Using Fashion to Charge Electronics

Battery life on mobiles is never very good and this causes a drain on the electrical system. What if we were able to power our mobiles by just wearing clothes? Well, that’s a new field that is gaining more and more attention. The Guardian looked at a few ways we can use fashion to power our wares.

Kinetic energy
Professor Rebeccah Pailes-Friedman is a designer and author of Designing With Smart Textiles, due to be published in 2015. She says, “If you think about what traditional fashion is, it’s such a small part of the real world, but then when you look at performance fashion, clothing that has to do something, you see a much larger part of the population using them.”

Pailes-Friedman focuses her research on light and movement in smart textiles. “Really good design is when you don’t notice it. We have always lived and worked in clothing so we know how it functions, 98% of how we wear it is no mystery to us so technology being incorporated needs to be part of and as intuitive as our clothing.” An example of this seamless design might be kinetic energy, where movement generates energy.

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Formula E Will Get Power from Algae

I’m looking forward to the start of Formula E next month, and it’s exciting to hear that the racing league has signed on with Aquafuel to power their cars with algae. Formula E is the all-electric alternative to the popular Formula 1 racing league. Algae will be used to power the mobile generators that will charge batteries used during the race.

Formula E’s sustainability manger Julia Pallé told BusinessGreen the championship organisers have signed a deal with UK start-up Aquafuel to supply generators powered by glycerine, a byproduct of biodiesel that can also be produced from salt-water algae. The fuel is biodegradable, non-toxic and can be used in modified diesel generators to produce power.

“It’s a very innovative compound,” Pallé said at an event at Donington Park yesterday to unveil some of the new technologies being used by Formula E. “It comes from algae so it’s a first generation compound and it uses glycerine so it has no CO2 emissions, no smoke, no noise, no smell. It’s something that isn’t harmful at all. It’s super-efficient and we’re really happy to be working with [Aquafuel] on that.”

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Here’s McLaren showing their Formula E car:

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Vermont Stops Their War on Drugs, Will Help People Instead

The war on drugs is a backwards, destructive, and anti-human campaign that has destroyed lives. It was launched by Nixon and since then it the ‘war’ has negatively impacted everything it touches from people’s lives to the global economy.

The USA tries to enforce it’s inflexible approach around the world, yet at home many states are realizing that it’s a foolish approach. Vermont has now openly backed out of the ignorant ‘battle’ against drugs and is taking a more educated approach: helping people who are addicted rather than punishing them.

Vermont has passed a battery of reforms that have turned the tiny state of about 627,000 people into a national proving ground for a less punitive approach to getting hard drugs under control. Under policies now in effect or soon to take hold, people caught using or in possession of heroin will be offered the chance to avoid prosecution by enrolling in treatment. Addicts, including some prisoners, will have greater access to synthetic heroin substitutes to help them reduce their dependency on illegal narcotics or kick the habit. A good Samaritan law will shield heroin users from arrest when they call an ambulance to help someone who’s overdosed. The drug naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose, will be carried by cops, EMTs, and state troopers. It will also be available at pharmacies without a prescription. “This is an experiment,” Shumlin says. “And we’re not going to really know the results for a while.”

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A Checklist for Rational Thinking

There exists a Center for Applied Rationality (as opposed to unapplied rationality?) and they have set out to make the world more rational. Their approach is questionable, as it’s unclear as to what form of rationality they are openly proselytizing. Regardless, they do have a neat checklist to help people work through problems and see debates in a more thoughtful way.

Here’s the first item on their rationality checklist:

Reacting to evidence / surprises / arguments you haven’t heard before; flagging beliefs for examination.

  • When I see something odd – something that doesn’t fit with what I’d ordinarily expect, given my other beliefs – I successfully notice, promote it to conscious attention and think “I notice that I am confused” or some equivalent thereof.
  • When somebody says something that isn’t quite clear enough for me to visualize, I notice this and ask for examples.
  • I notice when my mind is arguing for a side (instead of evaluating which side to choose), and flag this as an error mode.
  • I notice my mind flinching away from a thought; and when I notice, I flag that area as requiring more deliberate exploration.
  • I consciously attempt to welcome bad news, or at least not push it away.

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Helsinki Wants to Send Cars to Purgatory

The Helsinki bus station theory will change you life and now the Finnish government wants to change people’s lives by making cars pointless. In the coming decades they will make use of data and various transportations to make owning a car a pointless exercise in futility. In many urban centres car ownership is a fool’s game and Helsinki is just making this point clearer.

The ultimate solution for Finland is to create an app for on-demand transport.

As the new system is envisioned, you would use an app on your smart phone to say where you are and where you want to go, and the app would not only give you all the best options, but it would allow you to pay on the spot. This new network, envisioned by a graduate student, would include also cars on demand, but not privately owned.

Interestingly, this new system was designed by a young woman, Sonja Heikkilä. Heikkilä wrote a white paper outlining all the features of the system, which she says will be more attractive to Millenials than car ownership. Here’s how it would work, according to Heikkilä:

“Imagine that Piritta boards a tram, alights from it a couple of stops later, and hires a bicycle to travel to work. After work, she orders a car of [sic] demand responsive transport and travels to the sport hall, where her training equipment already waits for her. Finally, after practice she shares a ride in a shared car and travels home. Piritta uses all services through her personal mobility operator and the use of services is charged directly from her account.”

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Thanks to Mike!

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