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  1.  (11157.21)
    ^^That looks like a great, good technology idea to me.

    In this thread the debate has leaned to green=good and I agree. If anyone doesn't think so, I'd be glad to hear that side of the debate.

    We could quickly round up 'green' technologies that make sense and see how good they are. I'll start us off:

    Wind.
    In my opinion, it's awesome and totally worth it.
    Solar.
    Less so than wind [as it uses waaay too many precious metals] but good nonetheless.

    What do we think?
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 22nd 2013 edited
     (11157.22)
    Disclaimer: I am not an engineer, just the son of one.

    The main advantage that solar has over wind is that, at its most efficient, it yields much more power than wind. Other advantages include being mobile (hard to imagine a reliable or efficient wind-powered car), and requiring much less space (the nice thing about photovoltaic panels is that they're flat, and some of them can even bend to lay on curved surfaces).

    The best answer, of course, is to use them both, where they can both best be used.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2013
     (11157.23)
    I think I still have my fingers crossed we can solve the issues around getting fusion working. If we do that might easily become the only power source the industrialised world would need to be using.
    • CommentAuthorScrymgeour
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2013
     (11157.24)
    The negative opinion of wind farms here in the SE of England upsets me so much. It's basically old rich folks who want to keep the view from their massive gardens.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2013
     (11157.25)
    I would've thought the biggest issue for having them in the SE was the effect they have on aircraft radar...
    •  
      CommentAuthorMagnulus
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2013
     (11157.26)
    I don't get the argument that wind farms are an eyesore. I absolutely adore the look of rows and rows of turbines, almost zen-like in the way they swoosh in the wind.
    • CommentAuthorSteerpike
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2013
     (11157.27)
    I think of solutions like the Hippo Water Roller - not fancy, but also not expensive and designed for how people actually live:

    Hippo Water Roller
  2.  (11157.28)
    The eyesore factor with windfarms to me depends entirely on where they are. There's a big wind farm right outside Palm Springs that I would drive through when heading back to L.A. from Phoenix, and it's kind of cool looking and I have no problem with it. But it's basically in the middle of the desert. But I remember visiting a windfarm in England when I was little and it not being quite as pleasant seeming.

    I'm a bigger fan of solar mostly because there are so many fucking rooftops in the US that aren't doing anything other than keeping the sun off people's heads. Cover those fucking things in solar panels!
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2013
     (11157.29)
    In the UK a lot of people are going against solar because they spoil the lines of their 17th century cottages. They do sort of have a point.

    Solar is perfect for some countries, Australia plan to give over huge chunks of the outback to solar farms, and can provide a huge percentage of their power requirements from it.

    Solar is also a tech that's continuing to get more and more efficient.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcurb
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2013
     (11157.30)
    I've always found wind farms pretty and, yeah, kinda Zen. I do understand that other people might not find them so aesthetically pleasing, but it's hard to sympathise with those people because they do generally seem to be frothing Daily Mail types.

    When I'm at a proper computer I'll try and find a source on one cool idea I've heard, about using chains of giant solar panels to fence off African nature reserves. Relatively cheap and plentiful power for the local population outside the reserve, and greater protection from poachers for the animals within. Sounds good to me.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2013
     (11157.31)
    Per earlier comments on the "toy-ness" of smartphones, Wired just put up an article basically declaring a dead-end for smartphone technology, at least for the time being.

    Smartphones have always seemed like the best example of "toys" in the consumer technology market to me, which isn't to say I don't use one and haven't ever found it useful to have around. Toys, of course, are fun to play with, and potentially very good for teaching budding technologists and hackers, but if Wired is right (and I'm aware that Wired isn't necessarily the One True Voice in the tech world that they used to be), then maybe it's time for some other, better "toy" to take its place. Something with more utility, more modularity, and more durability and efficiency. The question remains, though, what might that new toy look like, without just being another smaller, thinner, faster phone?
  3.  (11157.32)
    "The eyesore factor with windfarms to me depends entirely on where they are."

    Exactly. My brother in law has a place in Vermont and the locals are always fighting to keep the wind farms out of there. It's a really beautiful countryside so I can't blame them, but if they wanted to put wind farmer all along the 405 in L.A.? Have at it. It's ugly already.
  4.  (11157.33)
    Here in West Michigan there's frequent talk about putting wind turbines out in Lake Michigan, and people get all up in arms about them spoiling the scenery, etc. Despite the fact that they'd be so far out into the Lake that you'd have to squint and have someone point them out to see them. There are some windfarms up north from here, and I admit that they're a bit "whoa, what the fuck" the first time you see them, but pretty soon they're no more an "eyesore" than the Eiffel Tower (which was also unpopular at first).
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2013
     (11157.34)
    Tangent:

    My favourite story about the Eiffel Tower was the artist who said his favourite restaurant in the city was the one on the tower, because it was the only place in Paris where you couldn't see it ruining the skyline.
  5.  (11157.35)
    Coke launches its own shops to deliver food, water, and Wi-Fi

    The Coca-Cola Company is beginning to set up one-stop shops for vital resources inside of developing communities. The shops, called Ekocenters, will supply resources like clean water, power, internet, vaccines, cooked meals, and — of course — Coke products to areas that don't have access to them. By the end of 2015, Coca-Cola plans to have set up between 1,500 and 2,000 Ekocenters in 20 total countries, which span across Africa, Asia, North America, and Latin America.

    Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent says that each of the Ekocenters will be run by a woman, and that they'll hopefully become the center of communities without access to power and water.


    Not sure about the actual tech involved (other than wi-fi) but it's just a neat idea, one that can be financially profitable, and good for the surrounding areas (in theory). To me it has the feel of the way capitalism is supposed to work, i.e. supply/demand, find a market that needs a product, be the one to deliver, and you don't have to charge out the ass for it, and you can actually do some good.

    No specific reason noted why there are supposed to be run by women, but my guess would be they are in areas that are usually culturally male-dominated, and maybe it's a way to force the men to accept women in authority positions, and get their heads out of their asses?
  6.  (11157.36)
    @government spy - one of the strangest things about the facts built up the tech-outreach sector over the last 10 years is that if you give a man in a developing country technology, he will sell it or scrap it in exchange for the quick return - if you give it to a woman [or even better a girl] then she will learn about it, learn to hack it, maintain it and improve it then keep doing so. Weird facts and, yes, generalized here but true sociological findings.
  7.  (11157.37)
    Presumably those ones in North America aren't going to be be able to guarantee female management.
    • CommentAuthorFlxzr
    • CommentTimeOct 8th 2013
     (11157.38)
    I can only assume it's related to the fact that most microloans in the developing world are made to women. My, limited, understanding is that women tend to do a better job of running small businesses and repaying their loans. According to wikipedia female empowerment is claimed to be an important part of it, but it seems slightly unlikely to me given that it's banks making the loans.

    I'm not sure if it's really relevant here, but I wondered about mentioning the use of the internet on mobile phones in the developing world where farmers and the like can use it to check prices and gain access to markets as well as learning about new farming techniques and the like.
  8.  (11157.39)
    That wind farm won't look so ugly when you cant get anywhere because petrol is £1,000,000,000,000,000.00 a litre or light your home because electricity is £5,564,884 per kWh