This week at Treehugger: A Weapon of Mosquito Destruction: The Mosquito Magnet. A Hand-Powered Night Vision Monocular that allows you to see in the dark without batteries. Hewlett Packard decides that having toxic flame retardant on the outside of its laptop casings might not be such a good idea. Also, from the Crazy But Cool Department, a man builds a private island out of empty soda cans (can this be called a Do-It-Yourself island?), and finally, we have a look at how Google and PowerEscape fight runaway energy consumption.
The person who invented this cross between a barbecue and a motorboat really hates mosquitoes! Lucky for us, he or she also had a dislike for insecticide and these glowing traps that vaporize insect dust in the air we breathe. The way this "biting insect trap" works is by emitting a fake "breath" of CO2 with a scent that is attractive to the little vampires (mosquitoes locate their victims primarily with exhaled carbon dioxide). The device then sucks in the bugs in a radius of up to 1.25 acres (around 5,000 square meters) and dehydrates them (and then turns them into MREs?).
This device is a night vision scope, and quite fortuitously, it doesn't require any batteries. Instead, it's has a lever-activated power supply, so you can generate your own power ad hoc, and thereby see in the night, without fear of energy failure (that is, unless a sudden lassitude engulfs you).
Hewlett Packard has announced that it will remove a bromated flame retardant (BFR) from the outer case parts of all new products released after December of 2006. BFRs have been associated with endocrine disruption and impairment of mental skills, and have been found in women s breast milk. Bromated flame retardants in electronics can also make e-waste more hazardous. For something that is supposed to make the product safer, it sure seems dangerous.
We couldn't make this stuff up: this man, Reishee Sowa of Puerto Aventuras, Mexico, apparently grew tired of trying to live self-sufficiently on dry land, and did what any of us would have done. He built his own island out of used pop bottles. 250,000 of them, plus some construction leftovers and bags of leaves, make up "his island," though he's quick to point out that it's technically not an island by traditional standards. "You see not even the president is allowed his own island in Mexico," he says, "but technically I don t have an island, I have an eco space-creating ship."
Google vice president of operations Urs Hoelzle told us in a TG Daily article a little about Google's energy efficiency problems and how it tries to solve them, and this post is about PowerEscape Insight, a way to optimize software so that the hardware it runs on requires less power. It can of course be applied to computers, but also certainly to all kinds of electronic that might run software that makes chips run hotter than they should.
Treehugger s EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.