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Bright Ideas

September 22, 2010

Photo by Richard Greenhill and Hugo Elias. Some rights reserved.

Don’t let the darkening days get you down.  It turns out alternative fuel sources are accessible all around us.  One particularly inventive lamp in Cambridge, Massachusetts is fighting the night with something of which it has ample supply: dog poop.  Funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and conceived by artist Matthew Mazzotta, the “Park Spark” poop converter takes canine waste, mixes in water and microbes, and produces methane gas that is then burned off.  As this lamp is located in a dog park, it is unlikely they will run out of fuel any time soon.

Another innovation – or some might say a devolution – in accessing energy comes from the skies.  Or rather, it comes from the air a few feet above a field in Ontario, where University of Toronto engineering student Todd Reichert has set a world record for flying “the first ever human-powered flapping-wing aircraft continuously” in an ornithopter called Snowbird.  He made it almost almost 500 feet in just under 20 seconds.  If that doesn’t sound laborious enough, Reichert confesses that in anticipation of the event, he lost 17.6 pounds in order to make it easier to pilot his craft.

For more on energy and the environment, check out our sister blog,  The Green Mien.

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