Google’s Clean Energy Pays Off

Tax season is nearing its climax with taxes due tomorrow, and Google will be claiming big numbers on their tax breaks this year. Since 2010, the search engine and overall internet giant invested $1.4 billion in renewable energy systems through 16 different projects. All of Google’s investments into renewable energy — a market many investors do not like to touch — has made them the largest investor outside of utilities and financial institutions.

The cost of solar panels has dropped 58% since Google started making these investments, allowing them to invest more heavily in them. While other tech giants like Facebook are investing in renewable energy sources to power their own facilities, none of them are investing as much as Google. In 2013 alone, Google invested $400 million in renewable energy projects, not just for their own services and needs, but to help spread electricity to the

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Renewable Energy Growth in the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of the world is well known for its fields of fuel. Oil is one of the most widely exported commodities from this region, and it fuels much of the world. However, thanks to a Munich based trade association known as Dersertec, solar and wind power will be growing in the region. The current systems in place generate about 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, but Desertec looks to expand this to 3.9 GW by 2015.

Paul van Son, CEO of Desertec, claims “The demand is here”. The production cost in the MENA region is lower than it is in Europe, but Paul van Son believes that Europe and MENA will eventually be connected by power grids. The Middle East and Africa are relatively new to the renewable energy scene, but they are viable places for widespread expansion. Ethiopia is home

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The Bahamas to Get Electric Vehicles

The Bahamas see 5 million tourists each year, resulting in a lot of carbon pollution from vehicles as people navigate the small islands. To help counter this, EASY Car Sales in Nassau has decided to start selling electric vehicles (EVs), specifically the Wheego LiFE. The coupe features rear cargo space, a top speed of 65 mph and a 100 mile range per charge. This is the first EV to be sold in the Bahamas and will be the source of many changes among the islands.

To help propagate the use of EVs, Sun Country Highway will be implementing EV charging stations that will likely be solar powered, thanks to the high level of sun the region typically receives. One other major incentive is the savings on fuel costs. Gasoline is priced at a premium on islands and stands around $3.70 per gallon as of this writing. With

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Life Hacks, Pt. 2

Click here for Part 1 of this series.

Moving — When moving into and out of a house, take photos of each room: walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors and any additional features that came with your rental property, such as lighting and appliances. This can help if you get charged for damages that weren’t caused during your residency

Trick Candle Lighters — If you’re going camping or plan to have a bonfire in your yard or on the beach, bring trick candles. Light the candle first, then use it to light the actual fire. If there is any wind, the trick candle will relight itself if it gets blown out.

Vacuuming — When you start vacuuming your house, vacuum up two or three tablespoons of cinnamon first. The heat in your vacuum will release the cinnamon scent all throughout your cleaning.

eManuals — After purchasing a

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Life Hacks, Pt. 1

Life hacks, pro tips, good ideas . . . they go by several different names, but all in all, these tips and tricks are just little ways to make your life a little easier. They range from simple to complex, and some of them can help you cut back on wasted energy (the physical and electrical kind) and money.

Protect Charger Wires — Frayed wires are a problem we face in the world of mobile technology. By wrapping an old pen spring around the wire by the small end of the plug, you’ll keep it protected from bending and fraying.

Wire Management — Bulldog clips (the strong, black, metal clips that fold up) can be used to organize wires, like cell phone chargers and USB cables. Attach them to your desk with the silver metal strips pointing away from the desk. Thread your cables through the silver

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Nuclear Fusion Takes Over

Nuclear fusion is the process by which the sun functions, fusing hydrogen atoms into helium atoms, which in turn releases tremendous amounts of energy. The sun continues to do this, giving us the light and heat we experience here on Earth. Scientists have tried for decades to recreate this process, as nuclear fusion would be an excellent way to generate electricity. The problem they have faced is that it takes more energy to start the nuclear reaction than the reaction released. But for the first time ever, scientists have accomplished this in an experiment.

Researchers at the National Ignition Facility of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have successfully triggered a nuclear fusion reaction. This was done with the use of 192 powerful lasers that were concentrated on a single capsule coated with deuterium and tritium that caused the heavy forms of hydrogen to fuse. While the hydrogen absorbed

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Smart Homes

Google purchased the company behind the Nest Learning Thermostat, Nest Labs, in mid-January for $3.2 billion. The search engine and technology giant is looking to expand the coverage of smart technology from thermostats to entire houses. Other companies like Honeywell and Microsoft are investing in the smart home concept as well, with expectations that smart homes will become widely popular in the near future. Technology expert Brian Proffitt believes Google’s attempts will especially grab people’s attention.

Smart homes really are not new by technology standards. Companies like AT&T have advertisements for smart home services that turn electronics on and off, set thermostats and security systems, and even allow you to lock your doors by using your smartphone. Google’s technological expertise could carry this interconnectivity into a more fulfilling role by fully integrating the whole house into a single network. This means that the system can potentially recognize

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Bringing Solar Power to Developing Nations

There are many nations that do not have the ability to brighten their dark nights with electric lights. Students in Haiti can be found studying outside under a streetlamp. Some people in Africa use Coke bottles filled with water and bleach to provide light in their shack by shoving them into a hole in their roof; during the day, the bottle acts as a diffuser and spreads light throughout the shack. There are about 1.4 billion people without electricity worldwide, a luxury many Americans can easily take for granted. The telecom giant Verizon has decided to change that.

Crowdfunded solar innovation company Mosaic announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January that they were awarded $1 million from Verizon to bring light to the darker parts of the world. So far, Mosaic has accrued $6.6 million for projects like this. Developing a power grid in places

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Pop-Pop: Creating One Smile at a Time

Traffic signals can brighten your day when you get all green lights, or ruin it if you get all red ones. Crossing signals help keep people safe by letting them know when it is safe to cross a busy street. The latter doesn’t seem to get as much attention as the traffic lights themselves, but three students from New York University sought to change that. The students felt that the streets of New York City needed more personality in their infrastructure. Sure, there are performers and shows, and the like, but the traffic signals just run through the monotonous routine of stop and go all day long.

“Pop-Pop” is the name given to the first “sentient” crossing signal that gathers information from the intersection it’s located on and from city statistics. It uses this data to determine its mood and display messages and a face to pedestrians.

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Spring Cleaning

Spring has officially sprung and many people are taking this opportunity to spruce up their home. This may include having garage sales, making donations of unwanted items, cleaning out an attic or basement, or just giving the whole house a good, deep cleaning. One problem with cleaning is that many cleaning products we use have powerful chemicals in them that can actually be very bad for our health. However, you can make your own cleaning solutions out of natural substances that are just as good as their chemical counterparts.

1. Baking soda makes for an excellent air freshener. Sometimes we leave an open box in our refrigerator to soak up the odors of various leftovers. It can also be used to deodorize a room or carpet, and can even help fight stains.

2. Lemon juice is a good disinfectant. The strong citric acid in lemons can kill most

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