Archives for February 2013

Power An LED Lamp By Kicking The Energy-Harnessing SOCCKET Soccer Ball.

SOCCKET energy-harnessing soccer ball
SOCCKET in play.The SOCCKET from Uncharted Play, Inc. is a soccer ball that self-charges when people play with it. Thirty minutes of kicking the SOCCKET around will store enough power to run an LED lamp for 3 hours. It’s on Kickstarter looking for funding. According to CNET, if they’re successful on Kickstarter, Uncharted play will introduce a USB version. Who knows, maybe they’ll one day be able to produce SOCCKETs in quantity and follow the “One for One” model developed by Toms Shoes. [CNET]


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Waste Solution For Not-Recycling Houston: One Trash Bin For All Waste.

Landfill
Laura Spanjian - City of Houston Sustainability DirectorHow do you get a city with a low 14% recycling rate and no enforceable recycling laws to start separating their trash and divert it from landfills?

You don’t…. you bring in some garbage sorting technology and let it do the work. The City of Houston knew it would be tough to educate and motivate their residents to separate their trash so they went out and found companies that process it for them. Spearheading the effort is Laura Spanjian, Houston’s sustainability director. From Fast Co.Exist:

“Spanjian’s dream system combines many of these technologies: It would take everyone’s trash in one bin and send it to a facility that pulls out every piece of recyclable material and separates out food waste. Recyclable commodities would be sold, and food waste would be turned into compost or put in an anaerobic digester to power facilities or trucks. Another portion of the waste would be turned into gasoline.”

Brilliant – put all the trash in one bin and let the specialized machines sort it. Much better than the alternative of sending all of the trash to landfills.

Here are some of the companies Ms. Spanjian found that can divert and reuse/recycle Houston’s trash:

“One company cited by Spanjian, Organic Energy Corporation, offers a one-bin waste sorting solution. A company called BHS operates a material recovery facility in San Jose, California–but it doesn’t deal with food waste. ZeroWaste can take care of that; the company operates anaerobic digesters to deal with food waste in the city. And CRI Catalyst Company–a Houston-based company–offers a technology that turn biomass into gasoline or diesel.”

Not all cities are like San Francisco – which diverts 80% of their trash from landfills. If Ms. Spanjian’s model is successful, other low recycling rate cities can copy and implement a scaled version of her system. Dog wags tail. [Fast Co.Exist]

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Wee-Wee Is Partially Powering A Float At Carnival In Rio. Power To The PEE-ple!

Electric Pee float at Carnival in Rio
Power to the pee-pleThis will only take a second.

Poopcycle, you’ve got competition. During this year’s Carnival in Rio, the AfroReggae float is going to be partially powered by pee-pee / urine / wiz. From JWT Brazil:

“JWT Brazil and NGO AfroReggae teamed up this year to do something about it. The result is the ‘Electric Pee’ project — a unique urinal designed to generate electric energy from urine. Using a process similar to a hydroelectric power plant, which uses flowing water to generate energy, the energy created from each use will help generate power for AfroReggae’s float at Carnival.”

Told you it wouldn’t take long to relieve ourselves of this story. [JWT via Treehugger]

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Outbox Mail Service Digitizes Your Mail For Viewing On A Laptop, Desktop Or Mobile Device.

Outbox mail serviceJust heard about Outbox digital mail service and I’m not so sure about it. Outbox is a $4.99/month service that receives your USPS mail for you, scans it and lets you access it on any type of computer or mobile device. It’s a middle-mailman and a feature of the service is that you can unsubscribe from any company sending you junk mail right in the Outbox app. Unfortunately, that may be where the Jubbling ends.

Digitizing personal USPS mail just seems back-asswards to me. It’s a waste of energy (scanning, viewing) being used on a waste of mail; it’s like double dipping into the consumption bowl in order to make life a little more convenient. And what happens if Outbox receives some important mail for you? You have 30 days to have Outbox mail it to you… again; or you can print it out… for a second time.

In addition to the security issues of having strangers remotely handling your personal mail – how the Outbox digital mail service truly fails for me is mentioned in the CNET article:

“no more daily trek to the mailbox followed by the daily armload of junk into the trash can.”

Is walking to your mailbox that much of an inconvenience? Maybe if you purchased a Segway to get you to the mailbox it wouldn’t be such a hardship.

Sorry but applications should uncomplicate our lives and not add layers to it. Outbox may be necessary for some travelers or people that live overseas and need to check their USPS mail but for most of their potential clients, who feel strained by their daily commute to the mailbox, it’s an unnecessarily wasteful idea. Want the best feature of Outbox without signing up for the service? Try Catalog Choice to unsubscribe from junk mailing lists. [CNET]

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Solar Impulse Solar-Powered Airplane Is In America – Wants To Fly Across It. World, You’re Next!

Solar Impulse in flight.The 100% solar-powered Solar Impulse airplane arrived in the US on February 21 and is in the process of being reassembled for its transcontinental solar flight from San Francisco to Washington DC with a final leg to New York. Its powered by four 10 horsepower electric engines and has a cruising speed of 50 mph.

Led by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, the Solar Impulse will not be the first plane to cross the US powered by solar – that feat was first accomplished in 1990 by Eric Raymond’s Sunseeker solar power airplane. Mr. Raymond’s transcontinental trip required 21 separate flights over 121 hours to cross the country. The Solar Impulse’s transcontinental trips will be broken down into 20 hour flights with stops along the way to raise awareness about solar power.

Below is a video of the Solar Impulse being disassembled and shipped to San Francisco. [Wired]


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Submerged Art Installations And Sculptures Made From Our Marine Trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Posidonia

Posidonia

Scuba artists Mathieu Goussin and Hortense Le Calvez built underwater art sculptures out of marine trash.

Forlane 6 Studio - Martini Effect

Martini Effect

Here is a portion of their artistic statement:

“In response to our time of alarming climate change, the work presents a deliberate immersion of the objects that compose our daily surroundings. The certainty that in a near future, global issues will bring disastrous consequences on the environment creates a disturbing atmosphere. However the mass production rate of artificial material seems unstoppable. It overflows well beyond land frontiers and the seas surface, as it penetrates the depth of a distant and foreign space.”

You can read the full artistic statement on the Forlane 6 Studio website.

[Read more…]

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