News

Should there be a mandate to buy health insurance?

This week’s question concerns the health-care reform bill. One of the controversial bill’s provisions, now in Congressional debate, revolves around an escalating series of fines that would be imposed on individuals refusing to purchase health insurance. The fines, slated to take effect starting in 2013, would start at $200 and eventually rise to $750 - far lower than the $5,000 average yearly health insurance premium for an individual. Health insurers contend the low fines would create a disincentive for individuals to buy costly insurance, thus forcing insurers to raise rates to cover costs.

What do you think? Should there be a mandate to buy health insurance? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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Germany Takes the 2009 Solar Decathlon

Today, DOE Deputy Secretary Daniel Poneman announced the winners of the 2009 Solar Decathlon competition on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home. This is the team's second-straight Solar Decathlon victory.

Posted in: GDM, News, Videos, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Lighting
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Optical Dipstick Assesses Soil and Overall Planet Health

A new Tel Aviv University invention - a real-time "Optical Soil Dipstick" (OSD) - provides a new diagnostic tool for assessing the health of the planet. Professor Eyal Ben-Dor, of TAU's Department of Geography, says his soil dipstick will help scientists, urban planners, and farmers understand the changing health of the soil.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing
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Silver Nanoparticles Give Polymer Solar Cells A Boost

Researchers at Ohio State University, led by professor Paul Berger, are experimenting with polymer semiconductors that absorb the sun’s energy and generate electricity - with the goal of lighter, cheaper, and more-flexible solar cells. The team has discovered that adding tiny bits of silver to the plastic boosts the material's electrical current generation.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Sequenced Genome Could Enable More Efficient Biofuel Production

A strain of yeast, which thrives on turning sugar cane and other tough grasses into ethanol and might be used as biofuel, has had its genome completely sequenced by researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing
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People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3)

The EPA has awarded 43 grants to teams of university students who will design technologies addressing sustainability challenges in the developed and developing world. The People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) competition asks students to design and build technologies that improve quality of life, promote economic development, and protect the environment.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Biomass, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies, Lighting
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Finding the Most Efficient Energy Transfer Pathway

University of Florida chemists have pioneered a method to tease out promising molecular structures for capturing energy, a step that could speed the development of more efficient, cheaper solar cells.

Posted in: GDM, News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Battery Battle

A new type of redox flow battery from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) offers an advantage for electric cars. If the rechargeable batteries are low, the discharged electrolyte fluid can simply be exchanged at the gas station for recharged fluid – as easy as refilling the gas tank.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Energy, Energy Storage, Transportation
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Making Renewable Hydrogen From Wastewater At California Winery

Penn State researchers are demonstrating a renewable method for hydrogen production from wastewater at the Napa Wine Company in Oakville, CA. The refrigerator-sized hydrogen generator will take winery wastewater and - using bacteria and a small amount of electrical energy - convert the organic material into hydrogen.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Recycling Technologies
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Will satellite radio ever live up to its commercial expectations?

This week's question concerns satellite radio. When the first U.S. digital satellite radio service was launched in 2001, many people predicted that satellite radio would someday dominate the airwaves, eclipsing all other forms of radio broadcasting. Most of the major automakers rushed to sign satellite radio installation agreements, broadcasting company stock prices soared, and the competition for new subscribers was fierce. But almost a decade later, major satellite radio broadcasting companies like Sirius XM are still struggling to make a profit and, in some cases, losing subscribers. Supporters of the medium claim that satellite radio is just taking longer than expected to catch on, while its detractors argue that, like CB radios, it was a fad whose window of opportunity has passed.

What do you think? Will satellite radio ever live up to its commercial expectations?

Posted in: Question of the Week
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