Chemistry Experiment Simulations and Conceptual Computer Animations

Aimed at beginning chemistry classes, this virtual lab from Thomas Greenbowe of Iowa State University in Ames features some 70 exercises and animations.

Simulations illustrate concepts such as Boyle’s law, which describes the relation between a gas’s volume and pressure, and let students run experiments in electrochemistry and other areas.

Animations depict molecular interactions such as the formation of hydrogen bonds between water molecules or the reaction between silver ions and a lead electrode in a solution of silver nitrate.

Bloomberg To Create NYC 'Office of Sustainability'

Via Treehugger:

As of June 15, NYC’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was one of 248 mayors from 41 states to have signed the ‘U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement’.

Under the agreement, mayors “strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities”. According to WNYC, Bloomberg is taking another important step toward this commitment: The public radio station reported yesterday that the billionaire mayor will create a New York City ‘Office of Sustainability’.

As one would imagine, this office will be charged with identifying strategies to reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Coincidentally, this report was issued the same day that the Department of Energy predicted that worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels would increase 75 percent above current levels by 2030.

See also ::Buildings Account for Half of All CO2 Emissions, ::Electric Taxis Coming to NYC?

Faux Chateaux a Glut on the Market

Via Treehugger:

Earlier this week the Wall Street journal covered Micro-houses; now it covers the decline of the McMansion as a result of a number of factors: Demographics, as the baby boomers look to fund their retirements; Energy Costs- Electricity is up 12% and Gas up 43% in the last five years; speculative mania: “Folks bought megasized houses well beyond their needs to increase their investment in real estate,” Gas prices and increases in mortgage rates. We shouldn’t say “we told you so” but we told you so. ::Wall Street Journal

The Value of A High Efficiency Home Furnace

Read the full story at Treehugger.

“Is a high efficiency furnace worth it”? That’s the question posed by Kim, one of our readers.

From a technology standpoint, we scanned this overview by “HomeTips.com” and decided there are too many options to offer a yes or no answer. A few efficiency points added to millions of home furnaces would result in a large cumulative cutback in greenhouse gas emissions; and, hopefully, much money saved. But, is it worth that outcome to discard millions of perfectly good furnaces, taking a chance on newer technology, of unknown reliability? Could there be unintended consequences?

Let’s start with an assumption that your existing furnace burns natural gas or propane, is quite old, and operates near or below the low end of the “name plate” efficiency range of modern furnaces. Unfortunately, if you burn oil, and have no access to natural gas, there is not much can be done in the way of high efficiency furnace technology…

GUSSE: Urban Sustainability Meets Social Networking

Read the full story on Treehugger.

While the World Urban Forum 3 in Vancouver will end on Friday, organizers hope that the conversations started this week will continue long beyond the live meeting.

To facilitate these discussions, a team of techies and visionaries from the University of British Columbia have created GUSSE, an open-source platform for exchanging sustainability solutions. Using a “social networking” model, GUSSE’s developers hope to create a valuable resource that’s as easy to navigate as MySpace.

Wal-Mart Careers – A New Department?

Read the full story at Treehugger.

We were reading through our PRWeek today and when we approached the “jobs” section we couldn’t help but raise our eyebrows.

A huge ad for Wal-Mart containing several PR, communications and marketing jobs was staring back at us with the words “sustainability/long term” and “we need PR pros who think outside the big box.”

After reading about Jeffrey Hollender’s recent visit to the Wal-Mart headquarters we’re wondering if they are taking into account his suggestions. Are they possibly creating a whole new department for environmental communications. Job descriptions are as follows…

Perdue Eyes Biodiesel As Growth Market

Via Treehugger:

Check out this “Maryland Coast Dispatch” [USA] article for a local take on how chicken feed production links to national biodiesel trends.

Major drivers: Perdue is the 800 Pound Chicken producer; Perdue already processes soybeans at various locations, producing soymeal for chicken feed; Maryland is a major chicken producing State, as are many others in the US mid-Atlantic region; biodiesel fuel markets bring good prices and direct distribution brings better margins; local units of government are clamboring for more biodiesel; hence, Perdue is logically looking to get into biodiesel markets. A good thing in many ways.

But let’s not fool ourselves with license plates like “Veggie Cruiser”. There’s tertiary impact we’re more concerned with. Soy oil feedstock-driven green businesses rely on cheap byproduct oil to keep profit margins intact. Stock up on oil when the commodity price is low, then make soy oil products until the next good buy opportunity. If biodiesel pulls soy oil prices up and keeps them there, small businesses could be threatened. Oh, what tangled webs we TreeHuggers weave.