NCAR Powers Up Renewable Energy Forecasts

Read the full story from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), building on a pioneering wind energy forecasting system that saved millions of dollars for Xcel Energy customers in eight states, has entered into a new agreement with the utility for even more sophisticated weather forecasts.

USDA Launches Agricultural Water Quality Tool

Read the full story at Environmental Leader.

A new online tool developed by scientists at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service can help farmers and ranchers understand the quality of water flowing off their fields.

The Water Quality Index for Agricultural Runoff (WQIag) — inspired by the Dow Jones Index — gives producers a complete picture of their water quality instead of focusing on just one aspect such as temperature, nutrients or pesticide content, says Shaun McKinney, NRCS national water quality and quantity team leader.

The tool is currently in the pilot phase, but NRCS engineers say they hope to eventually offer the WQIag as a free smartphone app.

Too tired to cook? Choose and buy your neighbor’s leftovers

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

As a way to combat waste and give you some extra pocket money, lets you try your neighbor’s cooking. The online food-sharing network is a step beyond on food-based services offered online, and allows you to meet cooks rather than simply exchange a recipe.

Beyond the pale ale: A guide to sustainable beer

Read the full story at Grist.

After weeks of painstakingly thorough research and dedicating my body to the noble profession of journalism by acting as my own guinea pig, I have come to the following conclusion: Beer is awesome.

From its humble beginning as a brewmaster’s hazy notion until that sweet moment when it hits your lips, your brewski may be part of a master plan to bring you an environmentally friendly, carefully sourced, community minded, local-economy-driving, happiness-inducing good time. (That is, unless you’re drinking Coors. They want your money but they don’t really care if you have a good time.)

But not all beers are created equal, so in the name of fearless truth-telling, I spoke to brewers and beer experts from across the country, traveled to a distant land known as Soho, and of course, drank plenty of beer. I did all of this in hopes that you, the public, might be better equipped in evaluating the virtuousness of your brew.