13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

July 10, 2017 by  
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We may be one step closer to tackling our energy crisis if this 8th grader has anything to say about it. 13-year-old Laalitya Acharya from Ohio came up with TraffEnerate, an invention that uses vehicular traffic to generate clean power . She’s a finalist in the 2017 Young Scientist Challenge , and stands to win $25,000. Acharya started researching cheap, easily renewable resources of energy, and came across a device she calls a piezo. She explains when stress is applied to a piezo, it generates electricity . She wanted to make it easy to utilize piezos, so she designed TraffEnerate to obtain power when cars drive over the devices. Her prototype incorporates 11 piezo sensors and a 3D-printed block so stress will be applied to all 11 piezos even if a car just barely passes over the corner of the prototype. Related: 13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5 Acharya also designed a reciprocating motion machine to test the prototype. Her robot consistently applied stress to the invention, seen in an oscilloscope reading. She hopes to implement TraffEnerate in the busiest intersections of her hometown of Mason, Ohio . Acharya said on the challenge website, “I wanted to change the world, that simple. On my family’s yearly trip to India, I saw children who have no power in their homes, huddling near dangerous fires. I wanted to change their position in life, to make it better by creating clean energy and electricity.” The 2017 Young Scientist Challenge is put on by Discovery Education and 3M . There are 10 finalists for this year’s challenge, with innovative projects such as a way to detect lead in water, treating Alzheimer’s with plant components, and cleaning up oil spills with pomegranate husks and orange peels. A winner will be chosen in October. + Young Scientist Lab Via Young Scientist Challenge and Rajesh Acharya Images via screenshot

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13-year-old Ohio girl taps traffic to generate renewable energy

Praying mantises hunt down and eat small birds, including hummingbirds

July 10, 2017 by  
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We know praying mantises are carnivorous – they’ve been documented consuming frogs, lizards, and snakes. But they also kill and consume small birds like hummingbirds , according to new research from zoologists in Switzerland and the United States. We expect birds to eat insects , not the other way around, so the reversal is startling – and humans may have had a role to play in the deaths of these hummingbirds. The zoologists gathered 147 cases of mantids capturing small birds. Praying mantises from 12 species and nine genera engaged in the behavior, which was found on every continent except Antarctica, in 13 countries. The insects weren’t too picky about the birds they ate either – 24 different species and 14 families of birds were among the prey. Related: 9 things you can do to help wild birds this summer But 70 percent of the cases in this research occurred in the United States. There, the insects have been employed as pest control – a practice which had unintended consequences. Several alien species of big praying mantises were released in North America decades ago for pest control, and now threaten small birds. They snare hummingbirds at hummingbird feeders, or in home gardens filled with plants the birds pollinate . These hummingbirds comprise the majority of the birds preyed upon by praying mantises. 78 percent of the birds captured were eaten, according to the researchers. 18 percent were liberated by humans. Only two percent escaped on their own. Scientist Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel said in a statement, “Our study shows the threat mantises pose to some bird populations. Thus, great caution is advised when releasing mantises for pest control.” Nyffeler was the lead author on a paper recently published in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology , joined by zoologists from National University and Louisiana State University . Via TreeHugger and the University of Basel Images via Zoran Ožetski on Unsplash and Beckie on Flickr

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Praying mantises hunt down and eat small birds, including hummingbirds

Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land

July 10, 2017 by  
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Battles against fossil fuel pipelines aren’t limited to North Dakota. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania , a group of Catholic nuns is fighting against a natural gas pipeline that would run beneath land they own. They’re protesting the pipeline in a unique way by building an open-air chapel for people to visit and reflect on “just and holy uses of land.” The nuns, part of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ order, own land in West Hempfield Township that stands in the path of the Atlantic Sunrise Project, a pipeline for natural gas being pursued by Williams Partners to extend the Transco pipeline system that already runs from Texas to New York. Even though the nuns have not wanted their land used for the pipeline, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the pipeline, pointing to eminent domain. Related: Trump approves new pipeline that will go “right under” the US-Mexico wall The nuns are working against the pipeline, which they say goes against their land ethic, with the group Lancaster Against Pipelines . Protester Ann Neumann told CNN, “They see the pipeline as a violation of their faith,” saying 20 members of the order reside on the land. In a visible symbol of protest, the nuns allowed Lancaster Against Pipelines to construct this outdoor chapel, intended for people of all faith backgrounds. The nuns hope the chapel will draw people to come and pray at the location. They said in a statement they know the pipeline company might call for the chapel’s removal, but “believe that having this structure on their land, for however long, gives tangible witness to the sacredness of Earth.” The chapel was dedicated over the weekend, and according to Lancaster Online, around 300 people showed up for the ceremony. A Williams Partners spokesperson referred to the chapel as a “blatant attempt to impede pipeline construction.” Via CNN , Adorers of the Blood of Christ , and Lancaster Online Images via NoPipelinesLancaster on Twitter and Adorers of the Blood of Christ

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Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land

Designers create fashionable hospital gowns teens actually want to wear

July 17, 2016 by  
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Let’s face it: no one wants to have to go to the hospital if they can avoid it. It’s not just that being poked and prodded by doctors is uncomfortable: being stripped of your everyday wear and put into a drab hospital gown can strip you of any feelings of individuality. This is especially painful for teenage patients, who are just starting to discover themselves and express their unique identities. That’s why the Ward + Robes initiative is connecting teen patients to top fashion designers to create a line of custom, personalized hospital gowns that are stylish, comfortable, and unique.

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Designers create fashionable hospital gowns teens actually want to wear

Jaswig’s standing desk adjusts to any height and helps prolong your life

September 10, 2015 by  
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As a person who writes for a living, I can tell you that people are really not meant to sit around all day writing. My back, neck, and shoulders have been increasingly complaining, and I’ve detected an insidious creeping girth. I finally decided to change my work habits. I recently came across this item: a beautiful wooden standing desk on Kickstarter , made by a company called JASWIG (“jigsaw” rearranged), which adjusts to any height and is suitable for anyone, anywhere. I backed JASWIG’s campaign , of course, and now I’m hoping they make their goal so I can make mine! Meanwhile, I’ve rigged up a temporary desk in my bedroom. The results have been quite extraordinary. Read the rest of Jaswig’s standing desk adjusts to any height and helps prolong your life

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Jaswig’s standing desk adjusts to any height and helps prolong your life

A massive green roof sits atop a Copenhagen cruise ship terminal

September 10, 2015 by  
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There is a massive green roof atop three state-of-the-art cruise ship terminals at the Copenhagen Malmö Port in Denmark. As part of a wider sustainable growth and development plan, Copenhagen is expanding the Nordhavn district and its allure to the cruise ship industry. With these new terminals, Copenhagen can now accommodate 500 cruise calls a year, whereas before it could only receive 340. These terminals are part of a waterfront reclamation project to turn Nordhavn into a mixed-use development that will house over 80,000 people. The 9,900 square-meter sedum roof is not the only thing green about this development; the entire pier is environmentally friendly. Docked ships can plug into the land power grid, eliminating the need to run auxiliary engines. The pier has a built-in wastewater management system which can carry the waste of three ships simultaneously. The south side of the terminal is equipped with PV panels, is filled with natural light from skylights above, and if additional heating or lighting is required, energy comes from a C02-neutral source. Copenhagen is one of the leading cities in sustainable design and infrastructure. Inspired by what other cities were doing, Copenhagen began integrating green roofs into its urban development strategies, and in 2010 mandated that every new building have a green roof. Walking through the quaint streets of Copenhagen, one cannot help but notice the abundance of green roofs from cycling and bus stop shelters to corner grocery stores and covered car parks. The cruise ship terminal not only showcases Denmark’s design aesthetic, but its commitment to the environment. + CMP Photos by Heather Shimmin  

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A massive green roof sits atop a Copenhagen cruise ship terminal

Naturepedic smooths the transition to a big kid bed with a safe, organic 2-in-1 mattress

August 16, 2015 by  
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Graduating from a crib into a “big kid’s bed” is a big deal for most little ones, but it can mean a lot for parents, too. Not only does this represent the end of your child’s days as a baby, it also comes with the daunting task of navigating the confusing world of sleep options. Naturepedic’s 2-in-1 organic cotton mattress is an ingenious response to this quandary. The mattress has a built-in waterproof cover on one side and a plush quilted surface on the other, so it’s perfect to use while your little one is transitioning out of diapers. In addition, the 100-percent organic cotton batting is free from harmful chemicals and flame retardants that are still common in many mattresses on the market. Babies and toddlers spend up to 14 hours a day in bed, so it’s natural to want to ensure that their sleeping surface is as comfortable, safe, and well-made as possible. Naturepedic’s mattresses are made in the United States, and the 2-in-1 is available in twin, twin XL, and full sizes. READ MORE >

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Naturepedic smooths the transition to a big kid bed with a safe, organic 2-in-1 mattress

Awesome two-story treehouse is half jungle gym and all childhood dream come true

July 17, 2015 by  
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Awesome two-story treehouse is half jungle gym and all childhood dream come true

London’s only floating bookshop finally has a permanent home

July 17, 2015 by  
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16 upcycled Mason jar crafts and projects that are kid-approved

July 12, 2015 by  
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Glass Mason jars are perhaps the ultimate upcycling ingredient of all time. They come in all shapes, sizes, and even in a variety of colors. Mason jars can be used to give wonderful homemade edible gifts , as well all know, but after the eating’s done, jars like this can take on a whole new life . We’ve rounded up some of our favorite kid-friendly Mason jar projects, perfect for whiling away a rainy afternoon or hiding out from the summer heat. Whether your kiddos have a green thumb or want to capture rainbows in their jars, we’ve got a craft (or two!) to suit everyone’s taste—even the adults in the house. Check out what you can do with an old Mason jar and supplies you probably already have around the house! READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: DIY , DIY snow globe , diy solar lamp , DIY terrarium , Inhabitots , kid crafts , kid friendly , mason jars , recycled , upcycled

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16 upcycled Mason jar crafts and projects that are kid-approved

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