We've been thinking about green technology lately -- not only the local level, but also on the international and even interplanetary scale, beginning with a team of engineers from Glasgow that is currently testing solar satellites that would be able to tap the sun's energy around the clock, regardless of weather conditions. Meanwhile, back on Earth, we were pleased to hear that Saudi Arabia, a nation that is practically synonymous with oil production, promised to invest over $100 billion to develop 41 gigawatts of solar power by 2032.
Closer to the home front, a proposal backed by Google for a wind power transmission line stretching from Virginia to New Jersey cleared a major regulatory hurdle when it was given the green light by the federal government this week. Speaking of promising news for renewable energy, a study led by researchers from Yale and Harvard shows that Americans are willing to pay slightly higher electricity bills for clean energy, meaning that Americans are ahead of Congress when it comes to clean energy policy (big surprise there). And if you've been sitting on the fence about wind energy because you think all wind turbines are ugly, feast your eyes on the Enessere Hercules wind generator, a vertical axis wind turbine with wood blades that produces energy regardless of which way the wind is blowing.
This week was also a big one for LEGO builders from around the world. South Korea broke the world record for the tallest LEGO skyscraper with a physics-defying 104.65-foot-tall tower in Seoul. But perhaps equally impressive is Thomas Poulsom's beautiful and ingenious set of LEGO birds, which are highly detailed and built to be as close to their real size as possible.
In a development that should appeal to the inner Trekkie in all of us, an engineer known simply as "BTE Dan" believes that (with technology currently available) it is possible to create a full-size replica of the USS Enterprise, but instead of dilithium crystals, it would be powered by nuclear power. And in an unrelated bit of space-based news, NYC artist Tom Sachs teamed up with Nike to produce a new line of sportswear using recycled Mars Rover airbags, mainsails for boats, and even NASA spacesuits. Far out, man.
In green transportation news, we've been busy drooling over Porsche's upcoming 918 Spyder Hybrid, which is reported to get more than 770 horsepower and an estimated 78 mpg fuel economy rating. It's a shame we'll have to wait until the end of 2013 before it goes into production. Another hybrid release to keep an eye out for will be the 2013 Ford C-MAX compact utility vehicle, an efficient five-seater that's scheduled to hit dealerships this fall. And in one of the more interesting developments of the week, Siemens announced that it would test its "eHighway of the Future" - a system of electric lines that will be used to power hybrid trucks in California. We've also been keeping tabs on Honda's new UNI-CUB, an electric, self-balancing, weight-shift controlled device that will almost certainly compete with the Segway for the title of personal mobility device that makes able-bodied people look the weirdest.