This little dining table, which I read about at Treehugger, might either be the grossest or the coolest eco-tech idea I've heard in a while. Or maybe both. The cone-shaped thing under the table is a fabric bag that's home to a functioning ecosystem full of creepy crawlies like worms and sowbugs, which break down your leftover food and turn it into compost that your house plants or garden will find very yummy. The compost then sprinkles out the bottom of the bag when it's ready. Plus, there's an LCD screen that's hooked up to … Read more
Here's a bright idea that we found on The Gadgets Weblog: if people can't figure out how to conserve energy, maybe showing pictures of cute animals conserving energy would help them get the idea. Indeed, it's being implemented in an ad campaign by a French electricity company--see, the penguin is turning off a computer, and the meerkats are installing solar panels on the roof! As you may know already, I have a thing for penguins, so of course I think this is a cool idea. And seriously, how cute are those meerkats? (Bigger versions of all the … Read more
If you ignore the estimates that all the farmland in the U.S. couldn't produce enough biodiesel to make a big dent in our petro-appetite, biodiesel is pretty exciting--when you can find it. All the tired jokes about pulling up to your favorite Chinese restaurant aren't very funnny when the needle is on "E" and you want to stay green.
Nearbio.com is a free site that tells you where the nearest biodiesel vendor is located and how to get there. It's really optimized for use on a web-enabled cell phone (nearbio.mobi) where its … Read more
There are many online calculators for assessing how your lifestyle pollutes the planet; environmental nonprofits sponsor most of them, such as the Earth Day Network's Ecological Footprint Quiz. But learning about the downstream effects of your driving, computing, and shopping can give you guilt to last. Once you feel like the sky is falling, what are you supposed to do about it?
Entrepreneurs bent on spreading sustainability have created Web sites to capitalize on either your guilt, survival instinct, or nobility--whatever the personal motivation may be--by letting you examine the ecological impact of your way of life. Then, you … Read more
In the market for a laptop bag made of recycled soda bottles or a solar-powered iPod charger? You could spend hours searching online for boutiques that stock those green goods. Or you could go straight to Five Limes, a social-shopping site linking to stores that hawk ecofriendly products, such as Green Home for nontoxic bedding, BTC Elements for organic blue jeans, and Green Office for recycled-paper Post-Its. Five Limes is "something like an Angie's List for green products," as Sustainablog puts it. Five Limes saves a history of your activities to tailor search results accordingly and to … Read more
I could say something really deep, introspective, and postmodern-pop-philosophy-ish about recent trends involving large-scale indoor horticulture. You know, about the blurring of indoor and outdoor spaces in the collective unconscious, and the human yearning for closeness to the organic in a sterilized world, and...
Here's a better way to put it. These days, it seems to be kind of trendy to take things--like owls and tree branches--that are normally found outside, and put them indoors. Like that wall of plants they've devised over in Sweden. Well, a design group in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has taken the … Read more
I've co-existed with housecats most of my life. In the same living space. The little darlings will awaken you at night when they want room service. Some needlessly kill salamanders or wild birds. We had had one angry tom who pooped on top of our piano. They'll sneak food from your plate if you leave the dining table. Pick fights with the neighborhood skunk or raccoon with the expected results. And they will always sleep on your pillow, leaving a free deposit of soft fur behind.
But none of that matters, or even moves the annoyance needle. Not … Read more
In the solar energy world everyone is talking about CIGS, or cells made up of copper indium gallium selenide.
They cost less to make and are flexible, which makes it easy to incorporate into roof shingles or building materials. The sample photographed here from DayStar Technologies would shatter if it were a silicon solar cell. DayStar and others will begin commercial production of CIGS cells next year.
But the best part is how they get made: The pattern on the solar cell is made through silk screening--the same industrial process that brought you the Lynyrd Skynyrd muscle shirt.
"We … Read more
Does this give you the creeps too? The Genkiyoku shower from Panasonic uses half the water of traditional showers. But personally, it gave me the creeps. Plus, it does make some hard-to-reach spots more difficult to manage.
But I guess if you had a wall in front of it, rather than a sliding glass door, you might feel less violated. The picture was taken at the company's Eco and UD house, an ecologically friendly home that it says can be commercially viable by 2010.
(Photo: Michael Kanellos/CNET Networks)
Eco-chic uberblog Treehugger has written up the winners of the "Light Objects" sustainable design competition hosted by Core77, and the first-prize gadget looks something like...an iPod. Called "Pulse," this slender little device monitors energy output and glows red when you're dealing with a nasty energy hog (oink, oink). Designer Daniel Sutherland has said that he intends "Pulse" to be used as an indicator of how many electronic products we leave on standby throughout the course of the day and night--and how many of those, like our computers, could be turned off instead.… Read more