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

As we all droop from the heat of summer in America, it’s a depressing thought to imagine that water shortages could spell an end to making lemonade or running thru the sprinkler on your lawn or hanging out at a pool or beach with your friends or biting into a sweet juicy peach grown by a local farmer (all particularly summer-y type activities that are generally associated with the U.S.).  But it may not be as far fetched as one might suppose -  and it may have a financial repercussions worldwide, too!

Since 2011 companies have spent more than $84bn worldwide to improve the way they conserve, manage or obtain water, according to data from Global Water Intelligence, regulatory disclosures and executive interviews with the Financial Times.


Please take some time to check out the article by Pilita Clark linked below .  Admittedly, it’s a lengthy read, but absolutely fascinating (and slightly terrifying!) in the details about the many areas of the globe that have already begun preparations in hopes of staving off the worst effects of the ‘evaporation’ of this most precious commodity.





(P.S. Note her mention of Coca-Cola and their project with World Wildlife Fund – I talked about their work in my blog post on June 27th. Here’s another chance to click on the panda to explore different career paths for yourself)

WWF logo


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August, 22nd 2014

Inspired by the wings of desert beetles, a new device made of millions of tiny carbon tubes could one day be used to pull water from the air — even from the most arid desert air in regions where such a device would be especially useful.

Pulickel Ajayan and his colleagues from Rice University created Hygroscopic Scaffolds that attract water molecules from the air.

The amount of water vapor captured depends on the humidity of the air. The new water collection device doesn’t require any external energy, but the production costs of carbon nanotube arrays continues to be a bottleneck.

blog water

Perhaps your expertise could advance this very innovative water collection process?

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If you are a resident of the European Union (EU), here’s a chance for you to make money while finding out if candy is really dandy!  Take a look at the job posting (also linked in the article below from Time online).

Cambridge Is Looking for a PhD Student to Study Chocolate

However, you will be needing more than a love of chocolate to secure this experimental post.

Interested chocoholics will also need a good university degree, a background in engineering and physics as well as a record of scientific experimentation. Good maths and extensive experience of studying soft solids are also on the tick list for potential candidates. [from The Telegraph: Cambridge University seeks sweet­toothed student for chocolate PhD]


And from the Cambridge News: Cambridge University is looking for a sweet-toothed PhD student to work on a project aimed at inventing a heat-resistant chocolate bar.


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August, 21st 2014

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Southwest Airlines is partnering with a couple of production companies to upcycle the 80,000 airplane seats they are replacing with a lighter weight material. The decision to replace the seats was sparked by the airline’s plan to reduce fuel consumption.

Southwest partners with a Kenyan social enterprise, Alive and Kicking, to upcycle some of the old airplane seats that would typically end up in a waste stream.

Southwest Airlines

Partnering with upcycler Looptworks in Portland, Oregon, the airline will turn a portion of its leather seats into tote bags, duffle bags and backpacks that the airline will buy back to use as gifts at events.

It’s really quite a simple idea, but has a big impact on our planet.

Check out the details of Southwest Airlines’ upcycling plans

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