of materials used in soundtrack printing from polluting and caustic silver-based emulsions to a harmless cyan dye.
Bummed `cause you’ve been using organic food and cyan dyes for years now and haven’t gotten jack? Screw the Academy and make your own little gold man or Sci-Tech plaque. Just don’t forget to thank all the little people who got you where you are today. —Abby Seiff
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.