Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience

There are so many places to turn for information in our society.  Squiggles of light and pixels and flat screens have taken over the places which used to be occupied by musty, dusty tomes of the ‘archaic’ printed page.  While the storage capacity of a Nook or Kindle is greater than the average bookshelf, the preservation of the material that made up those bound volumes is a passion for scholars and bibliophiles alike.

This very interesting melding of laboriously documented printed texts into a digital format will allow them to be shared with an audience not planning a trip to the mountains of Tibet.  There are many who value these teachings and wish to imbibe of the knowledge regardless of their geographical limitations…

Read about the Tibetan eText Repository by clicking the logo:

TBRC logo


It is fitting that the old and the new come together in harmony…as stated in TBRC’s Mission statement:

To preserve and share the Tibetan literary heritage through the union of technology and scholarship.

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Once again, I get to report that the textile industry is really making the investment into sustainable products. Just announced, CRAiLAR Flax is the first sustainable natural fiber with the potential to revolutionize the textile industry.

From the farms where the flax is grown to the mills where it’s spun into yarn, CRAiLAR Flax Fiber drastically reduces chemical and water usage. In fact, CRAiLAR was designated as a 100% BioPreferred® product by the USDA in April 2012. That clean record from dirt to shirt concludes with fabrics that are indistinguishable from cotton, while helping to prevent a cycle of environmental harm.

From this……

blog flax

to this….

blog linens

                                                                                                                                                                     but more sustainably.

I won’t look at a formally set table in the same way again after learning about this new technology, how about you?

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December, 15th 2014

If you’re from the British Isles, you take ‘the lift’ when you want to ascend to an upper floor in a building.  There’s now tech that will make your travel in an elevator a bit more unusual -

 “So what exactly makes the design so special? First, it can travel sideways as well as up and down, making it ideal for building designs such as Google’s under-construction “groundscraper” in London, which, as its nickname sort of suggests, is longer than it is tall.”


New Magnetic


Sideways Elevator


Watch the video announcement from the system’s designer:  ThyssenKrupp


Otis Elevators, founded by Elisha Otis, is still the world’s largest producers of vertical transport systems. We’re still largely using cable systems to hoist elevator cabs up and down between floors, as we did in the early 1800s. And as urbanization stretches cities taller and wider, this will have to change.”

There’s a batch of articles on the subject – it’s being tested in Germany at present.

Read more:

If they install this on any campuses, wouldn’t this be a cool way to get to that class you’re always late for???

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…. but something else quite unexpected.  Remember video cassettes, those big black boxes that played pictures? They were the ancestors to DVDs. They no longer have to occupy our landfills – some 4,000 of them have been used to build a house, along with two tons of denim jeans, 2,000 used carpet tiles and 20,000 used toothbrushes.

Britain’s first house made almost entirely from rubbish is based at the University of Brighton. From the kitchen counter made from coffee cups, to the stairs made from paper, this live research project will pave the way for entrepreneurs to find sustainable ways to construct housing.

blog house2

The construction industry currently discards 20% of everything it uses, meaning that for every five houses built enough waste is generated to build one extra house.

As the cost of raw materials continues to rise, the UK’s first A rated energy-efficient building made from waste, may be the first of many.

Would you want to live in one of these energy-efficient houses, or better yet, would you like to be credited with building one?

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In just under a week’s time, students from the University at Buffalo (myself included) will be visiting a local elementary school to teach the first graders about recycling. This is part of an educational outreach project for the University at Buffalo’s chapter of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW)- a national environmental organization. Our goal is to simply teach the students what and how to recycle so that future generations will be more environmentally conscious.

Our day will start out early, arriving at the elementary school at 8:30 am, prior to the students’ arrivals. Throughout the day we will have a total of five classrooms to visit (and over 100 students)- we’re definitely going to have to bring the energy! We will start our lesson by asking the students what they know about recycling to stimulate some discussion on the topic. After teaching the students what items should be recycled, we will play a game with the entire class. The game will be on an interactive poster that each classroom may keep, hand-crafted by the members of ESW. Each poster is divided into three sections representing a trash, recycling, and compost bin, and the students can sort pictures of various items into their respective bins.

We hope that these activities will keep the students engaged and interested- six and seven year olds can be pretty unpredictable. Stay tuned to see how everything went!

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