Hurricane Sandy dominated the news this week as the storm surge flooded large swaths of New Jersey and New York, knocking down trees, crippling the New York subway system, and leaving thousands of people in the dark after a Con-Ed station in lower Manhattan exploded. The storm caused an estimated $10 billion worth of damage in Manhattan and Brooklyn alone, and it caused lasting environmental contamination when 336,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled between Staten Island and New Jersey. And it reminded us of the potential dangers of nuclear power when the storm forced three nuclear reactors offline and New Jersey's Oyster Creek power plant was placed on alert.
Fortunately, more sustainable sources of energy are on the rise around the world -- the Desertec Foundation is moving forward with several massive solar plants in northern Morocco. South Africa followed suit, approving $5.4 billion in renewable energy projects around the country. And the flip was switched on for the first time at the London Array, which will be the world's largest offshore wind farm.
In an effort to develop a better, less expensive LED light, Inhabitat checked in on a team of South Korean scientists that are studying fireflies and trying to mimic the insect's bioluminescent organ. We also featured Pumpktris, a working LED-lit Tetris pumpkin that you can play by using the pumpkin's stem like a joystick. And looking forward to the holidays, we rounded up eight of our favorite low-energy LED Christmas lights and we shared some tips on which green home products will help you save money on your energy bills this winter.
In one of the week's most exciting green design stories, we took a close look at Logro?o's gorgeous new high-speed rail station, an underground, skylit station that is topped with a public park. We also checked out Brian Peters' remarkable 3D-printed ceramic bricks that can be used in large-scale construction projects. Robbie Tilton designed a functional keyboard made of natural wood and moss, while artist Bartek Elsner created a giant ghetto blaster out of cardboard to house a Mini Cooper at the International Radio Festival in Zürich. And for those who are frustrated with a sock drawer full of mismatched socks, Switzerland-based Blacksocks came up with radio frequency ID-chipped "Smarter Socks" that help you locate a sock's partner.