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Leapfrog Updates

Three links for those of you interested in the accelerating pace of developing world technological change, and the environmental/social effects thereof:

  • Ken Novak points to a November report from All4Engineers about the start of a new biodiesel production facility in India, supported by DaimlerChrysler, using the regionally common Jatropha plant. The Jatropha biodiesel was successfully tested in April. (Added bonus: the website of an Indian biodiesel enthusiast.)
  • Also from Ken Novak: The demonstration of a fuel cell designed to provide home power for rural electrification in Latin America. Sufficient power for a home would come from a device not much larger than a shoebox, running on sugar cane-derived ethanol.
  • Finally, a useful and interesting resource: SciDevNet provides "news, views and information about science, technology and the developing world." Not all good news, of course, but a clearinghouse of reports covering everything from biodiversity to indigenous knowledge to HIV/AIDS. For those of us interested in the notion of leapfrogging, SciDevNet is definitely worth adding to the list of news sources. No RSS feed available, sadly, but they do have a weekly newsletter recapping top stories.

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