Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chic Swine Flu Mask Changes Color When Your Temperature Rises

‘This is the season for the flu, and if the regular strain wasn’t bad enough, we have a new, porcine terror to contend with. These brightly patterned medical face masks, however, may ward off H1N1 and its brethren simply by virtue of being stylish—looking like Wacko Jacko in his latter days notwithstanding. Designed by Marjan Kooroshnia, a Swedish textile-design student, these face masks have a bonus feature: They’re printed with thermochromic ink that changes color with any uptick in breathing temperature.


Inspired by the swine flu pandemic, Hoorshnia’s early warning systems—for other people, at least—span the design gamut, from the traditional medical mask to a rather fetching wrap-around scarf. In addition to full-face sinus masks that detect temperature increases around the forehead or mouth, Hoorshnia has also designed masks with patterns (such as flowers) that indicate the wearer’s allergies.

The masks are printed with thermochromic ink that changes color with any uptick in breathing temperature.

Kooroshnia, who focuses her research on smart textiles, is investigating how reactive, color-changing technologies for fabrics can not only serve as a form of visual communication, but also as a potential red flag to prevent contagious diseases from spreading. A person with a different colored mask, for instance, can be spotted easily and quarantined if necessary.

But the quirky masks can also be worn for fun, she notes. “Using different patterns for masks might be suitable for different people, from the aspect of beauty and color

Monday, December 21, 2009

Solar water heater

Solar water heater is not a new term, in fact in countries like Spain and India solar water heater is a commonly sold product. Thanks to ever increasing cost of energy Solar water heaters have become quite popular. Dew to demand the design & efficiency of Solar water heater has improved over the past 2 decades. We all know that a Solar water heater uses the free & abundant solar energy to heat up our water so calling them the cheapest type of water heaters won’t be wrong. Unlike the other renewable energy products, Solar water heaters don’t have a monstrous initial cost. Many consider Solar water heaters inefficient as they a re powered by sun but fail to understand that if invested properly into storage Solar water heaters are just as efficient as the conventional ones. Also solar water heaters are being made on both unit size small ones and community size gigantic ones. Single unit Solar water heaters in Spain are very common now, in fact there are cities where Solar water heater are mandatory to attain planning commission on houses. In remote locations in India water is heated for the entire communities using huge reflectors reflecting on either water storage or transmission pipe lines. Solar water heaters either have no or little running cost while their effects on our environment are amazing and it won’t be wrong to say that the Solar water heater is a great step towards conservation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why Copenhagen

So one is very green conscious and is concerned about the environment to such an extent that finding out about the multiple problems facing the environment makes him sad and depressed but then one has his own life to live, people to meet bills to pay wives to marry. So when the Copenhagen Summit started the skeptic that I am my first reaction was Cities do not deserve to host such conferences and summits they directly or indirectly contribute to the uphill task we face if we want to make this world live able in the long term.

However cynicism should be based on facts so I had to find out if I could criticize Copenhagen, this is where Google comes in handy. So I start reading and the more I read the better I feel because no matter how pessimistic or realistic we are we all want to see the practical implementations which are already effective and show that Sustainability is not just an illusion and more importantly we can undo the damage done to the Environment.

Case in point, Vision 2015 Copenhagen plans to be justifiably famous as the capital city in the world with the best urban environment. It will have become the Eco-Metropolis of the world, thus demonstrating that environmental concern adds an extra dynamic to urban development. This is not just a far off dream which will join many other plans that have yet been unfulfilled and look likely never to succeed. Let’s just have a little look at how Copenhagen harbor has been cleaned in over a decade, so that now it’s a place where people can swim again.

The overflow of Sewage systems harms the water ways therefore this needs to be reduced as there are some key contaminants in sewage water:

Nutritive salts which fertilize the water and algae growths excessively.

Bacteria make water unhygienic.

Heavy metals and environmentally injurious substances are poisonous, when ingested by living organisms.

Organic substances diminish oxygen levels around the discharge sites.

The City of Copenhagen formulated its first Waste Water Management Plan in 1976.

This was followed by the establishment of a wastewater treatment plant in 1980, which was further improved in 1997 to handle sludge and incineration.

Which in turn was followed up by investments to reconstruction the sewage system, by building rain water reservoirs and reservoir conduits which can store waste water until there is space again in the sewage system.

Creation of an online municipal warning system that calculates and provides information about the water quality in the harbor.

Strategic efforts to create urban recreational facilities such as public harbor baths.

The desired impact has been a sustainable one, now that the harbor is clean enough for people to bath in without getting sick, all this has been accomplished in a relatively short space of time. The long term impact of this will show when the wildlife in and around the harbor returns. Above all Copenhagen’s efforts are an example of the fact that little efforts in the correct direction lead to sustainable results.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Copenhagen Pirates

Indeed we look at the developed countries expecting them to lead by example not to lack the courage of their own convictions. On closer examination the cynic in me starts seeing situation from a different perspective:

Lets examine one particular situation which is complicated however on closer inspection on realizes the main hurdle to the effectiveness of conferences like the one in Copenhagen are the very nations who organize it and enforce the rules on others. The hypocrisy becomes evident especially when the media fails to show what the actual problem is, politics, religion, nationalistic, social structure accounts are given as reasons for the incidents however no one takes into account the Environmental impact of forgoing responsibility.

Playa de Bakio, is a Spanish fishing trawler which has been in the news a few months ago it was fishing in Somali waters, this fact is not disputed by even the Spanish officials. Even though Illegal fishing is a crime, this has been largely ignored for the best part of twenty years off the coast of Somalia. Fishing trawlers from different countries practice fishing techniques that are banned in their own countries as these are harmful to the environment to trawl the ocean water around Somalia. Their actions destroy the ecological balance and make environmental sustainability next to impossible.

They benefit from the sale of Somali fish all over the world and reap the profits, the international community has said little about this issue which costs the Somali people upwards of an estimated 94 million dollars yearly it jeopardizes the economic and environmental viability of fisheries for future generations of Somali children. The internal problem of the country and the anarchic situation it faces does not allow other countries to come and take advantage of the situation just because there is no resource to enforce the law. So the trawler is taken over by pirates, it becomes international headline news, but as long as they keep fishing illegal everyone can turn a blind eye to their piracy.

This kind of behavior is widespread and there are many examples around the world where developed countries take advantage of situations to make their countries cleaner while polluting others, if only they where not that narrow minded and short sighted they would come to the conclusion that the broader picture shows this earth is what they have to protect not the temporary and imaginary borders which represent countries.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sticky Green Conscious

London based Hu2 Design has created wall stickers to raise energy awareness & sustainability conscious. These wall stickers reveal fantastical set of inner workings behind standard plugs and switches. From hamster-powered generators to Franklin-esque lightning storms. These wall stickers offer clever explanations for the power running through our walls that make you think twice about where your energy does comes from. Hu2 have also created such stickers for taps and toilet seats to create awareness about water consumption. Wall stickers are made out of vinyl which can contain harmful chemicals but still Hu2 has done a great job to inspire energy efficiency with the flick of a switch, which in a longer run would create Sustainable consciousness.

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