Daily TIPs: How Green is My Convention?, Twitter Over Science, Mobility Powers Mobiles, & More

8/27/08

Conventions Go Green

The Democrats are committed to minimizing the environmental impact of bringing 50,000 people to Denver for their national convention. Agence France Presse reports that the DNC has a goal of diverting 85 percent of the waste those delegates produce to recycling or composting facilities, while delegates ride around on buses fueled by ethanol made from beer waste produced by Coors. AFP says the Republicans also plan to hold their greenest convention ever, but on a more modest scale. It’s not known if they’re taking steps to offset the hot air from all those speeches.

Warner Wins Over Twittering Crowd

People have been all a-Twitter at the Democratic National Convention, sending out their instant reactions to events in the message sharing service’s 140-character chunks. Wired tells us that Virginia Gov. Mark Warner lit up Twitter during his keynote speech when he said, “In four months, we will have an administration that actually believes in science,” garnering the approval of geeks everywhere. So far, there’s been little talk of science policy at the convention.

Vestas Promotes Wind Power at DNC

With one of the themes of the Democratic convention focusing on the need to go green, it’s just natural that the world’s largest maker of wind turbines would be in Denver to promote its product. Danish company Vestas brought a 131-foot turbine blade manufactured at a Colorado factory, Earth2Tech says. The company is already operating a plant in Colorado, and has plans for two more, including the largest in the world for building turbine towers.

Grid Can’t Keep Pace with New Power Sources

Electricity generated from wind seems like a good idea, but the ability to produce it may be racing ahead of the capacity to distribute it. The New York Times reports that the nation’s aging electrical grid can’t always carry the power being generated during peak productions times. Since both wind and solar power plants are likely to be built in less populated areas, the grid will need to be able to carry the electricity they produce long distances to reach consumers.

Town Plans to Turn River Into Generator

Here’s a source of alternative energy you probably haven’t heard of before. The Discovery Channel says that researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are planning a project that will place small strips of a type of plastic, which generates a slight electrical current when it moves, on the bed of the Kiskiminetas River. Flowing water will cause the strips to wiggle, generating enough electricity to power the central area of the nearby city of Vandergrift, researchers say.

Researchers Monitor Cyber Warfare

A group of researchers who call themselves “hacktivists” like to monitor how Internet traffic moves through different countries, originally with the intent of helping citizens get around state censorship. But as the Washington Post reports, these researchers now find themselves monitoring the cyber attacks that are a growing weapon of international war. One hacktivist tells the paper they’re forming “a global civil society counterintelligence agency.”

Charge Your Cell Phone While You Walk

Technologies that gather kinetic energy and turn it into electricity are starting to reach the point where they can provide useful power. As GigaOm reports, a startup in Boise, ID, M2E Power, says it plans to offer a cell phone charger next year that can convert six hours of everyday movement into one hour of talk time. Expect to see those people who shout into their phones at restaurants fidgeting in their seats to keep their cells charged.

Google Pushes Government to Go Green

Google wants other high-tech companies to join with it in urging the government to provide funding for clean energy startups struggling to bring new technologies to market. Google’s director for climate change and energy initiatives, Dan Reicher, met this week with executives from HP, Apple, and Facebook, among others, BusinessWeek reports. Google has been investing in green tech, and could profit handsomely if the companies it’s funding take off.

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