It's been a great week for two of our favorite things over at Inhabitat: LEGOs and Star Wars. First, a group of LEGO builders from LEGOLAND Windsor built the tallest LEGO tower ever, snatching the title back from South Korea and returning it to the UK. Then, using 152,455 LEGO bricks, Rolls-Royce built a half-size replica of the jet engine that powers the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. In one of the most ingenious LEGO constructions ever built, LEGO pro Rene Hoffmeister built a barrel organ that plays the Star Wars theme song. And in other Star Wars news, we reported on the renovation of Luke Skywalker's boyhood home in Tatooine (actually it's in Tunisia). And finally, we shared a photo of this 7-centimeter-tall origami Yoda -- the most adorable bit of Star Wars memorabilia ever made.
Another story that we've been watching closely is Apple's surprise divorce from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), the leading green electronics certification system. Apple announced this week that it would no longer certify any of its products with EPEAT. Just a few days later, San Francisco announced that none of its 50 city agencies would be able to buy Apple laptops and desktop computers with city funds. It's clear that all that public outcry had an effect -- by the end of the week Apple apologized for the move as a big mistake and rejoined EPEAT. Public WiFi is becoming a hot topic in green tech, as New York City announced a new pilot program to convert old phone booths into WiFi hotspots; and in Paris, Mathieu Lehanneur recently unveiled a gorgeous public WiFi station covered with a green roof.
We were pretty psyched to learn that the California State Senate approved the first bit of funding for a high-speed rail line running from Sacramento to San Diego. In other high-speed news, Justin Bieber was pulled over for going over 100mph in his custom-chrome Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid. (Can you blame him?) And in one of the most interesting green transportation developments in recent memory, a funny-looking car with a huge wind turbine attached to the back demonstrated that it can travel upwind faster than the wind.
We did a bit of globetrotting this week as we profiled Guamgzhou's elegant Canton Tower, the tallest building in China. We also checked in on the Parkview Green FangCaoDi, an incredible pyramid-shaped building in Beijing that has its own energy-efficient microclimate. We wrote about Voltaic Solaire Delta, a self-powered building in Brooklyn that will be officially unveiled next week, and we took a look at PackH20, an amazing, collapsible backpack that promises to make transporting water easier in the Third World. In other exciting green tech news, a team from MIT developed a new battery-free chip that captures energy from light, heat and vibrations all at the same time, which could be a big breakthrough for the future of energy harvesting. And perhaps most promising of all, the IEA predicted a 40 percent worldwide increase in renewable energy usage by 2017.