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1 posts from November 2009


Good News #80 - #86 --- Energy, Nutrition, Recycling, Materials, Green Farming

Hello again,

Ready for some more GOOD NEWS? Below you'll find seven GOOD NEWS ideas to inspire you, including innovations in energy, nutrition, recycling, materials, and green farming.

Scroll down to see my good news ideas #80 through #86...

-- Joel

Jab-square-sm Joel Barker

futurist, filmmaker, author

2010 CLASS Schedule - How to Get Buy-In for NEW IDEAS
...a professional development class that teaches you how to get your ideas accepted.



NaturalGas-Shale-NYTimes-MattNager-xmmX #80 - New Sources of Natural Gas
American ingenuity rears its happy head again. American energy companies have developed a system for tapping natural gas in previously unusable shale geology.

Why is this important?  Because, for one it looks like there is more than double the amount of natural gas in these kinds of geological structures in the United States than has been found so far in standard natural gas reserves. And second, natural gas has half the carbon dioxide molecules per energy unit produced than coal or oil, so it is a transitional fuel for power companies to use instead of coal. It can also be liquefied and used by vehicles, cutting down the total carbon released into the atmosphere. 

Of course, this is only a bridge to truly non-carbon-based energy sources, but it is very important because it changes the economic calculus of energy location, production and costs. And it reduces the leverage the Middle East has on the rest of the world through its near monopoly or large oil resources.


Safereactors-Rensselaer-sm #81 - More on Nuclear Power
There is a great debate going on in the energy arena. Very smart people like Amory Lovins are making a strong case for no need to go nuclear. Yet, there is a concern about putting all of our energy eggs in the wind/solar/hydro basket. A useful article on nuclear power can be found in "Discover" magazine, June 2009. The emphasis is on safe nuclear reactors that cannot overheat and become dangerous. I have described other nuclear efforts in earlier comments, so this will give you an added insight into the debate.

Discover Magazine: June 2009  pages 53-57

Also see, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - Safe Nuclear Reactors
Photo Credit: RPI

CoolerPlanet-xm #82 - A Listing of New Technology for Cooling the Planet

It is no surprise how often I am citing "New Scientist" magazine. In their Oct 30th, 2009 edition, pages 36-39, they have a wonderful list of positive solutions to help cool the Earth.



IStock_000008517804XSmall[1] #83 - Eating Like a Squirrel
Squirrels like nuts. Well, squirrels are on to something that we should copy. USDA researchers have found that your brain benefits significantly from just seven to nine whole nuts a day. Improvement in balance, coordination (think of that squirrel up in the tree jumping from limb to limb), and memory are all positively influenced by eating nuts. It is the micro-ingredients in nuts that help our brains so much.

Prevention Magazine: Oct. 2009, page 45



Sweden-SustainableCity-TIME #84 - Garbage Tubes in Sweden
The Swedes are testing out a new way to handle garbage efficiently. In the "eco-neighborhood" of Hammarby Sjostad in Stockholm, they have installed pneumatic tubes for sucking away the material to be recycled. The tubes are located in various places in the neighborhood. You bring your garbage and recyclables and send them down various tubes depending on what it is. The organic material gets converted into energy. The paper and metals re-used. And because it is sorted before it goes "down the tube", it is much more useful at the other end. The biogas that is created from the garbage is used to fuel buses, taxis and gas stoves.

Time: August 31, 2009, page 49 - Photo: Time

See VIDEO of story:


LongNanoFibers-DiscoverMag#85 - Nanofibers get long!
The problem with carbon nanofibers is they are so short. No longer. A company in New Hampshire, Nanocomp Technologies, has figured out how to make it by the mile. I am exaggerating a little bit, but it looks like they can make it in very long lengths.

This is important because by mass producing the material, its price drops dramatically. Which means it can be used in more ordinary things like cars and planes and buildings and wind generators and ships and bridges and so many things. Nanofibers are made from carbon and are incredibly strong. This is where oil and coal should be used--as a base for carbon fiber materials which can change the world.  Very exciting!


VerticalFarm.com-photo #86 - Farming in a skyscraper
Designers and engineers are getting serious about an idea that Dickson Despommier, a professor at Columbia University, proposed years ago: farming inside high rise buildings. In an excellent article in Scientific American, the professor explains all the advantages both for humans and for the environment. Here are a couple:  no long transportation needed when the food is grown "in town."  You can use human waste to fertilize the system after you sterilize it. You can use recycled water to water the plants instead of irrigating with river water. You can control the weather inside the building and minimize damage to the plants. And it goes on and on.

We humans are taking up more and more of the natural world to grow food. Maybe it's time to change the paradigm.

Scientific American: November 2009, pp 80-87 (great pictures)

URL:  http://www.verticalfarm.com/

Photo: verticalfarm.com