Hinterland Green

Thursday, May 20, 2010

NPR News: Dengue Fever In Florida Portends A Growing Problem

You may not have heard much about a nasty tropical infection called dengue fever. But that may soon change. Federal health officials have identified the first sizable outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease in the U.S. in 55 years, in the Florida Keys. They say the southern U.S. is ripe for more.

The first cases in the recent outbreak occurred last summer and fall. In August, a New York woman recently back from a Key West vacation came down with the characteristic dengue symptoms — fever, wicked headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and bloody urine. An alert doctor in Rochester, N.Y., diagnosed dengue fever.

Around the same time, the virus showed up in a woman and a married couple in Key West, none of whom had traveled to areas where dengue is common.

Read more:  Dengue Fever In Florida Portends A Growing Problem | NPR

Monday, May 3, 2010

BP PLC Offering Settlement Agreements to Alabama Coastal Residents for $5,000

Here we go. BP PLC is trying to play dirty. According to the Alabama Press-Register, BP was circulating settlement agreements among coastal residents of Alabama and possibly other states, requiring that "people give up the right to sue in exchange for payment of up to $5,000." Alabama's Attorney General Troy King protested and asked BP to stop distribution of the letters.

The company said it will pay for all the cleanup costs for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that could continue spewing crude for at least another week.

The company posted a fact sheet on its Web site saying it took responsibility for the response to the Deepwater Horizon spill and would pay compensation for legitimate claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.

Japan to Launch World's First Solar-Powered Spaceship, Ikaros, on May 18

Japan will launch the world's first solar-powered spaceship on May 18, 2010. The spacecraft, dubbed Ikaros, will be the first in history to enter deep space using only solar energy. The ship is equipped with 15-meter long ultra thin wings that are covered with special cells which will generate energy from the sun. If successful, the Ikaros, which stands for "Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun," will be the first spacecraft to use solar sails in space as a primary propulsion mechanism.
A ground control station on Earth will navigate the panels of the Japanese invention in the direction of the sun rays. The spacecraft will launch Japan's first satellite to Venus.

Ikaros is also a reference to the Greek myth of Icarus – a young man and his father Daedalus, who attempted to escape exile in Crete by building wings of feathers and wax.

Lamar Advertising to Convert Billboards in Florida to Renewable Energy

PENSACOLA, Fla., Apr 29, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Lamar Advertising Co., which operates more than 150 outdoor advertising companies in more than 40 states and Puerto Rico, has announced a multidimensional project to convert some 1,370 billboards throughout Florida to renewable energy. The $12.5-million project will place solar or wind power on billboards throughout the state, creating 1,370 individual renewable energy systems that return energy to the electrical grid.

"This represents the largest single deployment of distributed renewable energy devices in Florida history," said Robert B. Switzer, vice president of operations of Lamar Advertising. "With the completion of this historic project, we will be sending a clear message to millions of Florida residents and visitors every day that renewable energy works."

The project, set for completion by April 2012, will install a total of one Megawatt (1,000 kilowatts) of renewable energy generation in the form of solar or wind power on 1,370 separate billboard structures in eight markets from Pensacola to Daytona and Tallahassee to Fort Myers. The installations will be on billboards along interstates and major thoroughfares, giving the project the widest public exposure. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing a $2.5-million grant to the project through the Florida Energy and Climate Commission and the Governor's Energy Office, while Lamar is funding the remaining $10 million.

As part of its initiative, Lamar Advertising is sponsoring Renewable Florida, a Web-based clearinghouse to help Floridians find the easiest and most cost-efficient ways of maximizing renewable energy. To learn more, go to www.renewableflorida.org.

"Over the 20- to 25-year life span of the billboards converted to renewable energy, we will return an untold amount of renewable, emission-free energy to the power grid while demonstrating in a very graphic manner to the public the payoff that comes with renewable energy," Switzer said. "In the long run, this will mean significant savings for Lamar. The lifespan of these systems allows them to be amortized, giving us a very logical business rationale for incorporating systems such as these on a widespread basis."

For more information about the benefits of renewable energy, explore www.renewableflorida.org.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Department of Energy Gives Out $106 Million in Stimulus Fund to 37 Green Tech Projects to Arpa-E

Department of Energy has given out $106 million more in stimulus funds to 37  green technology projects under the banner of its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (know best as Arpa-E). The money will be funneled into microbe, battery and carbon capture research, VentureBeat reported. The Energy Department first announced Arpa-E funding in March, with the explicit goal of backing technologies that would reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, or, alternatively, limit the damage caused by those we still use.

The recent initiatives focus on microbes are engineering them to quickly and efficiently convert nonfood feedstocks (switchgrass, sugar cane, and even municpal waste) into biofuels and sustainable chemicals. Some of these projects are even working on feeding microbes with carbon dioxide captured from existing fossil fuel-powered plants, to accelerate the move toward carbon neutrality.

Read more: Arpa-E Green Tech Gets $106 Million