Archives for the month of: May, 2014

A list of kids’ responses on the KidsCom® Web site showed what many kids thought would be a great invention for the earth:

One thing that we found of particular interest from this list is that an overwhelming amount of children wrote in about how robots and machinery should be used to save the planet.

kids with robots

(Pictured above are children who built robots out of recycled materials in their first grade class)

It makes sense that since being responsible for our waste is extremely important to many but not necessarily to all, that robots could help pick up what others left out. Litter is an unsightly, and devastating issue that many cities have, and truth be told the main method of picking up others’ litter (clean-up crews) is usually not enough. The solution of having people pick up waste for community service hours is a good remedy but clean up and being responsible for our waste in the first place should be improved.


In a world where robots are being used to assemble cars, package goods and to perform numerous other functions, it seems reasonable to consider building more robots that benefit our environment.

A company in Israel called Water-Gen has come up with a more feasible solution for gathering drinkable water for those in remote areas. These new water gathering, and filtering solutions pull water out of thin-air. David Gillo, Water-Gen’s VP of business development said that Water-Gen is meant for remote and emergency situations, and their line includes water generators that sit on the ground or in vehicles. All of these options include faucets to deliver the water, portability, and of course, the ability to gather water from the air (even in dessert-like locations)! Water-Gen can be solar or electric-powered, and best of all each produces between 10 and 20 gallons of fresh, cold drinking water per day since the technology that is used is similar to A/C and dehumidifying units. Here is the company video:


Gillo said that Water-Gen is one of the most innovative companies of 2014 according to Fast Company because of the new technology behind their products: “Taking water from the atmosphere has not been done correctly. The tech has not changed for many years. It was based on bad assumptions, the tech was inefficient and it was very expensive…We brought it to a place where it’s efficient, energy-saving and affordable enough where it’s being seriously considered.”


Seriously considered it is. Spring, is a newer product of Water-Gen’s and it is a portable water purifier that can purify even the most toxic water and it can be worn as a backpack. Spring was used by an Israel Defense Forces team to help the areas of the Philippines that were affected by Typhoon Haiyan.


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Approximately two months ago, President Obama’s Science Advisor, Dr. John Holdren spoke in a video titled The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes in which he explained that the poles’ temperatures are warming and that the middle latitudes are in fact, warming. Dr. John Holdren explained that the temperature difference between the poles and mid latitudes is decreasing so this has led to what is called a circumpolar vortex, which is a counterclockwise swirling of cold air. Also, since the cold air swirling will then start getting warmer based on its location, this causes the vortex to have “waviness” which will make the northern regions of the globe warmer and the southern regions of the globe cooler.


Computer models aided in this simulation to find contributing factors. Dr. John Holdren mentions that the computer models are still experimenting, but ends the video by stating: “I believe the odds are that we can expect as a result of global warming, to see more of this pattern of extreme cold in the mid latitudes and some extreme warm in the far north”.


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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a wonderful website that shows users 290 different apps that help people understand and protect the environment. The website is called “My Green Apps” which allows people to either search for an app by device, with keywords, to choose categories (such as games, energy, health, etc.) as well as the option to “View All Apps”.

It is truly a helpful invention for people who would rather their children play environmentally educational games, as a reference and many of these apps are extremely practical as well. In addition to being able to find green apps, there are also links for app developers such as: using the EPA’s data, and the ability to “see what app ideas people like best”.

What a great way to positively impact the environment!

app, green apps, android, iphone, epa, environment, protection, agency


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The International Space Station will have a new lifeboat for approximately seven months. The lifeboat spacecraft is not necessarily wished to be called into service but in the event that people need to be evacuated off of the International Space Station, this “next generation” American spacecraft will come to rescue.

Right now, in the place of this next generation American spacecraft, the lifeboat function is served by a pair of Russian Soyuz spacecraft which hold three people each. The Soyuz lifeboat is pictured here:

russian space soyuz space craft landed

This means that there can be six people working on a station at a time. With the next generation spacecraft, there is the ability to offer another four to seven seats so more people would be available for research duties according to NASA. This section explained the difference between the Soyuz spacecraft and the next generation American spacecraft that will soon be used. The new lifeboat looks like this:

nasa life boat space station

Next, we look into engineering specifications and some of the conditions that lifeboats are designed to face.

In a recent article by NASA, their engineers revel the two capabilities that a spacecraft must perform to be called a life boat. They are: “First, the spacecraft needs to provide a shelter for astronauts in case of a problem on the station. Second, the ship has to be able to quickly get all its systems operating and detach from the station for a potential return to Earth.” In addition to these two requirements, the spacecraft also needs to run on the little amount of power that is dedicated for a docked crew spacecraft (the amount of power is about the amount of electricity a refrigerator uses). Let’s look at engineering’s relative that is, design.

When it comes to spacecraft design for the lifeboat feature, the challenges include a few things. First, it is ideal for the lifeboat to be powered off when not in use, but the deputy manager of CCP’s Spacecraft Office explained that this isn’t currently the case because air needs to be circulated since air doesn’t automatically circulate in microgravity the way it does on Earth. Another thing that designers need to look out for is that the spacecraft needs to be protected from things outside the spacecraft like micrometeoroids and should be able to survive an occasional hit, yet the armor cannot be too heavy to launch.

nasa life boat space station international

The new lifeboat is much anticipated because of the increased amount of people that it can hold. The “extra seats” compared to the Soyuz lifeboat which is currently used will most likely be used for researchers. In addition, the design and engineering challenges and specifications are extraordinary. We highly recommend viewing the NASA website for more information at:

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Aside from its speed, shocking good looks, ultimate customer satisfaction and impressive mechanical/electrical design there are many fun facts about the innovative Model S. Whatever else the company and Elon Musk have up their sleeve, we are excited to see it in the much anticipated Model X and more!

A reflection on some of the Model S’s impressive accomplishments is in order, and just remember, you read it here.

Some fun facts about the Tesla Model S include:

  • The NHTS’s tried to perform a root crush resistance test on the Model S, and it actually broke. The roof crush resistance is over twice the requirement by the NHTSA.
  • It also got a 5.4 star crash test rating which was the highest ever recorded.
  • The Model S has the largest panoramic sunroof of any production car.
  • The Motortrend’s Car of the Year Award is extremely coveted and the Model S was the first electric vehicle to receive this award ever.
  • The largest digital display/touchscreen at 17” of any production vehicle. In effect creating a “minimalist” design with no knobs or physical dials on the dash.
  • This car also has the lowest drag coefficient of any production car, at 0.24.
  • The sound system in the Model S includes “visual surround control” where a 3D image of the insides of the vehicle comes on the screen and users can just drag their fingers to direct music to be louder accordingly.
  • The cargo space in the car is the largest in its class, in fact underneath the front hood is even more storage space!
  • There are only 20 moving parts
  • A web browser is included in the 17” display, with internet provided entirely by Tesla!

Now we are interested in knowing more about Tesla’s commitment to the planet…and that smaller Model S (code name: “Blue Star”).



inside tesla model stesla


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Many of us have seen the movie Wall-E, An Inconvenient Truth and maybe Food, Inc. (maybe because it’s on Netflix). Just to get everyone in the green and sustainable film mood, here is an overview of a few of these films for good weekend or anytime viewing:

WALL·E was produced by Pixar Animation Studios in 2008 and it’s about a robot named  WALL·E and his robot friend Eve’s adventures on. WALL·E is a waste collecting robot and he is sent to a futuristic and waste-covered polluted planet earth on a mission and even falls in love with Eve along the way. The success and popularity of this movie was partly due to the realistic and humanistic nature of both the animations and critical issues such as pollution on our planet.  The next film, An Inconvenient Truth helped pave the way for this film’s great success.

An Inconvenient Truth was former United States Vice President Al Gore’s video about global warming. It is probably the most famous film in this article, some even call this film infamous as well and it mainly takes the form of a narrated slide show. An Inconvenient Truth premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and greatly helped raise international public awareness of climate change and even reenergized the environmental movement. This film was filled with different ways to display data such as detailed graphs, flow charts, and other visuals that are still shown today. This is probably the most serious and scientific film on this list (having seen them all).

Food, Inc. is about the huge growth and corruption in the food industry since the 1950s. This film came out in 2010, and it has even caused a considerable number of Americas to become vegetarian, vegan or to otherwise modify their diets. Food, Inc. explains how large food production businesses get and in order to achieve huge profits and supplies, it is pointed out that the health and safety of the food, animals, consumers and workers are often overlooked by companies and even the government.


Adobe Systems Inc. which is a digital marketing and digital media company headquartered in San Jose, Ca is very proactive when it comes to sustainability and energy conservation. The company has recognized that their industry is increasingly energy intensive and so they aim to reduce energy consumption and to stabilize their costs. Their ultimate goal is for their buildings to “produce or offset as much energy as they consume, resulting in Net Zero energy usage”. So far, the company has been tracking Scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon emissions (for purchased energy of the leased sites and for employee business travel since these two areas are part of their value chain). Reducing energy demand has been an area of observance for Adobe since before 2002. The company has impressive statistics about their energy efficiency projects and renewable/alternative energy here:

In addition, Adobe even tracks over 30,000 data points on energy usage and critical operations.

Adobe’s commitment to the environment is legendary for the corporate world. In an area of relatively poor air quality, it is refreshing to see Adobe’s headquarters which are revolutionary, awe-inspiring and clean.


You might have known that the coffee market is growing as the coffee craze that has been active in America and Europe is sweeping the nation; so the news of Coffee Flour™ means that the environmental impact of green coffee production is eased, and producers in the industry have a new revenue source.

An article from introduces Coffee Flour™ as a sustainable, gluten-free baking option that also makes use of the coffee cherry pulp that has been an unvalued byproduct according to This coffee cherry pulp results from the 17 billion pounds of coffee beans that are harvested around the world each year. Therefore, small-scale coffee farmers, millers and pickers have an additional revenue source.

The invention of Coffee Flour™ is good news this week. 

The amount of plastic bottles that make it into landfills each year is gigantic and so a new edible water bottle is a valuable invention, and alas it is here.

A team at London’s Imperial College invented the Ooho water bottle from a process called spherification which forms a membrane around a frozen liquid and once the frozen liquid (water) melts, then it is contained in a flexible, gelatinous pouch.

Spherification is also used in molecular gastronomy or in the culinary world to make fancy foods such as popping boba teas and faux caviar but now this method can quench people’s thirst and save plastic from landfills. The photos are just amazing.



The leader of the project’s name is “Rodrigo García González” and he said that the group’s experimentation involved “lateral thinking and experimentation”. The product isn’t ready for market yet because the team wants to find a solution to resealing the pouch once it’s pierced. Also, González admitted that people do not always care for the texture. So much research and development is also much anticipated.

For now, curious individuals might want to try making this at home by using calcium chloride to form a membrane around frozen liquids.