Global environmental challenges
Anyone who watched the women’s World Cup final might have wondered if it’s possible to harness that pure human energy. Turns out, it is. There’s enough power in a soccer ball to light the night — or at least a part of it.
It’s done via sOccket, a soccer ball that kids kick around all day, where its movement generates energy. When the sun sets, plug an LED lamp into the ball and it turns into a light for reading or other purposes. Play with the sOccket for 15 minutes and use the light for up to three hours. Sustainable, non-polluting, safe.
SOccket was created to solve a pervasive problem — the lack of reliable electricity — with a pervasive game. More than one-fifth of the world’s population, about 1.4 billion people, lack electric power, but kids almost everywhere play soccer.
Conceived as a group project at Harvard University by Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman when they were undergraduates, sOccket has been tested in South Africa, Nigeria, Spain and Haiti. Now, Matthews said in a telephone interview, it’s on track for mass production and distribution later this year.
from The Great Debate UK:
By Morven McCulloch
The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in north-eastern Japan, seriously damaged by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami, has led to anti-nuclear protests in several countries and forced governments to rethink their energy policies.
The UK currently has 10 nuclear power stations, representing 18 percent of the country’s energy supply according to Energy UK. Should British Prime Minister David Cameron, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reverse his position on the safety of nuclear power?
from Reuters Investigates:
Kevin Krolicki has another alarming special report from Japan today challenging the assertion that the disaster facing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was beyond expections.
The report quotes Tokyo Electric's own researchers who did a study in 2007 on the risk of tsunamis:
The U.S. government has announced this as National Tsunami Awareness Week, starting just days after a disastrous tsunami powered over Japan’s northeast coast. Not that anyone necessarily needed reminding.
This week’s advisory, which urges U.S. residents to be prepared for a damaging series of waves, was scheduled before the March 11 Japanese catastrophe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is the second annual observance of Tsunami Awareness Week. It’s too soon to tell if there might be a pattern emerging: last year’s observance came not long after a giant wave hit the Chilean port of Talcahuano following an 8.8 magnitude quake along Chile’s coast.
A new species of monkey has been found in northern Myanmar, puzzling scientists because of a snub nose that means they are often heard “sneezing in the rain”.
Why would anyone want — let alone evolve – nostrils that fill up with water?
Some conservationists and experts on philosophy and ethics reckon that whales and dolphins are so intelligent that they should be given rights to life like humans. That could mean extra pressure on whalers in Japan, Norway and Iceland to end their hunts.
The focus on rights is a shift after conservationists successfully won a ban on almost all whale hunts from 1986, arguing that they had been harpooned close to extinction.
from Shop Talk:
Just in time for Father's Day shopping, Sears will roll out a line of men's suits made of the first high-tech fabric that blends wool with polyester spun from recycled plastic soda bottles.
The suit separates, sold under Sears' Covington Perfect brand, will be on racks in about 500 U.S. Sears stores in May. Price: $175 for the jacket and $75 for the pants, according to Tim Danser, vice president of marketing for Bagir Group Ltd., the Israeli manufacturer that tailors the garments for Sears' private label.
Ask many Japanese about whaling and they explain it’s part of their culture. After all, Japan is surrounded by the ocean and whaling and fishing have been part of Japan for many centuries.
During a recent visit to Japan, several Japanese friends and colleagues were puzzled, indeed annoyed, by Western media coverage of Japan’s scientific whaling in Antarctic waters earlier this year and thought the stories were hostile and uninformed.
Japan was determined to display its green credentials at weekend G20 talks, one of the biggest meetings of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters since last December’s Bali gathering. Even conference staff were given chopsticks and traditional “bento” boxes that could be reused instead of the usual throw-away items.