Month of March, 2008

Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

March 07, 2008 - 08:49:56 AM

"The Skoll Foundation’s mission is to advance systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs. We believe that social entrepreneurs see opportunities where others see problems and crises.  READ MORE »

Whale Inspired Wind Mills

March 07, 2008 - 09:27:13 AM

"WhalePower, based in Toronto, Ontario, is testing this wind-turbine blade at a wind-testing facility in Prince Edward Island. The bumps, or "tubercles," on the blade's leading edge reduce noise, increase its stability, and enable it to capture more energy from the wind."
Credit: WhalePower

Mimicking the bumps on humpback-whale fins could lead to more efficient wind turbines. By Tyler Hamilton

via:MIT Technology Review

Marine scientists have long suspected that humpback whales' incredible agility comes from the bumps on the leading edges of their flippers. Now Harvard University researchers have come up with a mathematical model that helps explain this hydrodynamic edge. The work gives theoretical weight to a growing body of empirical evidence that similar bumps could lead to more-stable airplane designs, submarines with greater agility, and turbine blades that can capture more energy from the wind and water.  READ MORE »

Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative Set to Power Third World

March 16, 2008 - 10:09:02 PM

Shawn Frayne us proof positive that real wealth (as Bucky Fuller often reminded us) is know-how and the most valuable and plentiful renewable energy source in the world is appropriately focused and applied human creativity and ingenuity. If you really need a shot of hope these days, don't look to Washington and politicians. Instead look for people like Shawn and the other winners of Popular Mechanics "Breakthrough Awards". They are the individuals who are searching for real solutions to the critical problems facing humanity.

The windbelt technology developed by Shawn Frayne has the potential for complementing utility-scale wind technology with units that can be economically scaled to individual and community applications. Does it work? We won't know for sure until some units are up and running which hopefully will be soon. The most important thing, I believe, is simply that people like Shawn are focusing their energy and considerable talents on things that matter. (Greg Watson 12 Degrees of Freedom)


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Practical, Actionable Innovation Swarms MIT Design Gathering

March 16, 2008 - 11:07:37 PM

August 8, 2007

By —Jerry Beilinson Popular Mechanics Magazine

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Every student in America should visit Amy Smith’s D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, though, to be honest, the perfect time to come was probably during the past month, while the first International Development Design Summit (IDDS) was being held. (It ends today.) The lab is cluttered with power tools and bicycle parts, orange plastic buckets, vices, lengths of 2x4 and PVC pipe, a beaten down old blue sofa and a concrete coffee table.

In many ways, it resembles an African machine shop more than the pristine glass-and-steel MIT lab of the imagination. Smith rules here, or rather operates as a smiling, quietly charismatic center of gravity around which projects and smart people revolve. She is an MIT senior lecturer in mechanical engineering who focuses on creating and disseminating cheap, easy-to-fix technology for solving problems in poor, often rural environments: ways to purify and transport water, grind grain, generate power and so on. She’s also a member of Popular Mechanics editorial advisory board.  READ MORE »

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Tiny buckyballs squeeze hydrogen like giant Jupiter

March 21, 2008 - 01:58:34 PM

Carbon cages can hold super-dense volumes of nearly metallic hydrogen

Hydrogen could be a clean, abundant energy source, but it's difficult to store in bulk. In new research, materials scientists at Rice University have made the surprising discovery that tiny carbon capsules called buckyballs are so strong they can hold volumes of hydrogen nearly as dense as those at the center of Jupiter.

The research appears on the March 2008 cover of the American Chemical Society's journal Nano Letters.

"Based on our calculations, it appears that some buckyballs are capable of holding volumes of hydrogen so dense as to be almost metallic," said lead researcher Boris Yakobson, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Rice. "It appears they can hold about 8 percent of their weight in hydrogen at room temperature, which is considerably better than the federal target of 6 percent."

The Department of Energy has devoted more than $1 billion to developing technologies for hydrogen-powered automobiles, including technologies to cost-effectively store hydrogen for use in cars. Hydrogen is the lightest element in the universe, and it is very difficult to store in bulk. For hydrogen cars to be competitive with gasoline-powered cars, they need a comparable range and a reasonably compact fuel system. It's estimated that a hydrogen-powered car with a suitable range will require a storage system with densities greater than those found in pure, liquid hydrogen.  READ MORE »

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Worldlink Foundation to launch multi-year *NOURISH* Initiative in fall of 2008

March 31, 2008 - 10:42:53 PM

Inspiring Learning and Action

What we eat, where we eat, and how we eat reveals much about our relationship to food. Today, more than ever, we need to understand where our food comes from and how it reaches us. The purpose of Nourish is to open a broad public conversation about our food system that encourages citizen engagement, particularly among young people and families.

Nourish PBS Special

Launching in fall 2008, the nationally broadcast, high definition PBS special entitled Nourish explores the abundant possibilities to create a sustainable food system. The special traces our relationship to food from a global perspective to personal action steps.  READ MORE »

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