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February 27, 2017

Dousing Flames with Low-Frequency Sound Waves

A new type of extinguisher that uses sound waves to put out fires has been built by two engineering students in the US. Both chemical- and water-free, the invention offers a relatively non-destructive method of fire control, which could find applications in fighting small fires in the home, and the researchers now hold a preliminary patent application for their device.

While the concept of using sound waves to extinguish flames is not new, previous attempts to realize the principle – including efforts by teams at West Georgia University and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – had not been successful.

Undeterred by this, as well as initial [...]

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June 25, 2015

Dutch Entrepreneur Says He Can Clean Up the Great Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch

This summer, a small armada of vessels from all over the globe will converge in the Pacific Ocean. Their arrival is expected to herald what arguably can be called one of the more creative environmental cleanup projects. As many as fifty boats consisting of everything from research vessels to private cruisers, sailboats and commercial fishing vessels will track the Pacific’s Great Garbage Patch as it makes its rocky journey through currents between Hawaii and the California coastline.

The mega exploration, as the team at the nonprofit organization, The Ocean Cleanup, calls it, will help the organization close in on their efforts to clean up the [...]

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April 8, 2015

How One California Farmer is Battling the Worst Drought in 1,200 Years

On a warm March afternoon, farmer Cannon Michael walks alongside wheat fields adjacent to his house in Los Banos, in California’s Central Valley. Most of these fields won’t be watered again this year.“Wheat’s not a glamorous crop, but it makes a lot of bread,” Michael quips.This wheat, though, won’t return much money, Michael says. So it will be harvested for his sister’s two bakeries in San Francisco and the land fallowed, along with some fields formerly planted in alfalfa and cotton. They are among more than 1,000 acres Michael left unplanted this season to try and conserve water, amounting to about 10 percent of the 10,500 irrigated acres that make up his farm, Bowles Farming [...]
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April 8, 2015

In Brazil, Water is Power

Of the many stories I heard about the drought while I was in Brazil earlier this month, one stands out: a colleague was riding the elevator in her building and saw a note from a concerned neighbor. “Dear neighbors,” the note read, “As you know we are in a severe crisis. Everyone must do their part to conserve water. That is why I have decided to only wash my car once per month. I hope everyone else can make a similar sacrifice.”I had just spent five days in Sao Paulo, visiting electric utility executives to imagine how software technology could better engage their consumers toward addressing the deepening crisis. Twenty million people live in Sao Paulo, which is suffering its worst [...]
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April 8, 2015

Why the Production of Conservation Will Solve the Water Crisis

California is a year away from running out of water. Yet, my water bill is more or less the same as what I would have paid four years ago before the current drought began. Meanwhile, farmers along I-5 in the Central Valley have uprooted their orchards and fallowed their fields because water isn’t available for their crops. Water suffers from massive externalities that are not reflected in its price.The biggest mistake we’ve made in how we manage our water resources is placing responsibility for water conservation in the hands of the same agencies responsible for providing (i.e., selling) water. How do you tell your customers that you want them to use less of your product? If you’re [...]
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April 5, 2015

This UK Outdoor Pool Is Using Plants Instead Of Chemicals To Stay Clean

The first-of-its-kind natural pool will use plants instead of chemicals to keep its water clean, exampling the best kind of balance which is possible between nature and urban environments.When innovative minds collaborate, anything is possible.And this chemical-free outdoor pool – the first in the UK – is a perfect testament to this truth. Ingeniously designed by Rotterdam Studio Ooze architects and artist Marietica Potrč, it’s the type of project that will allow communities to explore the intimate relationship between nature and the urban environment in an ingenious setting.Adventurous Londoners will soon be able to take a swim in the chemical-free King’s Cross swimming pool, a [...]
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