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Plugged In

Plugged In

More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our lives

A "Near" Miss: Asteroid 2005 YU55

"To attain any kind of life in this universe of ours appears to be quite an achievement. As humans we are doubly lucky, of course: We enjoy not only the privilege of existence but also the singular ability to appreciate it and even, in a multitude of ways, to make it better...

November 8, 2011 — Robynne Boyd

Dam breached, reservoir drained - restoring the White Salmon River

That's an amazing video shot by photographer Andy Maser of the Condit Dam being breached by explosives last month. The 125-foot tall dam, built in 1913 on the White Salmon River in Washington State, emptied the contents of its reservoir in just over two hours.For the first time in nearly one hundred years the White Salmon River will flow freely, restoring the river to be a natural habitat for local fish species...

November 7, 2011 — David Wogan

The Robots Who Could Have Saved Fukushima Are Coming

This remarkable piece in IEEE Spectrum giving a timeline of the hellish first 24 hours at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant makes the expected observations: the entire crisis could have been averted with a couple of nineteenth-century or earlier engineering fixes: don't put your generators in the basement when you're in an area that might flood, and if your generators could be at risk during a crisis that would require evacuation, don't put your backup generators hundreds of kilometers away on wheeled vehicles that will have to fight the fleeing traffic, on ruined roads, to get to the crisis.But that's engineering: you always learn what's wrong by having it go wrong...

November 1, 2011 — Scott Huler

The Vampire (Loads) in Your House

Tonight, children (and adults) will celebrate Halloween by flooding out into their neighborhoods to offer tricks and ask for treats from their neighbors.

October 31, 2011 — Melissa C. Lott

Energy Miracles: Innovating to Zero CO2

In February 2010, Bill Gates stood up and presented a TED talk on what we can do to improve the lives of the poorest 2 billion people on the planet. Perhaps surprisingly, this talk was not on vaccines or seeds, but instead was focused on how energy – and the carbon dioxide emitted by our energy systems – impacts this population...

October 27, 2011 — Melissa C. Lott

From Austin to Boston on Natural Gas

Last summer, Castlen Kennedy went on a 10-day, 2,500 mile roadtrip from Austin, Texas to Boston, Massachusetts. Driving with her friend, Cheryl Dalton, Castlen drove through 13 states in this 10-day period, all in the comfort of a Chevy Tahoe that had been converted to run on natural gas, in addition to gasoline...

October 26, 2011 — Melissa C. Lott

Turning off the Lights Won't Save Oil

Today, more than 80% of the energy used in the United States comes from fossil fuels - specifically from petroleum, natural gas and coal. In the transportation sector, this number is even higher with fossil fuels (almost exclusively petroleum) supplying 97% of the total energy used...

October 24, 2011 — Melissa C. Lott

More Power at the Ballpark

St. Louis and Arlington host the last two groups of people in the country not worrying about power shortages around the baseball stadium. Everybody else is thinking about next year.As usual, that includes the Cleveland Indians -- but this time they're thinking of power in the stadium, not just at the plate...

October 21, 2011 — Scott Huler

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