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Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
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    More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives
  • Full Frontal Nerdity


    I was once caught staring at energy efficiency guru Amory Lovins’ pocket protector, and without blinking he said, “Yes, it’s full frontal nerdity.” There was something refreshing about that sentiment, so let me similarly make my intentions clear: in joining SciAm Blogs, I hope to bring you some unnoticed news and engage you on a [...]

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    Corn-waste biofuels might be worse than gasoline in the short term


    Biofuels made using corn waste could release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared to conventional gasoline. As a result, this type of cellulosic ethanol could be inelligible to meet quotas under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). According to a new study published yesterday in Nature Climate Change, this [...]

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    A Fond Farewell and Welcome at the Plugged In Writing Desk


    Almost three years ago (on July 5, 2011) Plugged In joined the Scientific American blogging family, creating a space for exploring developments that connect us to energy, our planet and each other. The blog began with four writers – David, Melissa, Scott, and Robynne – and then grew to five when Sheril joined the team in [...]

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    Well, it’s time for me bid y’all farewell. It’s crazy to think that three years have already gone by. I started contributing to Plugged In shortly after I completed graduate school, and I hope that you’ve enjoyed the posts. I’ve learned a lot from you, dear reader, and so many others who write and cover [...]

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    Photo Friday: A living laboratory for net-zero homes (California)


    This picture is of the user interface screen of the home’s energy management system in the new Honda Smart Home in California. Located in the West Village at the University of California, Davis, this 1,922 square foot home includes a 9.5 kW rooftop solar panel array and an electric vehicle with 10 kWh of battery storage, [...]

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    Rethinking environmental folklore

    You’ve likely faced the question: “paper or plastic?” Clearly the paper bag is the better option, right? Or is it? In a TED Talk, Leyla Acaroglu has a challenge for us. She wants us to rethink our environmental folklore, or how we decide what is good or bad for the environment. We want to do [...]

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    George Bush Presidential Library opens offshore drilling exhibit

    The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University has a new exhibit that tells the story of offshore drilling and the 41st President’s previous life as an oilman. The Library’s web site explains: George Bush was a successful and pioneering Texas oilman, first on land and then offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. [...]

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    Photo Friday: Rural Electrification (California)


    The Point Conception lighthouse is located at the west enterance of the Santa Barbara Channel in Southern California. This photograph is a part of the online photography exhibit “Form and Landscape,” a collaborative project from William Deverell and Greg Hise. This exhibit features photos from the Huntington Library’s Southern California Edison archive. These archives document the electrification [...]

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    Infrastructure Spotting

    When I began writing On the Grid, my book about the infrastructure systems that make our lives possible, I envisioned it as a sort of Peterson’s Guide to the Infrastructure of the Modern World. It never became that — for one thing, there’s just way too much infrastructure to really contain in a single narrative [...]

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    First utility-scale solar project on tribal land breaks ground in Nevada


    This spring, tribal leaders and community members broke ground on the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. Located on the Moapa Indian Reservation, this 250 Megawatt (MW) solar project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015 and will provide energy to homes in the city of Los Angeles, California. Also on the reservation is an off-grid [...]

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