Students for a Smarter Planet ..leaders with conscience
Water
September 30th, 2014
17:56
 

January 2015 seems like it’s a long way away, doesn’t it?

It feels like there are weeks and weeks to go before we have to pack up our flying gear and head down to Belize to start aerially surveying the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. But before we know it, it will be January. It’ll be time to escape frigid western Massachusetts and kick our research into gear – and for that, we’ve already begun preparations.

Though surveys of the soft coral have been performed in the past, we’re hoping to use UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the training required to safely fly a UAV is far less than that for complete pilot licensure. Also decreased are the costs associated with equipment and fuel requirements for a UAV in comparison to a full-size, manned vehicle. Finally, the quality – and quantity – of imagery obtainable with a personally controlled, low-flying aerial device is vastly increased due to the lower altitudes and number of passes that can be made by the vehicle.

Whether fixed-wing or multi-rotor, the potential applications for UAV technology in geological and biological survey work are numerous, this particular job being just one example where an eye-in-the-sky really does provide a much-needed overview of the habitat just off the coast of Belize.

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September 27th, 2014
9:39
 

I was pained by reading the article linked below about blast fishing off the coast of Africa. (Yes, you read that correctly – blast fishing: fish being caught by being blasted out of the water with explosives).  It is a very real scenario and needs more Smarter Planet minded folks to come up with alternatives that will help provide financial stability for the fishermen as well as keeping them uninjured and out of prison…

Blast fishing destroying Tanzania’s marine habitats

 

Thankfully, the damages suffered by the marine eco-system and the humans injured by engaging in this dangerous form of fishing have not gone unnoticed.  Read about how Smart Fish  is working to combat the problem.  SmartFish is one of the Largest Regional Programmes for fisheries in Africa covering 20 bénéficiaire Countries in the Eastern, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) area. Funded by the European Union and Implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Jointly with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

A statistic that put things into greater perspective:

  • Each blast kills all fish and other living organisms within a 20m radius, completely destroying the coral reef habitat and there is no natural recovery   Source: SmartFish

 

Ponder that! And consider what will become of the Indian Ocean if blast fishing is allowed to continue…  Will you make a difference with your work now and in future?

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CNN has reported on some pretty fantastic developments of the Israeli Water-Gen company.  They have created a system that can produce drinking water from thin air. While this is not a new idea, they claim to do it more efficiently, setting them apart from other companies.

Co-CEO Arye Kohavi explains: “We believe that the products can be sold to developing countries in different civilian applications. For example in India, [drinking] water for homes is not available and will also be rare in the future. The Atmospheric Water-Generation Unit can be built as a residential unit and serve as a perfect water supply solution for homes in India.”

 

Another product Water-Gen has developed is a portable water purification system. It’s a battery-operated water filtration unit called Spring. Spring is able to filter 180 liters (48 gallons) of water, and fits into a backpack — enabling water filtration on the go.

“It’s something a Westerner cannot understand because you have perfect water in the pipe, but people are dying from lack of water,” says Kohavi.

 

Imagine how this product could help Haiti, the world’s most water impoverished nation.

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Do you have the skills to contribute to this life-saving technology?

 

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The Dutch Courage Foundation is sponsoring the πoseidon project which is supported by Delft University of Technology and IBM and comprised mostly of volunteers.

The ultimate goal of the πoseidon project is to setup an open platform for the collection and sharing of data within the (academic) research community and to make these data available to entrepreneurs and decision makers.

In Central Asia, which suffers under tremendous water stress, depletion of their natural resources is occurring at an alarming rate. The most striking example is the Aral Sea, which is drying out at a rapid pace, leaving nothing but dry desert on the land which was once ocean.

blog aral sea

The πoseidon project aims to make a change in all of this by creating awareness through education and marketing and providing assistance by developing low cost open source devices and an IBM Bluemix platform to assist local farmers in more efficient irrigation. This is called precision agriculture.

If you wish to help, please contact info@dutchcourage.org

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September 17th, 2014
5:03
 

Heard this story on the radio and thought of boyfriends past who were SO into StarWars; perhaps they are still…  It was all about the Rebel Forces, and how the Death Star pulled them in – but I digress…

“Sci-fi” references aside, this is genuine Tractor Beam Technology that is currently being explored by scientists in Australia.  News has been released that physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) ‘have created a tractor beam on water, providing a radical new technique that could confine oil spills, manipulate floating objects or explain rips at the beach‘.

Here’s three takes on the subject:

ANU     BBC News   IFL Science

 

P.S.  I hear the surfing is great down under. Maybe you want to head off and join the Aussies to do some water research…

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