Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Public safety
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

Bookmark and Share
July 15th, 2014
5:18
 

The textile industry is getting VERY creative by re-purposing some interesting materials into fabric. theguardian reports that crab shells, plants, trees, bamboo, coffee grinds, and plastic bottles are some of the components used to produce fabric that have some great characteristics:

  • antibacterial
  • deodorizing
  • biodegradable
  • hypoallergenic
  • moisture wicking
  • UV protection
  • dries quickly

A hermit crab emerges from its shell

Even the big designers are getting in on this new trend – imagine buying an article of clothing from Hugo Boss or Timberland with these properties.

This is so revolutionary that a Pittsburgh-based Corporation, Thread, is taking fabric sourced from plastic bottles to the next level by creating a new natural resource for Haiti. Today Thread has bottle collection centers in nearly a dozen Haitian cities. Haitian plastics are taken to the US to create 100% post-consumer recycled fabric. Thread estimates that it has removed over 200m bottles from the streets of Haiti.

Read more here…..

And if you think using these unconventional items to make fabric are far-fetched, take a look at how Ford and H.J. Heinz Company explore the use of tomato fiber to develop a more sustainable bio-plastic material for vehicles !

 

 

Bookmark and Share

Building a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.  That is the mission of  World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), of which I’ve been a supporter for many years.

One of their initiatives currently underway is the pilot of a Payment for Environmental Services (PES) program.  PES is the practice of offering incentives to farmers or landowners in exchange for managing their land to provide an ecological service.  In this instance, a watershed plan is being undertaken for the Mara River Basin.  (60% located in Kenya and 40% in Tanzania.)

The goal of PES for the Mara River Basin is improved water quality as well as improved flow regime that will catalyze sustainable watershed management and create a win-win situation between the community (the land-owners) and the private sector partners. Furthermore, the upstream farmers will see an improvement in livelihoods as slow down of soil erosion and reverse of forest loss leading to an increase in agricultural productivity.

Read all about it:  Piloting PES in the Mara River Basin

Click on the panda & get informed on all of the global good being done by WWF!  WWF logo

Bookmark and Share

Time was that liquids were transported in personal containers – often animal-hide for the masses, engraved silver for the more well-to-do.   The drinking fountain was born of a necessity to combat contaminated water in larger urban areas.  First on the scene was London, where the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association was established in 1859. In the U.S., drinking fountains were built beginning in 1889 by the then-small Kohler Water Works (now Kohler Company) in Kohler, Wisconsin, a company already established as a faucet producer.  But, drinking fountains earned their own ‘germ stigma’ and had to be serviced to remain operational, so people began to look for alternatives.

The last few decades have seen an explosion of travel mugs, plastic water bottles, and other types of drink vessels being marketed – many created with a designer look or graphics to make them a “fashion accessory”.

Drumroll, please…time to get back to basics!  This new product aims to cut 25,000 tons of landfill waste a year.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The Brits have the lead again!   PLEASE GREEN YOUR CUP

First drinking fountain installed by the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association.

First drinking fountain installed by the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association.

Bookmark and Share

Would you like to live in a perfect city in South Korea or Abu Dhabi or Japan?  They do exist!  Commercial and private organizations are increasingly investing in these pop-up cities.  Imagine a city that recycles 80% of it’s water, replaced cars with electric pods and has street lights with motion sensors creating a security network.

blog

Take a look at these sustainable Pop-Up Cities!

The MIT and Masdar Institute Cooperative Program enables students to work with government to focus on alternative energy, sustainability, and advanced technology.

Gale International, of New York City, is one such private organization developing the Songdo sustainable city in South Korea.

Bookmark and Share

Subscribe to this category Subscribe to Public safety

 
ChatClick here to chat!+