Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Smarter Planet
October 23rd, 2014

With the hazards of Ebola and anti-government protests and genocide being front and center in the news, we sometimes overlook the many organizations quietly operating in the background to bring assistance to those in strife or peril.  I ran across this entity quite by accident as part of my work for university programming.  Maybe your studies will bring you to become part of their efforts? Click on the logo below to learn more…

TIDES stands for Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support. This research project is coordinated at the Center for Technology and National Security Policy (CTNSP) at the National Defense University (NDU), which is part of the Department of Defense.

startidesSTAR-TIDES (Sharing To Accelerate Research-Transformative Innovation for Development and Emergency Support) is a research effort that promotes sustainable support to stressed populations – post-war, post-disaster, or impoverished, in foreign or domestic contexts, for short-term or long-term (multi-year) operations. The project provides reach-back “knowledge on demand” to decision-makers and those working in the field. It uses public-private partnerships and “whole-of-government” approaches to encourage unity of action among diverse organizations where there is no unity of command, and facilitates both inter-agency and international engagement.

TIDES has three strategies that frame everything they do:

  • Leverage Global Talent
  • Promote Integrated Approaches
  • Sustain through the Private Sector


There are internships available through the National Defense University – check it out!

2014 Star-Tides interns building sustainable village models. Photo credit: NDU AV.

2014 Star-Tides interns building sustainable village models. Photo credit: NDU AV.


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Lots of us make sacrifices for the environment, but few of us would consider supporting the cause by moving into a dumpster. Dr. Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University, however, is doing just that. Working with his students and the community, he has transformed an old dumpster and is living in it for a year.

The aim of the Dumpster Project is to investigate sustainable living practices in recognition of a world with an increasing population but decreasing space and resources to go around. The dumpster itself is 33 sq ft (3 sq m).

Additions to the basic dumpster have included solar panels to generate electricity, a high-efficiency toilet, a false floor to provide storage, a weather station, air conditioning, a pitched roof, locks and a mailbox. The dumpster pockets have been sealed so that the dumpster cannot be mistaken for and serviced as a standard trash receptacle.

See where Dr. Jeff Wilson is his year-long journey:

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Dr. Wilson is making quite a sacrifice in the hope of getting more people to think about reducing our impact on our planet.  Could you live (for even a short time) in a dumpster?

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October 21st, 2014

This art project, which will ‘vanish’ at the end of October 2014, was created using eco-friendly materials and GPS technology in a fascinating way.  The National Mall in Washington, DC is the site of the commissioned artwork, created by artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada.  The giant portrait is visible from the ground, from atop the Washington Monument, and from outer space!

A little explanation by the artist… “I use vector files, which are images based on points that have algorithms to keep the curves in position. Then we use high-accuracy GPS technology to place stakes in the ground, and string to delineate the curves. The etching design also makes it work — the farther away you are, the more it comes together as shadowing. So when we get the final images from the satellite from space, it will actually look photographic.

Read more about his vision & the work itself in these two articles:

Out of Many, One


This Six-Acre Portrait on D.C.’s National Mall Can Be Seen From Space

Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada demonstrates how a ‘rover,’ or high-precision GPS marker, was used to create his six-acre sand and soil ‘facescape’ on the National Mall in Washington, Oct. 1, 2014. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

Cuban-American artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada demonstrates how a ‘rover,’ or high-precision GPS marker, was used to create his six-acre sand and soil ‘facescape’ on the National Mall in Washington, Oct. 1, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images)

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October 20th, 2014

Solar Impulse 2 will attempt an historic journey relying on the sun’s energy to power its trip around the world. It can fly day and night fueled only by solar power or termed “perpetual endurance”. Just think, taking a flight using no fuel and with no emissions.

After some short trial flights, the journey around the world is scheduled for March 2015. The aircraft was developed in Switzerland and is sponsored by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi government’s clean-energy company.

The future of aviation looks very bright and very sustainable with these advances in technology. Read the wealth of information that led up to this historic event here.

Do you have any expertise or ideas that can advance current technology to leave a smaller footprint in our world?

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October 20th, 2014

You may win an afternoon with Astronaut Buzz Aldrin to talk one on one.
The first 250 teams to register for the Giant Leap to Mars Challenge at will automatically be entered into a drawing to win the “Office Hours with Buzz Aldrin” sweepstakes for a chance to video chat with the legendary astronaut. NASA and the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge want you to design a creative solution that addresses the issues and challenges of a Mars mission including long duration space travel, healthcare, nutrition and quality of life to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the historic voyage of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.



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