Daily Green Wrap-Up 28.July, 2012

I just learned about the AeroPress coffee maker, but I like what I see. It’s electricity-free and reportedly leaves fewer grounds in the coffee than a French press. It has overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon, so I trust it’s a quality product. If I could pick out one thing to change, it’s the use of a paper filter for every brew. Now someone has gone ahead and taken care of that, too.
On the 27th of July, the Rappenecker Hütte celebrated its 350-year anniversary (how’s that for sustainable?) as well as 25 years since it became Europe’s first solar powered restaurant.
Hiking in the countryside ranks among the top hobbies in Germany, so many small businesses offer refreshments in areas that are well away from the power infrastructure. A diesel power generator supplied the Rappenecker Hütte until it became a demonstration project outfitted by the Frauenhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in 1987.
Electronics can do much good, from helping us accomplish facility management tasks more efficiently to keeping us in touch with faraway friends and family. But these benefits come with a drawback–the devices work only through the use of components that contain hazardous elements.
Watching stupid people get all worked up is fun – sort of like watching a cat chase a laser dot. This, perhaps, is why I got a good laugh at the expense of GOP politicians when they got worked up over the DOD’s massive, highly intelligent, US economy stimulating, and national securifying biofuel purchase earlier this month. In addition to the DOD/Navy, however, the USDA and the US Dept. of Energy have both recently announced a fresh batch of subsidies to help support American innovation and improved efficiency in feedstock improvement and biofuels production … which, you know, cleans the air, saves the lives of American soldiers, and creates jobs.
In this episode of Slow Ride Stories, Erik and Albert visit the Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, NY, the first distillery to set up shop in the state since Prohibition. They sample some of Tuthilltown’s fine spirits and talk to Tourmaster Cordell Stahl about how climate change is affecting the Hudson Valley. “Everyone I run across is concerned about it,” he says, “and every, one to a man or woman, feels hopeless.”
A team of researchers have developed a type of solar panel that goes on windows without sacrificing a person’s view.
The thin transparent solar cells invented by UCLA’s materials science and engineering professor Yang Yang and colleagues, can turn the sun’s energy into electricity while still allowing visible light to shine right through it. Well, 70 percent of visible light, which is far better than the 10 percent transparency of past cells.

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