Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Better Way to Travel

Believe it or not, trains use one fifth the energy of cars and planes. They also run in bad weather. Yet the use of trains in the United States has rapidly declined since the 1960s. Why has the use of trains in the U. S. become obsolete? Other counties use them just fine. It is time for Americans to revive this method of transportation. You can always rely on a train in bad weather, and there is no traffic either.

6 Ways to Lower Energy Bills

Replace light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75% less energy and last ten times as long as traditional incandescent bulbs.

Add insulation. Keep the heat in this winter by adding insulation to your attic.

Install a programmable thermostat. A thermostat only takes a couple of minutes to install, and can be programmed so you are never uncomfortable.

Use a special paint. Mix a nontoxic ceramic powder into your paint to reduce the amount of heat being passed through the walls.

Protect your pipes. An insulating wrap can keep pipes from freezing, and keep hot water pipes hot.

Redirect the heat. Move the fan's switch to reverse so the blades run counterclockwise and push the hot air down from the ceiling.

Traveling Green - Tips for saving energy on your vacations

Stay at a green hotel. A green hotel will use shower mounted dispensers, instead of little plastic bottles, and change your linens less often (at your request). Look for a list of green hotels at

Go green when you rent a car. Try to rent a hybrid. If this proposition seems scary to you, many rental car companies will happily give you instructions.

Take a vacation with a higher purpose. Check out to learn about volunteering on wilderness projects with environmental agencies such as National Park Service.

Buy carbon offsets for your travel. You can donate a little money to websites such as and This money is used to fund various carbon reducing projects.

Shut down the house before you leave. Even if they are turned off, some appliances continue to use energy. Unplug as much as you can before you head out. Set timers for your lights, if they even need to be on while you are gone.

Check out these cities. Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Oakland are the top "greenest" cities ranked by SustainLane, a green media company.

Twister Power

Popular Science - November 2007

by Gregory Mone

posted by Scott

Most people try to avoid tornadoes, but a Canadian Scientist, Louis Michaud wants to start them. Michaud wants to turn these havok wreaking twisters into power plants. Now, one question is that it would take too much energy to create the twister, making the output meaningless. Yet Michaud says that the start up energy would be free. The first test of this machine will be this spring in Sarnia, Ontario.

This is how the machine should work. First, it takes in hot water, most likely from a nearby nuclear power plant. The hot water runs around the exterior of the vortex machine. Next, fans that are placed in a series of cells, take in hot air heated by the water. They then blow it through slanted channels to a 330-foot-wide chamber. The air flows to the walls of the camber and spins up through a 100 foot wide hole in the top, thus making the twister. The ongoing supply of more hot air could produce a 30 foot wide tornado. After the twister is formed the fans become generators that create electricity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wildfires Spew Tons of Global-warming Gas

The wildfires in California two weeks ago spewed 8.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Wildfires in the United States dump 322 million tons annually into the sky, but this alone accounts for only five percent of what the United States emits by burning fossil fuels. This is according to the new research published online by the peer-reviewed journal Carbon Balance and Management. Some people believe that global warming is caused by these fires, because in addition to releasing millions of tons of carbon dioxide, they destroy millions of trees. This is called a carbon offset.

Did you know that every acre burned the carbon dioxide emissions are equivalent to two cars being driven for a year?

Cuba and Venezuela Turn Against Ethanol.

By Wyatt

Cuba's Castro and Venezuela's Chavez say that ethanol production will increase global hunger and poverty. They also believe that food prices will increase because crops will be used for cars instead of people. These allies agreed with biofuel until George W. Bush made a deal with Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Do you think that it is ironic that Castro and Chavez turned against ethanol right after Brazil and the United States made an ethanol deal together? The U.S. gets most of its crude oil and natural gas from these two countries. Switching to ethanol would decrease the value of crude oil that is bought from Cuba and Venezuela. Therefore these countries wouldn’t want the U.S. to buy less of their products. Chavez says that when a car’s gas tank is filled with ethanol it uses enough food and water to feed seven people.

Critics claim that using ethanol would raise the price of crops and the price of the animals that eat these crops. Castro and Chavez backed up these arguments when president George W. Bush visited Latin America. A newly released column stated that 3 billion people would die prematurely of hunger and thirst. Chavez and Castro said that this is not an exaggerated number but a cautious one.