Archives for May 2012

Son-X Octavia Swing-Set Accessory: Just Because It’s Solar Doesn’t Mean It’s A Good Idea.

Son-X Octavia Swing AccessorySon-X’s solar-powered Octavia attaches to a kid’s playground swing chain/rope and either plays applause, a beat or an orchestra sound based on how high the ‘swinger’ goes. From Son-X’s website:

“After a certain time on the swing and/or when the child reaches a certain height he or she is rewarded with a sound experience. When reaching next level another sound will be triggered.”

So the Octavia is basically a swing set personal trainer that challenges the rider to go higher and rewards them with sound. It might not be a good idea to push kids to go higher on the swing but it could just be me hovering again.

So the Octavia inspired me to come up with a couple other ideas, all solar-powered, that are designed to encourage a playground activity:

  1. Brutus – based on the volume of the wearer’s voice and word choices, the Brutus will start by offering a high-five and transition to an imaginary chest bump based on successful playground bullying.
  2. Agrippa – aka Lose Your A’Grip’pa. Goads kids to unsafely climb the monkey bars. Reaching the top and jumping (or falling), the Agrippa will congratulate the wearer and make the 911 call.
  3. Claudius – simple: run into walls, playground structures or other kids and Claudius will first announce “Whoops! I’m a big Claude.” Increasing the force/speed of impact and the Claudius will reward the wearer with a Nelson, from the Simpsons, “HA HA!”

And oh, the Octavia sells for $625. [Gizmodo]

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Self-Driving Road-Trains Could Be The (Near) Future Of Commuting

Unlike Google self-driving cars, drive-trains seem to be an idea inspired by KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and if implemented, could reduce fuel consumption, manage traffic more effectively and reduce the number of accidents. It’s part of the SARTRE (Safe Road Trains for the Environment) project and recently, a multi-vehicle road-train traveled 124 miles through Spain to show how it works. Basically, a lead vehicle is responsible for accelerating, braking and steering a train of cars on the highway. All the road-train requires to work is wireless network between the cars because most new vehicles include the other necessary hardware (camera, laser sensors, radar). Companies involved in the EC backed SARTRE project are Ricardo UK Ltd, Applus+ Idiada, Tecnalia Research & Innovation, the Institute of Automotive Engineering, SP Technical Research Institute, and Volvo.

Besides managing traffic and reducing fuel consumption & accidents, another benefit of road-trains is that they’ll allow freed up drivers to engage in other activities including reading, working on a laptop and eating. The one downside of having a dis-engaged driver – falling asleep but I’m sure they could monitor that too and send a shock through the seat.

Jubbling wants to help with the adoption of the road-train idea and we have one suggestion: automatically play “C’Mon ‘N Ride It” by the Quad City DJ’s in the car when drivers connect to a road-train. How’s that for incentive? [FastCo.Exist and Inhabitat]

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RayFish Footwear Stingray Shoes: If You Can Afford It, You Can Consume It. ‘Should You?’ Never Considered.

RayFish Footwear’s custom $1800 sneaker idea sucks on many levels. Here’s how the sucking happens:

  1. Choose a shoe design/style.
  2. Choose stingrays by color and/or pattern.
  3. RayFish Footwear will combine their DNA to create a blended design.
  4. Wait for genetically altered stingrays to mature.
  5. RayFish Footwear will harvest the stingrays and make your custom shoes.

But the suckaging doesn’t stop there. Even RayFish Footwear’s slogan, “one fish, one shoe,” seems to be a play on TOMS Shoe’s “One for One”.

By coining One fish, one shoe, RayFish Footwear wants you to believe they are doing something sustainable; like it’s a “farm-to-table” situation as pointed out in the FastCo.Design article. But there’s nothing edible or local about their stingray shoes – they’re just crazy-expensive, unnecessary fashion statements that are made in Thailand for people that have more money than sense.

So no, RayFish shoes are not a parody taken from the SkyMaul catalog. The true joke, though, is the dumbass who’ll pay $1800 for these f’d up shoes. [FastCo.Design]

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Our Grandparents Were Green When It Was Just A Color

SmartPlanetSmartPlanet.com Americanized and posted a great story that started out as a “pass it forward” email. The article, “Grumpy Old Woman’s energy tips”, takes the elitism and marketing out of all things green and does so from the perspective of our grandparent’s generation. Thank you MH for allowing us to re-post the article.


Grumpy Old Woman

The Green Thing: Pay attention to the wagging finger. And for goodness sake, use the clothesline. The sun is your friend. And another thing…

By Anonymous.

Checking out at Wal-Mart, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The assistant responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

  • Back then, we returned milk bottles, soft drink bottles and beer bottles to the shop. The shop sent them back to the plant to be washed, sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
  • We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an elevator or escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocers and didn’t climb into a 200-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.
  • Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 2000 watts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back then. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.
  • Back then, we had one TV or radio in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief not a screen the size of Texas. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. We didn’t have the green thing back then.
  • Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.
  • Back then, when we were thirsty, we drank from a tap instead of drinking from a plastic bottle of water shipped from the other side of the world. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor when the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.
  • Back then, people took the bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical socket in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest fish and chip shop.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

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Do You Think They Reused The Cardboard Boxes? And Oh, Wingsuit Wearing Gary Connery Jumped From A Helicopter Sans Parachute.

We’re very simple at Jubbling. In the video, where most people see a wingsuited Gary Connery jumping out of a helicopter into a stretch of empty cardboard boxes, Jubbling sees an opportunity for Amazon.co.uk to score some free packaging. We just hope the wingednut didn’t crush too many. [ITN]

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Bad News Of The Day: Bottled Water Sales Increased In 2011

Plastic Bottled Water

“Although the U.S. has among the safest tap water in the world, the U.S. remains the largest market for bottled water. The next two, in order, are China and Mexico, both countries in which tap water is either unavailable, or typically not considered safe to drink.
Charles Fishman, FastCo.Exist, Americans Guzzling More Bottled Water Than Ever


Choosing to pay for water stored in a plastic bottle for who knows how long over getting it from the tap is absolutely nuts. And trying to make the argument that buying bottled water over soda doesn’t jive either because safe and clean soft drinks are not freely running through our taps in the same way as water.

In 2011, we unfortunately reversed a 3-year downward trend and consumed more plastic enclosed water than ever – 29.2 gallons per person based on data from the Beverage Marketing Corp (BMC). According to the BMC, people choose bottled water because they consider it “convenient, appealing and also healthy.” Sounds like we’re getting suckered into a marketing message.

Would you pay $1.29 for somebody to run into your house or a restaurant to fill a reusable water bottle for you? Probably not but we will thoughtlessly shell the same amount of money to buy bottled water.

999BottlesCrowdsourced apps that tell you drinking fountain locations are neat but are not the solution. And gimmicky $29 stainless models like 999Bottles, that let you count how many plastic ones you avoid, aren’t the solution either.

Reversing the reversal.
The solution is simple: just don’t buy bottled water. We’ve complicated the issue of not buying bottled water so much that we keep coming up with unnecessary alternatives like fountain apps and the over-priced 999Bottles. If you have a personal drinking container – mini-marts, restaurants and grocery stores will let you refill your water bottle using their fountain drink dispensers at no charge. And if you don’t have a container, drink sink water out of your hand.

Think about it, we’re talking about clean water that is more available in the US than public restrooms. We don’t put on our Depend brand adult diapers every morning in fear of not finding a public toilet. We trust in the fact that if we have to go, we will find one. Finding and consuming clean drinking water should be viewed the same uncomplicated way.

So if you need to drink some water, don’t play chess with the idea of finding an un-plastic source. Free, clean and safe drinking water is available everywhere in the US and if you’re without your stainless reusable bottle, drink it out of your hand. [FastCo.Exist]

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