Hawaii’s energy transition needs local entrepreneurs to thrive

June 21, 2017 by  
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The state is home to nationally recognized startup incubators that are hoping to hatch innovations in both technologies and business models.

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Hawaii’s energy transition needs local entrepreneurs to thrive

Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

June 15, 2017 by  
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Researchers at  RMIT University in Melbourne have created a revolutionary new  solar paint that can be used to produce endless amounts of clean energy. The innovate paint draws moisture from the air and splits it into oxygen and hydrogen. As a result, hydrogen can be captured as a clean fuel source. The paint contains a recently-developed compound that looks and feels like silica gel — commonly used in sachets to absorb moisture and keep food, electronics, and medicine dry — but acts like a semiconductor. Additionally, the synthetic molybdenum-sulphide material catalysis the splitting of water atoms into hydrogen and oxygen. The researchers’ discovery was recently  published  in Science Daily. Lead researcher Dr. Torben Daeneke elaborated on the invention, saying, “We found that mixing the compound with titanium oxide particles leads to a sunlight-absorbing paint that produces hydrogen fuel from solar energy and moist air.” According to colleague Professor Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh, hydrogen is the cleanest source of energy on the planet and can be used in fuel cells in addition to conventional combustion engines as an alternative to fossil fuels . Because of this, it is accurate to say that the development of the solar paint will have grand implications. Related: Mercedes Benz Unveils Hybrid Car Powered by Solar Paint In fact, because Titanium oxide is the same white pigment commonly found in wall paint when it is combined with the new material, the solar paint can “convert a brick wall into an energy harvesting and fuel production real estate,” said Daeneke. This means there is no need for filtered or clean water to feed the system. And, any location that has water vapor in the air — including remote areas — can produce fuel. “This system can also be used in very dry but hot climates near oceans. The sea water is evaporated by the hot sunlight and the vapour can then be absorbed to produce fuel,” said Kourosh Kalantar-zadeh. “This is an extraordinary concept — making fuel from the sun and water vapour in the air.” Via Science Daily Image via UnderstandSolar

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Revolutionary solar paint creates endless energy from water vapor

New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

June 14, 2017 by  
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The world is becoming increasingly automated, and a new self-driving bus in Finland is evidence of this. Beginning in the fall of 2017, the Finnish capital will launch a new autonomous electric “RoboBusLine.” According to the City of Helsinki the line “represents a shift from an experimental phase to regular, scheduled public transit service with self-driving buses.” Not only will the self-driving vehicles reduce the costs of transportation and improve access to public transit – they will also reduce the amount of cars that are on the road and slash emissions. In August of 2016, the Sohjoa project (an EU-financed initiative by the six largest cities in Finland, Finnish universities and transportation authorities) launched two EasyMile EZ10 electric minibuses in Helsinki. Reportedly, the initiative is part of the EU-financed mySMARTLife program, in which European cities are encouraged to develop energy-efficient mobility to reduce energy consumption in cities by 10-15 percent. So far, the electric minibuses have been tested in real traffic conditions – and they will continue to be monitored in urban areas until August 2017. Each bus has an operator on board in case of an emergency and travels at about 7 mph (11 km per hour), learning the route and accruing knowledge as it transits . Said Sohjoa project manager, Oscar Nissin of Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, “We focus on a number of aspects including sensor technology, user experience, and how to complement overall public transit services with self-driving buses.” Once the self-driving trials are complete, the Finnish cities of Espoo and Tampere will launch the buses to shuttle passengers from Helsinki’s Mustikkamaa recreational Island to Helsinki Zoo. Project leader and Metropolia’s smart mobility program director, Harri Santamala, explained that the “RoboBus will allow us to test operation in everyday public transit conditions. It will be used to study the long-term operability of self-driving buses and customer behavior. Related: The world’s first self-driving grocery store just hit the streets of Shanghai Finland is an ideal location for a self-driving bus to launch, as the country’s law does not state that a vehicle has to have a driver. Additionally, autonomous buses could offer a solution to a persistent problem in Helsinki: transporting riders from a regular public transit stop to their homes. A press release says, “Automated, remote-controlled bus service could markedly reduce the costs of the last-mile service and improve access to public transit . The ultimate goal is to increase public transit use and so to reduce cars and needs to drive in the city.” Because the electric minus is in a competitive bid process, the route, its launch date, and schedule will be announced at a later time. + Helsinkin RoboBusLine Image via Helsinkin RoboBusLine

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New self-driving electric RoboBuses are launching in Finland this year

Oakland fire-damaged home transformed into a magnificent naturally-cooled residence

June 14, 2017 by  
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California-based Terry & Terry Architecture rebuilt an existing home damaged in a 1991 Oakland fire as a beautiful residence offering staggering views of San Francisco Bay. The architects designed Skyline House for a young family who wanted an open-plan home with ample ventilation to provide natural cooling. The house sits on a property dominated by large redwood trees, which inspired the use of timber cladding and other natural materials. The designers started off by working with the existing floor plan. They transformed the kitchen area to open out and lead to the front yard garden with an outdoor dining area. Related: Beautiful cliffside home ‘split in half’ by landslide rebuilt with wooden pods The home is situated to take advantage of the bay breezes and the interior roofline flows to both convey the breezes through the home and to recreate the appearance of undulating fog. A wooden tube-like envelope hugs the open common space and visually connects the garden to the front viewing deck at the rear. This form takes advantage of the winds to facilitate natural ventilation , with the main living space acting as a connection between two contrasting outdoor spaces. + Terry & Terry Architecture Via v2com Photos by Bruce Damonte Photography

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Oakland fire-damaged home transformed into a magnificent naturally-cooled residence

Renewable energy powers half of the UK

June 9, 2017 by  
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The UK is not slacking in its goal to slash carbon emissions by 57 percent (based on 1990 levels) by the year 2030. Such was made evident on Wednesday, when the country successfully generated 50.7 percent of its energy from solar, wind, hydro and biomass. Another first was recorded when nuclear, wind and solar each generated more electricity than gas and coal combined. The National Grid tweeted the good news and said, “For the first time ever this lunchtime wind, nuclear and solar were all generating more than both gas and coal combined.” According to Engadget , favorable weather conditions helped the UK reach this milestone. Clear skies and very strong winds resulted in wind farms contributing 9.5GW of power and solar panels around 7.6GW of electricity. If nuclear sources were added to the equation, Britain would have sourced 72.1 percent of its electricity from low-carbon sources. As a result of the surge in renewable energy , coal production was entirely stopped for the rest of the day. Aware that “dirty” fossil fuels contribute to climate change which may propel natural disasters, the UK government has begun lowering coal production with an intention to abandon it completely by 2025. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy The sovereign state is making notable strides in its goal to become a leader in renewables. At the end of 2016, the UK was able to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewables and other low carbon sources. Reportedly, wind, solar and hydro energy contributed about one-fourth of the total energy; 25 percent was derived from nuclear reactors. Via Engadget Images via Pixabay

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Renewable energy powers half of the UK

9 of the world’s biggest fishing companies agree to protect the oceans

June 9, 2017 by  
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The world’s oceans are in trouble, and nine of the biggest fishing firms recently decided to help. They’re banding together in a voluntary initiative to protect oceans from problems like overfishing , which is rapidly depleting the oceans of fish . They’ll also target issues like pollution and the use of slave labor . The initiative, known as the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS), is backed by the Stockholm Resilience Centre . The companies committed to boosting transparency to reduce illegal fishing in the supply chain, as well as avoiding products obtained through slave labor. They’ll also focus on plastic pollution and greenhouse gases . The Guardian reported it’s the first time companies from the United States, Europe, and Asia have come together to work towards such goals. Related: The world’s fish are vanishing far faster than previously thought Stockholm Resilience Centre deputy science director Henrik Osterblöm told The Guardian, “Sustainable marine ecosystems will be essential to feed a growing population, but the oceans are at risk. Seafood makes up 20 percent of the global intake of animal protein.” Among the nine companies are the two biggest companies in terms of revenue, Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaisha. The two biggest salmon companies, two biggest tuna companies, and two biggest aquafeeds companies also signed, according to the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The organization initiated the conversation, inviting 13 corporations that control 11 to 16 percent of wild marine catch and 40 percent of valuable species. Osterblöm said the center was excited so many companies did show up and agree to the initiative. According to The Guardian, it’s estimated around half of the world’s catch comes from illegal fishing – those fisherman either trespass into waters, use illegal gear, or catch more fish than they’re supposed to, sometimes even catching endangered fish. Slavery has also marred the industry; an investigation in 2014 found exploitation and loss of human rights was rampant in parts of fishing grounds in Asia. Announcing the initiative is part of the United Nations Ocean Conference this week. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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9 of the world’s biggest fishing companies agree to protect the oceans

8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

June 9, 2017 by  
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Finding the right gift for Dad can be elusive; ties, golf clubs, and a good set of knives feel kind of tired by now. So we rounded up 8 gifts that transcend the standard gift box and fit a variety of budgets and personalities. Whether you pick a tiny timber cabin for your backyard or a palm-sized solar lamp for nighttime adventures, Dad will love that you went the extra mile for a sustainable, stylish present. 1. Sustainable wood “blocks” Building block love is enduring, and Kengo Kuma’s Japanese spin on the all-age, favorite toy will be a hit with every member of the family. Using FSC Japanese cedar and a triangular shape, Kuma collaborated with conservation group More Trees  to create the Tsumiki (which is the Japanese word for building blocks ). Dads (and their kiddos) will love to arrange the Tsumiki into architectural configurations as well as whimsical animals and myriad creative designs. + Tsumiki blocks 2. Shoes partially made with recycled plastic bottles Perhaps Papa needs a new set of kicks. Gift him a pair of these versatile canvas shoes created as a collaboration between Timberland and Thread , a responsible fabric company. The outsoles comprise 15 percent recycled rubber and the uppers are crafted from 50 percent recycled PET bottles found in the streets and landfills of Haiti . The venture not only yields lightweight, stylish shoes , but also job opportunities and a cleaner environment in Haiti. + Timberland x Thread Collection 3. Electric bike The Propella 2.0 rides and feels like a traditional bike , but it’s got plenty of tricks hidden in its design. What looks like a water bottle is actually a battery that will help power Dad on a commute or joy ride around town. The bike’s lightweight design and pedal-assisted electric power means that riders can top out at 20 mph, a boon when it’s time to pick up the kiddos from childcare. Electric blue rims add a playful element to the otherwise minimalist design. Preorder the Propella 2.0   here for a September delivery. Related: 8 Last minute Father’s Day gifts for the procrastinator’s Papa 4. Portable solar lamp The Little Sun Original , designed by Olafur Eliasson , resembles a flower , and it is powered by the sun. Ideal for camping trips, taking midnight walks on a beach, or reading after the kids go to bed, this dimmable lamp comes with an affordable price tag ($25) and can stay charged for up to 50 hours. This gift for Dad also pays it forward: for every Little Sun sold, another goes to rural Africa to be sold at a locally affordable price by trusted partners. + Little Sun Original 5. Mini aquarium ecosystem Aqua Design Innovations’ EcoQube C was the most popular aquarium ever on Kickstarter, and the allure is understandable. This portable ecosystem uses an integrated aquaponics filter to turn fish waste into plant fertilizer. The fertilizer fuels the growth of the plant, which then cleans the water, reducing the need for filter changes and also reducing energy and water usage. The same company recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the EcoQube Frame , a vertical veggie and sprout garden. It’s available in December, so we now also know what Dad is getting for the holidays… + EcoQube C 6. A jacket and a backpack in one It’s a jacket, it’s a backpack , it’s a RuckJack , and it goes from one to the other with a zip, flip, and clip. Dad can start off an adventure wearing the RuckJack as a backpack; if the weather gets cool or rainy he can quickly convert it into a jacket and use the extra cargo bag on the back panel and extra pockets to distribute the rest of his load. RuckJack has partnered with WeForest to plant 10 trees in deforested areas around the world with every RuckJack purchase. + RuckJack Image via Agenzia Del Demanio 7. A free Italian building An Italian castle, farmhouse, inn, or monastery for FREE ? Sounds like the best, gratis Father’s Day present for an entrepreneurial DIY dad. 103 historic buildings are up for grabs with the caveat that new owners have to restore the sites and transform them into a tourist-friendly destination, such as a restaurant or hotel . If the family has ever dreamed of moving to Italy and setting up a picturesque B & B or trattoria, now is your chance. Our only suggestion: run this one by Dad before committing to this exciting and challenging effort designed to promote slow tourism. Apply (in Italian) here . 8. A MUJI mini house If you’ve got a tiny backyard and a spare 27 grand and change (and live in Japan), you can gift Dad with the ultimate tiny escape . Courtesy of cult minimalist company MUJI , these tiny timber cabins are sleek and simple…especially if it’s a kid-free zone and the floor isn’t littered with toys and clothes. One side is comprised almost completely of a sliding glass door; it’s almost as if they designed it so Dad can lay in a comfy position inside while watching the kids play just outside the door. + MUJI hut

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8 fabulous and creative Father’s Day gifts from $0 to $27,500

Learning our scales (or why size really matters)

June 6, 2017 by  
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What sci-fi can teach us about the future of innovation.

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Learning our scales (or why size really matters)

A millennial’s math on compensation

June 6, 2017 by  
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The idea that ‘doing good’ in this world won’t earn you money, while earning good money will require professional compromise, remains widely accepted in business. This assumption is nonsense.

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A millennial’s math on compensation

Disney’s ‘World of Pandora’ Avatar park opens with floating mountains and glowing forests

May 30, 2017 by  
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Now Avatar fans can finally explore the amazing world of Pandora in person. The much-anticipated Pandora – World of Avatar opened this past weekend at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort, and it looks spectacular. Guests can explore the alien planet’s bioluminescent rainforest, hike through floating mountains, and even take a thrilling 3D ride on the back of a wild banshee. The 12-acre park has been under construction for six years, and it looks like it was well worth the wait. The park is set in an area of Pandora that was not seen in the film called the Valley of Mo’ar. The alien planet was designed by director James Cameron, whose ultra-creative attention to detail has resulted, once again, in a jaw-dropping immersive 3D experience. Related: Save the dates: this is when Disney’s “Avatar” and “Star Wars” theme parks open Visitors to the valley will be able to explore the mystical jungle landscape with flowing streams, dark caves full of bioluminescent life and a “floating” mountain range called the Hallelujah Mountains. A boat ride down the dark Na’vi River will lead through pulsating, glowing vegetation to an encounter with a Na’vi shaman. For those looking for a more thrilling experience, visitors can also participate in the “Avatar Flight of Passage” 3D adventure . Guests are matched with an onscreeen avatar and take their place on a motorcycle-like flight simulator. Once in place, guests will “soar” across the valley on the back of a banshee, plunging straight down into the lush vegetation only to swoop up through the massive trees, continuing around the mountains as herds of wild beasts run underneath you. + Pandora — World of Avatar Via CNN Images via Disney World

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