The Emerald Isle Gets Even Greener

compact fluorescent light bulb on green backgroundIn my Bag & Baggage post several months ago, I raved about how environmentally-progressive Ireland has become.   For nearly 7 years, they’ve imposed a tax on plastic shopping bags that’s encouraged the use of reusable bags and dramatically reduced litter nationwide.

Now they’re greening it up again!

On March 1st, the Republic of Ireland will become the first democratic country in the world to ban the traditional incandescent light bulb.   Stores there will no longer carry the century-old technology, instead stocking their shelves with more efficient compact fluorescent (CFL), halogen, & LED alternatives.

And the U.S. is making the switch too, albeit more slowly.   The EPA says that by 2014, most remaining incandescent light bulbs will have to meet far more stringent efficiency standards.

Where Ya Been?

One of the wizards at Google’s European Engineering office, Douwe Osinga has created a web app that maps the states of the U.S. and countries of the world that you’ve visited.

My coverage of America seemed pretty good, but as much as I felt like I was well-traveled, the worldview map paints a bit less impressive picture…


visited 21 states in America (42%)
Create your own visited map of The United States


visited 7 countries (3.11%)
Create your own visited map of The World

So, how about you? Where ya been?
 

Coffee To Go

Java, Joe, Go Juice, Morning Mojo…   Whatever you call it, coffee is the stuff that millions of people worldwide rely on to kickstart their day and keep it buzzing along.   But coffee can fuel more than your body & brain — soon it could help rev your car too!

From Spent Coffee Grounds as a Versatile Source of Green Energy in the Journal of Agriculture & Food Chemistry, researchers at the University of Nevada revealed that they’ve found a simple means of extracting oil from waste coffee grounds to create a cheap, abundant, & very environmentally-friendly source of biodiesel.Latte with 2Dolphins logo

Although many different types of oils can be used to make biodiesel (including soybean, rapeseed, mustard, flax, sunflower, & palm oils) spent coffee grounds contain up to 20% of oil by weight, which is a comparable and sometimes higher yield than other feedstock.   Coffee-based fuel was found to be more stable than other biodiesels due to high antioxidant content and after oil extraction, the leftover grounds can still be converted to ethanol or used as garden compost.   It’s projected that 340 million gallons of biodiesel fuel can be extracted from the used grounds of the more than 16 billion pounds of coffee that’s produced globally per year.

I especially like how this closes the lifecycle loop on coffee beans:   First they’re used for brewing coffee; next as a source of oil for fuel; and finally as an organic fertilizer — which, in theory, could be used in growing more beans!

As if all that weren’t enough, this fuel reportedly even smells like…   brewed coffee!   So enjoy that latté — it may actually be good for the planet!

Related Trivia:
Ever wonder where the expression "cup of Joe" came from?   After Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels banned alcoholic beverages on bases & aboard ships in July 1914, disgruntled sailors began calling coffee (their next best substitute for booze) by the sarcastic nickname “Joe.”
 

Monopoly Trivia Answered

A few days ago I asked the Monopoly trivia question:   What’s the formal name of the game’s mustached mascot.   Bob made a good guess, but no cigar.

Rich Uncle Milburn Pennybags” first appeared in 1936.   It’s believed that the character is at least partially based on legendary capitalist & financier J.P. Morgan.   He was officially rechristened “Mr. Monopoly” by Hasbro in 1999.

By the way, the sad fellow behind bars is “Jake the Jailbird” and “Officer Edgar Mallory” is the cop who patrols the “Go To Jail” square.
 

Still Kicking Butts!

stubbed out cigarette buttI could think of no better way to start the new year on a positive note than to take a moment to commemorate a significant milestone…

As of today, Dede has been kickin’ butts for three years — cigarette butts, that is!   Yup, she stopped smoking on Dec. 31st, 2005 and hasn’t picked ’em up since!