Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Environmental

Saint-Gobain has sponsored 7 student teams in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 challenge.

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The aim of this international academic architectural competition was to improve education and research in the fields of sustainable architecture and solar energy. This year, 20 student teams representing 41 universities from 16 countries and three continents have presented full-scale prototypes of the sustainable, comfortable, innovative and affordable solar energy houses they designed.

Take a look at the top contenders:

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Check out the career opportunities with Saint-Gobain

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As soon as all the materials were gathered to start the next phase of the project, pots were prepared and filled with dirt for the growth study. Research is being done still as to what amount of rye grass per pot to add, however, ratios of how much nutrients to give the plants has been decided. With all of the specifics with all the specific steps still being decided, here is a series of images to illustrate what was carried out so far.

A nursery cloth was carefully placed to avoid leakage of dirt in the water flowing out of the pots.

A nursery cloth was carefully placed to avoid leakage of dirt in the water flowing out of the pots.

To fill up all those pots, a wheelbarrow was filled to transport everything to the greenhouse.

To fill up all those pots, a wheelbarrow was filled to transport everything to the greenhouse.

Carefully, we placed each pot on a tray to measure all the fertilizer (leachate) that passes through the pots.

Carefully, we placed each pot on a tray to measure all the fertilizer (leachate) that passes through the pots.

Each prepared pot was carefully placed to maximize optimization of all the space used.

Each prepared pot was carefully placed to maximize optimization of all the space used.

The finished product - pots, pots and more pots.

The finished product – pots, pots and more pots.

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If you’ve read the children’s tale of Jack, the Giant Killer and his adventures scaling the beanstalk (or some version of this story that has been handed down in a non-US culture), you know that climbing high can have its rewards and its challenges.  Vertical farms may bring a new language to farming around the globe – as we climb ever higher to feed our expanding world population.

Vertical farming is a way in which smaller spaces can be used to produce quantities of produce and plant life that plots of land don’t allow for in crowded or urban areas.  “Simply put, vertical farming means using a multi-level building, preferably within an urban centre, to grow food.” (JP Brown)  Check out his full post on LinkedIn:  Growing Up, Not Out: The Potential of Vertical Farming

Take a look at some of the companies that are involved with this growing technique.  Maybe there’s an employment opp here for you?

SkyGreens in Singapore

The Plant in Chicago

Terrasphere in Boston

Green Living Technologies, Inc.

Verticrop™

See the vids! maybe order the book?

 

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July 19th, 2014
5:57
 

What the heck is a mollusk, you may ask…  Well, it is any of a large phylum (Mollusca) of invertebrate animals (as snails, clams, or squids) with a soft unsegmented body usually enclosed in a calcareous shell.  Now on to the point of this blog post…

Camouflage is essential to many life forms – it is the key to their continued survival.  The Cuttlefish is one such creature; another water dweller having adaptive coloring capabilities is the Pencil Squid.  Scientists are hoping to capitalize on their investigation of the amazing ‘blend with your surroundings’ capability of these (admittedly rather unattractive) marine dwellers to increase the chances of survival for humans in combat.  [One side observation on my part, camouflaged or not, a backbone is going to be necessary for the soldier if he is being called upon under these circumstances!]

Research is being done at Harvard and UC Irvine, among other institutions and corporations globally.  To paraphrase one of the researchers on the goals of studying these marine life forms and their transmutability: “we’re…seeking to make shape-shifting clothing — the stuff of science fiction — a reality.”

There are a few different slants on the story – take a swim through them…  cuttlefish

Dinner Plate Squid used to Develop Color-changing Camouflage  (for some of us, dinner may take on a whole new ‘flavor’ – watch the video; soooo awesome!!!)

“Chameleon of the sea” reveals its secrets  (wow-imagine looking at that face in the mirror every morning)

Relying on speed, squids and cuttlefish do not have a thick, heavy outer shell. Their shells are reduced to lightweight internal bones. In squids, the bone is thin and pencil-like. In cuttlefish, these are flat surfboards riddled with tiny gas-filled chambers. Each of these creatures has eight ‘arms’ or tubers and they propel themselves by jetting water.  For more detailed info on this unusual creature go on over to Wild Fact Sheets

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July 18th, 2014
5:55
 

I have to admit – I stole the title for this post (’cause it made me giggle and want to say “what the heck???!!!”)

Maybe your future lies in studying the creatures of the sea and the benefits they bring to us.  They both fascinated and frightened our ancestors – perhaps you find them mysterious and enticing, too!

Why whale poo is good for the oceans… and us

whale

Hey to Duke University for the part they play in this research!

 

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