The future of energy on islands

March 2, 2018 by  
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Islands are places of exceptional biodiversity and economic value, not to mention their great natural beauty. However, because of their isolation from the mainland, they are also difficult to power. This fact is particularly poignant as Puerto Rico , several months after Hurricane Maria, struggles to turn the lights back on. To prepare for a world in which climate change continues to energize super-storms and sea level rise, islands, on which 10 percent of the world’s population lives, must rethink their energy systems for future success. Read on for several solutions that will allow island communities to thrive in the 21st century. Islands currently receive most of their energy from fossil fuels , with some using imported oil, an expensive energy source, to power their electrical grid. With their costs dropping every year, solar and wind could provide cleaner, localized, cheaper energy. Since islands must contend with a limited amount of land, large-scale wind farms may be the preferred utility-scale option. However, neither option will be particularly effective without a battery storage system. To serve this need, Tesla is rolling out battery systems in Puerto Rico , Nantucket and other island communities in hopes that they may someday become ubiquitous. Related: The sinking island nation of Tuvalu is actually growing For islands with the appropriate natural resources, such as Iceland , geothermal power is an attractive energy option. New drilling technologies, such as those developed by  GA Drilling  and  AltaRock Energy , could enable geothermal prospectors to dig deeper and ultimately provide greater energy output. While it has drawn criticism from some environmentalists in the past, nuclear power may also be an effective energy source for island communities. The incredible energy density of nuclear fuel translates into a much more effectively shipped power source than fossil fuels, while the newest Gen IV nuclear reactors are passively safe . Nuclear power plants could even be established on ships, similar to nuclear-powered ships and submarines in the United States Navy, allowing power generation to be moved where it is most needed. Via World Economic Forum Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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The future of energy on islands

Scientist warns Elon Musk’s Starman could be a bio-threat to Mars

March 2, 2018 by  
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Starman, the “driver” of Elon Musk ‘s Tesla Roadster as it cruises through the cosmos, may be carrying the largest collection of terrestrial bacteria ever sent into space. “Even if they radiated the outside, the engine would be dirty,” scientist Jay Melosh said in a  statement . “Cars aren’t assembled clean. And even then, there’s a big difference between clean and sterile.” SpaceX has not yet commented on whether Starman and Musk’s Roadster were sterilized before being sent into space. Starman is not scheduled to land on a planet nor are most bacteria species able to survive in the extreme conditions of space. Nonetheless, life will find a way and, if certain circumstances arise, Starman may be the potential vehicle for bacterial colonization of Mars. When scientists send objects into space, they adhere to the most strict precautions to ensure that no terrestrial organisms could potentially stowaway onto another planet. NASA operates an  Office of Planetary Protection for this very purpose. Scientists are particularly concerned that Earth life could establish a foothold in Mars, then either colonize the planet or be mistaken for Martian life by researchers. “Would Earth’s organisms be better adapted, take over Mars and contaminate it so we don’t know what indigenous Mars was like, or would they be not as well adapted as the Martian organisms?” Melosh said. “We don’t know.” Related: NASA just unveiled a tiny nuclear reactor for future Mars residents While most terrestrial life would perish in the harsh environment of space, species like the tardigrade, which can survive in space and go up to 30 years without food or water . There is a very small chance that Starman and his Roadster will ever arrive on the Martian surface. Therefore, Starman is less an invasive Trojan Horse, more a curator of an interstellar museum of terrestrial life. “The load of bacteria on the Tesla could be considered a biothreat—or a backup copy of life on Earth ,” astronautics scientist Alina Alexeenko said in a statement. If life on Earth ever becomes extinct, there is a chance that Starman, crash-landing back on his home planet, could get the party started again. Via Motherboard Images via SpaceX and NASA

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Scientist warns Elon Musk’s Starman could be a bio-threat to Mars

Proximity Button is an affordable way to protect people living with dementia

June 3, 2016 by  
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After having watched her own mother care for people with dementia for over 15 years, Natalie Price wanted to create a device that would keep people living with dementia safer. To that end, she is launching an Indiegogo campaign to manufacture the Proximity Button. The device is the first of its kind in the dementia market, and uses innovative technology to provide carers with an affordable solution to protect people living with dementia from wandering. The smart Button sensor, worn by a person with dementia, connects to a carer’s iPhone or Android device and alerts them when the wearer wanders too far. The Proximity Button is not a tracking device, and therefore does not rely on expensive technology. James Ashwell, Founder of Unforgettable.org, said, “There are a few tracking products available in the market, but they use expensive technology. I’m excited about Proximity because it’s unlike other products out there; it’s a simple solution to help keep people safer at a much more affordable price point.” + Proximity Button

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Proximity Button is an affordable way to protect people living with dementia

The Lay family transforms an old backyard tool shed into an adorable children’s playhouse

January 25, 2015 by  
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Families often shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a children’s playhouse , but Joni Lay of the blog Lay Baby Lay decided to go the DIY route for a much more impressive and cost-effective result. With help from her husband and father, Joni transformed a decrepit backyard tool shed into an adorable, all-white playhouse for her two young girls. Read on to see all the marvelous details of this dainty child-sized home, from its reading nook to a solar-powered light. Read the rest of The Lay family transforms an old backyard tool shed into an adorable children’s playhouse Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: children’s playhouse , diy playhouse , Joni Lay , Lay Baby Lay , playhouse , playhouse from scratch , renovated tool shed , tool shed

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The Lay family transforms an old backyard tool shed into an adorable children’s playhouse

Europeans Fear Climate Change More than Economic Crisis: New Poll

October 10, 2011 by  
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Photo: out of ideas via Flickr/CC BY Europeans seem to understand the severity of the threat posed by climate change a bit better than we Americans do. A new poll shows that the majority of Europeans consider it the second gravest problem facing the world, right after poverty. Those crazy Euro folk evidently think global warming is even more of a threat than the current economic crisis — and remember, Europe is in the throes of what could potentially be a much more calamitous financial meltdown than the one we’re facing on this … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Europeans Fear Climate Change More than Economic Crisis: New Poll

Planned Solar Projects Swell from 17GW to 24GW Due to Falling Prices

September 13, 2011 by  
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While anti-solar distortions continue to proliferate , solar itself is looking like an increasingly serious player in the world of energy. And even though tumbling solar prices have seen some manufacturers go under, most notably the high-profile Solyndra bankruptcy , it’s a much more positive environment for project developers. We’ve already seen, for example, plans … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Planned Solar Projects Swell from 17GW to 24GW Due to Falling Prices

For Old Wine Bottles, a New Life: Works of Art from Reblown Glass

February 19, 2011 by  
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Photo: Alex Davies It’s a given that the French are among the best at making, and drinking, wine. But what to do with all the empty glass bottles

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For Old Wine Bottles, a New Life: Works of Art from Reblown Glass

Fellowship Contest Gets $100 Million to Solve Climate Change

February 18, 2011 by  
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Throwing good money after good, StartingBloc brainstorms green investments. Photo by Yomanimus via Flickr It’s called SIC – the Social Innovation Competition

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Fellowship Contest Gets $100 Million to Solve Climate Change

Bird Declines Could Signal Coming Mass Extinctions

October 5, 2010 by  
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When birds, like the dodo, go extinct, it may be a sign of a much more widespread problem. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons “Every 20 minutes,” the saying goes , “we lose an animal species.” In reality, however, it is difficult to collect the data that details this trend—and motivates policy makers to take action

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Bird Declines Could Signal Coming Mass Extinctions

Convincing Older Generations That Cities Are Safe

May 21, 2010 by  
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Image credit: davidsonscott15 /Flickr There was a time during the 1960s and 1970s when urban life in the United States was a much more dire and dangerous one than we know today.

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Convincing Older Generations That Cities Are Safe

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