Zebras escape Phily Zoo wearing old-timey prisoner garb…

Two zebras broke free in Philadelphia on Sunday, bringing traffic to a crawl as they Zebrasroamed city streets for about an hour, and strolled around inside a fitness center.

Video shown on local media shows police vehicles following in slow pursuit as the animals jockeyed through traffic just before being captured. Sorry – I lived in this neighborhood for a couple years – couldn’t help myself!

Full (truncated) story here

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Street art in Ithaca New York

tesla vs edison

Tesla vs Edison depicted on an electrical box downtown…

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Hey East Coasters – this has been the hottest winter on record!

If you live on the East Coast of the United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released some statistics that may surprise you:

    • Globally, this has been the hottest winter on record, topping the previous record (2007) by 0.05°F.
    • This was “the 19th warmest winter for the contiguous US.”
    • Globally it’s easily been the hottest start to any year (January-February), beating the previous records (2002, 2007) by 0.07°F.
    • This was the second warmest February globally, and “slightly below” the 20th-century average in the contiguous U.S.
        Note: For NOAA, winter is the “meteorological winter” (December 2014 to February 2015).


As the NOAA map above shows, other than the “cooler than average” northeast, this winter has been “warmer than average” and “much warmer than average” and “record warmest” over every other land area in the world.

More from ThinkProgress by clicking here

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White House announces Clean Energy Investment Initiative

The White House recently announced a new Clean Energy Investment Initiative at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Summit.

The Obama administration is hoping to catalyze $2 billion of expanded private-sector investment to investigate and implement solutions to climate change — by using innovative technologies as a way to reduce carbon pollution. The White House specifically pointed out investments in solar photovoltaics, wind power, advanced batteries, energy-efficient lighting and fuel cells.

“Further clean energy innovation to improve the cost, performance, and scalability of low-carbon energy technologies will be critical to taking action against climate change,” said Brian Deese, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. “Foundations and institutional investors have the potential to play an important role in accelerating our transition to a low-carbon economy and cutting carbon pollution.”

According to Deese, solar industry employment has grown 85 percent since 2010, while the price of rooftop solar has dropped more than 50 percent.

Included in the pledge was the announcement that the University of California Board of Regents is building on their commitment to invest more than $1 billion in climate change solutions.

The White House also plans to host a Clean Energy Investment Summit in the Spring of 2015 to discuss investment in clean energy innovation.

More information available can be found here and on http://www.whitehouse.gov
For information on ARPA, visit this website

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Demand Response, Behind-the-Meter Generation and Air Quality

The absence of up-to-date regulations on Behind the Meter (BTM) electric generators may offset the current efforts to reduce the emissions from peaking power plants. There is a need to quantify the environmental impacts of Demand Reduction programs in designing sound policies related to demand-side resources, and this paper is a great start.

Nice research from Xiyue Zhang (Hannah) and K. Max Zhang.

See the entire article at ACS Publications Environmental Science and Technology

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Energy Efficiency Comes into Focus Through the Upcoming IECC

The 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) is like a freight train barreling down the track. Starting January 1, 2015 – compliance will require new buildings to be at least 15% more efficient. This will require a tighter building envelope, more insulation that is installed more carefully, sealed ductwork, higher-end windows, and more efficient lighting.

  • Blower-door testing is required, and tightness requirements have increased.
  • Duct tightness must be measured, and the requirements are more rigorous.
  • Homes within climate zones 3 to 8 (and some homes in zones 1 and 2) will be required to have whole-house mechanical ventilation.
  • In certain climate zones, window glazing U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) requirements will need to meet new higher standards.
  • Wall insulation requirements are higher in certain climate zones, and builders in colder climate zones will be required to install continuous exterior insulation to reduce heat loss from thermal bridging.
  • The 2009 IECC required that 50% of lighting fixtures in a new home be CFLs, the 2012 IECC has raised this percentage to 75%.

For more detail, check out this presentation from the US Department of Energy:

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As the Worldview Turns

solar vs dinos

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We embrace sustainability – or we embrace suffering

Imagine you are at a potluck buffet and you are the first in line. How do you know how much to take? Imagine that this potluck spread includes not just food and water, but also conrad plowingthe materials needed for shelter, clothing, healthcare and education. It all looks and smells so good – and you are hungry. What will you heap on your plate? How much is enough to leave enough for your neighbors behind you in the line?  Six billion people, shoulder to shoulder, form a line that circles around the globe to Cairo, on to Hawaii over ocean bridges, then back, and around the globe again, 180 times more. With plates in hand, they too wait in line, hearty appetites in place. And along with them are giraffes, manatees and spiders, untold millions of species, millions of billions of unique beings, all with the same lusty appetites. And behind them, the soon-to-be-born children, cubs, and larvae.  More from Jim Merkel by clicking on this link:

We are just damn lucky we can even have this conversation and think this globally!

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Energy Use In The US Still Growing Rapidly

Americans are using more and more energy every year, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.


Across the board, more energy of every type — everything from renewables, to fossil fuels, to nuclear — is being used. In 2013, Americans used over 2.3 quadrillion thermal units more than in 2012.

More information available at CleanTechnica by clicking here.

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