Green Wrap

In recent years, there has been much publicity about green technologies and how everyone can become environmental stewards. Here are some examples of how states are turning trash into energy and being more Earth friendly:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) consume much less energy than traditional light bulbs, but they contain mercury -- a toxic metal that can damage the nervous system and lungs if inhaled. Safe CFL recycling laws are pending in California and Massachusetts; Maine became the first state to pass a law requiring manufacturers to limit mercury in CFLs; and Illinois has a law that requires recycling information on CFL packages, according to USA Today.

The Golden State is also Dumpster diving to power homes with renewable energy from table scraps using an anaerobic phased solids digester, according to a press release from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The digester converts biodegradable and organic waste materials -- like fish bones, cantaloupes and yard waste -- into methane and hydrogen, which produces heat and electricity. Each ton of waste will produce energy for 10 homes, according to the board.

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2.0 Convergence

"Web 2.0" is becoming more synonymous with "Be careful what you say online." This rings true for Indiana state trooper Christopher Pestow, who recently resigned after he was investigated for posting derogatory content to his Facebook page. Pestow violated department conduct and misused equipment, according to WTHR Eyewitness News, and two other state officers are being investigated. The Indiana Police Department is drafting a standard operating procedure on what personal information can be posted on social networking sites.

Conversely Bozeman, Mont., may have taken background checks a bit too far. In June, MontanasNewsStation.com reported that Bozeman was asking job applicants to divulge their user names and passwords for social networking sites. At press time, the city had backed off, saying the policy "exceeded that which is acceptable to our community."

Aroma Tech

Technology already exists for users to sense the touch of an object using a joystick device. And very soon, the Japanese will be able to smell fragrances associated with content from their computer using i-Aroma, a device that emits premixed scents. The device takes six different oil-based scent cartridges. Small doses from the relevant vials are blended and vaporized to release a number of subtly different smells, all commanded over a USB connection to a PC. -- Fastcompany.com

Five Common Mistakes

Protiviti, a business consulting firm, says these IT strategies can yield near-term cost reductions.

1. service-level agreement and disaster recovery reduction and concessions ;

2. maintenance deferral and optimization;

3. infrastructure and application consolidation;

4. virtualization of common platforms; and

5. outsourcing noncore applications.

Karen Stewartson, Managing Editor Karen Stewartson  |  Managing Editor

Karen Stewartson is the managing editor of Government Technology. She contributes to Public CIO journal and Emergency Management magazine. Karen is a lifelong learner who has a penchant for words, puns, food and babies.