We explore the more practical next-gen vehicles that you might actually see on the road in the future
By Pierce HooverPosted 06.15.2011 at 3:30 pm 0 Comments
As with most prototype vehicles, we've had our share of design and mechanical problems. Fortunately, these challenges have--so far--not stopped us, but have slowed our progress, putting us three days behind our original projected schedule. Of course, as Dwight Eisenhower famously said, planning is everything, but plans are nothing.
Japan's "T2K," one of our favorite neutrino experiments (we're keen on several), might have just cracked the mystery of why matter triumphed over antimatter after the Big Bang (they should have canceled each other out).
Virginia's mountains provided the first real obstacles on our trip--but also some windy inspiration
By Pierce HooverPosted 06.15.2011 at 10:10 am 1 Comment
The first line of western Virginia's 3,000-plus-foot peaks presented our first real challenge of the 2001 Ecotour, just as they did to the early pioneers moving westward. (You can make your own connections.) Fortunately, instead of having to slash our way over rhododendron-covered slopes, we could gear down and inch upward on paved roads.
At Japan's Environment Ministry offices, the employees conform to a new energy-saving dress code known as Super Cool Biz (what, you have a better name?). Super Cool Biz (which I will refer to by its full name as often as possible, for obvious reasons) is an effort to tamp down Japan's skyrocketing energy consumption, largely through cutting out excess air conditioning--and the hotter offices required a change in the traditional Japanese dress code, from full suits to eye-catching and naturally cooling Hawaiian shirts.
We're five days into our cross-country road trip. The rolling hills of Virginia's Piedmont are behind us, and we're into the Appalachian mountains. Up to the 200 mile mark, we were averaging 25 watt-hours per mile – well below our 35 watt-hour target. Now, as we are addressing our first significant climbs, the per-mile wattage has increased, but not alarmingly when averaged over a two- or three-day period. The climbs can be real battery drainers, pushing the watt-hours per mile upward into the 40-plus range.
Girls might just have a new best friend. Diamonds are commonly known as one of the hardest (and shiniest) rocks on the planet, but new simulations show that three other stable forms of pure carbon would sparkle even more than diamonds. If we knew how to synthesize them, that is.
Common geothermal electricity setups generally involve extracting hot water from subterranean rock formations deep inside the Earth’s crust and using that heat to turn turbines. Common carbon sequestration schemes involve pumping carbon dioxide from the surface deep into the ground to prevent it from becoming atmospheric CO2. I think you can see where we’re going here.
Green technology is on the rise, but the U.S. still consumes an enormous amount of fossil fuels
By Fathom Information DesignPosted 06.06.2011 at 3:42 pm 0 Comments
The U.S. consumed 94.6 quadrillion BTUs of energy in 2009, more than any other nation. It also produced more energy than any nation but China: some 73 quadrillion BTUs.Those 94.6 quads break down into 308 million BTUs per capita--the equivalent of about 50 barrels of oil for every American.
Day two of our tour started with a picturesque ride on back roads through Virginia’s Piedmont country, with rolling hills and horse farms. Mid-morning found us in the small town of Ashland, where we stopped into the Station Café for a cool drink. The day was already into the 90s, but the front door to the Café was standing open. Inside, ceiling fans kept air moving, and the atmosphere was quite pleasant. It was a marked contrast from some earlier stops, where we were met at a restaurant door by a blast of arctic-cold air.
It’s common empirical knowledge that computing generates heat--go ahead, touch the bottom of your MacBook--but a new paper in the journal Nature claims that it doesn’t have to. In fact, under the right conditions, theoretical physicists say that deleting data can actually produce negative heat--that is, it can have a cooling effect. That’s right, this is a quantum mechanics post. Exit now if you don’t want a headache to start the weekend.