Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau


Comments (44) (Please sign in to comment)

  1. leftwingpatriot

    leftwingpatriot GoComics PRO Member said, over 5 years ago

    I hope they manufacture the coating in the US and not in China.

  2. Orion

    Orion said, over 5 years ago

    Actually, it wouldn’t be that hard to create a thermochromic coating – I wonder if it would be cost prohibitive. There are a lot of them out there that react to freezing temperatures by turning different colors.
    Any chemists in the readership? White when the material temperature is 65F + say, and black below that?

  3. barticle35

    barticle35 GoComics PRO Member said, over 5 years ago

    How bout a black tarp??

  4. DylanThomas3.14159

    DylanThomas3.14159 said, over 5 years ago

    How bout a photovoltaic covering that generates electricity?

  5. leftwingpatriot

    leftwingpatriot GoComics PRO Member said, over 5 years ago


    That would depend on whether they can make photovoltaic covering that is cost effective.

  6. DylanThomas3.14159

    DylanThomas3.14159 said, over 5 years ago

    Check this out:
    North Carolina State University scientists are hoping that by imitating the leaf — biological perfection when it comes to turning light into energy — they’ll also improve our mechanisms for collecting solar power.
    Current solar cells use silicone as their basis, but recent findings by the North Carolina team show that water-gel-based solar devices can also produce electricity, according to Science Daily. The study, published by lead author Dr. Orlin Velev in the Journal of Materials Chemistry, experimented with water-based gel infused with various light-sensitive molecules and paired with carbon-coated electrodes. While synthetic light-sensitive molecules produced results, so did natural ones like chlorophyll, repurposed to produce electricity instead of sugars like it does for plants.
    Velev hopes that the natural materials could help eventually make a solar cell that’s cheaper to manufacture and better for the environment. For now, he’ll try to make the cells even more like the leaves they’re imitating: “The next step is to mimic the self-regenerating mechanisms found in plants. The other challenge is to change the water-based gel and light-sensitive molecules to improve the efficiency of the solar cells.”
    The water-gel-based cells are still fairly inefficient, but Velev already imagines a future where a leaf-covered roof doesn’t mean you should drag out a ladder.


  7. basshwy

    basshwy said, over 5 years ago

    Actually I have a photovoltaic on my roof. My power bill is oftern close to zero and occasionally I get money back because I generate enough electricity to contribute to the grid. This is becoming very common in Australia. Perhaps there’s an opportunity in the US for the same initiative…especially in the southern states where there is more sunlight and a need for more air conditioning.

  8. AKHenderson

    AKHenderson GoComics PRO Member said, over 5 years ago

    Mood rings turn black when it’s cold…

  9. DylanThomas3.14159

    DylanThomas3.14159 said, over 5 years ago


    Hi Aussie. I agree. The reason I posted the excerpt from the science article about the leaf is that leaves grow nearly everywhere. Evolution has adapted this leaf mechanism by which sunlight is converted into sugar. Sugar is a very powerful chemical — able to make conifers grow in the north in areas that are nearly always clouded over. Example: the rain forest on the olympic peninsula near Seattle.
    The NC team has already modified the (artificial) leaf to produce electricity instead of sugar. That’s a tremendous accomplishment and “proof of feasibility”. It is still very inefficient. So the challenge is to improve that. The scientists involved think they can. Nature is leading the way. Billions of years of evolution — which produced the versatile leaf — can show us how to make it much more efficient.
    Imagine a giant tree whose leaves are genetically modified to produce both sugar and electricity.
    Plug your car into a tree trunk! Plug your house into a tree trunk. Not to mention the grass roof made of modified grass blades.
    Maybe this is what’s churning around in Sid’s mind.
    One thing I admire about Trudeau: He does his research first. Then he implants the results into the mind of some character like Sid. Small wonder GTB is so successful.

  10. Ransom D Stone

    Ransom D Stone said, over 5 years ago

    What a great bunch of comments! Not one of the political duff that is seen so often. Hope the powers that be pick up on these ideas.

  11. Sandfan

    Sandfan said, over 5 years ago


    Sounds great. Only question is how much did it cost ? My electric bill here in East Texas runs about $2500-3000 a year, so if the price is right, I would do it.

  12. zenguy

    zenguy said, over 5 years ago

    Mike, you have it wrong! A white roof is better in the summer too! A black roof radiates more heat than a white roof, and that is the dominant effect during most of the 24 hours. So a white roof reduces your heating bill.

  13. ossiningaling

    ossiningaling said, over 5 years ago

    Where I live, roofs are often white in the winter.

  14. Alvin Hill

    Alvin Hill said, over 5 years ago

    This is easy. The desert Beduins solved a similar problem ages ago related to the color of the long, hooded burnooses they wear as outer garments. It was noted that men who wore dark colored burnooses seemed as comfortable in the hot desert sun as those who wore all white. When scientists studied this they found that Arab men wear the same puffy light-weight innrt garments, which insulated them from their outer garments. A black burnoose worn outside this layer would absorb more sunlight than a white one and its surface temp would therefore be higher; but by the same token it would also radiate more energy back into the environment. As long as the individual wearing the dark burnoose was sufficiently insulated from it by the appropriate undergarments, the higher equilibrium temperature of the outer garment would not make him hotter. Application of a similar principle to roofs would seem straightforward.

  15. babka

    babka GoComics PRO Member said, over 5 years ago

    I’d like to run an idea by Bernie: solar roof panels that are also skylights………also, natch, smaller houses, shade trees, and conserving coolth in summer, heat in winter by savvy opening & closing of windows and drapes

  16. Load the rest of the comments (29).