Touchscreen payphones, recycled plastic roads, star trek classrooms, and water wind farms

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Hey everyone! Here’s what I managed to find in the moments of spare time that I have had this past week or so. Hope you enjoy it!

So everyone remember payphones right? Well, it seems that every place is phasing them out at this point (because let’s face it, cellphones are taking over). Well, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy cutting off cell reception to many people in the New York City area, the city plans on reintroducing payphone, but in a whole new form. Their idea is to reintroduce them, but with touchscreens on them to give them a modern look. Not only will they serve as a means to contact other people, but they will also serve as a database for a variety of information, such as directions, and will even be able to offer coupons. Anyways, here is the link for it. Check it out! http://tinyurl.com/cvxcssu

Now one of the largest parts of a city’s infrastructure is its roads, and roads require asphalt to build. One issue with asphalt is that it requires oil to produce, and it needs high temperatures to flow onto the road surface. Well, the city of Vancouver, which aims to be the “greenest city in the world by 2020” has come up with a clever way to use plastic in the asphalt mix for its road, in order to reduce the impact of paving on the environment. Initial estimates state that the new formula will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 300 tons per year in the city when the technology becomes widespread. Have a look at the article here: http://tinyurl.com/cyeqxx8

Something cool I came across on the early education front; apparently there are some plans to add touch screens to the desks in classrooms. This would not only be really cool and flashy looking, but according to the news article, the setup of these desks encourages collaborative learning amount the students from ages 8-10 that had a chance to try this out. In this specific case, the activities were primarily mathematics based, and it was found that the collaborative learning scheme increased the fluency in mathematics of participating student. The methods of this system can also be used to teach other subjects as well. Before we know it, we may see this style of desks in classrooms. Check out the article about the technology here: http://tinyurl.com/bvak894

Another cool experimental technology I stumbled upon my numerous journeys on the internet is one to do with the gathering of water. Now for those of you who have seen/heard of the cult classic Dune by Frank Herbert, this may sound pretty familiar. For those who haven’t a bit of a background: essentially, the series/movie revolves around a planet known as Dune, and this planet is nothing but desert, with no rain, and absolutely no surface water. The only way they get water is by collecting what little there is from the wind; well, this is basically what a start-up in the US is planning to do, but with a water bottle. Basically, this will use the wind in arid area, condense it to produce moisture, and then (this is still in the early stages) get water from it to be used in a bottle. At the moment, their prototype estimates are very low, about 0.5-3 litres per hour, but hopefully once this gets improved the rate at which water will be collected will increase. Feel free to check out the BBC article here: http://tinyurl.com/ctjxf3f

Anyways, it may not be as lengthy an update as usual, but I did what I could given the crunch that is happening right now for me. Anyways, hopefully I will be able to survive this last school week…and then exams! So much fun!

Until next time

-Mike

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