Can We Find The Fountain of Youth in Space?

LinkedIn

Findings from NASA’s study suggests living in space may reduce aging.

Preliminary research results for the NASA Twins Study debuted at NASA’s Human Research Program’s annual Investigators’ Workshop in Galveston, Texas the week of January 23. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned home last March after nearly one year in space living on the International Space Station. His identical twin brother, Mark, remained on Earth.

Researchers found this to be a great opportunity for a nature versus nurture study, thus the Twins Study was formed. Using Mark, a retired NASA astronaut, as a ground-based control subject, ten researchers are sharing biological samples taken from each twin before, during and after Scott’s mission. From these samples, knowledge is gained as to how the body is affected by extended time in space. These studies are far from complete. Additional research analysis is in process.

Through further research integrating these preliminary findings, in coordination with other physiological, psychological, and technological investigations, NASA and its partners will continue to ensure that astronauts undertake future space exploration missions safely, efficiently and effectively. A joint summary publication is planned for later in 2017, to be followed by investigator research articles.

Source: nasa.gov

To Keep Plastic Out Of The Ocean, Companies Are Starting To Add It To Their Products

LinkedIn

Dell and Trek Bikes, among others, are working on building out a supply chain of ocean-bound plastics.

You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing remarkable about the plastic packaging trays that hold new laptops inside their cardboard boxes. But this year, Dell transformed those banal objects into an experiment in rescuing and reusing 16,000 pounds of plastic this year that otherwise would’ve ended up in the oceans.

In April, the tech company rolled out the first round of its recycled plastic trays, which were created with a mix of rescued ocean plastic (25%) and other recycled plastics (75%). Using recycled materials is nothing new for Dell–since 2008, following the launch of an electronics recycling initiative, the company has to date incorporated more than 50 million pounds of repurposed plastics into its products.

It’s one thing for Dell to set up a circular-economy system that repurposes materials from its old products into newer models. But incorporating ocean-bound plastics required the company to step outside the sphere of its own products and build out an entirely new supply chain.

To do so, Dell worked with the Lonely Whale, an ocean advocacy foundation founded by the actor Adrian Grenier, and focused on reducing the volume of plastic in the oceans, which currently totals around 8 million tons per year. Dell first conducted a feasibility study in Haiti in 2016 to determine if and how the company could collect enough plastic from oceans and waterways, and to figure out how to wash and treat the collected materials in order to integrate it into their supply chain. The initial work in Haiti, says Oliver Campbell, Dell’s director of procurement for packaging, proved the concept, and gave Dell a sense of how this kind of effort could be scaled: They learned, for instance, that it’s more productive to focus on intercepting plastic while it’s still on land, rather than fishing it out of the seas.

Since that initial study, Dell and the Lonely Whale have shifted their focus to building out a supply chain of intercepted ocean plastics in Indonesia–one of the countries in the world with the largest accumulation of marine debris.

Establishing that supply chain is not a simple task. Dell and the Lonely Whale are partnering with global NGOs and on-the-ground recycled-materials suppliers in the Jakarta area, whom they will vet to ensure that the people actually responsible for clearing out plastic from the shores and waterways are paid well and treated ethically. They will also have to ensure that the recycling infrastructure in Indonesia can clean and process the marine plastics such that they can be repurposed into usable materials.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

New Year Kicks Off With Supermoon Lunapalooza

LinkedIn
Lunapalooza

By Mary Papenfuss

No matter what the rest of the New Year brings, earthlings are in for a double treat in January with the appearance of two supermoons. The first one rises the night of New Year’s Day. The second — a bound-to-be-memorable “super blue blood moon” — comes the last night of the month, topped off by a lunar eclipse.

A supermoon is a full moon that appears at the perigee, the closest point in the moon’s orbit to Earth. Supermoons appear to be about 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that appear at the apogee, the farthest point in the orbit, according to NASA.

The January supermoons are the end of a trilogy of big moon treats that began Dec. 3 with a full cold moon (a December full moon) that made for some spectacular photos.

Supermoons hang around all night, are easy to see and are not damaging to the eyes, no matter how long you moon-gaze. They often appear at their most spectacular as they rise and set, NASA notes.

The Jan. 1 supermoon will be the biggest of the year. The moon will appear to be oversized for a few nights after that, though will no longer be a full moon.

For those still nursing a hangover the night of Jan. 1, an even more intriguing supermoon will rise the night of Jan. 31. That will be the second full moon of the month, which is usually called a “blue moon” because a double full-moon month occurs essentially once in a blue moon — about every 2½ years. A blue moon is even rarer when it’s a supermoon.

But that won’t be the only rarity that night. The super blue moon will also occur during a total lunar eclipse, when the Earth moves between the sun and the moon, blocking the sun’s light from reflecting off the moon. If skies are clear, the total eclipse will be visible from eastern Asia across the Pacific Ocean to western North America.

Lunar eclipses make moons appear blood red because of the way the blocked sunlight bends. So prepare yourself for the super blue blood moon the night of the lunar eclipse. To get the full effect of the lunar eclipse, watch at moonset, NASA advises.

“Sometimes, the celestial rhythms sync up just right to wow us,” notes the space agency.

Read the complete article and more articles like this from Huffington Post here

This Device Will Detect The Dangerous Chemicals In Your Tap Water

LinkedIn

There’s a lot of bad stuff potentially floating in our tap water. Now you can find out exactly what’s wrong with it.

Do you know what’s in your tap water? Hopefully, just some fluoride, but there’s a chance for much worse: lead, arsenic, or mercury.

But soon, thanks to the Toronto-based startup Serene Sensors, you’ll be able to see exactly what’s in your next glass for about 50 cents a day. WaterShield, currently fundraising on Kickstarter, will act like a home carbon monoxide detector but for heavy metals and other contaminants in your drinking water.

“It’s a device that can tell you everything and anything about your tap water chemistry,” Serene Sensors business development manager Will Moniz tells Fast Company. “This is just a way for the everyday man and woman to know what’s in their water, and to take corrective action if they’re exposed to too much contaminant concentration.”

Once you attach the WaterShield to the piping under your sink, it’s a hands-free experience. The device is automated and will test for 26 contaminants, including lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, copper, and dissolved solids–exactly the type of stuff that too often sneaks through the water filter in your refrigerator.

These contaminants aren’t some faraway concern, either. The United States scored a “D” grade on the quality of its drinking water systems, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, and as many as 63 million people across the country have been exposed to potentially unsafe water once in the past 10 years.

Continue onto FastCompany to read the complete article.

Researchers turn to new technique for boosting coral growth in the Great Barrier Reef

LinkedIn

The corals which adorn Australia’s Great Barrier Reef have long been struggling due to global warming and pollution, but researchers may have found a way to potentially ease the decline.

In the first project of its kind on the Reef, scientists have devised a technique to accelerate the growth of coral through a process called larval reseeding.

The method involves collecting large amounts of coral eggs and sperm during a mass spawning, then using that to produce more than a million larvae.

This larvae is then reintroduced onto the reef in underwater mesh tents.

A pilot project that began in November 2016 has garnered results one year later, with scientists discovering that the baby corals had indeed established themselves on the reef.

“This pilot study carried out on Heron Island shows that our new techniques to give corals a helping hand to conceive and then settle, develop and grow in their natural environment can work on the Great Barrier Reef,” lead researcher Peter Harrison from Southern Cross University said in a statement online.

“The success of this new research not only applies to the Great Barrier Reef but has potential global significance — it shows we can start to restore and repair damaged coral populations where the natural supply of coral larvae has been compromised.”

So far, larval reseeding shows more promise than other reef restoration techniques like coral gardening, which involves the breaking of healthy coral in the hope it’ll grow, or growing coral in nurseries before they’re replanted.

Continue onto Mashable to read the complete article.

Move Toward Environmental Sustainability with These 10 Inventions

LinkedIn

The concept of environmental sustainability isn’t new. With the risk of sounding like a broken record, sustainability is simply using resources available to our benefit while making sure there will still be enough for the future generations. Being truly sustainable means ensuring development, while also maintaining biological diversity and preserving the balance of the ecosystem by moving toward using renewable sources of energy in all walks of life.

Why bother?
Many believe that human activities have had no role in making climate change a reality. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, climate change is happening, and sitting back while the world burns down is not an option.

The extreme weather brought on by ongoing climate change also wreaks havoc on the world’s natural land resources, making some areas too wet and other areas too dry. And of course, air pollution continues to chip away at the quality of air we breathe, which will result in several health problems. When all these issues become a reality we can no longer avoid, social decline will begin.

Fret not, for there are a few people who have tried creating alternative/green products. These 10 inventions will help you lead an environmentally stable life:

  1. Plastic from banana peels
    As a society, we can try eliminating unnecessary plastics from our day-to-day lives. To help with this process, 16-year-old Elif Beligin from Istanbul developed a chemical process that would help turn banana peels into a resistant bioplastic. His choice of material came after he realized the fruit is naturally wrapped in a wrapper, that provides all the protection it needs, characterized by its flexibility and strength.
  2. Lamps to grow plants in windowless spaces
    Nui Design Studio created the Lamp Mygdal, which acts as a home to a completely autonomous ecosystem that allows plants to even survive in windowless interiors. Translated into English, Mygdal means “fertile soil.” They come in both pendant lamp and standing lamp forms, which are aesthetically pleasing.
  3. Transparent solar panels
    Solar power systems help derive clean energy from the sun, and installing them in your homes will help combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint.

The first breakthrough happened in 2014 when researchers at the Michigan State University created a fully transparent solar concentrator that could turn any window or sheet of glass, much like your smartphone’s screen into a photovoltaic solar cell. Solar panels generate energy by converting absorbed photons into electrons. For a material to be fully transparent, light would have to travel uninhibited to the eye, which means those photons would have to pass through the material completely (without being absorbed to generate solar power). To create this panel, the team created something called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of light that are already invisible to the human eye. Richard Lunt, who led the research at the time, went on and confounded an MIT startup called Ubiquitous Energy, which went on to bring its transparent solar panels to the market.

  1. Edible water
    Skipping Rocks Lab, a Climate KIC start-up program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), came up with a solution to the world’s growing plastic problem. They created Ooho, a thin, translucent seaweed sleeve that can hold liquid. It’s edible and completely biodegradable. This little ball is durable enough to not tear unless you want to break into it. The spherical flexible packaging can also be used for other liquids including water, soft drinks, spirits, and cosmetics. Their product is even cheaper than plastic.
  2. The water-saving showerhead
    On an average, a typical 8-minute shower uses around 20 gallons of water. To combat this problem, a U.S.-based company designed the Nebia shower.

Nebia used the same tools and techniques used for building rocket engines and medical equipment to create a new nozzle technology that atomizes water into a million tiny droplets. As a result, this shower head covers 10 times more surface area than a regular shower, which helps reduce water usage by 70 percent. It is a self-installable system that can be adjusted in terms of height and angle of water stream, according to your needs.

  1. Portable wind turbine
    Wind energy is yet another alternative to non-renewable forms of energy. It is a clean fuel source that has the potential to reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent. It is cost-effective and available in abundance. However, one disadvantage is that wind energy requires a large amount of land. Unless you own a farm or a ranch, shifting to wind energy can prove to be difficult. An innovation company called Janulus aims to change that with Trinity, a portable wind turbine that’s available in four different-sized models to accommodate a variety of your power needs. The turbine uses lithium-ion batteries similar to the ones used in electric cars. It is usable in winds as low as 2 mph, and when fully charged, it is capable of charging your iPhone 16 times. The product comes with an app that will turn the device on and off, provide stats on how much power you’re generating and recommendations on its setup, which you can customize based on wind conditions.
  2. Sprout pencil
    To limit the waste that accompanies worn-out writing utensils, three MIT students created Sprout Pencil, a multifunctional alternative, which is composed of cedar, with a biodegradable capsule of seeds and peat in place of an eraser. Once the pencil gets too small to write with, you can place it in some soil and watch it give birth to new life. The pencils come in 14 varieties, and a pack of eight is $19.95, but the company hopes to lower the price so that every student can afford to use these pencils.
  3. Power-generating tiles
    Many companies have been working toward developing a technology that will help tap into the energy expended by pedestrians.

The solution came to 31-year-old Laurence Kemball-Cook back in 2009 when he studied industrial design and technology at the University of Loughborough. Under the banner of his company, Pavegen, he created floor tiles that help convert kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity that can be stored or used in low-power applications, such as lighting, signage, and digital displays.

  1. The feedback band
    To help you calculate your carbon footprint, Layer, a design studio based in London, collaborated with Carbon Trust, an environmental nonprofit that specializes in low-carbon initiatives to create the Worldbeing wristband.

The band works with a smartphone app to help its users monitor their carbon footprint by measuring minute details right from what you had for breakfast, how far you drove the car, and even what you bought in a store. The app gives daily challenges with the incentive of winning a reward or more from low-carbon businesses and helps you reduce your eco-impact. It even shows you how you’re saving planet Earth.

  1. The plastic recycling machine
    Even though most of us know the consequences of using plastic, it is difficult to avoid using it. Unless you start making your own make-up and beauty products and growing your own vegetables, you will notice that plastic is almost everywhere.

To help us deal with this, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, who designed Phonebloks, came up with Precious Plastic, a series of automated machines that turn plastic into household items. The product is aimed at reducing waste and making plastic recycling more accessible. The machine melts the waste collected and molds them into usable items. He open-sourced the design so that anyone could easily download it.

Source: theplaidzebra.com

London’s Iconic Red Buses to Run on Biofuel Made From Old Coffee

LinkedIn

London’s iconic red double-decker buses will soon run on a biofuel partially made from old coffee grounds.

The fuel will be supplied by a demonstration project set up by Bio-bean Ltd., a London-based company that joined with Royal Dutch Shell Plc on the initiative. It will produce 6,000 liters (1,583 gallons) a year of the fuel.

“It’s got a high oil content, 20 percent oil by weight in the waste coffee grounds, so it’s a really great thing to make biodiesel out of,” said Arthur Kay, founder of Bio-bean, in a phone interview.

As public pressure mounts against using food for fuel, companies are increasingly focusing on biofuels made from waste such as used cooking oil and inedible plants. Some crops such as corn and sugarcane are made into ethanol to be burned in engines, with sizable markets in some parts of the U.S. and South America.

Bio-bean has partnered with thousands of coffee shops across the U.K. such as Costa Coffee Ltd. and Caffe Nero to collect used grounds. The U.K. produces 500,000 tons annually, according to Kay.  Caffe Nero’s parent company is Italian Coffee Holdings Ltd., based in London.

It will then be converted into a biofuel at the company’s factory in Cambridgeshire and blended with ordinary diesel with the finished product at 20 percent. It will then be shipped to a central tank where London buses refuel.

The company also makes a solid biomass pellet and briquette to be used in home heating and in stoves, producing 50,000 tons per year.

“It’s also a good feedstock for our other products for instance because its packed full of energy, they have a higher calorific content than wood,” Kay said.

Bio-bean was founded in 2013 and has received funding from the U.K. government, Shell and private investors. It is planning to expand throughout the U.K. and eventually to continental Europe and the U.S.

“We’re basically looking for places where they drink a huge amount of coffee,” Kay said. “Our primary expansion plans are based around where there are instant coffee factories.”

Continue onto Bloomberg to read the complete article.

The Hydroponic, Robotic Future of Farming in Greenhouses

LinkedIn

WHEN YOU THINK of automation, you probably think of the assembly line, a dramatic dance of robot arms with nary a human laborer in sight. But that’s child’s play. The grandest, most disruptive automation revolution has played out in agriculture. First with horses and plows, and eventually with burly combines—technologies that have made farming exponentially cheaper and more productive. Just consider that in 1790, farmers made up 90 percent of the US workforce. In 2012, it was 1.5 percent, yet America still eats.

Here in 2017, the automation revolution in agriculture is poised to take on a whole new life—thanks to robots. In a nondescript office park in Silicon Valley, a startup called Iron Ox is taking the first steps toward roboticizing greenhouse farming, which has so far stubbornly resisted automation. In the very near future, then, the salad on your table may come from the hand of a robot.

Unlike a lot of indoor farming operations, Iron Ox isn’t joining the booming movement of LED-powered grow houses. It’s still very much interested in harnessing the energy of the sun (free energy!). So it’s invading the greenhouse instead. “The problem up until today is that greenhouse production costs around twice as much to grow a head of lettuce as the outdoor farm,” says Brandon Alexander, CEO of Iron Ox. “And one reason is there’s no there’s no tractors or anything indoors.”

Iron Ox doesn’t have a tractor, but it also doesn’t need one. Its solution begins with a custom hydroponics tray filled with nutrient-rich water. Over that is a cover with a grid of holes, in which the plants sit in little pods. This is all designed so a custom robot—essentially an intelligent rectangular frame—can come along and slide lifters under the tray, then cart it to a different part of the greenhouse.

Why bother with all the shuttling around? Because they can. Out in a field, farmers have no choice but to leave plants where they planted them—and because plants grow, farmers have to space out seeds to accommodate their fully-grown dimensions. But Iron Ox doesn’t have to waste that extra space.

Here in the greenhouse, they’re using different trays with different spacing of their holes, some farther apart than others. Leafy greens in particular need more horizontal room to expand, so baby plants start off in a more densely packed tray, then graduate to trays with more room as they grow. “This, combined with the fact that we don’t have to worry about seasonality—we can always be seeding, always be harvesting—allows us to grow over 30X per acre compared to an outdoor farm,” says Alexander.

The problem then becomes transplanting between trays. That’s where the robotic arm comes in. It sees with stereo cameras on its wrist, and grabs the plants with a gripper custom-designed to fit the pods (which the plants never outgrow, by the way). The arm sits between two trays of different densities, eyeballing the plants and moving them from one tray and to another.

Because it’s equipped with a camera, it can simultaneously build a 3-D image of each plant. “Is it the size that we expect?” says Jon Binney, CTO of Iron Ox. “Is it the shape that we expect? If it’s going to fall one way or the other, that could be a lighting problem. Brown spots on the edges of the leaves could be too much light and not enough air coming through.”

So Iron Ox’s system not only automates greenhouse growing, but supercharges it. The company is developing machine learning algorithms that will automatically detect diseased plants and kick them out of the system before the sickness spreads. Underdeveloped plants would also get the boot. What you end up with is a system that does the repetitive tasks of greenhouse farming faster and more precisely than a human, and uses that data to make the process all the more efficient.

Whether in the greenhouse or the field, it’s this kind of automation that will be essential to the future of humanity. Our species has to figure out how to feed a rapidly growing population on a planet that refuses to grow bigger. So we’ll have to get smarter about how we use the land we’ve got, or we’re going to have trouble. That and climate change will monkey with water supplies around the world, so the inefficiencies of traditional outdoor farming are going to start looking more and more untenable. (Iron Ox claims its hydroponics system uses 90 percent less water than outdoor farming. Studies of hydroponics in general have found about the same efficiencies.)

But automation means humans lose jobs though, right? Not in this industry. “We’ve talked to dozens of commercial farmers, outdoor and indoor, and the biggest issue by far is labor scarcity,” says Alexander. “So the truth is today, it doesn’t matter what country, newer generations are not taking up farming. And so there’s a significant labor shortage especially here in California.” (He ain’t lying— between 2002 and 2014, the number of full-time farm workers in the US plummeted by 20 percent.)

Continue onto WIRED to read the complete article.

Move Toward Environmental Sustainability With these 10 Inventions

LinkedIn
Edible water

The concept of environmental sustainability isn’t new. With the risk of sounding like a broken record, sustainability is simply using resources available to our benefit while making sure there will still be enough for the future generations.

Being truly sustainable means ensuring development, while also maintaining biological diversity and preserving the balance of the ecosystem by moving toward using renewable sources of energy in all walks of life.

Why bother?
Many believe that human activities have had no role in making climate change a reality. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, climate change is happening, and sitting back while the world burns down is not an option.

The extreme weather brought on by ongoing climate change also wreaks havoc on the world’s natural land resources, making some areas too wet and other areas too dry. And of course, air pollution continues to chip away at the quality of air we breathe, which will result in several health problems. When all these issues become a reality we can no longer avoid, social decline will begin.

Fret not, for there are a few people who have tried creating alternative/green products. These 10 inventions will help you lead an environmentally stable life:

  1. Plastic from banana peels
    As a society, we can try eliminating unnecessary plastics from our day-to-day lives. To help with this process, 16-year-old Elif Beligin from Istanbul developed a chemical process that would help turn banana peels into a resistant bioplastic. His choice of material came after he realized the fruit is naturally wrapped in a wrapper, that provides all the protection it needs, characterized by its flexibility and strength.
  2. Lamps to grow plants in windowless spaces
    Nui Design Studio created the Lamp Mygdal, which acts as a home to a completely autonomous ecosystem that allows plants to even survive in windowless interiors. Translated into English, Mygdal means “fertile soil.” They come in both pendant lamp and standing lamp forms, which are aesthetically pleasing.
  3. Transparent solar panels
    Solar power systems help derive clean energy from the sun, and installing them in your homes will help combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduce your carbon footprint.

The first breakthrough happened in 2014 when researchers at the Michigan State University created a fully transparent solar concentrator that could turn any window or sheet of glass, much like your smartphone’s screen into a photovoltaic solar cell. Solar panels generate energy by converting absorbed photons into electrons. For a material to be fully transparent, light would have to travel uninhibited to the eye, which means those photons would have to pass through the material completely (without being absorbed to generate solar power). To create this panel, the team created something called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of light that are already invisible to the human eye. Richard Lunt, who led the research at the time, went on and confounded an MIT startup called Ubiquitous Energy, which went on to bring its transparent solar panels to the market.

  1. Edible water
    Skipping Rocks Lab, a Climate KIC start-up program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), came up with a solution to the world’s growing plastic problem. They created Ooho, a thin, translucent seaweed sleeve that can hold liquid. It’s edible and completely biodegradable. This little ball is durable enough to not tear unless you want to break into it. The spherical flexible packaging can also be used for other liquids including water, soft drinks, spirits, and cosmetics. Their product is even cheaper than plastic.
  2. The water-saving showerhead
    On an average, a typical 8-minute shower uses around 20 gallons of water. To combat this problem, a U.S.-based company designed the Nebia shower.

Nebia used the same tools and techniques used for building rocket engines and medical equipment to create a new nozzle technology that atomizes water into a million tiny droplets. As a result, this shower head covers 10 times more surface area than a regular shower, which helps reduce water usage by 70 percent. It is a self-installable system that can be adjusted in terms of height and angle of water stream, according to your needs.

  1. Portable wind turbine
    Wind energy is yet another alternative to non-renewable forms of energy. It is a clean fuel source that has the potential to reduce cumulative greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent. It is cost-effective and available in abundance. However, one disadvantage is that wind energy requires a large amount of land. Unless you own a farm or a ranch, shifting to wind energy can prove to be difficult. An innovation company called Janulus aims to change that with Trinity, a portable wind turbine that’s available in four different-sized models to accommodate a variety of your power needs. The turbine uses lithium-ion batteries similar to the ones used in electric cars. It is usable in winds as low as 2 mph, and when fully charged, it is capable of charging your iPhone 16 times. The product comes with an app that will turn the device on and off, provide stats on how much power you’re generating and recommendations on its setup, which you can customize based on wind conditions.
  2. Sprout pencil
    To limit the waste that accompanies worn-out writing utensils, three MIT students created Sprout Pencil, a multifunctional alternative, which is composed of cedar, with a biodegradable capsule of seeds and peat in place of an eraser. Once the pencil gets too small to write with, you can place it in some soil and watch it give birth to new life. The pencils come in 14 varieties, and a pack of eight is $19.95, but the company hopes to lower the price so that every student can afford to use these pencils.
  3. Power-generating tiles
    Many companies have been working toward developing a technology that will help tap into the energy expended by pedestrians.

The solution came to 31-year-old Laurence Kemball-Cook back in 2009 when he studied industrial design and technology at the University of Loughborough. Under the banner of his company, Pavegen, he created floor tiles that help convert kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity that can be stored or used in low-power applications, such as lighting, signage, and digital displays.

  1. The feedback band
    To help you calculate your carbon footprint, Layer, a design studio based in London, collaborated with Carbon Trust, an environmental nonprofit that specializes in low-carbon initiatives to create the Worldbeing wristband.

The band works with a smartphone app to help its users monitor their carbon footprint by measuring minute details right from what you had for breakfast, how far you drove the car, and even what you bought in a store. The app gives daily challenges with the incentive of winning a reward or more from low-carbon businesses and helps you reduce your eco-impact. It even shows you how you’re saving planet Earth.

  1. The plastic recycling machine
    Even though most of us know the consequences of using plastic, it is difficult to avoid using it. Unless you start making your own make-up and beauty products and growing your own vegetables, you will notice that plastic is almost everywhere.

To help us deal with this, Dutch designer Dave Hakkens, who designed Phonebloks, came up with Precious Plastic, a series of automated machines that turn plastic into household items. The product is aimed at reducing waste and making plastic recycling more accessible. The machine melts the waste collected and molds them into usable items. He open-sourced the design so that anyone could easily download it.

Source: theplaidzebra.com

The Man Behind General Mills and How He Understands How Technology Can Improve the Lives of People Around the World

LinkedIn

Alphabet Inc. announced earlier this year that it has appointed Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. to its Board of Directors. Mr. Ferguson is a respected leader in the economics and finance industries, and will serve on Alphabet’s Audit Committee. His appointment was effective June 24, 2016.

“I’m so excited that Roger has agreed to join our Board,” said Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Alphabet. “He has a long record of distinguished and thoughtful service in the private and public sectors, and deeply understands how technology can improve the lives of people around the world.”

“I’ve long admired Google’s and Alphabet’s positive impact on people across the globe,” Mr. Ferguson said. “I’m honored to join the Alphabet board and look forward to helping the company in its many terrific opportunities ahead.”

Mr. Ferguson has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, a major financial services company, since April 2008. He joined TIAA after his tenure at Swiss Re, a global reinsurance company, where he served as Chairman of the firm’s America Holding Corporation, Head of Financial Services, and a member of the Executive Committee from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that, Mr. Ferguson joined the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System in 1997 and served as its Vice Chairman from 1999 to 2006, and was a consultant at McKinsey & Company from 1984 to 1997.

Mr. Ferguson has been a member of the board of directors of General Mills, Inc., a manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods, since December 2015, and serves on its corporate governance committee and finance committee; and International Flavors & Fragrances, Inc., a creator of flavors and fragrances, since April 2010, and serves as chair of its compensation committee. He is also on the advisory board of Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP, a global alternative asset manager.

Mr. Ferguson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, a Doctoral degree in economics, and a Juris Doctor degree, all from Harvard University. He is currently Chairman of the Conference Board and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Advanced Study and the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

About Alphabet Inc.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in September 1998. Since then, the company has grown to more than 60,000 employees worldwide, with a wide range of popular products and platforms like Search, Maps, Ads, Gmail, Android, Chrome, and YouTube. In October 2015, Alphabet became the parent holding company of Google.

Bill Gates invests $80 million to build Arizona smart city

LinkedIn

Bill Gates wants to build a futuristic community in Arizona.

A group associated with a Gates investment company has invested $80 million in a high-tech planned development outside Phoenix.

The community in Belmont will be designed around high-speed networks, autonomous vehicles, high-speed digital networks, data centers, new manufacturing technologies and autonomous logistics hubs.

It’s unclear how much former Microsoft CEO Gates, who owns Belmont’s parent company Cascade Investment, will be involved in the effort.

Belmont Partners, the Arizona-based real investment group that’s leading the project, said it will be similar in size to nearby Tempe, Arizona, which has a population of 182,000.

“Envisioning future infrastructure from scratch is far easier and more cost efficient than retrofitting an existing urban fabric,” Grady Gammage, a spokesman for the venture said in the statement.

Arizona has a reputation as being a technology-friendly state. Several major players in the autonomous vehicle industry — Waymo, Uber and Intel — are testing their innovations in the state.

The investment is the latest example of excitement surrounding rebuilding cities from the ground up with a digital mind-set.

But developing a new city or even a neighborhood isn’t cheap. This October Sidewalk Labs, the urban innovation arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, committed $50 million for the initial phase of planning and pilot testing a Toronto neighborhood development.

It’s designed as a model neighborhood for the 21st century, with reduced pollution, shortened commutes, safer streets and better weather. Transportation will be designed around shared electric vehicles, walking and biking. More flexible zoning will blend commercial, industrial and residential areas.

Continue onto CNN to read the complete article.