Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reading Roundup: June 20

Reading Roundup is a regular feature of WebEchoes. It exists to limit the number of "read this" posts with minimal commentary on my part.

The Oil Drum | Tom Tomorrow: A Brief History of Gasoline Consumption in America
A comic on the cycles of gas prices and our ability to remember what has happened in the recent past, and our silly unfounded optimism that everything will always be better or like it was in the "good old days".

Yale Environment 360: The Tipping Point
Bill McKibben offers his opinion on the science, politics and the realities of how the two come together and combine with economics. I particularly found the overview of how scientist and policy reaction has changed over the past 30 years. (Thanks to Carlton at for linking this piece)

What's One Less Species Between Friends? | THE NEW REPUBLIC | Blogs
Mass extinction caused by global warming may be a bigger direct threat to humans and the planet than global warming itself.

Half a Billion years Old and Still Kicking | THE NEW REPUBLIC | Blogs
Doesn't look a day older than when it as born either... At any rate, an interesting read about horseshoe crabs. Not sure they do much kicking though, legs are a bit short.

Bumper Cars on the Highway : TreeHugger
The title is a bit of a giveaway from this imractical, but unique approach to solving the perception that we need to be able to drive our vehicles 200+ miles between fuel stops. Project Better Place's idea of swappable batteries seems to be more appropriate to me, as well as making fast recharge available if higher voltage/amperage stations are available.

Compostableware that leaves the others far behind | Triple Pundit
I haven't looked to see where to get this or how much, but it looks like a decent competitor with the Bambu line of products. This one is better in that it is more durable (Bambu products are single use).

Epyon: 10-Minute Electric Car Charging « Earth2Tech
I've posted about fast charge options before. Essentially given a charger that can handle it and enough current, any battery can be charged more quickly. This would be a great complementary solution to interchangeable batteries on plug-in vehicles. Allow trickle charge at home and rapid charge or battery swap at a service station.

Minimizing meat | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist
The takeaway for me, in my current (and hopefully permanent) reduced meat diet is the stat Tom quotes that concludes that in the US each person on average ate 200/lbs of meat, or a half pound a day. Gah. I can't even imagine eating that much meat. (2 quarter pounders a day?).

Samsung unveils heavy metalless, bioplastic phones | greenbang
interesting innovation, though, is bioplastic production just transferring fossil fuel use to corn production instead of direct use of oil to make plastic?

Solar Products Solar Products: Solar Screens at Low Impact Living
Another way to improve the building envelope and reduce home heating effects during air-conditioning season. Though I'd guess it may be good to have "normal" screens (or none?) during the heating season to maximize solar gain and reduce heating fuel needs.