Optimism on Climate Change

Al Gore has three questions about climate change and our future.
First: Do we have to change? Each day, global-warming pollution traps as much heat energy as would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs. This trapped heat is leading to stronger storms and more extreme floods, he says: “Every night on the TV news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.”
Second: Can we change? We’ve already started.
Third and big question: Will we change? In this challenging, inspiring talk, Gore says yes. “When any great moral challenge is ultimately resolved into a binary choice between what is right and what is wrong, the outcome is foreordained because of who we are as human beings,” he says. “That is why we’re going to win this.”

Charge Your Phone Just by Walking Around or Working Out


Yesterday I noted a portable battery charger that needs only 5 minutes to get enough juice for a full iPhone 5 charge and today I found one that’s a polar opposite: It takes almost all day just to top off this battery, which only provides another 3 hours of run-time for a phone. There’s one more big difference,  though. This device, dubbed the Ampy, doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall charger at all. Instead, it uses your own kinetic energy.

ampy in use

You carry or wear the small battery pack throughout the day. Take around 10,000 steps and you’ll fill up the battery inside the Ampy, which can then be used to recharge a phone over USB. If you run or cycle, just a 30 to 60 minute workout will do the same. Phones aren’t the only devices that can benefit from Ampy. The battery can recharge a smartwatch to run…

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When You Lose Weight, Where Does it Go?

Mitch Kirby

Recently, I was sitting and thinking about all of the diet and exercise suggestions that constantly bombard us from all sides. While trying to determine which techniques would likely yield the largest benefits, I decided to start from the beginning and attempted to answer a seemingly simple question: When we lose weight, where does the weight go? When the fat from our waistline disappears, what happens to it? Answering this question was actually way more difficult than I imagined at the start, and forced me to think back to my time as a molecular biology major in order to answer the question effectively.

After uncovering the answer for myself, I asked others to think about the question to see if the solution was more obvious to them than it was to me. Shockingly, even many physicians I asked were unable to answer this question accurately and completely. Below are the most popular answers…

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Smarter Cities Could Start With a Simple Light Bulb Swap


Simply swapping out the old-school incandescent, sodium or metal halide lamps with newer LED bulbs that can also contain an array of sensors can push a city on the path to becoming smarter, said Wim Efrin the Executive Vice President for Industry Solutions and Chief Globalization Officer with Cisco. According to Efrin, while cities are installing the LED lamps they often elect to put in video surveillance and even Wi-Fi access points too.

“We see this as an enormous inflection point,” Efrin told me during an interview on Thursday. “This could blanket a city in Wi-Fi and enable the city to offer citizen services and we are always looking for what will be that inflection point. The simple light bulb could be it.”

He pointed out that having the video surveillance means that computers could count the number of people in the area and reduce or increase the light based…

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Conversations with Tomorrow: World Technology and Energy in 2064

World Technology and Energy in 2064


This article is part of the ‘Think Further’ series, sponsored by Fred Alger Management, Inc. For more ‘Think Further’ content and videos, visit thinkfurtheralger.com.

In 2064, the global use of fossil fuels will fall to less than half its current level, as resource exhaustion leads to higher extraction costs and higher prices than consumers can pay.

If humanity is smart, and takes firm action to grapple with resource exhaustion and climate change, renewable energy use will grow 10-fold until it provides roughly half the total primary energy supply. Electrified rail, plus a small share of electric cars, will dominate surface transportation. Coal and nuclear power will be nearly phased out. More than 80 percent of global electricity will be provided by renewables. Natural gas plants will provide most of the remaining 20 percent of power generation. The current grid power architecture, with its reliance on big, centralized “baseload” generators…

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‘Solar Pocket Factory’ that 3D Prints a Solar Panel Every 15 Seconds

Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein, two young inventors based in the Philippines, are taking their passion for clean free energy and developing a way to make it accessible and cheap for everyone. These guys are working tirelessly to provide a product that could be used by practically anyone to make homemade solar panels.

The factory is small enough to fit on a desktop and efficient enough to produce 300k to one million panels per year, up to one every 15 seconds. By cutting out much of the labor intensive process, which represents 50% of the total cost, this machine can dramatically reduce the price of solar. Their pocket solar panel producer can change the way the world views electricity.

What type of applications can a homemade solar panel have? For starters it can replace the need for outlets in a home for smaller electronics such as phones, computers, lamps, etc.
One of the more intriguing applications is the added versatility solar panels can provide. In short, with these panels you can use your electronics anywhere there’s sunshine.

Their initial Kickstarter campaign was quickly fully funded, but they are raising additional funds to redesign the CNC laser cutter with the intentions to open source the technology. Eventually they plan to power the solar panel maker using solar panels.

The product is continuously being improved and the technology is open source which makes it free for anyone to copy or improve upon.

Other grass-roots inventors, such as Ma Yehe — who invented a 3D printer to build houses – are beginning to emerge in hopes of improving the world. These are the type of inventors that are going to drive innovation and technology into the new age. Corrupt, politicized and controlled global marketplaces cannot suppress innovation anymore. The future is promising with the budding new wave of inventors with actual intentions to improve mankind with open source technology and ideas. Check out the video below and the Solar Pocket Factory website for more info.

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