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This week at TreeHugger: Microsoft has been touting Vista's new power saving features, saying that upgrading to Vista could easily save consumers and corporations $50 to $75 per computer per year in energy costs. The question, though, is what marvelous new code makes this miracle possible? Check out the Girandole light, which eschews the traditional switch and is turned on and off by blowing on the small propeller fitted on the light's globe. If you don't turn your computer off, who will? The answer, of course, is the penguins. Lastly, food is a complex issue; we need to tell where it came from, what it contains, the labor conditions of it's harvest, how it's going to taste, if it's good for us, and whether we're getting a good deal; we predict a future where our cell phones can scan a barcode, and tell us everything we'd ever want to know about a product.

This image was lost some time after publication.

Microsoft has been touting Vista's new power saving features, saying that upgrading to Vista could easily save consumers and corporations $50 to $75 per computer per year in energy costs. The question, though, is what marvelous new code makes this miracle possible? The answer? They fixed three silly mistakes that have cost the world billions of dollars in the past five years. Bells & whistles, sleep mode and power-saving confusion have been racking up energy consumption on machines running the OS for the past five years.

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The clever Girandole light is turned on and off by blowing on the small propeller fitted on the light's globe. Instead of a mindless flip of a switch, a concerted and altogether unusual effort is called for: one which will certainly give pause for deliberation, for thankfulness for the pleasure of electrical lighting and a thought for the power source which takes over after your own wind-power activates the lamp. The lamp comes supplied with a 7W megaman energy saving lamp, a purple LED and Elica offers a selection between Coolwhite, Daylight and Warmwhite light...smooth.

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If you don't turn off your computer, who will? The answer, of course, is the penguins. This is part of an excellent advertising campaign by Électricité de France (EDF), showing various animals assisting us in being more energy efficient. They're funny, and maybe, just maybe, they'll get the point across. Plus, there's something cool about penguins as a desktop background (no pun intended).

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Lastly, food is a complex issue; we need to tell where it came from, what it contains, the labor conditions of it's harvest, how it's going to taste, if it's good for us, and whether we're getting a good deal. TreeHugger predicts a future where our cell phones can scan a barcode, and tell us everything we'd ever want to know about a product. How are we so sure? They're already doing it in Japan. After a breakout of Mad Cow in 2001, Japan's Food Safety Commission began to tag more and more foods with radio frequency or QR tags that contain information on the origin of foods. Almost all cell phones sold in Japan today contain QR code readers, and the Japanese Food Safety commission has already begun to notice preferential purchase of locally grown foods due to the QR tags. It turns out that knowing more about food actually results in buyers making better decisions...who'd have guessed!?

TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.