Wednesday, July 30, 2008

UN Wants Us To Fly Less, Teleconference More

Wired's Autopia blog reports on the trend for businesses to be urged to cut employee travel, and to replace it with video conferencing:


If the UN has its way, you'll be spending more time in the office and less time on a plane.

At a meeting in the UK this past week, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, a climate scientist with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), strongly urged businesses to cut employee travel, and to fill the void with video conferencing.

Speaking to members of the British Parliment (via video link, of course) at an event called "Is Your Journey Really Necessary?" Pachauri said that in some regions transport accounts for 40% of total emissions (though in the murky world of greenhouse gas measurement this number is up for debate), and that civil aviation is a major contributor. Video conferencing, he says, "would be of great benefit in reducing and controlling the growth of emissions from aviation."

Read in full - 'UN Wants Us To Fly Less, Teleconference More'

Monday, July 28, 2008

Film and Geotag Your Next Car Accident

Wired's Autopia blog reports on a new in-car device: the the CarCam Voyager Pro. With this gadget - a dash-mounted video camera - with GPS you not only record any accident that occurs but also where and when it happened - Just the thing for convincing your insurance agent you didn't cause the six-car pileup!


The Voyager Pro can record your entire road trip -- or as much of it as the 2-GB SD card will hold, anyway -- and track it all on Google Earth so you don't forget where you found that greasy spoon with the amazing chili or saw the world's largest ball of twine.

It'd be a sweet tool for doing recon on great motorcycling roads, but security is clearly the gadget's selling point. Built-in sensors detect sudden braking, acceleration or other movement and will begin recording 10 seconds before impact. (It stops recording 30 seconds after impact.) "You will never be left wondering 'What happened?' because it will all be caught on tape," the manufacturer claims. Plug the SD card into your computer and the video plays alongside a Google Earth map showing where it was recorded. It's also got a time and date stamp and a record of your speed.

Read more at - 'Film and Geotag Your Next Car Accident'


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Using mobiles to share stories in an Indian village

Smartmobs reports on how Matt Jones and David Frohlich of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) developed a StoryBank for sharing stories across the digital divide…

(via Vodafone receiver)

The basic research objectives involved are:

1. To explore the value of novel forms of audiovisual stories for sharing local information in a development context. This includes the use of the system or content by remote developer communities as well as local originating ones.
2. To identify ways of indexing, storing, retrieving and presenting story content that match the needs of different kinds of users from the originating community and beyond.
3. To develop encoding and delivery mechanisms for story content that are device-scalable and allow multi-platform capture and playback.

Read more on 'Using mobiles to share stories in an Indian village'


Saturday, July 26, 2008

For teens, the future is mobile

CNet News reports that 'Marketers' recently convened to figure out how best to reach teens on the Internet - and the answer was: 'It's all about the mobile phone'

Advertisers are clamoring to reach teens in digital environments because that's where they're spending much of their time--either online, with cell phones or playing video games. What's more, teens wield an estimated $200 billion annually in discretionary spending.

Fuse, a marketing agency based in Vermont, talked in recent weeks to senior technology executives from companies such as Sony, MTV Networks, Yahoo, and Nokia to find out what the future of technology will look like for the teen market.

Among the predictions: Mobile phones in the United States will surpass the popularity of desktops for teens. Only an estimated 20 percent of teens currently own a smartphone such as the iPhone, but mobile phone and content companies are counting on the idea that smartphone adoption will spread fast among teens in middle America and other areas.

Read in full - 'For teens, the future is mobile'

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Virtual World as Web Browser

TechReview has a post on how Linden Lab is working on making it easier to import data from the Web into Second Life:

Virtual worlds can seem walled off from the rest of the Internet. Many, including Linden Lab's popular virtual world Second Life, can't be accessed through ordinary Web browsers: they require separately downloaded software. A Web link embedded in Second Life will open an outside browser window, pulling a user out of the immersive experience that is one of the virtual world's main draws. But Linden Lab is now adjusting its technology to make it easier to bring data into its virtual world from the larger Web and from users' desktops.

"What we're trying to do is create a capability to create a rich way to experience a variety of media types that typically have to be seen or read or processed on the Web in 2-D," says Joe Miller, vice president of platform and technology development for Second Life. With Linden Lab's new system, for example, Second Life users could create business cards linked to external Web pages, so that they're updated when the pages are, or virtual MP3 players connected to Web radio services. The company is also working to make it easy for users to share 2-D data such as Microsoft Word files or PowerPoint presentations with other users inside the virtual world. Miller says that Linden Lab plans to deliver these new technologies by the end of this year, as part of its Web Media Initiative.

Read more at - 'The Virtual World as Web Browser'

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bike, Meet the City. City, This is the Bike

What will bike-friendly cities look like ten years from now? Worldchanging author Mary Catherine O’Connor writes that as 'citizens around the world raise the demand for human-powered transportation infrastructure, major cities are starting to re-imagine their car-centric transportation models':


Are more American residents bike-commuting as a regular practice? You betcha. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), bike commuting increased 30 percent in the past year. And this seems to be a national trend. It grew 75 percent in New York City since 2000, doubled in Portland, Ore., in the last five years, and the number of cyclists on Washington, D.C. streets surged a full 100 percent between 2004 and 2006.
What does this look like on a city level?

Read in full - 'Bike, Meet the City. City, This is the Bike'

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Death of Free Internet is Imminent

The Centre for Research on Globalization has an article on how there are plans to change the way people use the Internet: 'Bell Canada and Telus, to begin charging per site fees on most Internet sites. The plan is to convert the Internet into a cable-like system, where customers sign up for specific web sites, and then pay to visit sites beyond a cutoff point':

From my browsing (on the currently free Internet) I have discovered that the 'demise' of the free Internet is slated for 2010 in Canada, and two years later around the world. Canada is seen a good choice to implement such shameful and sinister changes, since Canadians are viewed as being laissez fair, politically uninformed and an easy target. The corporate marauders will iron out the wrinkles in Canada and then spring the new, castrated version of the Internet on the rest of the world, probably with little fanfare, except for some dire warnings about the 'evil' of the Internet (free) and the CEO's spouting about 'safety and security'. These buzzwords usually work pretty well.

What will the Internet look like in Canada in 2010? I suspect that the ISP's will provide a "package" program as companies like Cogeco currently do. Customers will pay for a series of websites as they do now for their television stations. Television stations will be available on-line as part of these packages, which will make the networks happy since they have lost much of the younger market which are surfing and chatting on their computers in the evening. However, as is the case with cable television now, if you choose something that is not part of the package, you know what happens. You pay extra.

Read article in full - 'Death of Free Internet is Imminent'

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why Fly When You Can Float?

The New York Times has a piece looking at the possibility of transferring hotels from the ground into the sky.......

Imagine gliding in a floating hotel over the Serengeti, gazing
down at herds of zebra or elephants; or floating over Paris as the sun sets and
lights blink on across the city as you pass the Eiffel Tower...

...Such flights of fancy may one day be possible, if the dream
of Jean-Marie Massaud, a French architect, comes true.
As the cost of fuel
soars and the pressure mounts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, several
schemes for a new generation of airship are being considered by governments and
private companies.

Read full report - Why Fly When You Can Float?


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Supermarket of the future

A German supermarket is encouraging customers to scan and ring up their shopping using mobile phones, and check out without the help of a cashier.

It is one of the number of innovations at the new "Future Store" - the BBC's Steve Rosenberg has a video post of his experience:
See the video here - Supermarket of the future


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mobile phones to save airlines

The Register has a post on how airline travel is set 'to get even more unpleasant, as hapless airline passengers face being hounded through airports by online advertisers as well as security, customs and perfume touting duty free sales staff'. Why do they say that?? Read on....

The airline industry could save $600m a year by tracking passengers through airports and punting ads to their mobiles, along with their tickets and boarding passes, according to a report from airline industry tech supplier SITA...

...The tracking idea could be done in conjunction with the network operators, in much the same way commercial tracking happens now. At present customers receive an SMS asking them if they're OK with the idea, and if they don’t say no then the third party (in this case the airport) gains access to instant information about the location of the phone, and hence that of the user. That generally gives rough information, though the density of cells within an airport should give locations within a hundred meters or so.

If working with the operators is too much effort, or more accuracy is desired, then airlines could use the technique Path Technologies is already deploying in shopping centres - airports being a cross between a shopping centre and an open prison these days anyway. Path Technologies track handsets, not their owners, but a link could be established during the check-in procedure.

Read article at - 'Mobile phones to save airlines'

Monday, July 14, 2008

Cars that Trust and Look-out for one another

This is an interesting post - a sensor network-based Vehicle Anti-Theft system (SVATS) that relies on cars talking to each other when they arrive in the vicinity and noting when another car leaves without saying the 'proper goodbye'. Now, that's a new auto-sociality!

The persistent, annoying blare of an ignored car alarm may become a sound of the past if a cooperative, mutable and silent network of monitors proposed by Penn State researchers is deployed in automobiles and parking lots.

"The basis of this system is trust," says Sencun Zhu, assistant professor of computer science and engineering. "You need to trust the entity that distributes the system's sensors, so you can rely on all the monitored cars having the goal of protecting your car and others from theft."

Working with Guohong Cao, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Hui Song, recent Penn State graduate and now an assistant professor at Frostburg State University, Zhu developed a monitoring system that relies on a network formed by the cars parked in a parking lot. When a car enters a lot and parks, the sensor is alerted – probably when the car door locks -- and it sends out a signal that in essence says, "hello, I am here." Sensors in nearby cars acknowledge the signal and incorporate the new car into their network. Periodically, each car sends out a signal indicating that it is still there. When the driver unlocks the car, the sensor sends out a "goodbye" message and the network removes that car, and it drives away.

If, however, a car leaves the network without issuing a goodbye message, the other cars will notice the absence or the "still here" message. Once the system has confirmed that the car is gone, checking that other cars have not received the "still here" message, the monitoring sensor sends a signal identifying the car to the base unit in the parking lot, which will phone the owner to indicate the car is missing. The owner can then check it out.

"Our thought is that the apartment complex owner could provide the sensors with the parking stickers as an additional free perk," says Zhu, also assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State. "All they need is the base unit, the car owner's phone number and the sensors in the car for the car should be safe in the lot."

If a car is stolen from the lot, it is preferable that the theft be noticed and reported before the car leaves the lot, but if it is not, the Sensor network-based Vehicle Anti-Theft system, SVATS, has another layer of protection.

Read more at - 'Cooperative system could wipe out car alarm noise'

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sinclair dreams of 'flying cars'

BBCNews reports on how known mobility inventor Clive Sinclair believes that personal flying machines will be a reality:

He told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that soon it would be "economically and technically possible" to create flying cars for individuals.

Sir Clive is best-known for the Spectrum computer and his failed electric car effort, the C5.

"I'm sure it will happen and I am sure it will change the world dramatically," he predicted...

...He said the internet was "just wonderful and quite amazing" and its growth was not something he had predicted back in the 1980s.

"It has totally surprised me. I utterly failed to foresee that."

Well... I still have a Sinclair C-5 in the garage: and it's rotting (in many ways!)

Read full post - 'Sinclair dreams of 'flying cars''

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A laptop in your pocket?!

This recent post indicates that the laptop is likely to soon go the way of 5.25-in. floppy disks - 'made obsolete by smaller, more useful technology: the smart phone':

Based on current trends for low-power chips used in devices like cell phones and iPods, we're likely to see eight times the CPU power in handheld devices by 2010 that we have today, computer architecture enthusiast Adrian Cockcroft said at the Usenix '08 technical conference this afternoon.

"I wouldn't need a laptop if I had that kind of performance," said Cockcroft, formerly a distinguished engineer at Sun Microsystems Inc. who now works for Netflix Inc. and is a member of the Homebrew Mobile Club, which designs open-source mobile phones.

Instead, Cockcroft envisions an always-on device that can connect wirelessly (and seamlessly) to your car while you're driving, to a desktop monitor and keyboard when you're working, and to other devices such as a projection system at meetings or a 3-D portable display, no matter where you are.

Read full post - 'Coming soon: A laptop in your pocket'

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tech giants team for online ID cards

The Register reports that a group of software and online payment companies are teaming up to find a better way than passwords to protect, and prove, our identity online:

Problems with passwords are well known - people require ever more passwords which means they either get forgotten, or people use the same word for several different services which is a security risk. The new group will seek to find open standards to make it easier to prove your identity online without using dozens of passwords and usernames.

Equifax, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Oracle and PayPal will work together to create "Information Cards" - online cards like those in your wallet. Different cards can contain different levels of information and can be used to log in to different websites instead of using a username and password. Some may contain just a user name and password, others address information.Other information - such as whether or not the browser is over 21 years old - could also be verified by the website by sending a query to the independent third party. In theory this should be safer - your information will not have to be stored by several different websites.

Read article at - 'Tech giants team for online ID cards'

Windows for GPS

TechReview has an article that discusses Microsoft's latest operating system and how it makes it easier to integrate location detection with other services, such as in-car systems:

Internet-enabled services could become more common in vehicles, thanks to a new operating system launched this week by Microsoft. Dubbed Windows Embedded NavReady 09, the operating system is designed to improve wireless connectivity and Internet access in GPS devices. It also includes Bluetooth features that allow GPS receivers to be coupled with other devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, and laptops.

"The industry mostly knows us for Windows PC, Windows Mobile, Zune, and Xbox," says Dan Javnozon, senior product manager of Windows Embedded. But for the past 11 years, he says, Microsoft has been supplying embedded operating systems for everything from huge industrial robots and home automation appliances to temperature controls and some GPS devices.

Whereas the desktop version of Windows adds new functions and requires more memory with every release, embedded operating systems sacrifice versatility for leanness and efficiency. Currently, most GPS companies, such as TomTom and Garmin, use their own custom-built, proprietary operating systems. Others use off-the-shelf embedded systems that may not be ideal for GPS technology. Mio, for instance, uses an existing Microsoft operating system called Windows Embedded Compact, which is designed for real-time handheld devices.

Read more at - 'Windows for GPS'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

All-Seeing Car Reads Road Signs For You

Wired's 'Autopia' has this piece on how cars may in the future be able to sensor-read the road signs sans driver:


As cars become smarter than the people driving them and do more of the things humans should be doing for themselves — checking blind spots, watching for lane departures, anticipating collisions — it was only a matter of time before a car started reading road signs.

The "Traffic Sign Recognition and Lane Departure Warning" system available early next year on General Motors' new Euro-only Opel/Vauxhall Insignia scans the road ahead at 30 frames per second to read road signs and tell you when you're wandering from your lane.

The most innovative aspect of the system is the road-sign recognition processor, which can read signs as far as 100 meters away.

The system uses two processors and a camera -- called, appropriately, the Front Camera System -- mounted near the rear-view mirror. One processor identifies familiar shapes, symbols and digits on common road signs and conveys the information to the driver via a digital display in the gauge cluster. The other alerts the driver when he or she strays from the lane.

Read full post at - 'All-Seeing Car Reads Road Signs For You'

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Mobile phones tracking nightlife activity

Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends reports that a phone software called 'Citysense' shows you whats happening in your town:

A Columbia University computer science professor has co-founded a New York-based company named Sense Networks to sell tracking software to other companies. It is also distributing a free version of this software named Citysense, which shows on your cell phone where the wild things are happening in your own town. Citysense 'uses advanced machine learning techniques to number crunch vast amounts of data emanating from thousands of cell-phones, GPS-equipped cabs and other data devices to paint live pictures of where people are gathering.' Citysense is available today in San Francisco before being soon deployed in Chicago and five other U.S. cities. But read more...

Citysense in San Francisco

You can see on the left how "Citysense shows the overall activity level of the city, top activity hotspots, and places with unexpectedly high activity, all in real-time." (Credit: Sense Networks) Here is a link to additional information and a larger version of this picture. As you can see, the application is available on Blackberry devices. But an iPhone version is in the works.

Read original post - 'Cell phones tracking nightlife activity'

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

X-Ray Screening Comes to London's Underground

Police sniffer dogs at Waterloo railway station: Extra security at train stations amid terror attack fears

The Wired blog has picked up on the story of how 'airport-style X-ray screening machines and bomb-sniffing dogs are coming to a "handful" of London Underground and National Rail stations this summer':

The Department for Transport says ongoing concerns about terrorism prompted increased security at stations in London and other cities but subjecting everyone to the added delays would be impractical.

"Screening equipment and dogs can be effective in the railway environment," Transport Minister Tom Harris says. "However, given the very large passenger flows and thousands of entry points on the UK rail and underground networks, 100% airport-style screening is not feasible using today's technology."

Yeah, passengers probably would find removing their shoes every time they board a train just a tad aggravating. But passengers at the busiest stations will have their bags scanned by X-ray machines about the size of a washing machine, and random stations will be patrolled by officers with bomb-sniffing dogs. The Telegraph cites unnamed "police sources" who say the added measures aren't the result of an increased terror alert but rather follow earlier tests conducted in the wake of the July 7, 2005 London transport bombings.

Read more at - 'X-Ray Screening Comes to London's Underground'

Monday, July 07, 2008

China's Auto Mania

Here is a visual look at China's growing auto-market

China's Auto Mania

Record oil prices have failed to temper the enthusiasm of Chinese auto buyers. In 2006, 6.2 million cars were sold in China, enough for the Middle Kingdom to surpass Japan for #2 in total vehicle sales (the United States still sells twice as many). In the first five months of 2008, Chinese auto sales show no signs of decelerating, up 17.4% from the same period last year.

The rise in Chinese auto sales has been so dramatic that projections by China’s government for auto sales in 2020 were already exceeded by 2005.

Assuming that the 7.3 million new car owners in 2008 each drive 5,000 miles a year, and they achieve 40 miles per gallon, the result would be an additional 45.6 million barrels of crude demand, equivalent to 125,000 bbl/day. In other words, new Chinese drivers will devour 25-30% of the recently promised Saudi production increase in a single year.

From a private source.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

When Your Camera Knows Where You Are

What's this? A wi-fi camera memory card to take the hassle out of photo-publishing? Also, automatic geotagging too? Yep - it's the Eye-Fi Share card:

It’s a 2-gigabyte memory card, compatible with most digital cameras, with a twist: it has Wi-Fi networking built in. Each time you bring your camera home to your wireless network, it transmits your photos back to the computer, automatically and wirelessly. It can also upload them to Flickr, Picasa or another online photo-gallery site, automatically and wirelessly.

What’s the point? First, you’re saved the trouble of finding and attaching your U.S.B. transfer cable. Second, you skip the multi- step hassle of manually uploading the fresh pictures to a photo-sharing site...

... the Eye-Fi Explore card invisibly stamps every photo with where you took it. That’s right: photo geotagging has finally come to a camera near you. Noting what photo was taken where used to require either tedious manual data entry or expensive add-on gear. Now it comes cheaply and automatically.

Read more at - 'When Your Camera Knows Where You Are'

Friday, July 04, 2008

Beijing Makes Clearing the Roads an Olympic Sport

Wired's Autopia blog has this recent post on China's efforts to deal with gridlocked traffic in the run up to the Olympics...will it work?:


We are less than 50 days from the start of the 2008 Olympics and Beijing is wrapping up a sweeping effort to ensure sitting in gridlocked traffic doesn't become the biggest event of the games.

The city has dumped big money into the Beijing Subway, with one new line completed and two more opening later this month, and one Beijing official says the volume of traffic on the road needs to be cut by just 20 to 30 percent to ensure things go smoothly. (And, incidentally, improve the city's terrible air quality.)

How are they gonna get those cars off the road?

The city will allow cars on the road only on alternating days selected according to whether they have an odd or even license plate number. That trick is expected to reduce traffic by 45 percent. Beijing also will rely heavily on its public transit to carry 8 million athletes, journalists and spectators to and from events.

Read original post - 'Beijing Makes Clearing the Roads an Olympic Sport'

Predicting Where You’ll Go and What You’ll Like

The New York Times has a good report on emerging mobile software that serves as location devices and how they are set to become the 'hottest' consumable 'must-have' addition.... does this mean we are losing the pleasure of lost wanderings?

Its software shows busy areas in San Francisco.
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

We’re in the midst of a boom in devices that show where people are at any point in time. Global positioning systems are among the hottest consumer electronics devices ever, says Clint Wheelock, chief research officer at ABI Research, a technology market follower. And cellphones increasingly come with G.P.S. chips. All of these devices churn out data that says something about how people live.

Such data could redefine what we know about consumer behavior, giving businesses early insight into economic trends, better ways to determine sites for offices and retail stores, and more effective ways to advertise.

Just this month, the journal Nature published a paper that looked at cellphone data from 100,000 people in an unnamed European country over six months and found that most follow very predictable routines. Knowing those routines means that you can set probabilities for them, and track how they change.

“What we do is really not random, even though it may appear random,” says Albert-László Barabási, a physicist at Northeastern University who is one of the paper’s authors.

Read more - 'Predicting Where You’ll Go and What You’ll Like'

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Laptop seizures at customs raise outcry

The LA Times has a recent post on how complaints from travelers and privacy advocates have spurred lawmakers to challenge the policy of random inspections:

Bill Hogan was returning home to the U.S. from Germany in February when a customs agent at Dulles International Airport pulled him aside. He could reenter the country, she told him. But his laptop couldn't. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents said he had been chosen for "random inspection of electronic media," and kept his computer for about two weeks, recalled Hogan, 55, a freelance journalist from Falls Church, Va.

Fortunately, it was a spare computer that had little important information. But Hogan felt violated.

"It's not an inspection. It's a seizure," he said. "What do they do with it? I assume they just copy everything."

For several years, U.S. officials have been searching and seizing laptops, digital cameras, cellphones and other electronic devices at the border with few publicly released details. Complaints from travelers and privacy advocates have spurred some lawmakers to fight the U.S. Customs policy and to consider sponsoring legislation that would sharply limit the practice.

As people store more and more information electronically, the debate hinges on whether searching a laptop is like looking in your luggage or more like a strip search.

Read more at - 'Laptop seizures at customs raise outcry'

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Future of The Web

Now here's an interesting scenario: TechReview asked technology innovators, luminaries, and users what the Web might be in five to ten years..... here are some replies:

...In five to ten years, the Web will have more voice technology--in hands-busy scenarios such as driving, and to increase accessibility, and will feature the Semantic Web "done right," says Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee...

...According to Vint Cerf, Vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, "Seventy percent of all mobiles will be Internet enabled in 10 years or less. Gigabit speeds in wired and wireless modes will be more widely available.... Devices will discover each other when they are local and interact in a P2P fashion."...

..."With the popularity of blogging and online video and photo sharing, we already know that people want to publish significant portions of their lives online. In 10 years, I can easily see someone putting 75 percent of their day online. But it won't all be public. The ­majority will be for that person's eyes only; it will be more a record for that individual."...

Read more at - 'The Future of The Web'

A Display That Tracks Your Movements

It seems that there could be a revolution brewing in billboard advertising. TechReview reports that

Instead of simply presenting a static image, why not let people interact with the advertisement? This is the vision of electronics giant Samsung and interactive advertising company Reactrix Systems. The two companies have partnered to bring 57-inch interactive displays to Hilton hotel lobbies by the end of the year. These displays can "see" people standing up to 15 feet away from the screen as they wave their hands to play games, navigate menus, and use maps.

With the buzz surrounding the Wii, the iPhone, and Microsoft's Surface, "people are more open and ready to interact using their hands and gestures," says Matt Bell, chief scientist and founder of Reactrix...

...Samsung and interactive advertising company Reactrix Systems plan to bring 57-inch interactive displays to Hilton hotel lobbies by the end of the year. These displays can "see" people in 3D standing up to 15 feet away from the screen as they wave their hands to play games, navigate menus, use maps --and interact with ads.

Read original article - 'A Display That Tracks Your Movements'

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Paris EV public rental service

More news here on the plan for Paris to intruduce an electric car fleet of an initial 4,000 units:

Paris is a city with its fair share of traffic problems. It's also the largest city where a public bicycle rental service is being used, very successfully (Ve'lib) and we already knew about the city's plans to install a similar service featuring electric cars. An EV rental plan even helped the Mayor win re-election, and more information about this plan has now been unveiled. First of all, the fleet is going to be exclusively electric, with 4,000 units. That's a very large order for a single model of a vehicle - but which model has not yet been announced. The system, called Auto'lib, which means "Auto à libre disposition" (Help-yourself car) will not only be installed in the city itself, but it will cover the suburbs (banlieue), expanding the range that the bike rental service operates in.

Read more at - '

Walking: Still Better Than Driving

So - is walking 12 times better for the climate than driving?

Here's a post that returns to the blogosphere debate about the climate impacts of walking vs. driving:

Apparently, some folks -- New York Times columnist and blogger John Tierney in particular -- were spreading the claim that a pleasant stroll to the store might actually release more GHGs than getting behind the wheel. Other bloggers picked up the meme, including one post with the headline: "Be Green: Drive."

The idea may sound absurd, but there's a legitimate insight behind it. Walking burns calories, which come from food -- and it takes an enormous quantity of fossil fuels to produce, process, and transport everything that we eat. Add in the other GHGs from agriculture -- everything from cow manure to emissions from synthetic fertilizers -- and you've got a potent global warming cocktail in every glass of milk.

Read original post - 'Walking: Still Better Than Driving'