How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab


By George Parrott

There are now more than 4,000 Nissan Leaf electric cars on the road in the United States, and the 2012 Mitsubishi "i" is poised to arrive at dealers late this year.

Each car offers a DC quick-charge port using the Japanese CHAdeMO standard, for which most 2011 Nissan Leaf owners paid extra.

Yet as of today, there is exactly one fully functional CHAdeMO quick charge point in the entire United States: in Portland, Oregon.

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Scientists have known for years that lightbulbs can be made to be more efficient, and could last longer, but it wasn't until 2007 that Congress mandated a federal standard that would ensure manufacturers produce better lightbulbs.

That relatively obscure 2007 rule, part of a broader energy bill signed into law that year by President Bush, burst into the spotlight in 2008 when Rush Limbaugh put it on the public radar by complaining about it as a prime example of government intrusion into individuals' lives.

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By Emily Gertz

That chicken breast or pork loin sitting on your plate may look innocent enough -- yet meat production is among humanity's most environmentally destructive activities.

It is estimated that livestock raised for meat drink up eight percent of the fresh water supply, create 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and use about 30 percent of the world's non-ice-covered land. Clearing land for livestock is also a major driver of the destruction of forests and other wildlife habitat.

Enter "cultured meat," or meat grown "in vitro:" beef, sheep, and other animal muscle cells grown in laboratories, using the well-established tissue cultivation method of immersing a few cells in a nutrient-dense glop, and then leaving them alone to divide and increase.

Proponents say that cultured meat could feed billions cheaply. It could be grown in any shape, and even texturized to improve palatability: Sheets of meat cells could be stretched mechanically, imitating how an animal uses its muscles.

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After fobbing off a Senate Judiciary subcommittee by telling its leaders that it's more appropriate for company lawyers to testify, Google has finally agreed to make its former chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt available for a hearing in September about online competition.

Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, made the announcement Friday afternoon.

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By John Voelcker

If you like the idea of hybrid or electric cars that whir silently down the road without the noise of an engine exploding gasoline thousands of times each minute, you'd better act fast.

The U.S. government is moving inexorably toward a rule requiring all hybrid and electric cars to make noise whenever their engine isn't running.

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Several of Apple's MobileMe users have recently flagged the fact that some of their politically-oriented e-mail notes have been disappearing into the ether, and never reach their destinations.

Some users on MacInTouch, a Mac forum, for example, have recently said that they've been trying to send political messages about the repressive government actions in Greece and the Middle East with their web-based MobileMe accounts, but the messages' recipients never received them.

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