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The Place

The Place

On our way to Connecticut’s Stonehenge, Marine and I passed an amazing solar powered house in the middle of a wildflower field, while in Sachem Head, CT.  One of the best parts of road trips I think is finding these types of hidden places. Marine threw the car into reverse, and I snapped some quick pics. Here they are for your viewing pleasure.

The Studio

The Studio

Right Section

Right Section

Panels Close-Up Shot

Solar Panels Close-Up Shot

There were these cool bird houses that seemed to grow out of the flowers, one of the houses I saw had the word “VIEW” etched on it. It makes me wonder, with all this crazy art and such, maybe I have stumble upon an alien colony right here in Connecticut. Someone call Art Bell!

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses with the Sun Behind Them

Bird Houses

Bird Houses in the Sun

View

View

It turns out that it is not a house, but an art studio and garage, built by Eileen Eder, a local artist, and her husband, Andrew, located in the back of their house (which I never noticed). The two completed this barn like studio in November of 2007. It looks like a crazy sort of dark, futuristic barn in the middle of a wild field.

The Field

Part of the Field

According to Solar Connecticut’s web site, the solar panels were installed on the studio’s 60-foot long roof by Aegis Electrical System of Branford. If you’d like to read more about the studio’s solar set-up click here.

It really is beautiful.

-Cara

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People might be getting annoyed with my solar power obsession, but I could not pass this one up when I found it earlier this week. It is the LightCap 200!!!

This small, lightweight (just 2.6oz) cap fits on any ‘standard’ water bottle (2” wide mouth) such as Nalgene®, Camelbak®, GSI® and most others, turning your bottle into a solar-powered lantern. With clean, green solar energy powering your lantern there are no more burned out batteries to worry about or replace (adding to our already toxic landfills).

I love it! You can put colored water in them as well….super fresh!

Next we have Wola Nani Papier Mache Bowls, which are made by women living with HIV/AIDS. In Xhosa, Wola Nani means ” we embrace and develop each other.” These eye-catching bowls are made of papier mache using over-prints from canning factories in Cape Town. You can use them to put your keys in, mail, etc and it supports a great cause. You will also have a story to tell people when they comment to you how beautiful and interesting it is. It is not meant for food storage or eating purposes, so don’t eat out of it.

Last but not least is the Aptera a high-efficiency vehicle currently in development by Aptera Motors, Inc. They claim fuel efficiency of 230 mpg at 55 mph, which would make it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in the world.  Because the Type-1 has only three wheels two in front and a single drive wheel in the rear, most states in the United States would classify the vehicle as a motorcycle.  Design elements such as recessed windshield wipers and rear-view cameras instead of mirrors contribute to the low aerodynamic drag. According to the pre-order page, Aptera Motors has set the price at $26,900 for a an electric version with a 120-mile range, and $29,900 for the diesel-electrical series hybrid. If you want to learn more check out their site.

Charge it!

-Cara


Reason 84 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In America, essentially all farmed animals will be trucked around at least once in their lives. Filthy, crowded, cramped, noisy, and terrifying conditions over extended periods are the norm. Truckers may legally deny the animals food and water for up to 36 hours. And such “protections” do not apply to poultry. Many animals are traded internationally. About 4 million live sheep are transported from Australia to the Middle East every year where Islamic law dictates throats be slit without stunning. In one recent year, a ship full of 58,000 sheep was rejected because of widespread infection. Before finding an import destination, nearly a tenth died.

The history of solar power is of interest to me, because again for some reason I have an innate interest in all things solar. In this entry I wrote about some of the forefathers of the solar power movement and in future entries I will bring us up to the present time.

Humans and the earth have used the sun as some sort of energy source since the beginning of time, but it was not until 1838 that Edmund Becquerel observed and published findings about the nature of certain materials to turn light into energy. This in itself did not really create much commotion, but it did bring the thought of harnessing the sun’s energy source to people’s mind.

Thirty years later between 1860 and 1881, Auguste Mouchout, a mathematics instructor at the Lyce de Tours, became the first man to patent a design for a motor running on solar energy. This invention was born out of his his concerns over his country’s dependence on coal. “It would be prudent and wise not to fall asleep regarding this quasi-security,” he wrote. “Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion. Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?” Well we know what they do, they discover other nonrenewable sources of energy like oil and natural gas to use up, and once that is gone then will we turn to sun and wind for our main source of energy? The issue “they” see with that is they have not figured out a way to turn an obscenely grandiose profit off the sun and air, but I would not worry too much as I am sure General Electric is working on buying the sun as we speak.

Anyway, Mouchout received funds from the French Emperor Napoleon III and with those funds he designed a device that turned solar energy into mechanical steam power and soon operated the first steam engine. He later connected the steam engine to a refrigeration device, illustrating that the sun’s rays can be utilized to make ice, for which he was awarded an awesome French Medal of Super Freshness [I tried to discover, briefly, what medal it was he won, but to no avail, so yes I did invent the French medal of Super Freshness incase you weren’t sure.]!

Unfortunately, his groundbreaking research was cut short. The French renegotiated a cheaper deal with England for the supply of coal and improved their transportation system for the delivery thereof. Mouchout’s work towards finding an alternative source of energy was not considered a priority anymore and he no longer received any funding from the Napoleon V3 [ah, isn’t that the way things go?].

I will end our solar history lesson there for today and hope you have enjoyed it so far, more to follow!

Let the sun shine in.

-Cara


Reason 80 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
In the early twentieth century man learned how to extract nitrogen (fertilizer) from the air, cheaply and in large quantities. The discovery ultimately allowed 2 billion more people to inhabit the Earth and has given humans the luxury of feeding crops to livestock. Yet what gives the world abundance has, by way of nutrient runoff and acid rain, poisoned waterways from the Chinese countryside to the Ohio Valley. (Excess nitrogen promotes algae growth, robbing the water of oxygen.) In North America and Europe, lakes and rivers contain 20 times the nitrogen they did before the Industrial Revolution.

On Fridays I usually do a shopping or a recycled object making entry, then Saturdays a recipe entry and Sundays are a game or quiz entry, but two Fridays ago it was my 100th post, so I didn’t do the shopping/recycled entry until Monday. This Friday I was into tips, so I guess and forgot to do my regular entry. Today I will make up for missing said entry.

Here are three cool products I found. I mention places to buy the things I talk about, but I suggest trying to find products locally whenever possible.

On siliconsolar.com I found for $24.95 the Solar Battery Charger AA AAA C and D. It has the ability to charge AAA, AA, C and D batteries using solar cells. The company has one complaint in 36 months at the Better Business Bureau, which they resolved. I worked for the BBB here in New York City for about six years and that is a fine record for an online company…in my opinion. I think this charger is a great idea.

Alright, I am not sure how many people grill, but my dad does and smokes food. He makes me a mean, marinated, smoked portobello sandwich like you wouldn’t believe. Anyway, his grill light uses batteries I think, so I found the Maverick SOLAR LED Grill Light, Stainless Steel GL-04 for $48.99. Happy Father’s Day!!!

Last but not least, we were talking about brining your own water bottle to work instead of using disposable cups. I like the Switzerland company Sigg’s water bottles. They aren’t too big, and have a clean fresh look and feel to them. They are fashionable and sustainable.

I will update this entry with any reviews once I’ve tried any of these products. Please leave a comment if you’ve tried any of these contraptions, as I would love to know what you thought of them

Enjoy.

-Cara

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Reason 73 from, 101 Reasons Why I Am Vegetarian:
Grass-fed beef is more eco-friendly than corn-fed, but supplies of it could never sustainably meet current consumer demand. Several guides are available to help seafood consumers “eat with a conscience.” But the species that are recommended would quickly run out if everyone ate them. Legally, “free-range” and “cage-free” designations are dubious to outright meaningless. At least one humane certification program was officially debunked. “Organic” has gone strangely industrial and is rightly tagged “ethically challenged.” Ultimately, to “eat green” and to “be kind,” one needs to go vegan. [Opinion of Pamela Rice only. I feel that to not validate free-range and grass-fed animals/farming is to tell meat eaters, that their choice does not matter between industrial farming and free-range, when of course it does make a difference. -Cara]

Today on April 10th, 2008, I welcome the Official Web Site of Me, CaraReynolds.com into the world. Firstly, I would like to thank Marine Boudeau for all the work and time she put into creating this fantastical place and making it more than I ever expected. It has been a long journey, but we did it!

What is CaraReynolds.com all about you may be wondering? It is about me wanting to have a space for my photography that goes beyond Flickr, a place that not only showcases my photos, but my life as well. I think this site turned out amazing. It is as I say ALL the time, AWESOME!

So, sit back and enjoy the show… and remember, just like me, CaraReynolds.com will continually evolve, so come back sometime and see me again.

– Cara

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Between 1980 and 2004, meat production in the developing world tripled, today amounting to well over half of the world’s output. Dense concentrations of corralled industrial livestock, which create vast quantities of manure, now skirt the edges of major cities in Asia and Latin America, causing severe environmental damages.

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I’m really into solar right now, so I decided today will be the day to gather and share ten cool solar facts from around the World Wide Web.

What? You’re welcome! :P

  1. As for solar energy history as we know it, it wasn’t until 1839 when French physicist Edmond Becquerel first discovered photovoltaic activity.
  2. This discovery was followed by another Frenchman, Auguste Mouchout, in the 1860’s who invented the first motor to be powered by solar energy.
  3. In 1883, Charles Fritz turned the sun’s rays into electricity!
  4. In 1990, a aircraft powered solely by the sun crossed the United States.
  5. It takes only about 8 minutes for solar energy to travel from the sun to the earth.
  6. Solar energy is measured in kilowatt-hours. One kilowatt hour (kWh) is the amount of energy needed to burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
  7. If we covered a small fraction of the Sahara desert with photovoltaic cells, we could generate all the world’s electricity requirements.
  8. Enough sunlight falls on the earth every minute to meet the world’s energy demands for an entire year.
  9. Two billion people in the world have no access to electricity. For most of them, solar photovoltaics would be their cheapest electricity source, but they cannot afford it.
  10. Solar energy will not pollute our air with carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gases and bad emissions which is one of the main causes of global warming.

In 5 billion years the sun will run out of fuel, so let’s use this baby while we still can.

-Cara

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Arsenic has been a common additive in factory chicken feed for nearly 50 years. It is used to kill parasites, reduce stress, and promote growth in the birds. The practice has long been deemed safe. Recently, however, scientists have found that the substance turns carcinogenic rather quickly after application. Arsenic-imbued manure becomes toxic to the environment when spread as fertilizer. The risk for those who ingest the meat of treated birds is, in fact, worse than once thought, particularly since exposure to arsenic is cumulative and people are eating three times the chicken they once did in the 1960s.

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