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1 posts from April 2010


Good News #97 - #102 - Food, Medicine, Public Health, Materials, Transportation

Hello again,

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

  • two new problem-solving food ideas
  • a medical lab you can hold in your hand
  • at last a solution for cockroaches 
  • a new kind of self-repairing "plastic mud" 
  • lighter-than-air ships are coming

Also two LINKS to share...

I want to personally invite you to check out two links below --- our latest edition of our newsletter and next professional development class:

Scroll down to see my good news ideas #97 through #102.

-- Joel

Jab-square-sm Joel Barker
futurist, filmmaker, author


Joel Barker COLLECTION at the Global Dialogue Center

GOOD NEWS IDEAS #97 - #102


Camels#97 - Camel Steaks
Australia is looking to commercialize camel as a healthy, low-fat, tasty red meat for the rest of the world. Camels were introduced into Australia in the 1840's as pack animals, carrying goods across the outback. Some of them were released into the wild and now Australia has the largest wild camel herd in the world numbering around one million. Because they have no predators in Australia, the herd is doubling in size every decade.

This will be the second animal added to Australia's "wild meat" menu, with kangaroo the first. The two big challenges for both are: 1) harvesting them in a sanitary, safe manner and 2) convincing people to eat them. An interesting factoid is that kangaroos produce much less digestive methane than domestic animals, so harvesting and eating kangaroo instead of eating beef or lamb is good for the climate.

It is easy to turn away from these protein sources, but as human population continues to grow, we will have to expand our choices if we want people to have enough to eat.

"Outback Steakhouse," by Marina Kamenev, The Atlantic, April 2010, p 17

Google "Camel steak"


URL: http://www.slashfood.com/2008/02/01/um-camel-steak-tastes-like-beef

Wheatstemrust-sm#98 - New Wheat Is Resistant to Dangerous Fungus

Although it did not make many headlines the last two years, there has been a global threat to wheat. A new kind of stem rust called Ug99 appeared in Africa and began to spread around the world. A world consortium of geneticists and wheat experts, funded largely by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, sprang into action and have found a new wheat variation that
is immune to Ug99 and, as an added bonus, has higher yields.

Without this discovery, the wheat crops throughout Africa, India and Asia could have been devastated in the next two years leading to world famine. Three cheers to the Gates Foundation and the scientists who worked so hard for this success!

Google: "Stem Rust Resistant Wheat"




Claros Diagnostics #99 - Medical Lab in Your Hand
I've written earlier about paper lab tests and cell phone connected lab tests. This arena of technology is exploding. April Popular Science reports on a micro-laboratory that is the size of a credit card costing only $1.00 that can test for dozens of diseases simultaneously. The "lab card" reader is the size of a book. Battery powered, this device costs $100.00 and replaces machines that can cost $100,000.00! The company behind this is Claros Diagnostics working with bioengineer Sam Sia from Columbia University. Great pictures and diagrams, by the way, at the Popular Science article.

"The Lab that Fits in Your Hand" Pop Science, April 2010, p.48-49

Google: Claros Diagnostics




Flames-sm #100 - Cockroach Hell
Cockroaches have been the bane of humanity forever. They carry disease. They bite. They smell. They spoil food. And a lot more. The problem is they are also extremely hardy. In one space experiment, cockroaches were subjected to outerspace vacuum for hours and revived almost immediately when given oxygen. Now it looks like their pestering days are going to be over, at least inside human habitats. It looks like a pest control company, Rentokil, has found a non-chemical, quick way of killing the insects no matter where they are hiding. The do it with heat. The raise the temperature of the building to 56 degrees C, which leaves the household goods like furniture, drapes and bedding, unharmed. But the heat is lethal to insects at all stages of their life cycle from eggs to adulthood.

The challenge is to make sure all parts of the dwelling get heated to that temperature. But with thermal recorders as part of the process, that house can be monitored to make sure that happens. And some pieces of furniture, like mattresses, may have to have special treatment. Oh, the heat kills bed bugs, too.

"Anyone for Fried Cockroach?"  New Scientist, March 6, 2010, p. 17

Google:  Rentokil heat treatment

URL: http://www.rentokil.com/blog/turn-up-the-heat-for-cockroaches-and-bedbugs/


Plastic-mud #101 - Plastic Mud?
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have been experimenting with nano materials and found a very interesting concoction that may be able to replace plastic in many uses. Believe it or not, it is made up of a mixture of water and clay plus a tiny quantity of a thickening agent called sodium polyacrylate and an organic molecular glue. The material is transparent and elastic with significant mechanical strength even though it is really 98% water! It has one more amazing quality: if it fails, it can repair itself and regain the strength it had before the failure.

"Smart Mud Could Be the New Plastic" New Scientist, January 23, 2010, p. 17





500x_LockheedLEMVConcept-SM #102 - The Dirigibles Are Coming!
I have been watching and waiting for the return of lighter-than-air ships--blimps and dirigibles--and two projects are moving this technology closer to reality. Ohio Airships is planning in the coming year to build a big lifter that can carry 22 tons and deliver it where there is no air strip or significant infrastructure. This could be good, not only for businesses, but also emergency relief situations like Haiti. And, while Ohio Airship is working on their design, Lockheed Martin is also designing a 21st century hybrid airship, the P-791. Their funding comes from the military, but it is clear that there are many commercial applications awaiting this technology

"The Floating Freighter" Popular Science, March, 2010, p.30

"Dirigible Dreams" by Lane Wallace, The Atlantic, April 2010, p.27

Google:  "Ohio Airships", "P-791

Photo Credit: Lockheed Martin EMV Concept