This probably won't help with this summer's air conditioning bills but the Department of Energy has apparently come up with a new air conditioning system that promises to potentially cut air conditioning costs by as much as 90 percent.
The Science Daily article is at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100621071943.htm
Somebody over at the DOE took two known cooling techniques (desiccant and evaporation) and figured out how to combine them in a new technology called appropriately enough a DEVAP, that promises much lower costs (or greater efficiency for each dollar spent).
All I can say is that it's about time. The government needs to show that this kind of research is not only viable but can have huge commercial value. Bringing this kind of technology to market can do more to providing more direct and indirect jobs than any number of big bank bailouts not to mention stimulating interest in science and engineering career possibilities.