Archives for April 2009

Land clearance in Vietnam

It’s the sort of news that probably gets bio-ethanol a bad reputation. reported on Monday that 24 hectares of land in Vietnam are to be cleared in order to build a bio-ethanol plant.

Now, obviously a bio-ethanol plant has to go someone, and this one will be making other by-products as well.  But clearing land to build one opens up the discussion about what else the land could have been used for (eg. food production).

Why not “regenerate” a disused factory site instead?


Hausnotruf is a system offered my organisations such as the German Red Cross (DRK).

People who do not want to move into an old people’s home, but still want the peace of mind of being able call for help in an emergency use the system.  The have a red button on a necklace that they can press in an emergency, which contacts a base station which in turn dials an emergency call centre.  They then send out someone who has a key to the flat or house to help.

Some systems also offer a an option, whereby the user has to press a button on the base station eg. every 24 hours.  If they do not, they receive a call or help is sent out.  This can be useful if they are not able to press their button.

For more details on the Red Cross system, visit

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Bio-ethanol in motorsport

Following last week’s video of the Volvo XC60, their name came up again today as I read on Street Import Online that they are to use bio-ethanol in their C30 model for the Swedish Touring Car Championship.

It’s good to see bio-ethanol used as an alternative fuel for racing cars, and I wonder how long it will take for other areas of motor racing to follow suit?

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