The University of Hawaii is on its way to being entirely solar powered

If you needed another reason to spend your four college years in paradise (and by that, we mean Hawaii), the state’s university may have just given you one. The University of Hawaii (UH) has announced that its Maui College campus is slated to become one of the first in the United States to derive 100 percent of its energy from on-site solar photovoltaic systems (PV) coupled with battery storage. So whether you want to spend your college days surfing or knowing that your institution of higher learning is helping you to reduce your carbon footprint, the University of Hawaii may be looking like an increasingly appealing choice.

The result of a partnership with Johnson Controls and Pacific Current, this new venture will also help four other UH community college campuses on the island of O’ahu to “significantly reduce their fossil fuel consumption.” In fact, these four colleges will see their fossil fuel use decline by 98 percent, 97 percent, 74 percent, and 70 percent. Still, they won’t be quite as efficient as the main campus on Maui, whose new PV plus storage system will be able to eliminate the institution’s fossil fuel-based energy use altogether when it goes into effect in 2019.

While this new initiative is clearly a commendable one, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, back in 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the U.S. to commit to achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Moreover, UH and the Hawaii Legislature have pledged that the university system will be at “net-zero” by the beginning of 2035, which means that the system will produce as much renewable energy as it consumes.

“With the implementation of phase two, these five UH campuses will have reduced fossil fuel energy consumption by ~14 GWh annually (45 percent) and added ~13 GWh renewable energy generation,” said UH vice president for community colleges John Morton. “We are proud to move the entire University of Hawaii System closer to its net-zero energy mandate, to celebrate UH Maui College’s achievement and to position the O’ahu community college campuses within reach of 100 percent renewable energy generation.”

Once energy conservation measures are implemented, the total on-site capacity will be 2.8 MW of solar PV and 13.2 MWh of battery distributed energy storage at UH Maui College, and 7.7 MW of solar PV and 28.6 MWh of battery distributed energy storage to the UH Community Colleges O’ahu campuses.

These eco-friendly projects are slated to be complete by the second quarter of 2019.

Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From "DirectX Box" to "720," it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Computing

Microsoft's latest Surface Laptop 2 runs past the updated MacBook Air

Apple recently updated its venerably MacBook Air, giving it a sleeker and more modern design. That pits it against the Surface Laptop 2, Microsoft's update of its own traditional laptop.
Computing

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.
Business

Can Amazon deliver on plan to slash carbon footprint of shipments?

Amazon has announced an ambitious plan to halve its shipment carbon footprint by 2030. The company says improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy make the goal reachable.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.