Disabled duck to get new foot with help of 3-D printer

NASHVILLE — Buttercup the disabled duck will gain an opportunity next week not common to most waterfowl.

He is expected to get his new webbed foot prosthetic, courtesy of NovaCopy and its 3-D printing engineer, Joel Graves.

Engineers at the Nashville-based copier reseller didn’t think helping a duck live a normal life would be a project they would encounter during the rise of 3-D printing. But they agreed to donate their time, expertise and technology to help Buttercup when a suburban Memphis waterfowl sanctuary approached them.

AZC Unveils Plans for a Giant Inflatable Trampoline Bridge in Paris

There are plenty of beautiful bridges that carry cars and pedestrians across the Seine River in Paris, so awesome design firm AZC has another idea in store. Why not create a bridge dedicated to fun? Their inflatable crosswalk features enormous trampolines in the center of each of the three rings for people to bounce and flip their way over the water. With their eyes set on a strip near the Bir-Hakeim bridge, AZCwants their blow-up bridge to be a place where anyone can engage with their surroundings, and experience Paris like never before.

Read more: AZC Unveils Plans for a Giant Inflatable Trampoline Bridge in Paris | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Singapore’s Spectacular Solar Supertrees open this month at the Gardens by the Bay

Solar Supertree in Singapore
These amazing towers, which reach up to 164 feet 50 meters in height, bring together the best of solar technology and vertical gardening. The Bay South Garden will showcase 18 Supertrees, which will also function as air ventilation ducts for nearby conservatories and collect rain water during Singapore’s frequent storms.

via Singapore’s Spectacular Solar Supertrees Open this Month at the Gardens by the Bay! | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime

Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime : The Salt : NPR

By Gretchen Cuda Kroen (NPR) Pouring water into clear plastic bottles and placing them in the sun can kill disease causing organisms in about six hours. It’s a simple and cheap method that’s been around forever, and it helps. (Who says sun tea isn’t safe?)

But there’s a hitch – the water has to be clear enough for the sun’s rays to penetrate – and much of the world’s water supply is murky from the clay soils in riverbeds and lake bottoms that mix with the water. Enter the scientists.

“Basically, you need to be able to read a newspaper through it. That means it’s clear enough for the UV radiation to penetrate and kill the pathogens. If you can’t see through it, it just won’t work,” explains Joshua Pierce, associate professor of materials science and engineering at Michigan Tech.

Pierce and his colleagues discovered that by adding a little table salt to this murky water, they could get the particles of clay to stick together and settle to the bottom, making the water clear enough to purify using the solar disinfection method. They also found that the addition of salt works best for certain kinds of clay soils, namely bentonite, and not so well with others. But when they added a little bentonite along with salt to water that contained other types of clay soils, it worked just as well.

via Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime : The Salt : NPR.

Empire State Building cuts energy use 20%

Empire State Building cuts energy use 20% - May. 7, 2012

By Steve Hargreaves (CNN) The Empire State Building is on an energy diet.The hulking building, a symbol of American power and, to some, excess, has cut its energy use by 20%.And thats just due to changes to the buildings exterior. Once retrofits are made to tenant spaces on the inside, the second tallest building in Manhattan will be nearly 40% more efficient.

The retrofits will cost $20 million once theyre complete, and are expected to save the owners $4.4 million in annual energy costs.”After one year, we have proven that investing in energy efficiency gives building owners a dollars-and-cents advantage,” said Dave Myers, a president at Johnson Controls, which conducted the retrofit.

The changes to the Empire State include:

  • Filling the existing windows with an energy saving gas and adding an additional plastic pane.
  • Upgrading the buildings cooling system.
  • Using computerized “smart” energy management technology that can adjust temperatures floor by floor.
  • Provide tenants with detailed energy use in their space.
  • Automatically shut off lights in unused areas.

via Empire State Building cuts energy use 20% – May. 7, 2012.

Organic strawberries better pollinated

(PhysOrg) Organic cultivation methods not only benefit biodiversity; they also appear to have a positive effect on the ecosystem service pollination. In a study of strawberry plants in Skåne, the proportion of fully pollinated flowers was significantly higher on organic farms. This is shown in new research from Lund University in Sweden.

The study is based on studies of strawberry plants on twelve farms in the county of Skåne, Sweden. On the farms with KRAV organic certification, where neither pesticides nor non-organic fertiliser are used, 45 per cent of the strawberry flowers were fully pollinated. On the conventional farms, the corresponding figure was 17 per cent.

“The results show that the pollination service is benefited by organic cultivation methods, which is an important factor in the development of sustainable agriculture”, says Georg Andersson, a doctoral student in environmental science at Lund University.

The research also shows that the positive effects of organic cultivation are evident within 2-4 years of the farm receiving KRAV certification.The research results have been published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0031599

via Organic strawberries better pollinated.

New LED lightbulbs burn ten times brighter

Bright idea: Soraa's MR16 LED matches the output of a 50-watt halogen.

Bright idea: Soraa's MR16 LED matches the output of a 50-watt halogen.

LED lightbulbs promise a highly efficient, nontoxic, long-lasting alternative to today’s incandescent and halogen lightbulbs. Lighting entire rooms using LEDs has, however, proved both technically challenging and expensive.

Soraa, a startup based in Fremont, California, has developed a new type of LED that it says generates 10 times more light from the same quantity of active material used in other LEDs. The company’s first product is a 12-watt bulb that uses 75 percent less energy than a similarly illuminating 50-watt halogen bulb. Company officials would not disclose the cost of the bulb, but say it will pay for itself in less than one year through energy savings.

LEDs contain a semiconducting material that lights up when current passes through it, and are commonly used for low-light applications such as illuminating computer screens.

via LEDs that Burn 10 Times Brighter – Technology Review.

Arizona Scitech Festival helps you find your future in your own backyard

Participate in the Arizona Scitech Festival

Participate in the Arizona Scitech Festival

What do baseballs, robots; telescopes and chocolate have in common? They are part of a short roster of what Arizona’s first annual science and technology festival will bring people of all ages for family fun using science, technology and innovation. The nearly six-week-long ARIZONA SCITECH festival, taking place from late January through March 14, 2012,  will showcase over 300 colorful events, demonstrations, tours, games, activities and workshops across the state featuring the career opportunities of the future and the latest technologies right here within our state’s borders.

Whether it’s the Mad Science of Baseball at Scottsdale’s Spring Training Festival, gazing at far-off stars through some of the world’s most powerful telescopes at Mesa Community College’ Astronomy Night, touring some of Arizona’s premiere technology companies at the Chandler Tech Crawl, meeting Galileo at the Arizona Renaissance Festival, seeing science come to life in Downtown Tucson or witnessing first-hand the illuminated works of art brought together by mixing art and science during Phoenix’ First-Friday Art and Science Fusions, there is something for everyone. Science is everywhere!

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World’s largest source of business sustainability data launches

Data publishing site Ecodesk has profiled the sustainability strategy of 4,000 of the world’s largest companies and their cost savings making it the largest free, public database of business carbon, energy, waste and water scores in the world. These 4,000 case studies have already realised millions in savings from reporting and analysing their data through Ecodesk. These include DHL and Microsoft among many others.

‘We want to encourage transparency and accuracy in carbon, energy, water and waste reporting.’ —Robert Clarke, CEO of Ecodesk.

The site, which officially launches today and is funded by UK Sterling 1.5m private equity and government grants, has made carbon data scores available for free and comparable for the first time. There are over 17,000 profiles in total. → continue reading

Indigenous Alaskans struggle to cope with climate change

(USGS) Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

The Village of St. Mary’s, Alaska

The village of St. Mary’s, Alaska where USGS scientists conducted interviews with hunters and elders to document their observations of climate change. The village lies in the Yukon River Basin on the banks of the Andreafsky River, a tributary of the Yukon River.

Photo Credit: School District of St. Mary’s, Alaska. (High resolution image)

The USGS coordinated interviews with Yup’ik hunters and elders in the villages of St. Mary’s and Pitka’s Point, Alaska, to document their observations of climate change. They expressed concerns ranging from safety, such as unpredictable weather patterns and dangerous ice conditions, to changes in plants and animals as well as decreased availability of firewood.

“Many climate change studies are conducted on a large scale, and there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how climate change will impact specific regions,” said USGS social scientist Nicole Herman-Mercer. “This study helps address that uncertainty and really understand climate change as a socioeconomic issue by talking directly to those with traditional and personal environmental knowledge.”

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