Something New Under the Sun

A GM plant in Spain is constructing the world's largest rooftop solar-power array

Like analog TV and Marshall Tucker fans, solar power is a holdover from the Carter administration. Yet, for modern businesses like Google and General Motors, it's a promising alternative energy source. So far, "promising" is as far as it's gotten: the density in data centers and in the typical office complex -- lots of demand in a small area -- turns solar arrays into a pipe dream. At Google HQ, for example, nearly every rooftop is covered with solar panels, and they have plans for more coverage, but the array can only provide for about 30 percent of peak power usage.

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Dead Bodies for Live Crash Tests

Reports surface that GM uses human cadavers as crash dummies—but is that anything new?

Does GM use human bodies as crash test dummies? That's not the plot of a 1970s cult classic; it's the claim of one car-safety specialist in Sweden, who told newspaper Expressen that GM recently wrapped up a multiyear research study using human cadavers in car-crash simulations. The man says Saab cars were involved in the project, which reportedly involved people who had donated their own bodies—assumedly in the name of scientific research—not political dissidents. Well, that's a relief.

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Lower Yields from GM Crops

A three-year study concludes GM soybeans are less successful than their natural counterparts

When genetically modified (GM) crops were first introduced, they were met with quite a lot of skepticism, not only in regards to their unproven long-term safety and efficacy but to their potential to be high-yield super crops. A three-year University of Kansas study has now confirmed the findings of a previous University of Nebraska study as to the yield abilities of the GM soybean from Monsanto: not only is the crop not a super-yield producer, it actually produces less than conventional yields, even under optimal conditions.

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Blasts From the Past at the New York Auto Show

At this year's NYIAS, nostalgia is king. Launch our gallery to see why

We slogged through the rain and traffic all the way across town to the Javits Center for the 2009 New York Auto Show. No, its not Detroit or Geneva; but the show still has a fair share of announcements, plus a chance to see up close those cars that recently debuted in other cities.

So far, its really been an American show—with big debuts by GM and Chrysler. It was also the year of retro design and nostalgia. Pontiac brought out three new models, including a yet-to-be-named revival of its former El Camino car/truck hybrid—extolled by rapper 50 Cent. Dodge took us back to the seventies, introducing three versions of its revived Charger model. And Mercedes waxed poetic about the glory days of the 80s, when its belching diesel sedans ruled the upper-class subdivisions. It also introduced SUVs using its new BlueTec clean diesel technology.

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Virgin, GM and Rolls Royce Team Up to Go Green

Biofuels, efficient jets and hydrogen cars are among their green initiatives

Yesterday morning Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic Airway pulled up to the IAC Building in a hydrogen fuel-cell-powered Chevy Equinox SUV. There he was joined by executives from GM and Rolls Royce to announce a smorgasbord of environmental initiatives. A clear theme was hard to distinguish, other than the color green.

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GM Vice Chairman Calls Global Warming A "Total Crock of S**t"

Then why the push to develop the Chevy Volt?

Heres an odd PR move making the blog rounds today: Bob Lutz, the General Motors Vice Chairman whos driving the charge to build the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid, was recently quoted in D Magazine calling global warming a crock of s**t.

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Cloned Beef: It's What's For Dinner

Irina Polejaeva has the secret to the perfect steak, but is America ready for her recipe?

What if you could carve off a chunk of the most succulent slab of steak you´ve ever eaten, clone a bull from it, then produce weeks of identically delectable dinners?

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Hy-Wire Act

First look at the guts of GM's fuel cell Autonomy car

When General Motors rolled out its "skateboard" vision for a fuel cell car at the 2002 Detroit auto show in January, there was buzz, and there was a big question. The skateboard concept, called Auto-nomy, was the product of GM's Design and Technology Fusion Group, and it radically reordered automobile physiology: Fuel cells, hydrogen, motor, and brakes were all crammed into a 15-foot-long, 6-inch-thick chassis onto which modular car bodies could be snapped. Drive-by-wire controls would plug into the skateboard's computer brain through a docking port.

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Transparent Power

"Transparency" attempts to make new technology do its thing without anyone noticing.

Super-efficient light-truck engines are coming, but don't expect to notice.

That's the impression we came away with after driving General Motors' latest light truck concepts. The reason: something engineers call transparency, an effort to make new technology do its thing without anyone noticing.

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