Link of the Day: Wonders of the World TV lets you explore some of the most amazing sites in the world virtually through “videos, bookmarks for Google Earth and links to Wikipedia”, all in grand web 2.0 style.

Duration: 1min 12sec

A few examples: Serengeti Migration (Kenya/Tanzania), Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Iguazu Falls (Argentina/Brazil), Ayers Rock (Australia)

Wonders of the World TV Ayer's Rock


Appropriate Technology Roundup #17 [10/30/07]

  1. An introduction to Biodiesel from the Practical Environmentalist

    A useful post that gives a basic intro to biodiesel, dispelling some common misconceptions along the way.

  2. Is Biodiesel an Appropriate Technology for Farmers? from Treehugger
  3. Bottle Buildings from Treehugger
    Bottle Building

    When we get tired of carrying all our wine bottles back to the store for deposit, we may just recycle them into a bottle building in the backyard.

    See also this post, Earthships in Taos, New Mexico, for bottle and can buildings
    Earthship Entrance

    Can building

  4. Quote of the Day: Laura Allen on Gray Water from Treehugger
  5. It IS getting hot in… solar water heaters from It’s Getting Hot in Here

    Here in Delhi, average October daytime temperatures are 34 C, or 93 F, and average solar intensities peak around 650 W/m2 midday. I personally lack any desire for a hot shower on days like these, and the black water tanks on our roof are essentially solar thermal heaters on their own. Still, the use of electric water heaters or gas-powered heating tanks in Delhi and cities all around the world are consuming large amounts of energy, energy easily and efficiently provided by the sun.

    All of which makes the recent announcement from the Delhi government very appropriate and exciting! Solar water heating systems are now mandatory for all hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, and commercial buildings. Existing regulation has already mandated solar water heating systems for government buildings and residential buildings on an property of 500 square metres or more.

  6. HOK’s LEED Gold-certified Straw Bale Building from Inhabitat

    LEED Gold-certified Straw Bale Building

    LEED Gold-certified Straw Bale Building

    A mix of desert climate, high performance goals and the insight of a leader in sustainable design has yielded one of the first LEED Gold-certified straw-bale buildings in the world.

  7. Hyperefficient Transportation: Utility Bikes and Bike Trailers from MetaEfficient

    Utility bikes or “work bikes” are very efficient vehicles for transporting cargo (and children too). They are quite popular in bike-friendly places like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and China. Bikes can tow a remarkable amount of weight. Loads in excess of 880 pounds (400 kilograms) have been hauled behind bikes along flat surfaces. Generally though, 300 pounds (140 kilograms) is considered the upper threshold for hauling.

  8. Bike-mower roundup from MAKE
  9. Japan To Use Disposable Chopsticks For Biofuel from The Sietch

    Japanese government officials want to start using the millions of wooden chopsticks that go discarded each year as biofuel. The chopstick biofuel (chop-fuel, bio-sticks?)is seen as a way to reduce dependence on Middle East oil and lessen the impact of global warming. Japan imports virtually all of its energy resources including oil.

    Other ideas for how to use unwanted/unused chopsticks.

  10. 🙂

  11. The VIP – an invention from Zimbabwe from Afrigadget

    Venting a pit latrine

    The major advantage of the VIP over a normal pit latrine is that it comes with a ventilation pipe (covered with a durable fly screen on top) which reduces flies and odour. In the absence of other alternatives, the Ventilated Pit Latrine is considered reliable, which explains the success of this technology: over 500.000+ units of this type have been built in Zimbabwe alone and it has proven to work elsewhere around the world.

This Week’s Top 10 (10/21/07-10/27/07)

  1. California Wildfires Skip ‘Shelter’ Communities from NPR

    Homes spared in the wildfires in Southern California were in so-called “shelter-in-place” communities. They’re designed so fire goes around instead of through them, enabling residents to stay safely if there is no time to evacuate.

  2. Poor air quality after California fires safer than indoor air from biomass-burning in low-income countries from THD Blog

    The point the [Berkeley School of Public Health] prof made was that as bad as the air is there, the particulate matter density of 200-300 micrograms per cubic meter (10x greater than average figures for US cities) is still less than the levels typically seen in biomass-burning homes in the developing world.

    Malibu and Southern California Wildfires 10/21/07

    duration: 5min 18sec
  3. Cleantech Exits: M&As Are Weak, Go IPO from Earth2Tech

    When it comes to finding a successful exit for your cleantech startup, good luck finding a buyer willing to pay the price you want. That was the consensus of investors at the Dow Jones Alternative Energy Conference this week. The cleantech industry is too young for its M&A market to have matured, and the IPO market, for certain sectors, is offering a lot better options.

  4. White House ‘Eviscerates’ CDC Director’s Senate Testimony On Global Warming from Think Progress

    On the CDC’s Director Julie Gerberding’s testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the “Human Impacts of Global Warming.”

    “It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.

    The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly “heavy-handed,” with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.

    The White House’s deletions included “details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC’s analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels.”

  5. From Darfur to Shanghai from How the World Works

    China’s interest in African oil has exposed its companies to increasing risk in recent months. Separatist rebels in Ethiopia’s remote Somali region killed nine Chinese workers in a raid on an oil installation in April. Chinese oil workers have also been kidnapped in volatile southern Nigeria.

    Also of interest: Buffett sells entire PetroChina stake

  6. Bednets and the Demise of Social Marketing – What the NY Times Missed from

    The New York Times ran an interesting but rather incomplete article yesterday, discussing the split over anti-malaria bednet distribution strategies in Africa and the apparent demise of “social marketing” as a legitimate approach to reducing illness on a large scale. The article focuses on an ongoing debate in the aid community over whether or not insecticide-treated bednets, produced by Danish and Japanese makers and purchased by aid agencies, should always be given way in mass quantities for free.

  7. Can Africa surpass Japan? from PSD Blog

    If a single African country were to incorporate the best practices that are already in place across the sub-Sahara region, it would rank eighth worldwide. This was one of the observations that business leaders made last Friday at an award ceremony for the top two African reformers – Ghana and Kenya.

  8. 21 “mega-cities” in danger from rising seas from Boing Boing

    The nonprofit Worldwatch Institute has released a list of 21 “mega-cities” of 8 million people or more that are in direct danger as a result of global warming and rising seas

  9. Rwanda aims to become Africa’s high-tech hub from Christian Science Monitor

    The African country aims to turn itself into the ‘Singapore of Africa.’

  10. Ugandans Give New Life to Plastic Bags from Treehugger

    Progressive environmental policies sometimes come from unusual places like Uganda, which banned plastic bags in July of this year because they have become so problematic for the environment.

    Now local and international NGOs are helping Ugandans in a suburb of the capital city of Kampala to collect plastic bags and turn them into items like baskets, handbags, shoes and roofing tiles.

Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 2 [Video]

Ashok Gadgil

On designing the cook stoves for Darfur

On the elegant simplicity of appropriate technology

Peter Haas

A Genius in Every Village

A Renaissance in Tinkering

Jock Brandis

On the weaknesses of solar cooking technology. I missed the first sentence or so of this, but he’s fairly spot on.

On the fallacy that new is always better.

Jock Brandis retells a story from Burt Rutan, famed aviator, that reveals a common misconception about technological progress: old is sub-par, new is better.

Related Posts:

Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 1 [Video]
More pics from the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Awards
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference
Congrats to Shawn Frayne, One of Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award Winners

AIDG Channel on YouTube

Cameron Sinclair & the Open Architecture Network [Video]

Wired Science Episode 102: Chat - Cameron Sinclair

Wired Science Episode 102: Chat with Cameron Sinclair on the Open Architecture Network

Related Story

Architecture For Humanity and the California Fires from Treehugger

Architecture for Humanity, who we usually think of as working in distant locations, hits the ground running yet again. The local San Diego chapter is already hard at work with Rebuild San Diego, helping seniors and looking for anything and everything, from food, to toiletry, to bedding.

OAN’s all call to help San Diego
Rebuild San Diego (The San Diego Chapter of AfH)

World Challenge 2007 – Vote for the Winner

The (BBC/Newsweek/Shell) World Challenge is going on again. Vote for your favorite project here.


  1. Steaming Ahead – Indonesia
    The Masarang Palm Sugar Factory uses waste steam from a local geothermal power plant for its operations to create a high quality product and to spare about 200,000 square metres of forest.
  2. Cooking without Gas -Nepal
    The Foundation for Sustainable Technologies develops ow-cost, high-efficiency energy technologies for Nepal’s rural and urban poor, including “solar cookers and briquette presses to make smokeless fuel from waste materials”.
  3. S.O.S. Save our Seaweed – Brazil
  4. Top of the Crops – Afghanistan
    Arghand – A fair trade initiative that gives farmers a more lucrative option than growing opium.
  5. Limbs from Leftovers – Nepal
    MEND employs recycled materials such as aluminum and plastics to create “a range of artificial limbs, tools and other mobility devices that would be within the price range of even the poorest Nepalese”.
  6. Half Price Hygiene – Uganda
  7. Herbal Healing – Vietnam
  8. High Sweet Fashion – Mexico
  9. School for Success – Haiti
  10. Peace Woods – Colombia
  11. Potato Goldmine – Peru
  12. Out of the Forest – Brazil

The competition is all about rewarding individuals or groups that truly make a difference through enterprise and innovation at a grass roots level.

The winner will receive a US$20,000 award from Shell to benefit their project, while two runners-up will each receive $10,000.