Blogroll Review: Termite, LED Safety, Extreme Green

by Frank Ling

Mighty Bugs

If weeds are plants out of place, then termites must be bugs out of place. Every year, termites cause billions of dollars of damage to lumber. It’s also well known that bacteria and their enzymes in the gut of these termites can break down wook and other plant materials to produce of hydrogen gas.

Scientists are now trying to decode the genes of these bacteria in order to create bio-reactors for hydrogen production.

Robert Rapier at R-Squared Energy Blog writes about how this could be made practical for energy production:

“Scale up the internal bioreactor of the termite to produce a desirable end-product.”

I heard that rock and roll makes termites work faster. 🙂

LEDs on the Road

LEDs are already common in traffic signal lamps but now they are working on the road…literally!

In England, the traffic authorities have begun to install solar powered LEDs on dark stretches of roads. Called SolarLite Smart Studs, these units collect energy from the sun during the day. At night, the LEDs give off light. The result? 70% fewer traffic accidents.

Hank Green at EcoGeek says:

“Drivers on the retrofitted roads enjoy 10 times more visibility (90 meters to 900 meters) with the new in-road lights. And drivers have a resulting 10 times more time to adjust to changes in road direction. Even better, the lights, in some scenarios, can replace overhead street lamps, completely eliminating the need for the roads to be on the electric grid.”

Extreme Eco

Surfers, divers, racers, and other sports enthusiasts are always taking things to the extreme. But can you take saving the planet to the extreme.
Walmart is now offering $200 computer systems based on Unix.

Alexis Madrigal at Earth2Tech writes about the top ten controversial ways to save the planet.

One of these ideas is the ocean-cooling pipes:

“Though the idea received a lot of attention after Gaia-hypothesis originator James Lovelock called attention to it, a startup called Atmocean has been hard at work developing an ocean-cooling pipe prototype for years. It would serve two purposes: cooling the ocean in front of approaching hurricanes, as well as causing plankton blooms that could act as a CO2 sink.”

That’s extreme to the max! 🙂

Frank Ling is a postdoctoral fellow at the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at UC Berkeley. He is also a producer of the Berkeley Groks Science Show.

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