Friday, December 29, 2006

Robot Weed Terminator

A solar-powered robot with stereo vision and a GPS guidance system may one day be moving up and down the crop rows of farms. Created by Hong Young Tian, this robot has the potential to control weeds while significantly reducing herbicide use.

The robot uses an on-board computer to access information to help determine what is and isn't a weed. Once a weed is identified, a robotic arm attached to the front of the machine cuts the weed and then applies herbicide to the cut weed.

"This type of application is extremely effective, because it applies herbicide directly to the plant, instead of broadcasting uniform rates across a field. With this level of precision, the system has clear environmental benefits. In addition to cutting herbicide use, chemicals do not drift off-target when placed directly on the plants." said Tian.

At this time there are no commercial plans for the machine. While this may not be the ultimate solution in some peoples mind, it's at least a much better alternative.

Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Oil Pipeline Ruptured in Gulf of Mexico

According to the US Coast Guard, a medium crude oil pipeline was ruptured 30 miles southeast of Galveston, Texas, that leaked approximately 21,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico Sunday, December 24.

A representative from the Plains All American Pipeline L.P., operator of the High Island Pipeline, said they had shut the line down on Sunday after the leak was detected and they were working with state and federal agencies to minimize the impact of the spill.

The cause of the incident is currently under investigation. more

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Kill A Watt Energy Monitor

This device is so cool. You just connect your appliances into the Kill A Watt™, and assess how efficient they are. A large LCD display counts consumption by the Kilowatt-hour just like utility companies. You can figure out your electrical expenses by the hour, day, week, month, even an entire year. Monitor the quality of your power by displaying Voltage, Line Frequency, and Power Factor. Now you can see what it's costing you to run each of those electrical items and even how much they're costing you when they're not in use. Think that old refirigerator might be burning up the fossil fuel - check it and find out. Now you can really see what that new appliance will save you and the Earth!!

To buy this or other great products go to Franklin Solar.