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Renewables: Biogas (09/16/12 18:15)

Creating energy from corn once seemed like a revolutionary idea in Germany. But subsidies for the biogas industry have led to entire regions of the country being covered by the crop, and investors are eagerly waiting for local farmers' land to go for sale.

Reclaimed History: Diggers (09/09/12 07:40)

It was in April 1649 that a movement called the Diggers, inspired by the writings of Gerrard Winstanley, occupied waste land on St George’s Hill in Surrey, and sowed the ground with parsnips, carrots and beans. For Winstanley, the earth had been corrupted by covetousness and the rise of private property, and the time was ripe for it to become once more a "common treasury for all".

Hydrogels: Extremely Elastic Plastics (09/09/12 07:36)

Contact lenses are already made of hydrogels; and the material may be used for artificial cartilage material in future. But so far, the material has a disadvantage: it breaks quickly. Now researchers have developed a plastic that can be stretched by more than 20 times.

Wind Energy: From 'Swords To Ploughs'? (09/01/12 17:43)

After years of decline, Germany's shipyards are now pinning their hopes on offshore wind farms, a key component of the country's energy revolution.

Renewable Energy: The German Way (08/29/12 18:14)

The share of renewable energies in Germany's power mix has shot up so high that the electricity grid and the subsidy framework has been unable to keep up. Now, the government wants to slow down the process. German commentators say that the current chaos endangers the entire project.

The Demise Of The Car (08/27/12 17:43)

Interesting analysis on why automotive transport may be doomed by escalating oil and infrastructure costs.

Food and Revolutions (08/23/12 18:58)

When food gets too expensive, people riot. A study by Marco Lagi et al. includes this chart, which shows the timing of outbreaks of social unrest relative to price spikes.

Recycling: The Garbage Ratio (08/23/12 18:55)

One of the best indicators of what is really going on behind the scenes with US GDP may be railcar loadings of waste and scrap: i.e., garbage.

Fossil Fuels: Gas Vs. Coal (08/17/12 16:04)

In the US, power generators have switched from coal to natural gas--with a devastating impact on coal. Starting this year, power generation from coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants reached parity, each contributing 32% to total electricity generation.

Iron Ore As Indicator Of Global Growth (08/17/12 15:58)

One of the few "pure" indicators of global growth--the price of iron ore--has been heading south for some time and is well on its way to post-Lehman levels.


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