Band of the Month: Chang-A-Lang

Hello, and happy Friday!

This installment of Band of the Month features Chang-A-Lang. This Toronto born and raised, fist-pumping three piece deserves recognition for their jovial on-stage energy and socially aware attitude. Chang-A-Lang will make you shake on the dance floor as they maintain enthusiasm about positive change in the world.
Check the link below for a track from their album ‘No Clean Rock and Roll’.

Save the Environment by Chang-A-Lang

Band of the Month by Greg O’Toole

Marijuana Decriminalization Lowers Youth Crime Rate

Marijuana has been recently decriminalized in a few states in the USA, and based off of data from California the overall rate of youth arrests will drop dramatically. This is good news because now so many young lives won’t be destroyed for participating in using a drug that has negligible health effects (way less than alcohol) and is an insanely costly law to enforce. In Canada, the majority of Canadians encourage decriminalization for similar reasons.

The San Francisco-based Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice (CJCJ) recently released a policy briefing with an analysis of arrest data collected by the California Department of Justice’s Criminal Justice Statistics Center. The briefing, “California Youth Crime Plunges to All-Time Low,” identifies a new state marijuana decriminalization law that applies to juveniles, not just adults, as the driving force behind the plummeting arrest totals.

After the new pot law went into effect in January 2011, simple marijuana possession arrests of California juveniles fell from 14,991 in 2010 to 5,831 in 2011, a 61 percent difference, the report by CJCJ senior research fellow Mike Males found.

Read more at AlterNet

A Greener Asphalt

Roads are often overlooked when it comes to the impact of cars on the environment, but we can’t ignore the roads have on the environment when discussing the practicality of cars. Asphalt is used to make roads and the process of creating asphalt is very energy intensive. In Vancouver, they are looking into ways to lower the negative impact of car infrastructure by making greener roads.

First, it allows asphalt to be heated at 20 to 40 degrees less than is necessary when using the traditional “hot mix” method. This reduces the amount of fuel necessary for the process, which in turn reduces the resulting greenhouse-gas production by as much as 50 per cent. Second, although there are other paving materials that have similar characteristics, they’re normally made of petroleum products. GreenMantra’s product comes from recycled plastics.

The wax is slightly more expensive than petroleum-based materials, but GreenMantra and the City of Vancouver are looking to bring down the cost by sourcing cheaper plastic. The price could also drop of its own accord, as GreenMantra begins to produce the stuff in greater quantities.

Read more at the Torontoist.

Geothermal Efficiency Projects

Geothermal power generation has been used all over the world and can be used for power generation of small and large power plants. It can be a local installation that powers a house to mega projects like those in Iceland that can power cities. In the USA there are two projects underway that are designed to test and demonstrate how easy and productive geothermal energy can be.

The first is a community-scale geothermal project in Massachusetts. We’ve heard a lot about community-scale solar PV projects, but community geothermal is also starting to emerge. New England Renewable Energy Systems has installed a community geothermal project in Provincetown, Massachusetts that uses a single loop field to heat and cool ten homes. The system has 19 vertical bores that supply 44 tons of geothermal heat pumps, or about 154 kilowatts of capacity. The challenge for community-scale geothermal, like community-scale renewables generally, is coordinating the investment among homeowners. But the benefit is clear: Homeowners participating in the program can pool their resources with others and save about $2,000 per year in heating costs from avoiding burning oil.

Read more here.

A Solar Powered Combustion Engine May Be in Your Future

This may sound counter-intutitive, but researches have begun a project to build an internal combustion engine (a common car engine) that runs off of solar power. Instead of using gas to ignite everything they want to heat water, add a dash of oil, to create a replacement to the overused pollution producing machine that is one of the leading causes of global warming.

To begin, mirrored parabolic solar collectors would be used to heat oil to a temperature of at least 400 to 700ºF (204 to 371ºC). This hot oil would then be injected into the cylinder chamber of the engine, just like gasoline ordinarily is. A few microdroplets of water would then also be introduced, which would turn to steam immediately upon contact with the hot oil.

The rapidly-expanding steam would serve the same purpose as exploding gas, driving the piston downward and turning the driveshaft. As the piston reached the bottom of its stroke, the spent steam and oil would exit the cylinder and be run through an oil/steam separator. They could then each be returned to their respective reservoirs, for re-use within the closed-loop system.

Read more at gizmag.

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