On today's show, a brilliant solution to the problem of science education, and which tech companies have the best and worst green records (it is Earth Day, after all -- for real this time)! Also, Google and Apple are sending your location data back to the Mother Ship, Amazon is making everyone nervous about the cloud, and AT&T thinks wireless competition is "extraordinary." Uh huh. All that and the best Computer Love success story ever. --MollySubscribe: iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (320x180) | iTunes (640x360) | RSS (MP3) | RSS (320x180) | RSS (640x360)… Read more
MOUNTAIN PASS, Calif.--Here in a hot, dusty corner of Southern California desert, a set of 17 chemical elements in the periodic table--so critical to advanced technology industries that they're a matter of national security--are being unearthed. Molycorp's rejuvinated $500 million facility, now under construction and set for completion in July 2012, will reduce the environmental impacts of the rare-earth-element-mining process and dramatically cut costs, providing a homegrown source for the elements used in so many national defense, energy, and consumer electronics products. This week, I toured the facility here, the only place in the United States that … Read more
Lighting manufacturer Lighting Science Group announced yesterday it will begin selling low-cost LED lightbulbs on Amazon.com beginning today.
The company's A19 omnidirectional 8.5-watt bulb (40-watt equivalent) will sell for $21.98, and is only the first in a line of low-budget LED bulbs planned for sale at the online superstore, according to Lighting Science Group.
The company says its bulbs will last up to 23 years, and are 76 percent more efficient than a standard incandescent bulb.
"Lighting accounts for more than 18 percent of the average U.S. household's energy bill--that's because incandescent … Read more
To borrow a line from science fiction writer William Gibson, the future of green tech is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed.
Today is Earth Day, a good time to consider how the technology meant to preserve our environment and natural resources is progressing. If you consider individual green products, whether it's plug-in cars or home solar panel leasing, the impact on the giant scale of the energy industry is quite small. Hybrids, never mind plug-in hybrids, are less than 2 percent of total sales, and renewable energy is about 10 percent of electricity generation, with … Read more
Links from Thursday's episode of Loaded:
Amazon.com launches a library lending program for its Kindle e-reader
Toshiba's tablet will come out in June in Japan and shortly thereafter abroad
Google launches Earth Builder for cloud storage of geographic and geospacial data
Gamefly wins its case against the U.S. Postal Service
Though you probably know that Friday is Earth Day, I'd wager that you weren't aware that it's also National Cell Phone Recycling Week. Created two years ago by the Environmental Protection Agency, the week encourages U.S. wireless subscribers to recycle and reuse old handsets rather than discarding them into a drawer, or worse yet, throwing them away in the trash.
It's a noble effort, indeed, particularly when you consider how often we're encouraged to … Read more
Google's mapping-related announcements this week weren't limited to its expansion of MapMaker to the U.S.: On Wednesday, Google announced a new enterprise product called Google Earth Builder, which it says will help businesses process and handle geographic data so that they don't have to do it on their own servers.
"It lets you upload, process, and store your geospatial data in our cloud," a post on the Google Enterprise Blog explained. "Your employees can use familiar tools--Google Maps and Google Earth--to easily and securely share and publish mapping data. No technical expertise or … Read more
Molycorp, a U.S.-based supplier of rare earth minerals, said today it has acquired a processing facility to manufacture metals for use as magnets from its minerals used in many green-technology products.
The company paid $17.5 million to Japan-based Santoku for its Arizona-based Santoku America, which has a facility that can make neodymium iron boron (NdFeB) alloys from the minerals mined at Molycorp's Mountain Pass, Calif., facility. Molycorp on Wednesday plans to host a ground-breaking event at the mine, which has been closed since the 1990s.
The acquisition gives Molycorp the ability to make some products for … Read more
If you own a Blu-ray player and a set of eyeballs, you absolutely, positively must add "Planet Earth" to your library. I insist.
This four-disc BBC documentary series has a list price of $99.99, but Best Buy has "Planet Earth" on Blu-ray for $24.99, plus sales tax in most states and $2.49 for shipping. (You can save on shipping by heading to your local Best Buy brick-and-mortar, though I'm not positive the price is the same in-store.)
File this one away under the rubric of "thinking big."
A half century after scientists failed on their first attempt to penetrate the Earth's mantle, geologists Damon Teagle of the National Oceanography Center in Southampton, England, and Benoit Ildefonse from Montpellier University in France say it's time for a second try. And unlike their predecessors, they have the technology to turn that challenging endeavor into a reality.
The goal is to retrieve samples from the Earth's mantle, a feat which, if successful, would supply a trove of new information about our planet's origins and … Read more