EcoModo - The Best of Treehugger

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This week at TreeHugger: The Audi R-Zero may not be much more than a fantasy, but if we're going to dream big, might as well dream 286 mph, 1091 horsepower, and 0-62 in 3 seconds big. Being a computer nerd can lead to greener behavior: we discover a study that shows downloading music to be environmentally preferable to the purchasing the plastic version. What does that mean for iPod? Ross Lovegrove, the "Organic Minimalist" industrial super-designer, flips the switch on the Solar Bud, a wireless, battery-less path lighting system. Lastly, a company called Alternative Energy Holdings has plans to be the first company to tap into the natural energy produced by lightning. Paging Dr. Brown, Dr. Emmett Brown...

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What to say about the Audi R-Zero? Tell you the truth, we aren't even sure it's much more than a fantasy. But everyone needs some electric-car eyecandy now and again, and since you can't look at naughty pictures at the office, go nuts. The R-Zero is an electric muscle car that came from the minds of three students at France's International School of Design. Four in-wheel motors would give this car a top speed of 286 mph, 1091 horsepower, and 0-62 in 3 seconds. Whoa.

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Everybody knows that the universe-altering, ultra-ubiquitous iPod just turned five years old, and with the birthday of the gadget that revolutionized the music industry, we found some good news about downloading music. According to a study we found via the Guardian, downloading music instead of picking up the plastic disc yourself is more than twice as ecologically efficient, and much easier for those of us who don't get up from the keyboard except to go to the bathroom. The fun stops there, though; once you burn a copy, into the TreeHugger doghouse you go....

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Industrial designer Ross Lovegrove, the "Organic Minimalist" we know and love for a plethora of TreeHugging designs, has done it again. Meet the Solar Bud, a handy little gadget that combines one of our favorite forms of alternative energy (solar) with a favorite light source (LEDs) to make a wireless, battery-less path and garden light. Stuck in the ground in a place that gets some sun, the lamp uses sensors to detect when darkness falls, and automatically switches on three high power red LEDs. The UFO design comes standard, too.

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Lastly, from the "we've been waiting for this since the '80's" file comes word that Alternative Energy Holdings plans to be the first company to tap into the natural energy of lightning. The company says it has successfully developed a prototype which can collect power from the ground area surrounding a strike. This power can then be converted into electricity and sold through existing power grids. In 2007, during the peak lighting months of July and August, the company plans to test a mobile full-scale lightning farm. We don't know why they don't just stick a pole at the top of a clock tower and drive a DeLorean back & forth until it happens, but there might be some copyright infringement involved with that idea.

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TreeHugger's EcoModo column appears every Tuesday on Gizmodo.

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