Kenya Election Violence [firsthand account]

We have some friends working in Kenya at the moment, so we wanted to bring attention to the situation that’s arisen there since the election a few days ago. In a nutshell, the election looks to have been rigged by the incumbent, but the opposition fanned the flames of racial hatred so much beforehand (Kenya has 42 tribes; the same one is always on top) and riots ensued.

Here is a post from a friend of my best friend’s family, Daniel Lipparelli. Since writing this he has gotten back to Kitale safe and sound.

Election Riots in Kenya

Things have gone from bad to worse. I don’t know where to start.

Faith and I left Kitale on a bus yesterday morning at 8:30am. We reached about an hour outside of Kitale when we saw cars turning around and racing past us. When we reached the point, the bus stopped to see what was going on. He was told that there was a huge riot in Eldoret and we couldn’t pass. It would be best for us to go back to Kitale and wait for things to calm down. The bus was quickly alive with everyone’s phones ringing. People calling to see what was going on or being called to see if they were ok. Mass rioting had broken out all over the country. We were stuck in the middle.

In the early morning, Riala was leading the presidential race by over a million votes, but in only a few short hours, he was behind. An impossible event. It was getting clear that the current government (PNU Party) was being accused of rigging votes. The supporters of Raila (ODM party) hit the streets in mass mobs, blocking roads, burning cars and killing people in protest of the sudden change of votes. Also, the fact that it has taken 4 days to count votes when it was supposed to only take a few hours had increased the anger.

Faith and I sat in the bus, scared. Some people were shouting at the driver to turn back and others were telling him to go forward. After about 30 minutes, he slowing drove forward. Every passing car flashed their lights and yelled at the driver to go back. He stopped again, second guessing his decision. We found out that there was a road block about 4 miles outside of Eldoret. It was being manned by hundreds of angry ODM people. He stood up and told the passengers on the bus in Swahili “We are ODM, we will go through.” We had no idea what was ahead.

As we slowing approached, we saw boulders blocking the road and hundreds of people yelling. There was no turning around. People started throwing rocks at the bus as they surrounded it. Then 8 angry guys boarded the bus by force with rocks in hand and started yelling in Swahili “We want every Kikuyu (the main tribe backing of PNU party) off the bus. We are going to kill you.” The yelling went on, then they told everyone to get off the bus. One guy looked at me and yelled “muzungu (White man) get off the bus.” I didn’t move fast enough and he started hitting me on the back of my head. I quickly got up and told Faith to stay close. As we got off the bus, we were faced with a mob of angry and many drunk people. I prayed for wisdom. Guys started telling me to give them my phone and money. I kept quiet. They were getting rough. I still kept quiet. Then I felt like I needed to talk to some of the guys to seemed to be the leaders. I started shaking their hands and being friendly with them as I spoke Swahili. They were surprise and quickly changed their attitude. After talking for a few minutes and assuring them that I don’t have problems with them, they too told me that they didn’t have a problem with me and told us to just stand aside. Faith and I rushed to the back of the group, a bit to the side where we were out of the way. We watched as they shoved people around, trying to weed out the Kikuyus. When they asked people what tribe they were from, they just kept silent. The whole time the driver was trying to talk our way back onto the bus and to safety. The mob went to one girl and said ‘We know you are Kikuyu and we are going to kill you.” One man looked at the other and said, “Don’t kill her, just rape her.” After about 15 minutes of this, they let us back on the bus and told us to go back to Kitale. It was only by the grace of God that every one of us got back on the bus. We quickly turned around and headed back in the Direction of Kitale. About 1 minute down the road, another road block had been constructed and another angry mob gathered, wanting their turn with the people on the bus. The whole bus, even the PNU people started yelling “ODM, ODM,…” The driver slowed down but everyone on the bus yelled at him to keep going. He drove through the block and over the huge rocks. We drove quickly. Just a few minutes later, cars started driving in the other direction once again flashing their lights at our bus. We stopped and were told that another road block had been constructed ahead and there was no way we could get past it.

We were like a trapped animal knowing that there was danger in all directions. The driver sat there, not knowing what to do, knowing that the mobs were closing in on both sides.

One person on the bus said we should try to get to the near buy army barracks. They were sure that we would be protected there. We drove there quickly and found more buses and vehicles by the gate. The driver went to the gate and told them we want to come in, to be protected. The driver was told to back the bus away from the gate and that help would come soon. Three hours later, no help had come.

We sat there for three hours, tired, scared and hungry. Faith and I ventured to a shop we could see in the distance. We found some water and bread. Heading back to the bus, we saw in the distance a huge mob coming out way. We watched for a minute as they were far. But they came closer and gained speed. We started running for the bus. When we got there, all the passengers were alert and scared. We didn’t know if we should get on the bus or run for the gate of the barracks. The mob came to the path we were on and stopped, trying to decide what direction to go. From there I could see that they had sticks, chains and machetes. They started coming in our direction. We all started moving for the gate, not knowing what we would do once we got there. Just then a car drove by and the mob moving their attention to the car and forgetting about us. They moved back up the main road.

Another hour of waiting and we got news that the police had come. I asked why they didn’t come earlier and was told that it was because they are considered to be with the government, with PNU and it would have only caused more problems. But now they came. We got back on the bus and headed for Eldoret. I don’t even remember what time it was at this point, maybe 3:00pm. Going to eldoret, there were no more mobs but many road blocks that we had to drive around. In eldort, there were several smoldering piles of burnt tires. We kept on moving in the direction of Nairobi, not knowing if Faith would make her flight the following morning. But at this point, we didn’t care. We only cared about our life. We passed many more road blocks. In some places, power poles had been taken down and used to block the roads. At one point our bus got stoned by a few lingering drunks.

We arrived in Nairobi at about 10:30pm, 14 hours after we started that morning. The city was vacated and getting a taxi was not as easy as normal. We got a few rooms for a short sleep until faith needed to be at the airport. I needed to stop at an ATM to get money as we didn’t want to travel with much money in case of problems. All the ATMs in town were not working. Between the two of us, we had enough money to pay the taxi and get the rooms, but not much left over.

This morning I got up early to go to the ATM to see if it was working, I prayed the whole way. It worked and I got money. I got Faith on a taxi to the airport at 6:20am and headed to catch public transportation to Kitale. There were no vehicles. I finally found one going to Nakuru. I thought if I can get there then I can catch something to Eldoret and then to Kitale. I got to Nakuru in a few hours only to find that not a single bus, van, or car was headed to Eldoret. Everyone is saying that things are going to be really bad today and no one wants to be on the road.

Faith got to her plane ok and is in the air now.

10:45am now and I sit stranded in Nakuru. They are going to announce the results today and it is expected that things are going to get really bad. I think I am safe here. It is better to be inside then on the road. Meredith and the crew in Kitale are ok, safe. They got caught up in a few things yesterday, but are good. Meredith got a call from the Canada embassy today to make sure she is safe.

I am really tired and nervous, it is kind of like a time bomb ticking away, not knowing when it will go off. Even as I sit here typing, my mind is in so many places and the slightest noise makes me jump.

My faith has been challenged as I have to trust God every moment of all that is going on. I have no control. Today’s paper was full of pictures of people burning cars, riot police throwing tear gas into mobs and stories of people being killed. It is a scary time here now. We need prayers.

I hope that I will be able to get back to Kitale tomorrow. Once I get there, I will post another blog and some pictures from today’s paper. Thank you all who we woke up in the middle of the night yesterday to pray for us. We needed it and it was so clear that the Lord was with us and will continue to be with us.

To follow on with Daniel’s story, read on.

Related Posts:
Bloggers reporting on the ethnic and political violence occurring in Kenya

Web Resource:

12 Days of Xmas: 6 lights a-glowing

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas Appropriate Technology style.

Day 6: 6 lights a-glowing

Today we’ve got OLEDs, the skinny on mercury in CFLs, fiberoptics moving sunlight and more.

1. Beyond LEDs: GE Accelerates OLED Development from Treehugger

Probably won’t be affordable for a good long while, but wow. They took a hole punch and scissors to it and they still work.

Duration: 1min 56sec

From How stuff Works:

Imagine having a high-definition TV that is 80 inches wide and less than a quarter-inch thick, consumes less power than most TVs on the market today and can be rolled up when you’re not using it. What if you could have a “heads up” display in your car? How about a display monitor built into your clothing? These devices may be possible in the near future with the help of a technology called organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).

2. Pop!Tech: Shelia Kennedy and light for the developing world from My Heart’s in Accra

See also this scathing review from Joel Johnson of Boing Boing. Ouch.

Sheila Kennedy's Portable Light

The prototype device, pictured above, produces 100 lumens (more than enough to read by), using a 3.7 volt battery at 1.8 amps. It takes about three hours to charge in full sunlight, and provides 10 hours of light, or 5-6 hours with two lights. The devices currently cost about $40-50 to build in batches of 500.

3. Incandescents Gone by 2014: Saving U.S. $40 billion from Ecogeek

Bulb - banhammered!

The recently-passed 2008 energy bill has a section banning incandescent light bulbs for traditional use. The phase-out will begin in 2012, with all incandescents gone by 2014. The bulbs will be replaced by LED and CFL bulbs.

4. Nano Technology May Grant LEDs a Brighter Future from Celsias

[R]esearchers are harnessing Nano-technology to get LEDs to leapfrog CFLs in efficiency by helping them brighten up their act.

5. Energy Rant from Sustainable Design Update

With just 6 watts of light we are providing an incredible step up in the standard of living for rural off grid populations. But 6 watts is about what the average television wastes when its “turned off”! Multiply that by 200 million TVs in the U.S. and you see why I’m about half way out of my mind.

6. A-Squared Michigan Installing 1000 LED Street Lights: A Less Than 4-Year Payback from Treehugger

The City of Ann Arbor, Michigan, the newest LED Cityâ„¢, expects to install more than 1,000 LED streetlights beginning next month. The City anticipates a 3.8-year payback on its initial investment. The LED lights typically burn five times longer than the bulbs they replace and require less than half the energy.
Full implementation of LEDs is projected to cut Ann Arbor’s public lighting energy use in half and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,425 tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road for a year. Detroit Edison, Ann Arbor’s local utility provider, will meter the new LED streetlights with the intent to gather sufficient information to develop new LED-based tariffs.

7. Subway Sunlight Project from Inhabitat

Subway Light Project

Sunlight transport systems are an Inhabitat favorite, as they make it possible to channel actual natural light into dark places and cast it through a fixture. The Subway Light Project is the first we’ve seen that incorporates sunlight transfer in public urban art, to save the city money on energy, and infuse public space with a good mood boost. Parsons student Caroline Pham, who designed the Subway Light Project, won first place in the school’s 2007 Sustainable Design Review. Her concept uses sunlight capture devices and fiber optics cables to channel sunlight into the enclosed corridors of the subway.

8. Sex And The Socket from The Sietch Blog

Duration: 1:19

A v. cheeky little video about a lamp finding true love with a long-lasting CFL after a series of duds.

Created by Vancouver Film School student Cesar Montero through the VFS Digital Design program.

9. Wal-Mart’s mixed ‘green’ bag from CNN Money

Here are some things you probably didn’t know about Wal-Mart. Last year, the world’s biggest retailer:

  • Generated 20.4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions
  • Improved the efficiency of its fleet by 15%
  • Sold 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs [emphasis added]
  • Stopped doing business with 2.3% of 8,873 overseas factories it audited because of poor labor conditions
  • Paid an average hourly wage of $10.76
  • Employed 15,695 American Indians
  • Gave away $301 million in charitable contributions
  • Encouraged its employees to lose weight, and heard back that they lost, collectively, 184,315 pounds

10. Frequently Asked Questions – Information on Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) and Mercury August 2007 [pdf] from

CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury sealed within the glass tubing – an average of 5 milligrams – about the amount that would cover the tip of a ballpoint pen. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury. It would take 100 CFLs to equal that amount.

Mercury currently is an essential component of CFLs and is what allows the bulb to be an efficient light source. No mercury is released when the bulbs are intact or in use. Many manufacturers have taken significant steps to reduce mercury used in their fluorescent lighting products. In fact, the average amount of mercury in a CFL is anticipated to drop by the end of 2007 thanks to technology advances and a commitment from members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association.

Related Posts

With help from Cuba, Haiti tries a switch to CFLs
What can you do with 400 watts?
Universal LED Circuit Board Project
Non Sequitur: A science & history interlude w/ a talking cat (video)

12 days of Xmas: 5 cell phone rings

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas appropriate technology style.

Day 5: 5 cell phone rings

10 great things people across the world are doing with their cell phones

1. Organizing protests
2. Blogging
3. Practicing medicine
4. Managing your life
5. Changing how humanitarian relief work is done
6. Finding Biodiesel

7. Mobile banking
A shortlist of mobile banking services in Asia and Africa from PSD Blog

According to FP Passport

Remittances is where m-banking will really be world-changing. In Latin America, for instance, fewer than 10 percent of remittance recipients have bank accounts. That means they’re hiking to Western Union to pick up their money, which cost somebody a 15 percent commission to send. In the Philippines, SMART’s customers are already sending an estimated $50 million in remittances each month via their mobile phones, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. In most of the world, remittances account for more financial flows than foreign direct investment or foreign aid combined. Lowering transaction costs even one percent would mean over one billion extra dollars would directly reach the poor each year, and that’s not chump change.

8. Paying Bills
In Japan: now. In the rest of the world: in 10 years or so.

A new technology standard called “near-field communications,” or NFC, will turn cell phones into credit or debit cards. A chip is embedded in a phone that allows you to make a payment by using a touch-sensitive interface or by bringing the phone within a few centimeters of an NFC reader. Your credit card account or bank account is charged accordingly.

Unlike RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, which also can be used to make wireless payments, NFC technology allows for two-way communication, making it more secure. For example, an NFC-enabled handset could demand that a password or personal identification number be entered to complete the transaction.

Other cool cell phone services in Japan, that we won’t get for a dog’s year.

9 and 10.Saving time and money/fighting poverty

Upwardly Mobile in Africa from Business Week

How basic cell phones are sparking economic hope and growth in emerging—and even non-emerging—nations

Video about Grameen Phone and the book “Can you hear me now”
Duration: 4min 14sec

12 Days of Xmas: 4 bright green thumbs

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas Appropriate Technology style.

Day 4: 4 bright green thumbs

Today is all about urban gardening and composting.

1. Victory garden kits from Make

Victory Garden Kits

Victory Gardens 2007+ calls for a more active role for cities in shaping agricultural and food policy. It is a concept currently in development with the city of San Francisco that would provide a subsidized home gardening program for individuals and neighborhoods.

This program offers tools, training & materials for urban dwellers to participate in a city-wide transformation of underutilized backyards– turning them into productive growing spaces.

The project draws from the historical model of the 1940’s American Victory Garden program to provide a basis for developing urban agriculture as a viable form of sustainable food practice in the city.

2. Cooling Singapore with Urban Gardens from World Changing

A growing culture of urban gardening in Singapore and other major cities in Asia may hold the key to reducing city temperatures, Reuters reports. Apartment dwellers who tire of endless rows of concrete buildings have resorted to planting vegetables in boxes, trees in troughs, and even lawns on concrete yards. Gardeners boast of the visual aesthetics of the gardens, but the vegetation itself has the added benefit of blocking the sun’s rays and lowering temperatures through evapotranspiration, according to experts.

3. Guerilla Gardening: A Manualfesto from Treehugger

From Toronto to London, green-fingered rebels have been surreptitiously planting up neglected land with flowers, trees or vegetables, simultaneously brightening up their neighborhoods, fostering a sense of community, and often even growing food for those around them. Now we’ve come across Guerilla Gardening: A Manualfesto – a book that aims to guide would-be guerrilla gardeners through the process.

4. Aquaponics – The Urban Food Revolution from Treehugger

Aquaponics, from a layperson’s point of view, is the merging of aquaculture and hydroponics into a process that seems to take all of the positives from the above production systems and leave the negatives far behind.

5. My Empire of Dirt: An Experiment in Brooklyn-Style Subsistence Farming from New York Magazine

The “locavore” movement says we should only eat what is grown within a few miles of where we live. How about a few feet? An experiment in Brooklyn-style subsistence farming, starring smelly chickens, an angry rabbit, a freak tornado, a vegetable garden to die for, two psyched kids, and a marriage in the weeds.

Brooklyn-Style Subsistence Farming

1 Four tons of the good earth delivered to the driveway. 2 The spiderhole, five and a half feet deep and counting. 3 Building the two-story rabbit hutch. 4 The Farm nears its harvest. 5 A breeding pair of twenty-pound Flemish Giant rabbits.
(Photo: Amy Eckert [rabbits and garden]; courtesy of Eric Slater [spiderhole and hutch]; courtesy of Manny Howard [earth])

One man-month of food crammed into 800 ft

A Four vegetable planters: cucumbers, cantaloupes, peppers, and heirloom tomatoes.
B The garage, a.k.a. “the Barn”: tool storage, rabbit feed, chicken feed, six rabbit hutches, a slaughter station, a refrigerator, and four egg-laying coops.
C The field, in four beds: 1 Tomatoes, beets, celery, yellow squash, purple eggplant, and a fig tree. 2 Collard greens, cucumbers, and callaloo. 3 Cabbage, Japanese eggplant, white eggplant, rhubarb, leeks, garlic, onions, fennel, rosemary, thyme, and mint. 4 Corn, broad beans, basil, bok choy, and parsley.
D The duck run: a duck coop, a duck pond, and two wayward rabbit hutches.
E The chicken run: a high-rise high-capacity chicken coop and a livestock holding pen (on the porch).
F The potato crop: a raised bed technically known as a “drill.”
(Photo: Clockwise from right, courtesy of Manny Howard; Amy Eckert [2]. Illustration by Jason Lee)

6. Vermicompost: Our Worm Bin Rocks! from Podtech

7. Critters found in one cup of compost from Boing Boing

Critter found in one cup of compost

A scientist at the University of Illinois received a cup of compost from a friend; he put it under the microscope and created a very cool composite image of all the creatures living in that one cup of decay.

8. Winter Compost December 2007 from Veggie Mama

Related Posts

Vermicomposting with Martha Stewart
Convenient Truth Entry: Worm Poop, the Other Black Gold
Urban Farming Around The World (YouTube)
Garden Extravanganza

12 Days of Xmas: 3 Turbines

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas Appropriate Technology Style

Day 3: 3 Turbines

Today we’ve got a Kenyan windmill with bike parts, highway turbines, urban windmills, and more.

1. Second Wind Gets Funds For Wind Data from Earth2Tech

Second Wind, a 27-year-old company based in Somerville, Mass., that’s cornered the market on “wind profiling” (thanks, CNet), has just secured $4 million in second-round funding from Good Energies.

When site developers are planning a wind farm, the most important factor to check for is a strong, consistent wind. This often involves setting up a meteorological tower to collect data over the course of months. Second Wind has developed a whole suite of data-collection technologies that are in use all over the world. And their new Triton Sonic Wind Profiler could make selecting wind farm sites even easier.

2. Kenyan Windmill: Bicycle Parts and Roofing Materials from Afrigadget

Kenyan windmill with bicycle parts and roofing material

4 brothers in Western Kenya have begun solving water problems by creating waterpump windmills out of old bicycle parts and roofing materials. They have created 30 of them and are making good money doing it. This is another story of Africans solving their own problems using local materials

3. Caught on Camera: An Urban Wind Turbine from Treehugger

Duration: 8 secs

A remodeled corner house in San Francisco’s Mission District sports a Skystream 3.7, built by Altira-backed Southwest Wind Power.

4. 2 ideas for harnessing wind from highways
Student design turns highways into windfarms from Inhabitat

Wind from Freeways

Wind power from New Jersey Highways from Inhabitat

Wind from Freeways

5. Chinese Maglev Wind Turbines Enter Mass Production from Treehugger

Chinese maglev wind turbine

So, what the heck is a maglev generator? It improves efficiency by using magnets to reduce friction, meaning that turbines could turn with winds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in, or energy-producing, speeds of 3 m/s. The chief developer says this could cut the operational costs of wind farms by up to half, with an overall cost under 0.4 yuan ($US 5 cents) per killowatt hour. Earlier this year, an Arizona based company touted a large-scale maglev turbine, but such technology on that scale has yet to be proved.

6. In case you didn’t get what you wanted for Xmas.

The Best Christmas Toy Ever For 2007: Miniature Windmill By Lehman’s from Treehugger

Miniature Windmill by Lehman's

Related Posts

Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 1 [Video]
Link of the Day: Wind Turbine Buyer’s Guide [pdf]
Rooftop Wind Turbine (YouTube)
Wind Turbine With Observation Tower (YouTube)
Epuron Ad – The Wind (YouTube)

12 Days of Xmas: 2 Spinning Wheels

We’re doing the 12 days of Xmas Appropriate Technology style.

Day 2: 2 Spinning Wheels

Today, we’ve got Akira-like bikes, entrepreneurship opps for rickshaw drivers, a real-life Flintstone car and [keeping with the Flinstone theme] a Bambulance.

1. Bamboo + Ambulance = Bambulance for Kenya from Treehugger

The Canadian charity Design For Development Society (DFD) …[aims to] “reduce poverty and increase community self-reliance through demonstrated and advocated use of the design process”.

This is exactly what they intend on doing in order to design and manufacture an emergency medical transportation devices (EMTD) for western Kenya. The solution: a Bambulance. Made from the sustainable local material bamboo (more about bamboo in Kenya here), the bambulance will improve transportation for patients as well as medics to and from rural areas, where other transport methods don’t exist or are unsuitable. The benefits of this EMTD are improved speed and comfort over what is currently available, while maintaining cost efficiency and sustainability. Plus, the project will provide education and sustainable employment for HIV positive women and youth.

2. Rickshaws Drive Entrepreneurship from The Wall Street Journal

Pradip Kumar Sarmah started a program to help rickshaw drivers buy their vehicles. Over the lifetime of their work, many drivers otherwise pay much more than the purchase price of their rickshaws in rent.

Like many Indians, Mr. Sarmah, a former veterinarian who in 2001 won an Ashoka fellowship for his work promoting small-scale animal husbandry in northeast India, routinely traveled in a rickshaw. There are an estimated eight million rickshaw pullers in the country, and Mr. Sarmah had used an occasion that day to learn what he could about these people’s livelihoods. “Who owns your rickshaw?” Mr. Sarmah had asked. The driver gave a name — clearly not his own. He said he had been working 16 years as a puller. “How much rent do you pay?” Mr. Sarmah asked. Twenty-five rupees a day — about 65 U.S. cents — came the answer.

“By the moment I got down [out of the rickshaw], I forgot about it, but when I got home and had dinner and went to go to sleep, his words came back to me,” he says. “So I got up and went to my calculator.” A few sums indicated that the driver paid nearly half his earnings in rent — and many times over had covered the approximate 6,500-rupee cost of a rickshaw.

3. In China, Recycling by Tricycle from Treehugger

Duration: 9 min 5sec

4. OMG The Bike From Akira (And It Is Electric!) from The Sietch

Could it be, have the Japanese high gods of technology finally delivered the bike from Akira?!

Duration: 1min 46sec

5. Bicycle Vendors spreading Nutrition from Microfranchising

When I was in Ghana last summer I often patronized Fan Milk bicycle vendors for an afternoon ice cream treat. They represent a highly successful microfranchise model. Fan Milk itself has total assets of US $17.4 million, provides indirect employment to over 8,000 and was awarded the “Business of the Century” Award at the Millennium Excellence Awards in Accra.

An individual can become a vendor for US $22 which goes towards purchasing the bike. They sell a simple line of products, namely yogurt, chocolate milk, ice cream, and fruit popsicles. Each day the vendor buys US$33 of inventory and can make an average daily profit of $5.50 (even higher in the dry season). Vendors have the option of returning the bike if they leave the company. Vendors average 8 years with the company. Vendors can move up in the company or purchase additional bikes and sub-lease them out to new recruits.

6. My Visit to Trek: Two Guys in a Barn from How to Change the World [Guy Kawasaki’s Blog]

Trek was formed in 1975, amidst an energy crisis that aided a resurgence of the bicycle market. The vision of the company arose out of a meeting between Richard Burke, a former accountant, and Bevel Hogg, the owner of a Midwestern chain of bicycle stores.

“Schwinn dominated the specialty retail market at the time, which is where most bikes were sold,” said Burke. “But the mid-to-high end business was going to Japanese-made bicycles. We saw an opportunity to sell an American-made product in that category.” Burke convinced Roth Corporation to fund the venture with $100,000 in seed money, and Hogg provided the insight into the bicycle industry.

Trek's product development area
The Trek product development area

Trek Aluminum Processing
Where all aluminum processes are completed

Trek's OCLV carbon fiber finishing area

Trek’s OCLV carbon fiber finishing area

7. Yabba Dabba Doooo! Canadian Artist Builds a Foot Powered ‘86 Buick Regal, Promptly Gets Pulled Over from

Artist Michel de Broin took a 1986 Buick Regal and stripped the engine, suspension, and transmission out and put in some pedals and votive candles for headlights. It moves along at a respectable 15 MPH using pure human power. It’s downright Flintstonish with no floorboards, windows, or even a license plate- which may explain why the car was pulled over on it’s maiden voyage and slapped with a ticket from a friendly Torontonian cop.

Related Posts:

TecoTours Crew at Mayapedal
Liakos and Bamboo Bikes
Car v. Bike v. Boat v. Public Transport in London [Video]
Making a bike from spare parts (MAKE Video podcast)
11 most bike friendly cities

New blogging schedule

Hey folks,

Our early plans for 2008 make it look to be an even busier year than this one. I’m going to be traveling a lot more so I’m going to have to cut back on blogging a bit. I’ll be posting 1-2 times a day Monday-Friday and taking weekends off. Hurray for weekends.

Here is what I’m thinking as a tentative schedule starting the second week in January.

Mon-Fri: I’m dropping the weekly top 10 in favor of a link of the day
Mon – Photo
Tues – Video and maybe a long piece
Wed – video
Thurs – appropriate tech roundup
Friday – some multimedia goodness & this week on twitter

Plus 1-2 stories per week from Guatemala or Haiti depending on folk’s schedules down there.

Though I’ll be blogging less, I’ll probably be twittering and using StumbleUpon more. Twitter for realtime updates from AIDG central and StumbleUpon as another way to keep track of good stories/news.

What do you guys think?

12 days of Xmas: A boatload of solar energy

We’re doing the 12 days of Christmas Appropriate Technology style.

Day 1: A boatload of solar energy.

We’ve got Nanosolar, inflatable solar, solar powered buses and more.

1. Searching for the Planet’s Sunniest Spots from Treehugger

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a technology or database in place to locate the world’s sunniest spots? Not only could it help spur further investment in solar energy technologies by giving businesses or governments the best bang for their buck; it would also provide more cost-effective energy solutions for developing countries – particularly in Africa – which receive a lot of sunlight but lack a proper power grid infrastructure.

NASA has been working on building just such a database, gathering and scrutinizing 22 years’ worth of maps compiled by European and U.S. satellites to find Earth’s sunniest places; it has so far determined that the middle of the Pacific Ocean and the Sahara Desert top the list of sunniest locations. The effort is being spearheaded by the Group on Earth Observations, a 72-nation coalition that seeks practical applications for scientific information to “benefit society.”

2. Nanosolar Kicks Off the Solar Revolution: 12/18/07 from Jetson Green

Thin film solar company Nanosolar has started shipping product. Woohoo!

They’ve accomplished a slew of world’s firsts…

  • world’s first printed thin-film solar cell in a commercial panel product;
  • world’s first thin-film solar cell with a low-cost back-contact capability;
  • world’s lowest-cost solar panel – which we believe will make us the first solar manufacturer capable of profitably selling solar panels at as little as $.99/Watt;
  • world’s highest-current thin-film solar panel – delivering five times the current of any other thin-film panel on the market today and thus simplifying system deployment;
  • an intensely systems-optimized product with the lowest balance-of-system cost of any thin-film panel – due to innovations in design we have included.

See also [Video] Nanosolar Causing Disruptions at 1/3 Cost from Jetson Green

3. TRANSPORTATION TUESDAY: Tindo, the Solar-powered Bus! from Inhabitat

Tindo Bus

Solar-powered mass transportation? It’s no longer a dream! Tindo, a solar-powered electric bus, was introduced just last week in the city of Adelaide in Australia. The best part? It’s free to ride the supercute, supersolar Tindo.

4. China’s ‘Sun King’ Aims to Lead Shift to Solar Power from NPR

Workers at China's Suntech

Reports that China will soon overtake the United States as the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases have attracted much concern.

But there’s another side of the story. China is investing as much money in alternative energy sources as wealthier nations, such as Germany. China is aiming to generate 16 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., is one of China’s leading entrepreneurial businesses in the renewable energy field.
Suntech is already the world’s third largest maker of solar cells, and it’s aiming for No. 1.

5. Energy efficiency agency pushes for more solar traffic lights from Engineering News ZA via from Solar Power Rocks

The National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA) hoped to roll out a further 100 solar-operated traffic-light intersections through the 20 major Metropolitan areas in South Africa, NEEA operations manager Barry Bredenkamp told Engineering News Online on Tuesday.

“Following the phenomenal success of the pilot project solar-powered, eight-robot intersection on Plantation road in Cape Town, the NEEA has had many requests for solar intersections throughout the country,” he added.

6. Inflatable Solar: Coolearth Concentrated Photovoltaics from Treehugger
[Check out comments section for folks input]

Duration: 1 min 6 sec

[A]ccording to Coolearth Solar, they’ve patented a design for inflatable solar collectors that are supposedly a cheaper way to concentrate sunlight onto photovoltaic cells. The makers claim their design is up to 400 times cheaper than polished aluminum mirrors which, if true, would certainly improve the economics of concentrated photovoltaics

Related Solar Posts

Earthships in Taos, New Mexico [Photos, Video]
Science Barge: NYC
Around the World on Sunny Days: Solartaxi Tour [Video]
Solar Hot Water and the Guarderia
How it’s Made: Solar Panels (Discovery Channel; YouTube)

Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do [TED]

AIDG Blog's RSS FeedWant to keep up with development,appropriate technology, and environment news? Subscribe to the AIDG Blog today.

Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about our new wave of overprotected kids — and spells out 5 (and really, he’s got 6) dangerous things you should let your kids do. Allowing kids the freedom to explore, he says, will make them stronger and smarter and actually safer.

This talk should also be subtitled “How to turn your kid into a scientist or engineer”.

Cheeky “brand/culture hacking labels” Tulley produced to go with his talk:

Tinkering School Blog