In fairly rapid fashion, the solar power industry has tackled two major challenges that threatened to decimate the business.
First, far much too capacity led to rapidly falling prices, which pushed the industry's weakest players into bankruptcy and has left a few more of them struggling to stay afloat. Restrained capacity growth has become the theme of 2013, enabling demand to catch up, and prices on solar panels are no longer plunging at a rapid clip.
Second, the steep fall in solar panel prices has pushed this technology a lot closer to "grid parity," compared to fossil fuels. If natural gas prices had not also plunged as well in recent years, demand for solar would really be booming.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average American will spend nearly $740 on gifts, decorations and greeting cards this holiday season.
But S.S. Gee Burro, a Pennsylvania-based author, is not an average American -- at least, not when it comes to his family's gifting practices.
"Each member in my family has a stocking, and each family member puts in a gift that costs no more than $2," he says, noting that the threshold had been raised from $1 due to inflation. "We all know who left buying until the last minute -- they are the ones who bring lottery tickets." With 20 family members present for Christmas, that keeps per-person Christmas spending below $40, and he says the only gifts given beyond the stockings tend to be of the hand-made variety.
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By Matthew DiLallo
In order to get the next phase of the project off the ground, Anglo would have been required to pony up another billion dollars. That's just too big an outlay for a company that has been struggling amid sagging commodity prices. Given the vehemence and reach of the project's detractors, it was easier to walk away from the project.
While Anglo's decision is a clear victory for the mine's opponents, the battle isn't over just yet.
With control over the development of the mine reverting to Northern Dynasty Minerals, it's possible that global mining giant Rio Tinto (RIO), which owns 19 percent of Northern Dynasty, might step forward to fund the mine. Similarly a private equity firm or a foreign buyer could jump in. That is, of course, if the EPA gives its go-ahead, which is no sure thing.
It's quite clear that even if a new financial backer is found, opponents of this project won't go down without a fight.
Funded is an original AOL video series that profiles crowdfunded, small business success stories that are popping up across America. Hosted by Baratunde Thurston, the first episode takes place in Detroit, a city that isn't just down-and-out, but recently declared bankruptcy. It's hard enough to make ends meet here, but paradoxically the extreme economic conditions have created fertile ground for small, local grassroots businesses. A unique crowdfunding model has taken root, one that differs from popular online sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Detroit SOUP is a monthly dinner that celebrates creative projects underway while allowing new entrants to present ideas for projects in the hopes they get the evening's donations to use as start-up capital. For $5 participants receive soup, salad, bread, and a vote. Watch the inspiring video above to see how it works and the kinds of projects that are getting the greenlight in Detroit.
By Brian Stoffel
In a different article this week, I did my level best to capture all of the positive economic benefits that come along with cheap food. Chief among them is how the cash that would have been spent on food is freed up and put to use elsewhere-creating jobs and spurring innovation.
This cheap food is the product of the combination of new farming technology, increased usage of fertilizers, and genetically modified crops (GMOs). But is it possible that with such huge food surpluses, we've got too much of a good thing going on here?
NeverWet is a relatively new spray-on coating that purports to repel water so well that a smartphone coated in the stuff can sink to the bottom of a swimming pool and come out bone dry. Home Depot is now stocking the silicone-based coating spray that repels water, mud, ice and other liquids.
The video is pretty impressive and demonstrates other uses for the spray - so many uses that it could become the next WD40. We'd love to know if you've had any experience with the spray; please leave a review in the Comments section if you have.
From what we've seen, it looks like a winner. Watch the video and see for yourself:
It was a Tuesday morning and I'd just read that gas prices were going up again. My stomach was curled up in a tight little ball, and I'd just written to a friend that I wasn't sure what we were going to do about the fairly regular road trips we take across the province and back, each month.
I had to Google hypermiling to find out what she was talking about. It turns out there are whole clubs full of people across the continent who play games with themselves, their vehicles, and sometimes each other, in order to wring the very best fuel economy they can out of their cars.
Now, I've always known that smarter driving can mean better bang for your buck in the fuel economy department, but I had absolutely NO idea just how much could be saved by following a few simple rules. I was skeptical, but I tried them, and I was floored: On my very first tank of gas trying this, I think I saved almost $30.
For many, the summer months mean heading up to the cottage, packing the entire family clan under one roof for the benefits of living by a lake. But cottage ownership isn't for everyone. It's expensive owning two properties and it means another home to maintain. For those who don't own cottages but still want to introduce their kids to a more rugged, natural existence, here are a few ideas:
I'm not a speed demon by any stretch, but I do tend to go most places while travelling about 10km over the limit. I am sensitive about using my brakes unnecessarily (to save gas yes, but more to save my brakes), and I've always known that better driving can = better fuel economy. Still, this particular experiment astonished me. In one round trip, by following a few really simple rules, I managed to save almost $30 in gas.