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ELECTRIC FEEL

Tesla’s 90-Second Battery Swap

Electric car manufacturer unveils battery swap system many see as gamechanger.

For electric, it’s all about the charge.

Tesla Roadster Charging

Tesla Roadster at a charging station in Frankfurt, Germany, May 16, 2011.

One of the major roadblocks in convincing consumers to switch to electric-power automobiles, the charging time of a battery, may just have been overcome.

LIGHT SWITCH

L.A. Saves With LEDS

Los Angeles has swapped out 140,000 street lights for highly efficient LEDs, a move that could save the strapped city $10 million annually.

Highly efficient light bulbs may not be popular in Minnesota’s Sixth District. But the LED has taken over Hollywood.

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In 2009, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched the Los Angeles LED Street Lighting Energy and Efficiency Program. The plan: swap out over 140,000 street lights and replace them with highly efficient light-emitting diodes. The effort was the largest such street LED light replacement program in the world.

The Long Haul

Bloomberg’s Plan Stinks for Supers

The mayor’s program to haul away New Yorkers’ food scraps means a lot more dirty work for the city’s building staffers. Samantha Guff on the residential logistics of a green idea.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s latest plan for the Big Apple is landing with a splatter in the lap of New York’s landlords and superintendents.

NY Super’s Against Composting

A pile of garbage seen on a sidewalk on the Upper East Side in New York, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to start a composting program. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty)

Fresh off his fight to limit the size of soft drinks and introducing bike sharing, Bloomberg is taking aim at dinner plates, requiring New Yorkers to separate their food waste from their regular trash for composting. Residents will be asked to save chicken bones, rotting fruit, and stale bread in special containers in their homes, which they’ll have to deposit in larger curbside bins that will be emptied weekly by sanitation trucks.

Sun’s Up

Owning a Piece of the Sun

Save the planet, turn a profit. That’s the thinking of Mosaic, a company that lets you invest in solar panels, and promises a pretty decent return. Daniel Gross gives it a whirl.

It’s hard to get a 4.5 percent annual return on your money without taking too much risk. Banks pay less than 1 percent. Blue-chip stocks pay dividends at about2 percent. The U.S. government borrows for about 30 years at 3 percent.

Mosaic Investments

Mosaic

But I found one way to get a decent interest rate while also boosting my personal green credentials: I bought a very small piece of a solar electric power plant in New Jersey.

Efficient Travel

Float That Luggage

A Brazilian group’s plan to treat suitcases like air-hockey pucks beat out 617 other proposals to win Airbus’s student contest to promote more efficient air travel.

One of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers thinks the key to the best flying experience might come from green technology and is hoping that the next generation of scientists will discover it.

Belgium Airport Strike

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

On Friday Airbus announced the winner of its biennial Fly Your Ideas challenge, a competition that encouraged college students to brainstorm and sell their ideas on innovative and green improvements to the airplane industry.

Sinking Feeling

The Cost of Hope: $20 Billion

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg says nearly $20 billion could protect the city from climate change. But can he—and his successor—walk the walk? David Freedlander reports.

Warning that the city faces dire consequences in the face of global climate change, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg laid out a far-reaching plan Tuesday to confront rising sea levels and a warming planet.

Bloomberg: Climate Change Press Conference

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivers remarks about the city’s long-term plan to prepare for climate-change impacts June 11. (Mario Tama/Getty)

The plan, called “A Stronger and More Resilient New York,” comes in response to Hurricane Sandy, last year’s massive storm that rendered large swaths of the region uninhabitable and left 43 New Yorkers dead.

It’s hard to see why else the state would propose a measure to lay a special tax on owners of hybrid and electric cars, writes Daniel Gross.

For a while there, North Carolina had progressives fooled. In 2008, its voters pulled the chain for President Obama (even if by a very narrow minority). The popular show Dawson’s Creek was filmed there. The ever-expanding Research Triangle drew thousands of out-of-staters who brought their Northeast modes of consumption and values.

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Electric hybrid cars are plugged-in to charge during a demonstration of the vehicles. (Elaine Thompson/AP)

But in recent years, the state has taken a few steps backward. Last fall, North Carolina reverted to form and voted for Mitt Romney. Voters also swept Republicans into the governorship and control of the state legislature. And they’ve set about slashing unemployment benefits, and taking a host of other nonprogressive actions. As Mary Curtis notes in The Washington Post, the new regime’s agenda has included: “the decision to reject federal funds to expand Medicaid, the reduction of state unemployment benefits, proposals that would cut funding from public education and provide vouchers for private schools, a voter ID bill, and efforts to restart the death penalty and repeal North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act.”

The right loves to bash New York's Citi Bike system, but bike share embodies the privatized, self-reliant ideals they espouse. Daniel Gross on why conservatives should climb on board.

New York City’s bike-sharing system, Citi Bike, is only two weeks old. In the media, it has many champions, including your humble author, who has ridden it to the office, to a board meeting, to television appearances, and elsewhere. It saves money, it’s convenient, it’s the biggest new piece of transportation infrastructure in New York in years, and it offers hundreds of thousands of desk drones the ability to integrate exercise into their daily commuting routines. It’s nowhere near perfect (I was unable to liberate a bike Thursday afternoon, because the system thought I had failed to close out a ride from that morning), but it’s not bad. And New Yorkers seem to like it. As of Friday, 34,305 people had purchased annual memberships, and users had completed 128,417 rides, an overwhelming amount of them without incident.

Citibike

A couple get their Citi Bike bicycles from a station near Union Square as the bike-sharing system is launched May 27. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty)

Of course, for some reason, people on the right seem to loathe the whole of idea of a bike-sharing system and of two-wheeled transport in general. Rupert Murdoch’s empire has been a particular hotbed of Citi Bike hatred. The New York Post has gleefully documented every hiccup in the new program. Wall Street Journal editorial-page writer Dorothy Rabinowitz recorded a histrionic anti-bike video that went viral. And in the first evidence to be found in ages of the Journal expressing concern over the poor, Saturday’s edition had an article complaining that the bikes aren’t available in low-income neighborhoods. Daniel Greenfield, a writer for FrontPage (the creation of David Horowitz, the left-wing nut job turned right-wing nut job), noted that the system has totalitarian origins. (N.Y.C. Transportation Commissar Jannette Sadik-Khan “is the granddaughter of Imam Alimjan Idris, a Nazi collaborator and principle [sic] teacher at an SS school for Imams under Hitler’s Mufti, Haj Amin al-Hussein.”)

JUICE-Y

Federal Lands, Green Power

Critics have accused the Obama administration of being unwilling to exploit federal lands for energy. But the Interior Department is now taking aggressive action to promote green-power development in areas it controls.

For the past few years, the energy industry and its political allies have complained that President Obama refuses to open up federal land for oil and gas drilling fast enough. But that doesn’t mean the administration is sitting on its hands when it comes to exploiting the power-generating potential of federal lands. This week, the Department of Interior, in one of the first high-profile moves under Sally Jewell, the former chief executive of REI, announced some truly massive green-power plans.

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Windmills generate electricity on Colorado’s largest wind farm, Colorado Green, south of Lamar. (Ed Andrieski/AP)

On Monday, Jewell approved three massive renewable-energy projects, with a combined generating capacity of 520 megawatts, on a combined 16,600 acres of federally owned land in Arizona and Nevada. “These projects reflect the Obama Administration's commitment to expand responsible domestic energy production on our public lands and diversify our nation's energy portfolio,” Jewell said in a statement. “Today’s approvals will help bolster rural economies by generating good jobs and reliable power and advance our national energy security.”

Slippery

Crude Awakening

Ignore the nail-biters saying we buy too much oil from ugly places; the latest numbers show we’re buying less and making more.

For years, geopolitical analysts have warned of the twin deficits that threaten America. There’s the federal budget deficit, which gobbles up resources and forces the U.S. to borrow ever-greater amounts of money from China. And there’s the trade deficit, which means Americans are sending their hard-earned dollars to buy stuff (plastic products, clothes, oil) from unfriendly regimes. These twin deficits enrich our frenemies and impoverish present and future Americans. The good news! Both of these mortal threats are declining.

Oil Prices

Mark Lennihan/AP

For the last several months, we’ve been banging on about the Golden Age of Deficit Reduction. As the expansion chugs toward its four-year anniversary, tax revenues are rising and federal spending is falling. The deficit for the current fiscal year is now projected to come in at about $642 billion, down 41 percent from the $1.089 trillion in fiscal 2012. By now, it’s not exactly news.

Shame on You, Walmart!

With an Ohio Walmart hosting a holiday food drive for its own workers, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky criticizes the notoriously stingy company for not paying them more.

  1. Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market Play

    Obama Gets Credit for Stock Market

  2. Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts Play

    Twitter’s IPO: World Reacts

  3. Phone Throwing App Is Awful Play

    Phone Throwing App Is Awful

THE LATEST IN BUSINESS

Congress: Hail Our Media Overlords

Congress: Hail Our Media Overlords

Forget Comcast being on the ropes over its proposed multibillion-dollar merger with Time Warner Cable. It smoothly overrode concerns at a Senate hearing Wednesday.

Breaking: Trend Stories Are B.S.

Woman Power

Christine Lagarde’s Tightrope Act

SHOW BUSINESS

The ‘Money Honey’ Moves On

You're Hired

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