Costa Rica has successfully ditched fossil fuels for over two months! 

The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved an impressive milestone in green energy production by generating 100 per cent of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal for 75 days in a row.

Thanks to the favorable rainy conditions in the first months of the year, four of Costa Rica’s hydropower plants — Arenal, Cachí, La Angostura and Pirrís — are generating nearly enough electricity to power the entire country. Using a mix of geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources, the nation of 5 million inhabitants hasn’t needed an ounce of coal or petroleum to keep the lights on since December of 2014.

What an extraordinary effort by a small nation! Way to go!

i love that junkrat’s real name is jamison fawkes.

jamison fawkes.

like just from that name, you can tell his parents had particular expectations of him. they had dreams of him growing up to be a sensible adult who color-sorts his laundry, drives a fuel-efficient car, and reads a reputable newspaper with a healthy breakfast every morning. he was supposed to live in the suburbs in a three-bedroom two-bath house with a family dog and absolutely nothing on fire.

his parents wanted 2.1 grandchildren. instead, they got a spiked tire in a pram.


This Sexy Superyacht Is Also Environmentally Friendly

In honor of World Environment Day, here’s one of the most fuel efficient, yet distinctive and drop-dead gorgeous superyachts in the world. While many superyachts are designed to pamper their owners and impress their guests, one of the main objectives of the 140-foot-long yacht Adastra was fuel economy. It’s fast, seaworthy, comfortable, stunningly beautiful, self-sufficient, and most of all green.


How Captain America inspired new fuel efficient cars

Materials scientist Suveen Mathaudhu shows us how both our favorite superheroes and real-world scientists create materials to save the world every day.

Some of Mathaudhu’s own research at UC Riverside has been inspired by Captain America’s shield: is it possible to make a material that is both incredibly strong and super lightweight?

Advances in this area have already made a real impact, particularly in transportation. Lighter vehicles mean better fuel efficiency, making cars cheaper to run and better for the environment.

The Ford F-150, the top-selling pickup truck in the US, shifted from a steel frame to an aluminum frame, increasing the fuel economy of the vehicle by taking over seven hundred pounds out of the frame of the vehicle.

Making the frame weigh less is a big start, but there’s another less obvious source of weight: wiring. The average automobile has between 45 - 110 pounds (20 -50 kg) of electrical cabling.

“Most of it is thick copper cable, and copper cable is heavy – and now copper is very expensive,” said Mathaudhu. “If we could get a fraction of that conductivity in aluminum, it would not only be cheaper to implement, it would be lighter weight even though it will never have the conductivity that copper will inherently have.”

Mathaudhu’s research has shown how you can use nanostructured features in aluminum to maintain its conductivity, while simultaneously boosting the strength of the aluminum. Aluminum is both cheaper and lighter, so by moving toward aluminum cabling, car manufacturers can solve two problems at once.  

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Moral Machines

‘Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.’
                     - Pablo Picasso

Self-driving cars will be cleaner, safer and more fuel-efficient than their manual counterparts.

It is thought that the use of self-driving cars will reduce the number of traffic accidents as well as helping traffic move in a smooth fashion. It would ensure cars move at once when the light turns red, rather than a domino effect as exists in today’s world.

In the way human beings confront situations that are dangerous and of crisis, the cars too must face such decisions. How can a car be programmed to deal with such ethical situations? Should the car be programmed in such a way that it minimises the loss of life outside of the vehicle and protects the occupants at all cost or should it sacrifice the occupant(s) for the sake of the external world?

Jean-Francois Bonnefon, French researcher, conducted two thousand questionnaires. These were three of the predominant answers:

  • more people should drive self-driven cars
  • it is better to save more lives than fewer (sacrifice the occupant)
  • the person answering the questionnaire would not drive such cars themselves

This forms a catch 22, as without the car more people are likely to die but with the car it may entail self-sacrifice of sorts.

‘He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.’
 - Joseph Heller, Catch 22

Any car recommendations?

When I drive, it’s generally city (read: traffic) driving. I want something that can haul plants from the nursery, or a dog, or a kid (or kids) and their stuff, and will allow me to road trip comfortably.

I’m not into luxury cars, just reliable, fuel efficient, and semi-flexible for my nursery runs.
A hatchback would be great. Or a small wagon. I’m not very into style; just reliability.

Under 15k is preferred, and a few years old is fine. (If it’s a Subaru or somesuch, I could go older.)

AMG C63 S Estate “The AMG Messerschmitt” 🔷👿💪🏼🚀

The high-tech drive, the signature AMG handling and the high level of individuality in equipment choices guarantee an utterly unique driving experience. The top model in the C-Class line-up is driven by a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine closely related to the power unit that provides breathtaking propulsion in the Mercedes‑AMG GT. The power spectrum ranges from 350kW (476hp) in the Mercedes‑AMG C63 to 375kW (510hp) in the Mercedes‑AMG C63 S. With an unrivalled fuel consumption figure of just 8.2 liters per 100 kilometers (NEDC combined), the Mercedes‑AMG C63 is the most fuel-efficient eight-cylinder car in the high-performance segment. The extensive range of standard equipment includes the AMG RIDE CONTROL sports suspension with electronically controlled shock absorbers, the mechanical rear locking differential and the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs.

Mercedes-AMG One man, one engine Handcrafted by Michael Kübler @f1mike28 in Germany Affalterbach.
Driving Performance is our Passion! Mercedes-AMG the Performance and Sports Car Brand from Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-AMG Handcrafted by Racers.

Marathon Me Please

The plan is a 1200 mile road trip without stops for gas or sleep in a matte sable 1994 Geo Metro FXI. The Metro runs at fifty-two miles per gallon highway and has a 10.6 gallon tank. Should the itinerary hold true, the tank will only run dry twice, each at about 550 mile intervals. Cars are designed to run with optimal fuel efficiency at an archaic definition of highway speed meaning the entire trip will be traveled at fifty-five miles per hour with hazard lights flashing to avoid being pulled over on seventy-five mile per hour interstate roads. Twelve gallons of gas held in four, three gallon containers are in the trunk. When the tank runs empty I’ll step out of the drivers seat and fill it back up. Headcase will stretch his legs. I’ll sleep for the next ten hours while he drives. In 21 hours we will be someplace else, he says he’s doing it out of love, I’m just getting away from this town, out of the desert.

Why gas mileage has barely budged since 1980 - Brad Plumer via The Washington Post

Are the car manufacturers stuck in a time warp? Doesn’t it seem like we should have 100 mile/gallon cars by now? It turns out that there has been great advances in car technology, but they have been cancelled out by making the cards heavier:

Brad Plumer via The Washington Post

[MIT economist Christopher] Knittel notes that automakers have made a slew of striking advances on the internal combustion engine over the past few decades — from variable-speed transmissions to front-wheel drive — that have drastically increased efficiency. But automakers mainly took advantage of those breakthroughs to build larger cars and light trucks with more powerful engines. Between 1980 and 2006, the average curb weight of vehicles increased 26 percent, while horsepower rose 10 percent. Average gas mileage, by contrast, improved just 15 percent.

The charts below, for instance, show how the Honda Accord has evolved over time. The car’s weight, horsepower and torque have all climbed dramatically since 1980. By contrast, the car’s gas mileage (shown in the lower right corner), spiked briefly in the early 1980s before plummeting and then largely stagnating for a decade:

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Here’s another way of making the point: If Americans were still driving the same-sized cars that they were back in 1980, Knittel calculates, the average gas mileage of vehicles would be about 37 miles per gallon today, rather than the 23 miles per gallon we’re currently getting. But oil prices fell during the 1980s and 1990s, and fuel-economy standards stagnated. Automakers had few incentives to improve gas mileage. So they didn’t.

And if they had worked at making the cars small and of lighter materials, they’d probably be over 50 miles/gallon.