This week at TreeHugger: When it comes to green alternatives to the PC, thin clients are the new black. Gas mileage-enthusiasts in Japan hacked their Priuses and use zen-like driving techniques to squeeze every mile from their hybrids to the gas-sipping tune of 116 miles per gallon. In further proof that electric vehicles are bitchin', a lithium ion battery-powered motorcycle broke the speed record for the electric motorbike quarter mile, silently zipping along at 155 mph and finishing the quarter mile in less than nine seconds. Lastly, when researchers at the Thayer School of Engineering of Dartmouth College are not busy creating "scalable, solar-powered, science platforms for the Antarctic," they take their robots out for a bit of snow-surfing.
According to a new report, thin clients are the new black, on the ledger sheet, at least. It turns out that using these "super slimmed down" alternatives to the PC could reduce your cost of ownership by up to 25 percent, as compared to an office equipped with traditional desktops. Though a lot like a PC, thin clients typically have no almost no moving parts and little memory (they use a central server for processing). This reduces their power consumption dramatically; according to the report, they can use up to 50 percent less energy than a typical PC.
Gas mileage enthusiasts in Japan have hacked their Priuses and use zen-like driving techniques to get up to 116 miles per gallon. In Japan, these folks are called "nenpimania", Japanese for "mileage maniacs", and they can roll 1,000 miles on just one fill-up of a 13-gallon tank of gas. Their techniques involve hacking the cars' computer systems, adding special tires and strategically placing cardboard and foam rubber over the engine and grill. They also drive barefoot and strive to perfect what they call the "pulse and glide" driving method, which requires sensitivity when pushing or releasing the accelerator. Some drivers, really interested in the gas-sipping game, use only their big toe to push the accelerator.
With further proof that electric vehicles will soon take over the world, this week an electric motorbike powered entirely by lithium ion batteries broke the record for an electric motorbike on the quarter mile. The bike broke 155 mph and finished the quarter mile in less than nine seconds. Gaudy "zero to sixty" numbers are nice, but it's the technology behind the bike that gets our motor running. The batteries were developed by A123 systems and are already delivering more power, more safely than any other lithium ion battery. A123's batteries don't yet have the power density of the Tesla Roadster's batteries, but they're catching up at over 155 mph.
Lastly, when researchers at the Thayer School of Engineering of Dartmouth College are not busy creating "scalable, solar-powered, science platforms for the Antarctic", they take their robots out for a bit of snow-surfing. The fun-loving guy pictured above with the laptop is living dangerously, snow-surfing at about 5 mph. "One morning, while taking walking behind the robot and dragging a sled of equipment for quantitatively measuring the strength and cohesion of the snow underfoot, we realized what fools we were to man-haul the equipment ourselves. And, for that matter, how silly even to walk. So, we hooked the sled to the robot and went for a ride." And now they don't look silly at all.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.