Superheadz’s Sun & Cloud Solar And Hand-Cranked Powered Digital Camera.

Sun & Cloud Self-Generating Digital CameraSuperheadz’s $200 Sun & Cloud 3 megapixel solar and hand-cranked powered digital camera has unfortunate written all over it. Here’s a description from Gizmodo:

“As its namesake implies, what really sets the Sun & Cloud digital camera apart from its competition is the inclusion of a solar panel on top, and a retractable generator crank on the side. So with a lot of sunlight and/or elbow grease, you can perpetually keep its battery charged. Besides a microSD memory card slot and 15 built-in digital filters, the camera unfortunately mostly disappoints with its limited photo resolution and basic 640×480 video capabilities.”

So the first unfortunate is the Sun & Cloud’s $200 price tag, the second unfortunate is its limited resolution and the last unfortunate is the manufacturer’s questionable nameSuperheadz?

Etón FR160B Microlink Self-Powered AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone ChargerA better option might be to use the higher-resolution camera on your current mobile phone and keep it juiced via solar power or hand-cranking with a $30 Etón FR160B Microlink with AM/FM/NOAA Weather Radio, Flashlight and USB charging port. [Gizmodo]


‘A Brief History of the 5-cent Bag Tax’ Video.

A Brief History of the 5-cent Bag Tax “A Brief History of the 5-cent Bag Tax” video was created by DC based sketch comedy group Dunk Your Bagel for American University’s Eco-Comedy Video Competition. It’s a must see for any city government considering a plastic grocery bag fee. It turns out that gut punches, rat eating and being sprayed in the eyes with Windex won’t deter people from asking for a plastic grocery bag the way a $.05 fee will. [Planetizen]


Home Energy Efficiency (1993 vs 2009): Homes Are More Efficient, Gadgets/Electronics More Prevalent.

Home Energy Consumption chart from the EIAI think this home energy consumption chart shows what we call a hug-punch or a tickle-slap – homes are more efficient through weatherization [the hug] but we’re eating up those savings with our appliances, gadgets and electronics [the punch]. According to an article on Greentech, homes built between 2000-2009 were 30% larger than previous years and yet home energy consumption has stayed pretty much flat. We must be buying a shitload of appliances, gadgets and electronics because Energy Star can’t save us.

Even as we move towards efficient home appliances, we seem to be over complicating it. We posted a story about WiFi controlled LED lighting system that allowed homeowners to remotely control their lights via a remote, iDevice app and required a separate router. It’s the hardware stupid! Since most of us have mastered the on/off switch – use it and skip the energy consuming gadgets in order to truly save electricity. [Greentech Media]


UK’s Horsemeat Scandal Changes 6 in 10 Shopper’s Buying Habits. 30% Buy Less Processed Meats.

Which? Graphic:  6 in 10 changed their shopping habits because of the horsemeat scandal.A poll was conducted by Which? to gauge consumer confidence in the food industry in the wake of the UK’s horsemeat scandal. Here’s a summary of the poll results (from Which?):

“Consumer trust in the food industry has dropped by a quarter (24%) since the horsemeat scandal broke, a Which? survey has revealed. 30% of shoppers are now buying less processed meat and a quarter (24%) are buying fewer ready meals with meat in, or choosing vegetarian options.

Two thirds of people (68%) don’t think the government has been giving enough attention to enforcing labelling laws, with half of consumers (47%) not confident that ingredient information is accurate.

Confidence in food safety has also taken a hit. Before the scandal broke, nine in 10 felt confident when buying products in the supermarket. This has dropped to seven in 10.”

According to the Guardian, the horsemeat scandal has been a boon for meatless-meat producer Quorn:

“As sales of frozen burgers have tumbled amid further evidence of horsemeat in a range of meat products including ready meals, Quorn – the UK’s biggest vegetarian ready meal brand – said last week that it had seen sales growth more than double in the second half of February as shoppers snapped up its burgers, mince and sausages made from a form of fungus.”

I’m sure this change in consumer buying habits to non-meat meat products is the reaction most people expected.

On the plus side, other than some people gagging and a few hurling at the thought, there haven’t been any reports of people becoming ill by eating horsemeat. Another bonus of the horsemeat scandal: it’s kind of nice to hear that consumers are working down the food chain – hopefully most will stay there. [Guardian and Which?]


Dennis Hope Will Sell You A Plot Of Land On The Moon. Jubbling Helps Pick Its First President.

MoonShop's Dennis Hope with his moon lots for sale.Dennis Hope has been selling $24.00 plots of land on the moon for 30+ years. To date, Mr. Hope’s MoonShop has sold just under 600 million acres of moon properties and he has approx 9.4 billion acres left to sell. How is he selling property on the moon? According to Mr. Hope, he’s found a loophole in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and he filed a claim on it. Here’s a NY Times video on Dennis Hope:

Of course a moon colony is going to need a leader and we’ve got just the person – Northwest Ordinance for Space advocate Newt Gingrich.
New Gingrich - first President of Moonsylvania.
Mr. Gingrich is qualified and a nice bonus is that he’ll push for statehood once the moon’s population reaches 13,000. Be sure to give Governor Gingrich time; he might complain a little at the start about wanting to come back to earth and that he’s a changed man but he’s done that before and eventually, he’ll come around to moon life.

So how does buying land on the moon fit with Jubbling? It’s a reminder of how important it is to take care of the planet we actually live on and it’s a reminder that we need to reduce the amount of money we waste on bad ideas. [Gizmodo]


Ecover Will Be Partially Packaging Their Products With Plastic Retrieved From The Sea. Good Idea?

Plastic bottle in the oceanBased in Belgium, Ecover manufactures natural cleaning products primarily for the European market. They are like the United States’ Method brand – which they own. Ecover is always working on improving the sustainability of their products and their latest effort is to harvest sea-plastic from the ocean and incorporate it into their packaging. The sea-plastic will be mixed with a plastic made from sugar cane (PlantPlastic) and other recycled plastic to create a new one-of-a-kind packaging. Here’s how Ecover will recover and recycle the sea-plastic (Guardian):

“Boats outfitted with special equipment will be able to collect between two and eight tonnes of waste per trawl for cleaning and recycling, while other fishermen will collect plastic debris mixed with by-catch and deposit it at special collection points. The sorted waste will then be sent to Closed Loop Recycling’s plant in Dagenham, east London, where it will be processed and turned into the plastic for the new bottles.”

Reducing the amount of plastic in our oceans and creating awareness of the ocean garbage patches are all good things but I just can’t get past the idea of sending fuel-guzzling fishing boats out to trawl the ocean bottom for plastic. Maybe they’ll just skim the surface for floating plastic – still, it seems like an extremely consuming way to make a statement about ocean pollution and the sustainability of your product. Wouldn’t it be less consuming and less labor intensive to harvest the plastic on land before it reaches the ocean?

What do you think? [Guardian]