« GOOD NEWS #41 - #49---Energy, Research, Materials, Medicine, Transportation, Ecosystems, Climate Change | Main | Good News #59 - #66 - Video Games, Digital Decor, Stronger Concrete, Auto Energy, Robotic Wheel Chairs, Digital Duds, Cow Power, Solar Plane »

04/27/2009

Good News #50 - #58 --- Smart Drugs?, 3 New Materials, Energy, Fuel Efficiency, Space, Healing Breakthroughs

Hello,

These nine GOOD NEWS ideas open our minds up to new possibilities and think through hard questions:

  • "Brain-booster" drugs bring up a hard question.
  • Smoothing bumpy roads to last much longer.
  • A battery that can handle 10 times more electricity than any other in the world.
  • Two new ways to speed and enhance medical healing.
  • Saving billions of gallons of fuel for trucks and reducing CO2 production too.
  • The importance of discovering water on Mars.
  • Two new materials with far-reaching possibilities.

REPORT BACK #2:  Based on interest and feedback about the INNOVATING in HARD TIMES online dialogue held last month with over 425 in attendance, we compiled a HIGHLIGHTS web page. It also includes information on two upcoming related dialogues May 19 and June 16. Here is a link to our announcement: http://tinyurl.com/MARCH31Highlights  

Scroll down to see my good news ideas #50 through #58...

Joel Barker-- Joel

Joel Barker
futurist, filmmaker, author
www.innovationattheverge.com



EDUCATION

Smart drugs-75 #50 - Smart on Drugs?
This is an idea that carries both promise and threat.  A serious conversation is growing over the use of "brain-booster" drugs. These are drugs that improve your concentration and perhaps even raise your IQ. The chemicals that do this are being tested and look to be both safe and effective. 

Now, this is the HARD QUESTION:
If some kids take them and some choose not to take them, what happens to the meaning of grades and test performance, and ultimately being accepted into high ranking colleges and universities. Are these drugs just "super caffeine or something fundamentally different?

The good news: An ability to enable people to perform at higher mental levels.
The bad news: A new kind of competition for best schools and best jobs.

I think this is an important discussion for parents and kids.

Google: "brain-boosters", Henry Greely, Standford Law School, Julian Savulescu, neuroethicist

URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/21776/?a=f
Photo: Credit: Reid Parham

MATERIALS

Bumpy-roads #51 - Smoothing Bumpy Roads
Mix concrete and a special polymer and you have E-Krete, a special coating that is applied to asphalt roads that need resurfacing. The result is a smooth surface that extends the life of the road by 10 years or more. And because it comes in light colors, it reflects sunlight thus reducing heat absorption in parking lots and streets. I wrote about painting roofs white and how that could help on global warming. So could light colored streets.  E-Krete is an excellent example of saving money and resources by making something last longer and helping with climate issues. Another two-fer!

Google:  E-Krete,  PolyCon Manufacturing, Madison WI

URL:http://www.housingzone.com/blog/1290000529/post/280041428.html
Photo: The Product Guy Blog - Nick Bajzek

ENERGY

Liquid Battery #52 - Liquid Battery:
a Whole New Approach
Leave it to MIT to come up with a great idea. This one is a liquid battery whose active ingredients are molten instead of solid.  I won't go into all the chemistry of this fascinating solution to big batteries because you can get that from the MIT article itself.  This battery can handle 10's of times more electricity than any other battery in the world. It is cheap and easy to manufacture because the materials are inexpensive and the "parts" are layers of liquids.

The really big deal is that this battery is so efficient that, for the first time, we can think about building a back-up for the entire national electrical grid! These batteries are great for solving the intermitency problem that wind generators have. When the wind blows at night, no one wants electricity. No big deal with this new battery. You just capture that nighttime energy with a liquid battery. It looks like five years from now, they will be commercialized.  I bet it happens faster.

URL: Technology Review published by MIT
http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22116/
http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22116/page2/

Graphic Credit: Arthur Mount

MEDICINE

Vomaris #53 - Electrical Healing
The paradigms keep shifting in medicine. A new pathway is "electrical healing," stimulation by electricity that causes wounds that were intractable to heal completely. The company, Vomaris has developed this technology which is being used by . Soon they plan to have an over-the-couner product. Their webs site has "vivid" pictures of before and after if you want to see the results.  This is very important for those people who have lingering sores that don't heal.

Google: Vomaris, Procellera, electric wound healing

URL: http://www.vomaris.com/

http://techlifepost.com/2009/02/02/coming-soon-electric-bandages/

FUEL EFFICIENCY

Trucks-diesel #54 - Diesel Electic Field
In January, I wrote about an experiment that improved fuel efficiency by 10% for diesel engines using a simple, small electric field generator that thins fuel which allows it to vaporize more completely. California-based Save the World Air, Inc. has taken this idea and created the Elektra fuel pump add-on, making this concept practical. For a standard truck going average over-the-road miles, this could save 2000 gallons of diesel fuel per year and significantly reduce CO2 production by that truck. Now, just think about the millions of trucks on the road and you have billions of gallons of fuel saved! The company is testing a smaller unit that could be used on diesel cars as soon as 2011.

Google: Save the World, Inc., Elektra fuel pump

URL:  http://cncmachining.wordpress.com/2009/01/29/3-clever-innovations-for-a-greener-future/


SPACE

4-19-2009 5-20-01 PM-mars #55 - Water on Mars?
When I was growing up, I assumed human beings would be living on Mars by the end of the 20th century. Now new research suggests that Mars may have a lot of water easily accessible.

Why is that important? Because by breaking apart water we get oxygen so we can breath on the planet and hydrogen which will provide fuel for land rovers and our space ships. If they don't have to carry fuel for a return flight but, instead, can make it when they get to Mars, it changes the whole equation of how big the Mars space ship needs to be and what else it can carry to Mars instead of fuel.

Google:  water on Mars

URL: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/mars_water_000620.html


MATERIALS

Anti-matter #56 - Antimatter easy to make?
Lawrence Livermore National Lab has developed a cheap and easy way to make lots of antimatter. For outer space devotees, this is a big deal because if you can store it, you have the ultimate fuel. Mix a little antimatter with water, for instance, and you get a whole lot of thrust as atoms anhilate one another. Next to antigravity, antimatter is a big deal for space travel.

Google: antimatter, Lawrence Livermore

URLS: http://www.nanotechwire.com/news.asp?nid=6920 and


https://publicaffairs.llnl.gov/news/news_releases/2008/NR-08-11-03.html

 

#57 - MATERIALS

-shell-sm #57 - Seashells by the Nanoscore
A
balone shell is one tough material. Made from simple elements and a living animal. Pretty amazing when you think of it. Now, using nano and microscale elements, human beings have created a hybrid material that mimicks sea shell. Lightweight and strong and tough, a great combination. California researchers teamed together to use aluminum oxide and a special polymer to mimic the natural shell. The result is 300 times tougher than either of the materials by itself. What would you like to make out of this stuff?

Google: Antoni Tomsia, nacre imitation, microscale bricks

URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22138/page2/


MEDICINE

Laser-bonded-healing #58 - Invisible Scars
Surgeons at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massecusetts General Hospital have devised a way to use lasers to seal up surgical wounds with almost no scaring. Using the heat a laser can precisely generate, they carefully weld skin back together with the results being hard to see with the naked eye. This new technology will allow surgeons to do their work in places that have been too public for scaring before. And since the "welding" seals up everything with no stitches to worry about, it is less likely to get infected and more likely to hold up to the stresses of everyday behavior.

Google:  laser-bonded healing

URL:  http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/nano-sutures-laser-bonded-healing

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83452237c69e201156f3542e4970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Good News #50 - #58 --- Smart Drugs?, 3 New Materials, Energy, Fuel Efficiency, Space, Healing Breakthroughs :

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

A few kinds of financial loans security might be unneeded especially with regard to really short-term financial loans which are created to big credit-worthy open public businesses or even companies. For instance, a very credit-worthy multi-national credit 10 zillion bucks like a linking mortgage with regard to 30 davs or even much less tenor make it possible for this spend responsibility as well as obvious products in the interface might not be necessary to provide security

A few kinds of financial loans security might be unneeded especially with regard to really short-term financial loans which are created to big credit-worthy open public businesses or even companies. For instance, a very credit-worthy multi-national credit 10 zillion bucks like a linking mortgage with regard to 30 davs or even much less tenor make it possible for this spend responsibility as well as obvious products in the interface might not be necessary to provide security

Post a comment.

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Recent Posts

Links


Subscribe via Email

Enter your address: