New website evaluates the effectiveness of science communication activities

Read the full story from Leiden University.

Scientists regularly appear in the media. They participate in science cafés, write a popular-science book or visit school classes. In that way, they want to convey their knowledge and enthusiasm to society. But do they succeed? To answer that question, a new website is launched, with a toolbox full of instruments to evaluate the effect of science communication activities.

Ever Wondered How Much Water Your Shower Uses? This New Google Tool Will Help You Find Out

Read the full story in Fortune.

Ever wondered how much water your shower uses? Or the impact of throwing away your food?

Google launched a new tool on Friday with the California Academy of Sciences, called Your Plan, Your Planet, which hopes to help you answer precisely those questions.

The interactive tool covers three areas: energy, water, and food usage. It asks questions about your usage on everything, from the length of your shower to how many hours a day you keep lights on in your home. It then uses that information to determine your annual use and provide tips for more efficient use.

Green Events Guide

The Green Events Guide is geared to support planning and action around seven focus areas common to public events:

  • Food and Food Service
  • Venue
  • Communications and Event Materials
  • Vendors
  • People
  • Transportation
  • Housing

It is intended to assist community-based, volunteer event planning leaders and teams, especially folks in rural areas. This FREE online resource was developed by the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden, with support from the U.S. EPA. The completed guide includes a webinar recorded on 10/20/17.

Is Bing News Worth Using? (Spoiler: Yes)

Read the full post in ResearchBuzz.

Google News has dominated news search as completely Google has with its Web search. With over 50,000 sources as of 2013,  you might wonder if you need any other free service when you’re looking for news.

Yes, you do. And I’ve got a suggestion for you: Bing News. It looks a bit plain compared to Google News, and hides its features in a frustrating way, but I find that Bing News search can bring you materials that you’d find above and beyond Google News. You just need to know a few tricks to get to them.

Google Scholar and the Full-Word Wildcard

Read the full post from ResearchBuzz.

I know a lot of folks avoid Twitter because it be kind of a mess / useless timesink / brain drain / dumpster fire. And sometimes it can. But it also can lead you to a lot of interesting people, like Spencer Greenhalgh.  Spencer is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University who came to my attention in December 2015 because of his work with R and Twitter. And we’ve had some conversations and he’s pointed me toward some great resources.

And he also gave me a terrific question recently – a question about Google Scholar.

Spencer was having trouble searching Google Scholar ( ) for his topic of choice – Twitter and graduate students / programs.

I love a good search question. So I jumped into Google Scholar and started messing around, and wasn’t having much luck. Then I thought, “Wonder if Google’s full-word wildcard works in Google Scholar?” Surprise! It does.

Content from the Obama White House web site

As happens with every presidential transition, the White House pages for the prior administration were removed immediately following the inauguration ceremony and replaced with those reflecting the new president. The Obama White House pages can now be found at

UCLA’s free Energy Atlas uncovers L.A. buildings’ role in greenhouse gas emissions

Read the full story from UCLA.

UCLA researchers launched their new L.A. Energy Atlas today, a free searchable database that combines never-before-released data from energy utilities with public records to reveal previously undetectable patterns about how people, buildings and cities use energy.

Researchers from the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA have assembled information in a database that allows users to sort it by household income; building age, size or use; city or neighborhood; energy use per square foot; energy use per capita; and other metrics.

What’s that bird? New website identifies species by your photo

Read the full story from Treehugger.

Your computer just became an ornithologist.

In a breakthrough for bird watchers and the avian-curious everywhere, the Visipedia research project and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have collaborated on a nifty website that has a keen skill: it can identify hundreds of bird species by photo alone.

Called Merlin Bird Photo ID, the identifier is capable of recognizing 400 of the mostly commonly encountered birds in the United States and Canada.

A SUPR tool to map Clean Power Plan state compliance scenarios

Read the full post from ACEEE.

Later this summer, EPA will publish its final Clean Power Plan rule, regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Though the final rule has not yet been released, policymakers, state governments, utility operators, and other stakeholders are weighing their options to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) from the power sector in compliance with the rule. As states consider plans to submit to EPA, they will want to evaluate the costs of their compliance options, but comparing different strategies can be complex. To assist states in exploring the cost and pollution reduction potential of different options, ACEEE has created the State and Utility Pollution Reduction (SUPR) Calculator (Beta).

Find Energy Incentives Faster and More Easily with DSIRE Open Data and Website

Via the EERE Blog.

All across the United States, homeowners and businesses are saving money by installing technologies that conserve energy and cut carbon pollution. Upgrades such as new, energy-saving appliances and rooftop photovoltaic systems also help lower the nation’s overall energy usage and reduce environmental impacts like harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

To empower more Americans to realize the benefits of clean energy technologies and solutions, government agencies offer several financial incentive programs that can reduce or defray installation or purchase costs.  In an effort to help citizens quickly find these opportunities the Energy Department established the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) 20 years ago.  The database is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University.

DSIRE — the nation’s most comprehensive information sources for renewable and efficiency incentives — enables users to pinpoint opportunities in a variety of formats including dynamic maps, charts, and tables.  The database also includes a search tool that filters incentives and policies by type, state, technology, implementing sector, and eligible sector.

Today, the Energy Department and N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center launched a new version of DSIRE that makes it even easier for citizens to find information. These improvements include:

  • expanded data accessibility with information on over 2,800 active policies and incentives for all renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies;
  • an Application Program Interface (API) freely available for download that contains all of the data on DSIRE in an easy-to-read format;
  • interactive maps so that users can customize policy maps in real-time based on their preferences and needs; and
  • enhanced search that allows users to find incentives by zip code.

In addition to these exciting features, the new site includes a more streamlined, user-friendly design that highlights DSIRE’s tools and services.

These DSIRE upgrades contribute to the White House Open Data Initiative, which is designed to fuel entrepreneurship, innovation, scientific discovery, and economic growth. The new DSIRE API and open data will enable private-sector entrepreneurs, technologists, and innovators to build new tools, services, and infrastructure that advance a clean energy economy.

Go to to explore the improved features and follow DSIRE on Twitter and Facebook. Also, search our Rebates & Incentives tool to find even more tax-saving opportunities. For questions or comments about the new DSIRE, please contact Steve Capanna at Steve.Capanna@EE.Doe.Gov.