7 posts categorized "Children"


Good News #88 - #96 --- TRENDS, Energy, Infrastructure, Technology, Health Care, Images of the Future, Outer Space

Hello again,

Ready for some more GOOD NEWS? Below you'll find nine GOOD NEWS ideas to inform and inspire you, including...

  • top ten technology trends from the past decade
  • three energy innovations
  • building bridges faster, stronger, safer
  • washing clothes with 90% less water 
  • cellphone turns into medical lab
  • vision of the future in America
  • transporting goods to outer space

Also two LINKS to share...

I want to personally invite you to check out our new newsletter and professional development class at the two links below:

Scroll down to see my good news ideas #88 through #96.

-- Joel

Jab-square-sm Joel Barker

futurist, filmmaker, author


Joel Barker COLLECTION at the Global Dialogue Center

Good News #88 - #96


2-1-2010 7-11-26 PM-Invention&Technology #88 - The Decade's Top 10 Technology Trends for Consumer Electronics
There is a little known magazine, "Invention & Technology," that regularly produces in depth stories on new ideas and the history of old ideas. For their 2010 Winter edition, they created a very interesting list of consumer electronics trends between 2001 and 2010. Here is their top ten. See how it matches with your own:

1. Cellphone cameras
2. Applications for cell phones(primarily the iPhone)
3. Digital music
4. DVD/Blu-ray
5. GPS
6. Social networking
7. Laptops
8. Digital video recording
9. E Books
10 Big flat screen TV's

It is easy to forget all of that happened in only the last 10 years.


_46878754_picture106-Stanford-PaperBattery #89 - Paper Batteries
It is the revolution of battery technologies. I have written about new kinds of batteries several times. Now, up comes the most interesting one--a battery based on paper!

Researchers at Stanford University took regular old copier paper, painted it with a coating that contained carbon nanotubes (nano technology is becoming mainstream!), dipped the combination in lithium solutions and some other chemicals and, eureka! -- a paper battery.

The paper's acts as both as a structural element and a collector of the electrical charge. And making batteries this way could reduce their weight by 20%. These paper batteries also have another very important property: they can release their energy rapidly which is a requirement for electric car batteries.

Clearly, this is the beginning of a new battery paradigm.

URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8401566.stm

Mg20427366_500-1_300-NewScientist-Tech #90 - Lotus Leaves and Solar Cells
In my book, Five Regions of the Future, I write about a technology domain I call Nature Tech. It uses technology that Nature has developed to improve human designed technology. Researchers at Stanford University have copied a texture from lotus leaves (nanoscale domes that look like eggs touching one another) and applied it to solar panels. 

The results are dramatic reductions in solar energy reflected back into the sky by the solar cell (from 35% to only 6%) and, a surface that is self-cleaning. This makes the solar cell more efficient and reduces maintenance at the same time. What a deal!

New Scientist, November 28, 2009, p. 25, including photo

URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427366.500-lotus-leaf-solar-cells-soak-up-more-power.html

Visit Five Regions of the Future self-learning exhibit at the KNOWLEDGE GALLERY at the Global Dialogue Center.

2-1-2010 7-00-12 PM-icestorms #91 - Power Lines That Protect Themselves From Ice Storms
Having lived in Minnesota most of my life, I have seen ice storms come through the state and coat power lines with ice that ultimately breaks the line. Power goes out in the middle of winter and that is very dangerous.

Now a professor of engineering at Dartmouth College has developed a de-icing system that could stop the damage. He has figured out a way to get the cables to heat up enough to melt the ice off the power cables before they break. It takes between 30 seconds and 3 minutes for the process to work and uses less than 1 percent of the energy running through the lines to achieve this.

This is a revolutionary way to protect the power grid. It saves both money to repair the lines and all the costs of not having power to keep your house warm or your business running during the storm.  China is looking at the system to protect their new national electric energy grid.

Popular Science, November, 2009

URL: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2009-10/ice-breaker


Inflatable Bridges #92 - Inflatable Bridges
The old paradigm of bridge building required two months to put up a 28-foot bridge strong enough for cars and trucks. The new paradigm makes it happen in 11 days using inflatable forms. The idea is to inflate 32-foot carbon fiber tubes and then bend them using a frame to create an arch. The the tubes are coated with a resin that hardens in four hours, creating a form that is two times stronger than steel.

You take the arches, put them in place arcing over whatever you want to bridge, cut a hole in them and fill them with concrete. Now you have a concrete tube inside a very strong fabric tube. You arrange the arches across the space you want to bridge. You put a small rustproof, salt-proof surface on top of the arches. Add fill to road level and coat it with asphalt or concrete. Eleven days after you started you are done!

These bridges are faster to install, much stronger and safer that the previous bridges, and built to last 100 years, twice as long as the bridges they are replacing. The end result is a better bridge, faster to assemble, and 50% cheaper in the long run.

By the way, 25% of the nation's bridges need to be replaced or repaired.

URL: http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/bridge-cost-cut-with-inflatable-arches.aspx

Popular Science, December 2009, p18


2-1-2010 6-52-54 PM-lesswater #93 - Cleaning Your Jeans
It is easy to get all excited about Gee-Whiz technology like flying cars and solar cells. But technology developments in other areas are also important. For instance a company named Xeros has developed a way to clean clothes with 90% less water. Its secret is plastic beads mixed with a little water and about 1/3 of the usual amount of detergent.

The beads act as scrubbers and collectors of dirt and grime. And instead of using 8 gallons for a 4 1/2 pound load of clothes, you use less than one gallon.

Because water use is becoming a key limiting factor in the growth of cities, this technology could make a big difference.

Popular Science, November 2009, p 30

URL and Photo Credit: http://www.xerosltd.com/ 


2-1-2010 7-17-02 PM-ucla #94 - Medical Lab on a Cell Phone
One of the biggest problems in the developing world is being able to do a quick blood test when you are out in the field. This problem is about to go away because of the ingenuity of scientists who are working with FrontlinesSMS:Medic. This group is bringing cheap, effective medical testing to places that cannot afford standard care.

Using a technology developed at UCLA by Professor Aydogan Ozcan and his team called LUCAS, a picture of a blood sample can be sent via cellphone to a global data base that compares it to other images and offers a diagnosis within minutes.

Ironically, while this technology will appear first in very poor countries, it can also reduce costs of health care in the most developed countries.

Google:  FrontlinesSMS:Medic, LUCAS, Ozcan, Cell phone lab

URL: http://www.intomobile.com/2008/12/28/lucas-imaging-technology-turns-cellphone-into-blood-analysis-tool.html/lucas-ozcan-8


2-1-2010 7-23-38 PM-popsci #95 -  Rebuilding America!
It's no secret that I am a big fan of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics because they are constantly reporting the leading-edge of new technologies and innovations.

The February Popular Science has a wonderful illustrated article on fixing everything that's wrong in the USA. They focus on transportation, water, energy, communications, and sewage. Each topic has several very positive examples of how to make it right.

Lots of good pictures, by the way, so you may want to buy this magazine for your children so they can look at what could be done. I invite the editors to, once a quarter, pick another set of topics and do the same thing. Great work!

URL:  http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-01/heres-what-future-infrastructure-might-look

A great video - High-Speed Trackless Train Technology:


2-1-2010 7-31-05 PM-jhunter-quicklaunch #96 - Big Gun to Shoot Stuff into Space
What would be the cheapest way to get materials into outer space...stuff like food, oxygen, water, parts,etc?  John Hunter, a physicist turned entrepreneur thinks it is with a gun. His company's name is "Quicklaunch."

His gun is enormous -- 3,300 feet long. To make it manageable, he floats it in the ocean using its buoyancy to suspend it in the water at an angle, with the barrel pointed toward space. The 1000 pound "bullet" carries a package of materials to be "shot",  for instance, to a space station. The bullet is expelled from the 3300-foot tube using hydrogen heated to 2600 degrees F. As the expanding hydrogen gas pushes the bullet up to tube, the bullet accelerates to 13,000 mph. A small rocket engine fires to finish the trip to orbit.

This could reduce cost of delivery to orbit from $5000 per pound to $250 per pound, a huge cost savings. One caveat, however: this is not a ride for anything alive since the acceleration generates 5000 G's of force.

Google: "Quicklaunch, John Hunter"

URL: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17931-blasted-into-space-from-a-giant-air-gun.htm


#5 - Algae to Oil--a gusher

J0437683-MSCA-GlobalGreen A Texas company claims it can grow algae at such volumes that they can produce 100,000 gallons of "algae oil" per acre per year. This compares to corn which yields only 200 gallons of ethanol per year.  The secret is a vertical system that allows a 3 dimensional growing space for the algae and a closed-loop system that keeps contanimants out and re-uses water with more than 90% efficiency.  Given the numbers, one-tenth of New Mexico could supply all the land necessary to provide 100% of the United States' transportation fuel needs, assuming all vehicles can burn diesel fuel.
The really impressive thing about this company is that they are not seeking public funding and have many venture capitalists waiting to help.  This is a project that could change the face of the earth because it takes carbon out of the air (via the algae) to create the lipids in the algae that are then converted to bio-diesel. And anywhere there are moderate temperatures and good access to sunlight, you can have a "factory."
Category: ENERGY
Google: Vertigro 
or http://www.globalgreensolutionsinc.com/s/VertigroFAQ.asp
Source: Global Green Solutions;
graphic: Microsoft Office Home

Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center

#4 - Electricity in the right places improves engine mileage!

4-Electricity Research done at Temple University confirms that an electric field generated near the fuel injectors of a diesel engine can improve mileage by as much as 20%. It looks like it should work for standard gasoline engines as well. That means a 20% decrease in fuel consumption across the boards for all internal combustion engines.  No comment on whether old engines could be retrofited, but, from the research, it sounds possible.
Category: ENERGY
Google:  electric field, gas mileage
or  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925111836.htm
Source: Science Daily
Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center

#3 - Pollution Eating Concrete

J0234555[1]-MSCA-TX-Active An Italian company has invented a concrete that takes pollution out of the air. It is self-cleaning so it always looks white. But more than that, it neutralizes air pollutants thus improving the quality of the air nearby.  In the United States its first use will be near schools to reduce the effects of pollutants.


Google: TX Active cement   
or http://www.engadget.com/2006/11/11/tx-active-a-new-pollution-eating-cement-for-europe/
Source: Engadget;
graphic: Microsoft Office Home

Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center

#2 - Nanopaper--As strong as Iron and made out of wood

Nanopaper In Sweden, another kind of "paper" has been invented.  Using a very old material, cellulose extracted from wood, Swedish researcher, Lars Berglund have changed conventional paper into a much stronger material. He has figured out a way to make celluose nanofibers and then use a standard paper making process to make paper out of these fibers.  The result is paper stronger than cast iron and almost as strong a structural steel.

Here, again, we see a common, easy to grow material, provide new and important qualities of strength simply by finding a new way to process the material.  The concept of a "paper house" stronger than steel is very interesting.


Google: nanopaper 
or http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080609090706.htm

Source: Science Daily

Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center

#1 - Buckypaper: super strong and super light

Buckypaper Florida State University researchers have developed a new kind of material made out of carbon nanotubes that promises to be 10 times lighter than steel of the same thickness and potentially 500 times stronger!  Nanotubes have been manufactured for years, but this is the first time someone has assembled them into a sheet.

Each tube is 50,000 times smaller than a human hair but extremely strong.  Buckpaper is made like paper except, instead of wood fibers, it is made up of layers of nanofibers. Of course, we are just at the beginning, but, just like computer chips, once we figure out how to make it, it will improve dramatically.

Think of the impact of a material made out of a highly abundant material--carbon that is so light and strong.  Airplanes, bridges, buildings, cars--all will be stronger and lighter. For cars and planes, it means much less fuel needed to go from point A to point B.  For buildings, it means cheaper foundations, or much taller buildings. And safer, lighter, longer-lasting bridges. Just when we were worrying about the cost of iron ore, along comes Buckypaper which could make steel, if not obsolete, used a lot less than it is now.


Google Search: buckypaper
or http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/17/buckypaper-material.html

Source: Discovery Channel - Discovery News

Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center

Joel Barker's New Ideas to Consider

New-ideas-postit This is the beginning of a long exploration. It is a response to people asking me where they can find good news about the future. This will be one place, though it won't be exhaustive.  I will add new items as I see fit on my schedule, so the examples will grow in fits and starts.  My goal is to give you as a parent or a grand parent or an older sibling, a place for find stories that give the younger children and adolescents around you reason for being positive about the future.

I went through more than 200 positive articles to sort out the first 10 new ideas to share with you.  I'll try to add betweeen 5-10 each week which means about 300 stories a year that show how human beings around the world are working to make it a better place.  Of course, it is my definition of "better" and I am sure some of you will disagree with my choices. That's what's nice about a free market. You can disagree with me at no cost.

One more thing: if you have a report on some positive idea for the future, feel free to drop me a note about it. If it meets my own criteria, I'll happily include it with a reference to you.

I will always try to give you a URL to go to to gather more extensive data and, if there are pictures, I'll try to include them since kids love pictures!

See the posts that follow to  to see my first 10 new ideas for you to consider.

Here we go!

Joel Barker-- Joel

Joel Barker
futurist, filmmaker, author

Joel Barker's Good News Blog
at the Global Dialogue Center