Friday, September 18, 2009

Today's links

Tiny Vehicle of the Day. I've always held that small, efficient things will do well in India. So, this Reva car should be right up India's alley. The biggie here is the price. If the four seater is anything beyond 2.5 Lakhs, then it is probably going to flop.

That said, I like their idea of having some reserve battery power which can be remotely activated by customer service center - this makes it doubly sure that the vehicle will not be stuck in no man's land. It reminds me of the 'reserve' knob that auto-wallahs have under the passenger seat in India....

Green Initiative of the day. There's this gentleman in the North-east US, who has come up with a plan to industrially digest plastics and spew out diesel fuel for as less as $10 per barrel. I'm not fully sold on the idea yet, primarily because there's this jarring line in the article:

Production depends on the plastic used as feedstock, but each ton of waste will produce 3 to 5 barrels of product, according to Envion. Producing a barrel consumes between 59 and 98 kilowatt-hours — two or three days’ worth of electricity for a typical house. The price of electricity per gallon comes to 7 to 12 cents, the company says.

That's a lot of high grade electricity that they're using for this. So, the question is, is this sustainable?

And this is bad for the environment, because carbon trapped in plastics is being released into the atmosphere as climate changing CO2. Why is this on the "Green" blog again?

Cheap information fact of the day. Guess who is planning to set up kiosks all around the place which can print any of 2 million books on demand? Who else?

This story has fascinating repercussions. We're moving in the direction of having all our information, opinions, arguments and written art accessible to every (prosperous) human being, just a click away. Already, the internet is revolutionizing the way research is being done. What Newton, Einstien and the like would take months to do (perform a literature survey), an upstart philistine of a professor can perform in a couple of hours beside a computer.

The question is, has this seemingly infinite access to an infinity of verifiable information made us any better off? I suppose we could argue that we're living in the most peaceful time that the planet has ever seen (I am serious, the current time has the highest life expectancy and least unnatural deaths per capita), and this is probably (at some level) due to the ease of access to information in modern age. Because technology is the product of free flowing information.

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