If you've done a fair amount of electronics circuit building, then you probably dread prototyping. You know prototyping: that point where you take your "perfect" circuit design from paper and transfer it to an initial hardware mockup. Typically, you have three basic choices in this matter, each with its own problem.
Your first choice in circuit prototyping is to lay out your design on a modular breadboard. The strongest virtue of this choice is the elimination of soldering -- all connections are built into the breadboard. Unfortunately, breadboards are bulky and unable to handle surface-mount device (SMD) designs.
Following closely on the heels of breadboard prototyping, your second choice is perfboard layout. Once again, most perfboards are unable to accommodate SMD circuit designs. Plus, the point-to-point wiring needed for connecting the components can be a daunting task.
Which leads us to your final choice for circuit prototyping: custom printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication. Whether you roll your own PCB with DIY masks and etch kits, or hire a fab house to create a custom PCB, time will be your enemy. Fab houses can take upwards of one month for delivery of a finished board (unless you're willing to pay extra for faster service), and making your own PCB can be fraught with frustrating failures and delays which can take days to weeks to solve.
No matter whether you felt that Earth Hour was a terrific conservation tactic or an overhyped PR stunt, energy on our planet is in peril. Our daily juice (be it electric, gasoline combustion, atomic, or carbon-based), has become a precious commodity with at least one guaranteed effect: to elicit an instantaneous hot-button opinion from just about everybody.
What can you do about it? Well, one great proactive demonstration would be to stop your regular consumption of dry-cell batteries. Yes, there are numerous substitutes, ranging from rechargeable varieties to alternative energy replacements, but each of these substitutions has a debit that few of us are willing to pay. You know, "costs" like always hunting for an outlet to power a battery recharging station, or getting rid of a clean, slim-line AA battery for a gargantuan solar-driven bat-winged monstrosity.