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Republicans push nuclear energy to lower costs

April 28, 2009 6:34 am | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say. In the party's weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the United States should follow the example of France, which promoted nuclear power decades ago

Gore: Congress must not bicker, act now on climate

April 24, 2009 9:47 am | by DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer Dina Cappiello, Associated Press Writer | Blogs | Comments

Former Vice President Al Gore, a leading voice on climate change, urged lawmakers Friday to overcome partisan differences and pass legislation to curb greenhouse gases. Gore, who won a Nobel prize for his work on global warming, called the climate issue the most important ever before Congress. A Democratic bill limiting carbon dioxide and other pollution linked to a warming of the Earth will simultaneously solve the problems of the climate

US delivers message of urgency on climate change

April 23, 2009 12:39 pm | Blogs | Comments

The United States insisted Thursday that it had a common purpose and felt a sense of urgency over climate change, taking part in environment talks with other Group of Eight nations and developing countries. Delegates are holding three days of talks in this eastern Sicilian city amid high expectations over the extent of the U.S. commitment to tackle climate change

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100 MPG Electric Hummer a Reality

April 23, 2009 9:23 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Raser Technologies recently announced a 100 MPG version of the Hummer H3 at the 2009 SAE International World Congress. The idea of taking the most infamous gas guzzler and making it “greener than a Prius” sounds like a pipe dream. But Raser claims to have achieved it. The resultant vehicle is the best of both worlds: environmentally-friendly and attractive

Embedded Systems 2009

April 23, 2009 7:23 am | Product Releases | Comments

Here are a few pictures we took ont he floor of the 2009 Embedded Systems Confernce. Recognize anyone?

Congress considers major global warming measure (AP)

April 20, 2009 7:36 am | Blogs | Comments

The last time Congress passed major environmental laws, acid rain was destroying lakes and forests, polluted rivers were on fire and smog was choking people in some cities. The fallout from global warming, while subtle now, could eventually be more dire. That prospect has Democrats pushing legislation that rivals in scope the nation's landmark anti-pollution laws.

Obama: Better trains foster energy independence (AP)

April 16, 2009 10:52 am | Blogs | Comments

President Barack Obama is calling for the country to move swiftly to a system of high-speed rail travel, saying it will relieve congestion, help clean the air and save on energy. Appearing with Vice President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday, Obama said the country cannot afford not to invest in a major upgrade to rail travel. He said he understands it necessarily will be "a long-term project" but said the time to start is now

A Visit to the 2009 Embedded Systems Conference

April 16, 2009 6:55 am | Atmel Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

With over 8,000 attendees, this year’s Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) was a pleasant surprise to an industry expecting a low turnout. Held in San Jose from March 30 to April 2, the show demonstrated that while the economy may be depressed, the design engineering community isn’t.

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Chevy Volt Not the Answer, Says Obama Administration

April 14, 2009 12:48 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

There’re strange brewings in the auto industry. President Obama once remarked that “unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.” Fresh off its government bailout, General Motors has devoted “significant resources” to the Chevy Volt, an "Extended Range Electric Vehicle" set for release in 2011. Obama’s response?

Obama looking at cooling air to fight warming (AP)

April 13, 2009 5:36 am | by SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein, Ap Science Writer – Thu Apr 9, 6:17 am ET | Blogs | Comments

Tinkering with Earth's climate to chill runaway global warming — a radical idea once dismissed out of hand — is being discussed by the White House as a potential emergency option, the president's new science adviser said Wednesday. That's because global warming is happening so rapidly, John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month. The concept of using technology to purposely cool the climate is called geoengineering

Congress Urges EPA to Drop SSL Energy Star Criteria

April 10, 2009 7:11 am | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

To follow up on an earlier story, congress has urged the EPA to drop its SSL Energy Star criteria. A letter, signed by nine congressional members, encourages EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to defer to the DOE on Energy Star. The letter makes mention of “the current state of affairs, in which two federal agencies have put forth two separate standards,” and that, “The overlapping standards are creating uncertainty in the industry”

Brainstorm: Do-it-Yourself-Power Page 2

April 6, 2009 11:21 am | by Edited by Jason Lomberg | Articles | Comments

Moving forward, what technology will dominate energy harvesting?

Plug In America Refutes Obama Auto Task Force Conclusion on GM Volt

April 2, 2009 10:31 am | Blogs | Comments

In response to an Obama Administration auto task force report, Plug In America on Tuesday proposed a plan to make GM’s Chevy Volt and other plug-in cars more affordable, noting that most advanced new technologies are initially more costly. California law requires that the Volt and other plug-in hybrids come with a 10-year warranty. To ensure this longer life, automakers are as much as doubling the size of the battery pack, increasing cost to manufacturer and consumer.

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Biomechanical ATV Boasts Extremely High Range

March 31, 2009 7:27 pm | Blogs | Comments

Advanced technology vehicles have yet to gain a foothold in the mainstream auto industry. Hybrids boast a fuel economy upwards of 40 mpg, but are too pricey for your average consumer. Similarly, “clean diesel” sports high MPG ratings, but diesel is prohibitively expensive. The more exotic ATV’s (air-cars, biodiesel, solar) are aesthetically morose. Pure electric vehicles (PEVs) lack the necessary infrastructure to support them. Welcko’s Mogwai Electric Vehicle (or MEV) is the first ATV with potential mainstream viability

Proposal Could Ban the Sale of Plasma TVs in California

March 30, 2009 12:23 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The California Energy Commission (CEC) is moving ahead with a proposal that could make Plasma TVs legally obsolete. Based on the 2008 Report, “Draft Efficiency Standards for Television” (which drew heavily from Pacific Gas and Electric Company findings), the proposal would set a cap on the maximum active mode power usage (watts). This would effectively ban the sale of Plasma, DLP, rear projector, and certain LCD TV’s in California

GaN based Power Devices Make Possible A New Paradigm in Power Conversion

March 25, 2009 8:30 am | by Michael A. Briere, Executive Scientific Consultant, ACOO Enterprises LLC, under contract to International Rectifier Corp. | Articles | Comments

From planar HEXFETs to TrenchFETs and superjunction FETs, silicon power MOSFETs have continued to evolve for the last 30 years to satisfactorily serve numerous markets. In fact, during that period, there have been some two orders of magnitude improvement in performance. However, this silicon power device is rapidly approaching maturity

Design Talk: Digital & Analog

March 25, 2009 7:16 am | Articles | Comments

Typically, industries use standards to improve product quality and enable component sharing across projects. In practice, such standards achieve wide acceptance since the synergistic effects provide significant benefits to the user community. The hardware and software industry is full of such standards, but there is an exception: the deeply embedded microcontroller market

Sensor Zone: April 2009

March 24, 2009 1:25 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

For the last half-century, sensors based on the Hall effect have provided a low-cost, solid-state option for sensing any object that incorporates a magnetic field. Hall effect sensors are based on the discovery by Dr. Edwin H. Hall in 1879. He found that a thin conductive material, placed in a magnetic field, formed a difference in potential (voltage) at the opposite edges that was

World’s Cheapest Car Riles Environmental Groups

March 24, 2009 12:27 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Tata Motors has unveiled the world’s cheapest car, with potential for a vast standard of living increase. And Greenpeace doesn’t like it. The same organization that supported a ban on chlorine in drinking water feels that the mass proliferation of cheap automobiles is a bad thing. Despite its eco-friendly 47 MPG rating, the Tata Nano is seen as a threat to the environment. Why? Because lots of people want to buy them.

Two Paths Lead to FIR Filters

March 23, 2009 11:07 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Articles | Comments

Because finite impulse response (FIR) filters use a mathematical algorithm to process information, engineers rely on them when an analog filter just won't do. “FIR filters appeal to people who don't want to become filter designers”, explained Grant Griffin, President, Iowegian International. "They just want to use a filter to solve a problem

Brainstorm: Do-It-Yourself-Power

March 20, 2009 1:10 pm | by Edited by Jason Lomberg | Articles | Comments

Moving forward, what technology will dominate energy harvesting?

New government brochure explains climate science

March 19, 2009 4:43 am | by Alix Paultre | Blogs | Comments

Day after day, reports of the dangers of climate and climate change circulate in the news, often filled with confusing data and debate. In an effort to improve understanding of climate science, a group of government agencies has combined efforts to produce "Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Science."

Electrode Breakthrough Enables Rapid Battery Recharge

March 12, 2009 4:48 am | Product Releases | Comments

A lithium-ion battery electrode described this week in the journal Nature can deliver electricity several times faster than other such batteries. It could be particularly useful where rapid power bursts are needed, such as for laser weapons or hybrid race cars. Test batteries based on the new electrode--developed by Gerbrand Ceder, a professor of materials science at MIT--can be discharged in 10 seconds.

Global Warming: Science vs. Activism

March 11, 2009 2:03 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

In 2007, Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to “build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change.” In his Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore screeched, “The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There’s no longer any debate in the scientific community about this.”

Industry Focus: Interaction in Consumer Devices

March 10, 2009 10:34 am | by Christopher Keuling, Associate Editor | Articles | Comments

It’s a fact that consumers want end products that give them the most user interaction. Two of the most popular examples on the market are Apple’s iPhone and Nintendo’s Wii. These end products serve very different purposes to their desired consumers, but share electronic advances that make these products, amongst others, an interactive experience for the user. In this month's Industry Focus, we talked to six different companies

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