This week at TreeHugger: We dig in to Wired's latest issue, brimming with advice on how to plug in and stay green. With a pair of these Poweriser stilts, we may never climb behind the wheel again. Even though this fuel cell-powered car won't get us to the store and back just yet, we still like to play with them and dream of the real thing. Lastly, researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a material that gives a whole new complexion to the term "fridge magnet"; when this alloy is placed in a magnetic field, it gets colder.
The latest issue of Wired is all about being a good TreeHugger, and has some good advice about going green while staying plugged in. Should you ditch your old Toyota Corolla for a Prius? What percentage of our nation's energy currently comes from alternative sources? Is eating organic food good for the environment, or am you falling victim to the hype every time you pay 79 cents extra for organic grape tomatoes? It's all in there.
Are you tired of only covering two or three feet per step? Want to stand out in the crowd and get places in style? We think a pair of Poweriser stilts might be just the thing. With a 12 foot stride and a vertical leap of six feet, they're a lot more fun than riding the bus and a lot easier to park than a car. Pick up a pair, and soon the world could be your bouncy oyster.
Lots of us TreeHugger types think that fuel cells are the future of technology; with this handy kit, the future is here today. Complete with 30 different experiments showcasing the wonders of hydrogen power, the kit car won't get you to the store and back just yet, but it'll sure be fun to play with. When it runs out of "gas," fuel it up with water and it'll ride off into the sunset; it also comes with some solar power to imbibe some juice from the sun. Now if we could only find a fuel cell to power our laptops...
Lastly, Researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered a material that gives a whole new complexion to the term "fridge magnet." When this alloy is placed in a magnetic field, it gets colder. Karl Sandeman and his co-workers think that their material — a blend of cobalt, manganese, silicon and germanium — could help to usher in a new type of refrigerator that is up to 40 percent more energy-efficient than conventional models. The "magnetic fridge" envisaged by the Cambridge team would use a phenomenon called the magnetocaloric effect (MCE), whereby a magnetic field causes certain materials to get warmer (a positive MCE) or cooler (a negative MCE). Although the effect was discovered more than 120 years ago, it is only recently that magnetocaloric materials have been found with the right properties for use in everyday refrigeration.
TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.