Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Is life on other worlds possible? | SmartPlanet Daily

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SmartPlanet Daily

SmartPlanet Member | November 22, 2011

A daily briefing of the newest stories on SmartPlanet, five days a week.

Through data, evaluating the potential for life on other worlds

An international team of scientists has developed a classification system for new planets that could help prevent them from overlooking the potential for life.  Read the full story

Foot-dragging on faster-than-light particles?

Physicists are wary of news that could force revisions in Einstein's theory of special relativity. But that doesn't mean scientists are fearful of revolutionary discoveries, explains columnist John Rennie  Read the full story

Canada converting currency from paper to plastic; polymer $100 bill issued

Polymer bank notes last between twice and four times longer than paper bills, and are more secure from counterfeiters.  Read the full story

Green government buildings cost 19 percent less to maintain

On average, the 22 GSA buildings studied by the Department of Energy's research lab used 25 percent less energy than those not managed with sustainability in mind.  Read the full story

Big companies slap on latest eco-label: WindMade

Would you prefer products made via renewable energy? A new certification aims to harness consumer purchasing power for companies who harness the wind, from big banks to building blocks.  Read the full story

Madrid looks to reduce overlap, emphasize austerity

MADRID -- The Madrid governments look to decrease duplicity in the public sector, as part of austerity measures.  Read the full story

Remote sensors to catch high polluters on Hong Kong's roads

HONG KONG -- Think speed-enforcement cameras, but for emissions.  Read the full story

In Seattle, a new office building strives for Living Building status

By late next year, Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood will be home to a new six-story office building that strives to be the greenest commercial building in the world.  Read the full story

Hybrids: safer for passengers, less so for pedestrians

A new study finds that while hybrids may be safer for their passengers than conventional vehicles, they are more also more likely to be involved in pedestrian accidents.  Read the full story

Bill Gates to Congress: invest in energy R&D

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is asking the U.S. Congress to put aside politics and invest heavily into energy research, presuming that reason will prevail.  Read the full story

In France, McDonald's refreshes its brand with architecture and design

The chain's newest recipe for success includes making its dining experience more localized.  Read the full story

Photos: What 164,312 solar panels look like (from the air)

What does a 32-megawatt solar project really look like? Check out these aerial photos of the Long Island Solar Farm, which started delivering power to New York households this month.  Read the full story

Acoustics technology alerts police of gun violence

At Mountain View, Calif.-based SST, engineers have developed new gunfire-detection software that pinpoints the exact location of a shot, making it easier for police officers to respond to a crime scene. SmartPlanet visits the San Francisco Police Department to see how it's using the technology.  Read the full story

NRG Energy buys Solar Power Partners, moves into distributed solar

It's official. NRG Energy, which specializes in big, centralized power projects, has jumped into the distributed solar market.  Read the full story

Electric vehicles, ride-sharing central to Enterprise sustainability vision

During fiscal 2011, the rental car company added more than 150 electric vehicles. It rents more EVs in California than its competitors.  Read the full story

Video: Students set speed record for vegetable-oil vehicles

A student club at Boise State University has set a speed record for a vegetable-oil powered vehicle, using a mixture of cottonseed and sunflower oil for fuel.  Read the full story

Q&A: Future of robotics is open source; raises ethical questions

Willow Garage's Steve Cousins talked to me about how open source software is critical to the future of robotics. When asked about ethical issues associated with personal robotics, he admitted there isn't an easy way to answer that now.  Read the full story

How should electronics companies sell the LED light bulb?

The LED light bulb: attractive because it's better, or alluring because it's technological? A look at how Samsung positions its new $20 models.  Read the full story

Microsoft files patents for sensor-based security, wind energy design

Servers in a wind turbine? Biometric security authorization for the web? Microsoft's new patents offer a peek into the company's latest R&D efforts.  Read the full story

China to build nuclear scale solar plant

Move over Texas. Everything's big in CHINA. Construction will begin soon on a 1-gigawatt solar farm 165 miles west of Beijing. It won't be the country's only one.  Read the full story

Latest Videos

Acoustics technology alerts police of gun violence

Acoustics technology alerts police of gun violence

Solar Insight 2011: How is the U.S. solar market faring?

Solar Insight 2011: How is the U.S. solar market faring?

Saving energy with a press of a button

Saving energy with a press of a button

Zen and the art of biodegradable tableware

Zen and the art of biodegradable tableware

Honda rolls out new natural-gas-powered Civic

Honda rolls out new natural-gas-powered Civic


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