Thursday, 29 April 2010

Prickly Pear Cactus Can Purify Water

Researchers from the University of South Florida have found that mucilage from the prickly pear cactus is a natural water purifier. Their researches revealed that the thick gum produced by the cactus could capably filter 98 percent of the bacteria Bacillus cereus from the polluted water. The extract causes the sediment and bacteria to settle at the bottom.

The cactus is native to the Western hemisphere and was used by 19th-century Mexican communities as a water purifier. However it is gradually growing all across the globe, so could potentially be within everyone’s reach.

Norma Alcantar, who led the researches at the University of South Florida in Tampa, states that householders in the developing world could boil a slice of cactus to release the mucilage and add it to water in need of purification. "The cactus's prevalence, affordability and cultural acceptance make it an attractive natural material for water purification technologies."

Via: NewScientist

Monday, 26 April 2010

Cow Power - Using A Treadmill!

William Taylor - a farmer in Northern Ireland - has created the Livestock Power Mill, a treadmill that generates power as cows walk on it. According to his calculations, if the world’s 1.3 billion cattle used treadmills for eight hours a day, they could produce six percent of the world’s power!

Cows are locked into a pen on top of a non-powered, inclined belt. To avoid sliding down the incline, the cow needs to walk, which turns the belt. As the belt turns, it spins a gearbox, which powers a generator. A feed box hooked to the front of the device keeps cows occupied and happy. One cow can produce about two kilowatts of electricity, enough energy to power four milking machines.

Apparently this is not cruel to the cows as the routine is actually similar to the animals’ normal behavior. Cows walk about eight hours a day while grazing. So they get the same amount of exercise walking on a treadmill, whilst providing  power.

The Livestock Power Mill is still a prototype on Taylor’s farm, but he estimates that a small farm could earn back a 50-cow system’s $100,000 price tag in a mere three years.

Via: Popular Science

Thursday, 22 April 2010

UNRWA Working To Solve Housing Crisis In Gaza

 The three-week war that took place in the Gaza Strip  during the winter of 2008–2009, destroyed 60,000 Gazan homes and left more than 300,000 people affected.

After all other efforts have come to a standstill, the UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), after taking approval from Israel, has inaugurated a project to construct 150 homes, a flour-mill and a sewage treatment plant to make living a little better here. The bungalow-style homes will feature a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping areas. Not only will they be traditional in design, but they will incorporate green features and modern techniques.

It is said that the concrete which is brought in through a network of tunnels between Gaza and Egypt is smuggled, but UNRWA has made sure that any raw materials imported into Gaza will be from reliable sources. Israel has given approval for concrete deliveries to the territory for the UN has also started to allow in limited truckloads of wood and aluminum for construction.

Here's hoping that work will finally progress.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Island Made Of Recycled Plastic

 I don't know how feasible this is, but the it's a fascinating idea. A group of architects from the Netherlands have the idea to take all the plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean, and recycle it into a floating island the size of Hawaii.

The entire island would be totally self-sufficient once built, producing its own food and energy, and managing waste. One section of the island would be for urban housing, built from recycled plastic, and would also include all the necessary amenities for recreation, commerce, and living. Beaches would be located near the houses for people to relax, enjoy and recreate.

 The Recycled Island proposed by Whim Architecture has three main aims -

- Cleaning our oceans from a gigantic amount of plastic waste.
- Creating new land
- Constructing a sustainable habitat.

 Via: Recycled island

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Concert With Recycled Instruments

 Those of you living in the Arlington, Ma area have the opportunity to attend a one-man variety show on Saturday, April 17 at the Regent Theater. What is different about this show is that Len Solomon, who has been performing his one-man variety show for over 20 years now, as well as putting on a unique show of comedy and juggling, will interpret the great musical classics on some of the most bizarre musical instruments.

The musical instruments are made using 100% recycled material. Symphonic compositions have been arranged for instruments such as dog whistles, bicycle horn, and the majestic bellowphone, constructed from salvaged plumbing materials and coat hanger wire.

The Bellowphone Show is so popular that it has appeared several times on US national television. Check out the video.

Via: WickedLocal

Thursday, 8 April 2010

WFP Long-Term Food Security For Haiti

Following January's earthquake, The World Food Programme (WFP) is now moving beyond emergency food assistance to a longer-term food security strategy.

It is working closely with the Haitian government and other partners on projects to support agricultural rehabilitation and stimulate local markets, while still providing safety nets for the most vulnerable, through nutrition programs and school meals.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Using Lego To Learn About Renewable Energy

A unique Lego set has been designed by Lego MINDSTORMS for kids that accustoms them to the three renewable energy sources –solar, wind and water – and lets them investigate energy supply, transfer, accumulation, conversion, and consumption. The set tags on to the Simple & Motorized Mechanisms Set and is called the Renewable Energy Set.

The set comes with a new activity pack containing building instructions on how to create a solar-powered car and a wind turbine. When connected to the NXT Brick, the unique elements of the set (solar panel, generator, and LEGO Energy Meter) work as sensors. Moreover, it allows kids to measure and analyze the outcomes through real-life models.

Via: GreenProphet

Friday, 2 April 2010

The Value Of Time

Image: YPI

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