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Social media wrap: Defense Department utilizes solar power, Jessica Simpson (as White House goes green)

October 5, 2010 | 10:47 am


The Defense Department is increasing its focus on using solar energy in overseas operations (and it has nothing to do with actress Jessica Simpson raising temperatures during a visit to the mess deck of the USS Harry S. Truman).

It’s no joke, though. In fact, the military's move toward renewable energies comes amid the deathly seriousness of increasing attacks against U.S. fuel convoys in Afghanistan’s Khyber Pass,  another national newspaper has reported.

A California company of Marines arrived recently in Helmand Province replete with “portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment,” the newspaper said.  It reported that U.S. military leaders plan to “rapidly expand their use” of such materials in future.

The military’s move toward renewables was saluted by Democratic congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, who tweeted:
"DoD using renewables makes sense - safer troops, decreased costs, jumpstart to important part of ....

.... our economic future"

Boeing announced last month it had won an $89-million contract from the Defense Dept. to build a solar-powered drone it projects will one day be capable of flying at 60,000 feet for five straight years (or  Boeing-solar-drone about the length of the average cricket match in Pakistan). 

The SolarEagle drone has solar panels on its football-field-length wings and a prototype is schedule for completion in 2014.

The White House has also gotten in on the renewables act, with the DNC tweeting Tuesday that the White House soon is set to take on a slightly greener shade:

"The @WhiteHouse goes solar: Sec. Chu announces WH to install solar panels and solar hot water heater by spring 2011"

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy tweeted Simpson’s visit as part of its ongoing Twitter campaign of posting irreverent shots of its operations around the world:
No wonder Jessica Simpson ended it with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo: She's got boat loads of attention from these sailors:

Is it hot in here or what?
-- Craig Howie

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Images: Main: Information Systems Technician Seaman Todd Sines speaks with actress Jessica Simpson on the mess decks during a USO and Navy Entertainment sponsored visit aboard USS Harry S. Truman on 1 Oct. Credit: Ryan McLearnon, U.S. Navy. Inset: Artist's rendering of the SolarEagle. Credit: Boeing Co.