Daily Green Wrap-Up 12.January, 2012

My argument was simple. While many of us environmentalists fret about how our culture can “relearn” the skills we need to survive—from growing our food to repairing what’s broken—we often ignore that there are many economically and culturally marginalized communities among us who have been doing this all along.
Getting Started with Apartment Garden BasicsA common misconception about gardening is that people think because they have no land, they can’t have a garden.
They’ll often say that they are waiting to have more space for a real garden.
The home laundry room goes hi-tech…Samsung has introduced its new WiFi-enabled WF457 washer and dryer at this week’s CES in Las Vegas. The washer’s Smart Control system allows consumers to stay connected to the washer cycle without having to remain in close proximity to the machine. Consumers can monitor and control the machine’s operation via a wireless router and a smart phone application. Busy moms and dads can monitor cycle selections, remaining time and finishing alerts, as well as remotely start or pause the washer without having to access the laundry room.
There is plenty of electric vehicle buzz at this year’s North American International Auto Show and Volvo just added to the green transportation hype by showcasing the world’s first (and second) plug-in diesel hybrid. The V60 and XC60 Plug-in Hybrids are being touted as two of the most technically advanced models in Detroit. They offer drivers the freedom to choose from three driving modes: pure, hybrid, or power without sacrificing interior space, comfort, or performance – and they give EV enthusiasts a choice of a crossover or a premium wagon.
Scientists at MIT and RWTH Aachen University may have revolutionized the effectiveness of concentrated solar plants – by emulating the pattern found on a sunflower, otherwise known in science as Fermat’s spiral. By rearranging the CSP’s massive heliostats, or mirrors, to resemble the yellow flower’s petals, the solar power harvester can take up 20% less space. Making the system more compact increases the CSP’s efficacy, giving it a higher potential for energy generation.
Aside from cost, the biggest concern most people have about electric vehicles is range. Simply, no one wants to find themselves 100 miles from home with no electrical outlet in sight.
With more than 1,000 times the energy density of conventional lithium-ion batteries, IBM’s lithium-air version holds promise, allowing for a 500-mile (800 km) range that keeps EVs in competition with their gasoline-powered cousins.

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