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June 25, 2009

Welcome to the latest edition of the Developer Shed newsletter! Have you been looking for a set of applications or utilities that will make your life easier whenever you have to do something with your desktop or laptop? Then check out the 31 (count'em!) apps brought together by the article we're highlighting this week from eWeek. Never mind that it's titled “Face Saving Tools for Managers;” this slide show should be called “Time Saving Tools for the Perpetually Busy”! If you're a manager yourself, you know exactly what I mean. And on that note, let's look at the other tools for geeks we have for you this week.

If you're interested in PHP magic functions, you simply must check out Dev Shed this week. Not only do we discuss two important magic functions, but we show how to use one of them to build loader applications. If you're more inclined to Microsoft technologies, and just getting a handle on ASP .Net, you're in luck; ASP Free ran a short introductory series on the popular framework.

Website designers and developers can learn a lot from Dev Articles this week. Whether you want to enter a programming contest, build Active Client Pages, or apply fundamental design principles to your web pages to make them more aesthetically pleasing, we have you covered...and that's just for openers. The hardware enthusiasts reading Dev Hardware will definitely want to check out our lists of great, inexpensive electronics; we covered ultra thin laptops, portable headphones and flat screen monitors. Don't forget, both of these sites publish articles five times a week, so it pays to check back often.

The SEO professionals reading SEO Chat picked up some great advice on local optimization; if you're trying to attract local customers to your web site, you'll want to check it out. And if you enjoyed last week's article on online content writing, you'll want to come back this week for the second part. Meanwhile, if you're relatively new to owning a website, Dev Mechanic offers some tips to help you out. They may seem counter intuitive, such as shortening your content, but you'll be pleasantly surprised!

That's not all. If you're tired of the hassles associated with the tedious but necessary task of backing up your computer, Codewalkers looks at some backup solutions that work in the background without you having to get intimately involved. If you're excited about the possibilities offered by cloud computing, Web Hosters details some of the tools you can use to collaborate. And Tutorialized and Scripts still provide some of our best content created by our visitors.

As always, thanks for reading. Until next week,
Developer Shed Staff

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Take advantage of free e-kits from developerWorks. E-kits give you a collection of tutorials, articles, webcasts, podcasts, and demos about a particular product, task, or role. This one-stop shop of resources empowers you to maximize your enterprise investment.
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Get free PMI training in the IBM Rational Project and Portfolio Management certification training e-kit. As a member of the Project Management Institute's (PMI's) corporate council, IBM has more than 12,000 PMI-certified project managers and has been honored for its educational programs. Now, you can learn more about the difference that IBM's project management curriculum makes with six free courses based on IBM's best-practices processes and tools.
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It's edgy! It's irreverent! It's all about technology! It's News You Can't Use,
and you won't want to miss it! View this week's edition to learn the answers to these burning questions:

  • Jenny returns with more News of the Weird.
  • What's going on in Tech Around the Globe? Watch and learn my friends. Watch and learn.
  • Juan Valdezburg wears a funny hat and has a funny mustache. Comedic gold!

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Working Out of the Object Context to Build Loader Apps in PHP
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-25

Welcome to the fifth part of an eight-part article series that teaches you how to build loader applications with PHP. In this installment of the series, I explain how to create a small, efficient file loader class, with a difference: no instance of it needs to be spawned to include a targeted file, thanks to the implementation of a static recursive loading method.
Read the full article
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Using the _autoload() Magic Function to Build Loader Appps in PHP
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-24


Welcome to the sixth part of an eight-part series that shows you how to build file loader applications in PHP. In this part I will discuss how to build a helpful file loading application by taking advantage of the nifty __autoload() magic function.
Read the full article
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The Destruct Magic Function in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-23

Welcome to the sixth part of a seven-part series that shows you how to use the magic functions that come with PHP 5. In this article, I cover the __destruct() method, also known as a destructor. They can be really useful for performing all sorts of clean-up tasks, or for creating objects that are capable of maintaining their state across several HTTP requests.
Read the full article
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The Autoload Magic Function in PHP 5
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-22

Among the improvements and new features that were introduced to PHP 5, there's a set of special functions, popularly known as magic functions. These allow you to perform all sorts of smart tasks, ranging from overloading properties and methods in classes, to using destructors and triggering automatically predefined processes when serializing and unserializing objects. This is the conclusion to a seven-part series that shows you how to use the magic functions in PHP 5.
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How to Develop a One-Page Web Application n
by Murach, 2009-06-25

In the previous three-part article series, you learned the basics of web programming with ASP .NET. This five-part article series picks up where that one left off. We'll be using Visual Studio 2008 to assist us in developing a small web application. This article is excerpted from chapter two of of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article.
An ASP .NET Web Application in Action
by Murach, 2009-06-24

In this conclusion to a three-part series on ASP .Net web programming, you'll take a look at how an ASP .Net application actually works. This article is excerpted from chapter one of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article.
Developing ASP .NET Web Applications
by Murach, 2009-06-23


In this second part of a three-part series on ASP .Net web programming, you'll learn how state is handled in ASP .Net web applications, the components of the .NET framework, and more. This article is excerpted from chapter one of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article
.
An Introduction to ASP .NET Web Programming
by Murach, 2009-06-22

If you're just getting started with ASP .Net and looking for help, this is a good place to start. After reading this three-part series of articles, you should have a general understanding of how ASP .Net applications work and what software you'll need to develop these applications. This article is an excerpt from chapter one of Murach's ASP .NET 3.5 Web Programming with VB 2008, written by Anne Boehm (Murach, 2008; ISBN: 1890774472).
Read the full article
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Fundamental Design Principles for Web Page Layout
by Alejandro Gervasio, 2009-06-25

Many web site designers build beautiful pages, but if you ask them why they constructed a particular page in a certain way, they'll simply say that it looked good to them. There are design principles that predate the Internet; some of them even go back to ancient Greece and Rome, and they're as applicable today as they were then. If you still make pages that look good without knowing the science behind good design, this seven-part article series introduces you to concepts that you can consciously apply to your next web site design project.
Read the full article
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A Vertical Menu for All Browsers
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-06-24


This is the eighth part of a nine-part series that shows you how to build a menu that will work in all browsers. Let us quickly look at the design of a vertical main menu in this part.
Read the full article
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Programming Contests: Why Bother?
by Gabor Bernat, 2009-06-23


Would you like to learn how to be a better, more efficient programmer? Do you want to build optimized code that runs faster than anything you thought you could create? Then you might find that entering programming contests helps you sharpen your skills. Keep reading as we take a close look at what you can gain from pitting your programming skills against your peers from around the world.
Read the full article
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Downloading Long HTML Pages with ACP
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-06-22


As you are surfing the net, you notice that some web pages are very long. When such pages are downloaded, they generally take a long time to be displayed by the browser. In this article, I show you how you can design such long pages so that they download fast and are rendered (at the browser) fast. The secret is to use Active Client Pages.
Read the full article
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The Script Approach to Active Client Pages: Chrys`s Enhancement
by Chrysanthus Forcha, 2009-06-19

In this conclusion to a three-part series on active client pages, I give you my enhancements to the Script Approach. I am the one who came up with the Script Approach. I derived it from Vlad's work. Before I start my enhancements, let me talk about the store and Vlad's Fake Get Method. Vlad himself calls one of his methods the Fake Get Method.
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Animating a Nokia Cell Phone Theme with Carbide .ui
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-25

This three-part series of articles takes a comprehensive look at the process of developing themes for Symbian S40 - and S60 - based Nokia cell phones using the powerful Carbide .ui software. This is the third part of the series, and will focus on some of the more advanced effects.
Read the full article
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20 Cheap Flat Screen Monitors
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-24

We all know that one of the things that can become a premium on your desktop is space. If you have papers, a caddy with pens, maybe your hard drive and a monitor, you try everything that you can to make more space, but there is one space hog that, unlike the rest, can be avoided with a simple substitution. And it won't cost as much as you might think.
Read the full article
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Eleven Best Portable Headphones
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-23


Choosing an MP3 player or media phone can be a difficult decision. Literally hundreds of devices compete for our attention, each shouting its claims about sound quality and style, storage space and ease of use. But virtually all such gadgets share one thing in common: the sub-standard quality of the headphones. One of the first things worth considering when you buy any new media device is upgrading the headphones, but that brings its own problems. Keep reading for a solution.
Read the full article.
Ultra Thin Laptops Review
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-22

If you're tired of lugging around a large laptop, maybe an ultra thin model is in your future. These svelte sisters of larger notebooks, typified by Apple's MacBook Air, can save your shoulder and some hassle when traveling, while still allowing you to get real work done. One thing they probably won't save, however, is your wallet. Keep reading while we take a close look at three of these lightweight charmers.
Read the full article.
MP3 Players Under $50
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-19

There are lots of reasons why you might be in the market to buy an MP3 player. Your previous model may have broken, crushed under the wheel of a tire in the driveway, or perhaps become the victim of a fall down a flight of stairs. You may have never had an MP3 player before, so this is your first time shopping for one. Whether it's for you or someone else, you're in luck, because these devices are cheaper than ever. Check out our list, and then don't forget to read our advice on where to get some great music for your new player (there's a lot more than iTunes out there!).
Read the full article.
 
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Online Copywriting Strategies and Techniques
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-06-24

This is a continuation of last week's article on online copywriting. In the previous article we focused on style. Here we cover content creation strategies and techniques.
Read the full article
.
Use POG Ads to Promote
by KC Morgan, 2009-06-23

There are a lot of online advertising opportunities out there. As a Webmaster, don't you owe it to yourself (and your site) to explore the possibilities offered by them all? Is it possible that one of these advertising possibilities could lead you to a pot of gold? Find out how you can use POG Ads to promote your site and increase your page revenue.
Read the full article
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Local Search Engine Optimization
by Ivan Strouchliak, 2009-06-22

Local search is a huge, multibillion dollar market. The yellow pages have dominated local in the past, but search engines are constantly biting off their market share. Chris Smith from Search Engine Land predicts that yellow pages will see a further decline in the next four years due to the aggressive push into local by search engines. That's good news, unless of course you own a yellow pages business.
Read the full article
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Collaborate: An Examination of Tools for Groups Working in the Cloud
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-24

As the popularity of cloud computing increases, so do the number of common tasks that the cloud’s resources must support. Likewise, so has the number of tools designed to support such tasks. Since the birth of the personal computer, one of the most powerful capabilities of the technology has been to allow people to work collaboratively on tasks such as document creation and editing, project management and database maintenance.
Read the full article.
Social Networking Security
by Bruce Coker, 2009-06-17

Developers and regular users alike learned all the key points necessary for online security back in the 1990s, when email first became dangerous, right? Well, maybe not. Recent attacks on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and others have left users exposed to having their accounts hacked into, or worse. Keep reading for an overview of the phenomenon, and some hints for protecting yourself.
Read the full article.
How to Choose a Budget Web Host
by Katie Gatto, 2009-06-10

Looking for a web host, but can't afford to spend a lot of money? You're not doomed to simply making do; there are many budget web hosts that offer affordable options. But which one is right for you? We're not going to make specific recommendations; we're going to do something better than that. In this article, we'll walk you through a five-step process that will show you how to choose the budget web host that is right for you.
Read the full article.
 

Check out the amazing tutorials from IBM developerWorks and see what all the buzz is about!

WebSphere Service Registry and Repository
Manage, govern, and share services across your organization by using WebSphere Service Registry and Repository. Follow the hands-on exercises to learn how to navigate the Web interface to publish, find, reuse, and update services.

Building JavaScript applications with JSEclipse
Using JSEclipse, JavaScript programmers now have their own Eclipse plug-in that provides many important features to aid in the development of JavaScript applications. JSEclipse gives JavaScript developers the same ease of use that Eclipse has been providing in the Java language and others for years. Learn to use this tool, while creating a colony of evolving "creatures" on your page.

Learn how to install and use the Rational Asset Manager Eclipse client
In this tutorial, you can learn how to install and configure the IBM Rational Asset Manager Eclipse client, explore the different views in the Asset Management perspective, learn various search techniques, work with existing assets, and submit a new asset.

Improve your build process with IBM Rational Build Forge, Part 1: Create a continuous build and integration environment
Learn how to implement a build management system that uses and extends your existing automation technologies. This tutorial shows, step-by-step, how to install and configure IBM Rational Build Forge to manage builds for Jakarta Tomcat from source code.

Build Web services with transport-level security using Rational Application Developer V7, Part 1: Build Web services and Web services clients
Build secure Web services with transport-level security using IBM Rational Application Developer V7 and IBM WebSphere Application Server V6.1. Follow this three-part series for step-by-step instructions about how to develop Web services and clients, configure HTTP basic authentication, and configure HTTP over SSL (HTTPS). This first part of the series walks you through building a Web service for a simple calculator application. You generate and test two different types of Web services clients: a Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) client and a stand-alone Java client. You also handle user-defined exceptions in Web services.

Test terminal-based applications with Rational Functional Tester
Regression testing -- in which code is thoroughly tested to ensure that changes have not produced unexpected results -- is an important part of any development process. But many testing environments neglect the terminal-based applications that still form the backbone of many industries. In this tutorial, you'll learn how the Rational Functional Tester Extension for Terminal-Based Applications works with other Rational Functional Tester to help test terminal-based applications quickly and easily.

Improve your build process with IBM Rational Build Forge,
Part 2: Automate builds for a real-world Tomcat project

Learn how Rational Build Forge can extend a simple compile and package build process by adding customization and deployment capability. Go from a manual method to automating: checking for code changes; getting the latest source; compiling and packaging; customizing; copying to and restarting a deployment server; and sending e-mail notification that a new version is available.

NEW! Application development for the OLPC laptop
The XO laptop (of the One-Laptop-Per-Child initiative) is an inexpensive laptop project intended to help educate children around the world. The XO laptop includes many innovations, such as a novel, inexpensive, and durable hardware design and the use of GNU/Linux as the underlying operating system. The XO also includes an application environment written in Python with a human interface called Sugar, accessible to everyone (including kids). Explore the Sugar APIs and learn how to develop and debug a graphical activity in Sugar using Python.

 
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Tutorialized is dedicated to programming, designing, and many other
tech related tutorials.

Flash/PHP Email Form
Learn how to use sendVariables to make an online email form.
Read the tutorial.

The Lasso Tools
The standard, polygonal and magnetic Lassos are ideal for creating complex selections.
Read the tutorial.

Colorful Menu with XML and ActionScript 3
Create a colorful Flash Menu with XML and AS3. Read the tutorial.

Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand is a special selection tool, you can use for selecting areas of similar color. Read the tutorial.

Enjoy Videos on your Phone
This article introduces you a way to enjoy web videos on your mobile.
Read the tutorial.

Color Dodge Photo Effect
See how to create effective color dodge photo effect on a very simple way.
Read the tutorial.

 

Want to Earn Cash & Fame Writing
for ASP Free

Developer Shed is actively seeking fresh, new writing talents for our Microsoft Windows technology site. We're looking for Windows programmers, system administrators, and more to provide our readers with the latest, up-to-date techniques and strategies.

Here's your chance to earn some cash, gain some exposure, and beef up your resume! If you would like to join our team, email your name, a description of your qualifications, and the topic areas you would like to cover to contact_editor@developershed.com.

 
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Scripts is dedicated to developer and programming related scripts both commercial and free, and for all OS platforms.

h2desk Help Desk Software
h2desk is the powerful way to provide online support to your customers. Create, manage, and overlook unlimited staff and more.
Learn more.

PHP Store Pixel Ads
PHP Store Pixel Ads comes with advanced settings including the ability to use interlaced images, and much, much more. Learn more.

Framework for WEB Development
You will be able to develop easily and really fast grids, reports, graphics, filters, forms, and more.
Learn more.

Inventory Bookkeeping
Billing accounting software generate various accounting reports including final report, stock reports, sales reports, and others. Learn more.

Time Tracking
TimeTracking is a web based time tracking application. It allows you and your team to enter time spend on different task while working.
Learn more.

Remote PC Monitoring Software
Network asset database administration freeware utility generates software auditing and management reports. Learn more.

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Will the Internet Market Fail, Too?
by KC Morgan, 2009-06-24


The tech sector, especially the Internet-related part, has always seemed special. Then reality set in in 2001 when the tech bubble burst. Now we're in the midst of another economic crisis. Did we learn any lessons from last time? Could the Internet market fail?
Read the full article
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Should You Shorten Content?
by KC Morgan, 2009-06-22

You've got great content, flowing prose and lush topics. You've also got zero readers. The problem can't be in your keywords, because you've checked the density. The trouble certainly doesn't lie with your topics, because you're sure to feature all the hot news and gossip. It's time to consider another problem many sites don't realize they've got: your content might simply be too long.
Read the full article
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WordPress Security Tips
by Codex-M, 2009-06-19

WordPress, an open source blog publishing platform, is not actually safe by default. Failure to update the basic security measures of WordPress, or at most, failing to attend to these security issues, increases the chance of your blog being hacked and malicious people receiving unauthorized access to your private files. Keep reading for some ways to prevent hackers from becoming a threat.
Read the full article
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Clickfree PC Backup Systems Compared
by Barzan 'Tony' Antal, 2009-06-24

When was the last time you backed up your PC? If you're having trouble remembering, you could be in for a traumatic experience if and when your system fails. If you understand the need to do backups, but hate the hassle, keep reading. This article will introduce you to some backup solutions that take care of themselves, leaving you free to handle less tedious, more important tasks.
Read the full article
.
Squid, the Caching Proxy
by Barzan 'Tony' Antal, 2009-06-17

Lately, being connected to the Internet with sky-high values of bandwidth has pretty much become the norm. Surely, the time of dial-up with 56k modems have passed; our website requests load almost instantaneously, but there is always room for improvement. Squid is a cross-platform, open source, feature-laden caching proxy. We will cover it briefly in this article.
Read the full article
.
Regular Expressions in the Unix Shell
by Gabor Bernat, 2009-06-10

Searching. Now there is a task I am sure you do on a daily basis. In Shell programming, searching is very important; fortunately, you have a reliable set of tools to help you out. These are the regular expressions. And this article is the thirteenth in a series focusing on various aspects of UNIX.
Read the full article
.
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This is Your Brain, 54 Million Years Ago

We know what modern human brains look like, and we know we came from primates, but what did ancient primate brains look like? That's not an idle question; filling in the answers can give us some clues as to how we evolved. Now, thanks to paleontologists with the Florida Museum of Natural History, the picture is becoming clearer.

The research team used a 54-million-year-old primate skull to create a virtual model of its brain. The model comprises some 1,200 high resolution X-rays of the 1.5 inch skull, stacked up and put together to form the 3D model. This technique has been used on more recent primate fossils, but not on “stem primates,” mammals that existed 65 to 55 million years ago and evolved into modern primates.

So what did the scientists learn? Ancient primate brains were not unusually small, as some have believed; in fact, they were average-sized for an animal of that time (though small for a modern primate). The brain was well-adapted for using smell as the dominant sense, which isn't out of place for a tree-dwelling species that eats fruits and leaves. This seems to point to the possibility that a larger brain developed after a change in lifestyle forced primates to rely more on their eyes than their noses. So a descent from the trees may have led to the ascent of man - and the ability to create technology to see into the past in this way.

Read more about this

Email Patterns Reveal a Company's Future

In these difficult economic times, many employees want to know whether their companies will survive. Researchers at the Florida Institute of Technology may have an answer of sorts. They studied the email logs of US energy giant Enron, which collapsed in December 2001. The emails sent by its 150 senior staff members in the company's final year and a half total 517,000 messages sent to 15,000 employees. But researchers Ben Collingsworth and Ronaldo Menezes have the advantage of knowing what happened, so they can observe communication patterns surrounding the company's most stressful periods.

They identified key events in Enron's history, such as the resignation in August 2001 of CEO Jeffrey Skilling. Without looking at the content of messages sent, the two researchers then looked at the number of emails sent around the time of these stressful events, and the groups that exchanged emails. They made an interesting discovery: communication patterns change abruptly about one month before moments of crisis.

For example, about a month before the company's collapse in December of 2001, the number of active email cliques – defined as groups whose members all have had direct email contact with each other – increased dramatically, from 100 to nearly 800. What's more, the cliques became more exclusive, exchanging emails within their own groups and not with other employees. The researchers think this is symptomatic of basic human psychology when stress builds within a company: employees talk directly to those they feel comfortable with, and stop sharing information with a wider group. One other researcher who has worked with the Enron emails thinks that, if this observation is backed up by further research, such changes in communication patterns could be seen as an early warning sign that employees are growing discontent.

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Now Man Can Make a Tree, Too

Trees fix carbon, making them a potent weapon in the fight against global warming. But up until now we've only been able to plant natural trees in this battle. Leave it to the scientists to figure out that, if technology got us into this mess, it can get us out of it, too, Specifically, in this case, scientists at Columbia University are working on a prototype for a “synthetic tree” that can collect carbon out of the atmosphere 1,000 times faster than the real thing.

The tree works by collecting carbon on the wind in its plastic “leaves,” trapping it in a chamber, and then compressing it and storing it as liquid carbon dioxide. The technology isn't entirely new, as it has also been used to capture carbon from flue stacks at coal-fired power plants. But this “tree” captures carbon from the ambient air, and is capable of removing one ton of it every day. That's about the same amount of carbon emitted by 20 cars in the US.

An early model has already been built, and Professor Klaus Lackner is writing a proposal for consideration by the US Department of Energy. Lackner has also done the math and taken account of the energy the synthetic tree burns to do its thing. For every mole of carbon dioxide removed from the air, the machine spends about 50 kilojoules of electricity. The average US power plant produces one mole of carbon dioxide along with every 230 kilojoules of electricity. “In other words, if we simply plugged our device in to the power grid to satisfy its energy needs, for every roughly 1000 kilograms [of carbon dioxide] we collected we would re-emit 200, so 800 we can chalk up as having been successful," Lackner explained.

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