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# Do social networks make us less social?

This week's Question of the Week focuses on Web 2.0 interaction. A recent report from the University of Texas, Austin, says that networking sites like Facebook make users more sociable and "afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community." A recent book by Sherry Turkle, "Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other," conversely, makes the case that social media interactions isolate, and even dehumanize, its members.

What do you think? Do social networks make us less social? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

# Looking to Cow Rumen for Better Biofuels Enzymes

A cow's digestive system allows it to eat more than 150 pounds of plant matter every day. Now researchers report that they have found dozens of previously unknown microbial enzymes in the bovine rumen – the cow's primary grass-digestion chamber – that contribute to the breakdown of switchgrass, a renewable biofuel energy source.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases

# Will an optional phone-disabling service make the roads safer?

This week's Question focuses on a new service from T-Mobile that, for just 4.99 a month, automatically disables rings and messages, and sends calls to voicemail when the phone is in a moving car. The services being tested and deployed are voluntary and can be overridden if a driver needs to use the phone for an emergency. The technology is aimed at curbing distractions and keeping people from texting or using the phone while driving.

What do you think? Will an optional phone-disabling service make the roads safer? Yes or no?

Posted in: Question of the Week

Fuel cells use the chemical energy of hydrogen or other fuels to efficiently produce electricity or heat with minimal byproducts, primarily water. The DOE is accepting applications for a total of up to $74 million to support the research and development of clean, reliable fuel cells for stationary and transportation applications. Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Government, Green Design & Manufacturing, Transportation Read More >> # Solar Reactor Converts Carbon Dioxide and Water Into Fuel Cerium oxide — or ceria — is a common metal most famously used in self-cleaning ovens, and it is the centerpiece of a new technology from California Institute of Technology that concentrates solar energy and uses it to efficiently convert carbon dioxide and water into fuels. Posted in: GDM, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases Read More >> # Will the Apple/Verizon partnership lead to widespread iPhone use in the enterprise? This week's question addresses last week's news that Verizon will soon sell the iPhone 4. Although some analysts say the move may double Apple's market share, many enterprises and financial institutions have held back on the mobile device due to concerns of its cost, security capabilities, and its compatibility with in-house systems like Microsoft Outlook. Will the Apple/Verizon partnership lead to widespread iPhone use in the enterprise? Yes or no? Posted in: Question of the Week Read More >> # Speeding Cleanup of Contaminated Sites An engineering team at Oregon State University has invented a new type of radiation detection and measurement device that will be useful for cleanup of sites with radioactive contamination - making the process faster, more accurate, and less expensive. Posted in: GDM, News, News, Environmental Monitoring, Green Design & Manufacturing, Remediation Technologies Read More >> # Funding Opportunity for Vehicle Research and Development The DOE is accepting applications for up to$184 million over three to five years to accelerate the development and deployment of new efficient vehicle technologies that will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, save drivers money, and limit carbon pollution.

Posted in: GDM, News, News, Alternative Fuels, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Government, Green Design & Manufacturing, Greenhouse Gases, Transportation

# A Trip to the WEEC

Last Thursday, I left New York for DC to check out the World Energy Engineering Congress (WEEC) held at the Washington Convention Center. Though my Amtrak train was a little slow in getting there, the show flew by in a flash.

Posted in: GDM, News, Biomass, Energy, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Lighting