Friday, November 28, 2008

Realistic Recycling

Green Bottle has created a new way to look at recycling. They recently released a bottle that recycles in a matter of weeks. A majority of our bottles for juice, oj, milk and soda are largely not biodegradable. They're made from oil and take upwards of 500 years to decompose. Green Bottle on the other hand consumes about a third of the energy required to make a plastic bottle and has a Carbon Footprint that is 48% lower than plastic.

Now don't get me wrong, this is a great idea and a step in the right direction but it's not enough of a disruption. Why don't grocery stores provide the option to refill bottles.? Instead of creating a bottle that takes less time to decompose, why not just innovate a way to keep the bottle out of the dump all together?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

California experiences a Quake measuring 7.8

What have you done to prepare for an earthquake? If you live in California it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when? We may not be able to hide but at least we can be prepared. Aftershock is an interactive earthquake simulation that will play out over the next few weeks. Participants react to various events that occur during and after a quake. It's an interesting large scale initiative to prepare residents for the real thing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oh yeah, the world is ending

At the end of the year I like to predict what we'll see in the coming year. Actually it's still too early for this list, but it's not too early for my 2012 prediction. I have a feeling you're going to start seeing a lot of these in the weeks to come.

If you aren't familiar with the fear surrounding the Mayan calendar, it predicts that the world as we know it will end in the year 2012. It's a frighteningly interesting prediction because it's odd that a civilization ending in the 9th century would pick such a specific date for the apocalypse. People are paying attention because the Mayan culture made significant scientific advance
ments and developed an extremely accurate calendar, achievements that unlike Nostradamus' predictions are more substantiated.

The most common explanation of the end is based on disasters caused by sunspots and magnetic fields that will cause earth quakes, floods, etc. However there have been a few interesting discussions that have erupted in an effort to inspire change. Edward Burtynski talked at TED about how he's observed changes in civilazation and goes on to discuss China and how the rapid expansion of civilation is affecting our planet. His research is thorough in showing how rapidly we're depleting our limited supply of resources. He drives the point home when he discusses and the effort that is still needed to get climate change back on course. His most interesting insight comes when he asks us our "progress" and how civilization is changing. Daniel Pinchbeck has his own hilarious theory about 2012. He dives off the deep end with post modern times and predicts that 2012 will usher in a signifcant advancement in civilization based around a more developed sense of conscious. Of course Hollywood doesn't miss a beat either, they've dumped the concept into another formfitting disaster film with a twist of aliens in 2012 the movie.

So many possibilties, they seem endless, Earthquakes, Evolution or Aliens. Or what about the Matrix hypothesis, we're just living in a computer simulation; or possibly Singualarity will come early and artificial intelligence will take over. Well my prediction is the obvious and unimaginative; we'll see a spike in gun, water and gasmask sales the week before 2012, just like we saw before Y2K; and then life will go on.

Edward Burtkynski - TED

Daniel Pinchbeck - Post Modern Times

2012 Film Teaser

Monday, November 17, 2008

Transport w/ Style

One of the biggest gripes I've heard about biking as transportation is that you often arrive at your destination in a sweaty mess. Well I've found a solution to your problem. It's called Derringer. These motorized bicycles are going to be hotter than Vespas.

They've strategically p
artnered with Starck to create a design savvy bicycle that gives you that extra umph. I tried racing a guy on one of these up in Marin on my road bike and they're fast. The SF Bike Coalition recently announced that commuting by bike is up something crazy 22%. I have a feeling that number might increase now that getting places faster and avoiding traffic is going to be even easier and more stylish.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Robot suit

The Japanese are at least 5 years ahead of the US in terms of technological advancement. So maybe it's a branding initiative of one Japanese firm called Cyberdyne to permeate US culture with it's newest product - Hal5. When I first read it I thought it was a joke, but Cyberdyne is for real. Cyberdyne is the company famously known in the film Terminator as creating the technology that led to robots taking over the world.

The main focus of this Japanese firm is to build suits that facilitate human movement. They provide seniors with the ability to stand and walk, they aid rescue workers in moving heavy debris and allow autoworkers to accomplish heavy moves with precision.

It seems like this recent progression has come about because of lighter robotic materials that also allow for strength without compromising speed or flexibility. Another firm called Applied Motion is working on robotic legs that allow humans to run up to 30 mph. Berekley Engineering is also working on a project that allows people to accomplish tasks with superhuman strength.

I guess it's not that much of a stretch to assume that this is a step in the direction of Singularity.

change is damn right!

Awesome - our country is already moving in the right direction! I'm impressed with the web 2.0 execution Obama has undertaken to talk to his constituents. This is how government should be run. went up the day he was elected and he already has a strong online presence. He has committed to posting a weekly video summarizing what the administration is working on and created a blog to discuss issues. I'm waiting for the interactive component with a system for feedback, blog responses and other ways to get the public involved - brilliant!

I just added the blog to my bookmarks for daily reading and it was a pretty good feeling.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Proud Citizen

I am proud to be an American again - check.

I am proud to be a Californian - currently, no comment.

In a time when I'm once again happy where my country is headed I am unable to say the same about my state. One day my kids will laugh that I lived in a time when a majority voted down the right to gay marriage. There are so many reasons it's just wrong. Here are a few well articulated words by Keith Oberman and this is a link to Courage Campaign, a petition to change this decision.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Religious evolution

TED has created a strategic initiative to combat creationists disapproving of science and evolution. Their strategy is brilliant because it unconventionally embraces religion and seeks to convince people to understand their religion and use it to do good things.

Religion is a way of life that has been shaping our world since the beginning of time. It's tied to ethnic and cultural roots; it drives our communities. It's probably the biggest reason why atheism has been so slow to catch on. I continue to be amazed at how religious followers have lost touch with the purpose of religion. In most instances I feel like people don't know why they do what their religion tells them, they just follow what everyone has done before them. It's no wonder Richard Dawkins released The God Delusion and talked at TED. At the root of religion is the Golden Rule; treat others the way you would like to be treated, yet religious fundamentalists have lost touch with this reality. Jesus Camp is a good look at what some religions are teaching, showcasing how religions are developing more extreme rituals that separate people instead of bring them together.
The Charter For Compassion is a recent TED backed initiative that seeks to do the opposite; change the way people think about religion, as a way to build a global community. The core premise is to remind people of the Golden Rule in an effort to unite communities and prove that religion is intended as a framework to help people coexist. It is a refreshing way to think about religion by seeking to change disillusionment and all negative associations currently attached to religion.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Smart Architecture

This is no doubt a house that will define an era. It's sleek, urban, polished and minimalist. More importantly it's sustainable, design savvy and uses materials that serve a purpose. Fires have been ransacking the hills of Cali but we continue to re-build them out of wood. I can't vouch for the cost effectiveness of concrete and steel but it seems worth it if it saves your house from burning to the ground.

Olson Sundberg recently unveiled this house in Montecito by Tom Kundig. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I love it. The materials, expansive windows and integration with the terrain make it feel like an enjoyable place to live. I would personally plant a few more indigenious shrubs, but I think the general feel can be an inspiration to the way we design homes in the futre.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our 10 Dimensions

As the Hadron Collider is making it possible for scientists to research physics at a new deeper level and so we're just starting to see new findings about subjects like how we understand space and time. A while back I came across a site called the tenth dimension that explained the 10 dimensions and think it segues nicely into this recently published article about new findings on the dimension of time and a theory about holography.

Crank Creative

Americans have been slow to adopt European sensibilities but that is starting to change and we're seeing an increase in international ideas that influence American culture. The Swiss have an eye for design, the Italians offer sleek fashion and Germans are known for engineering and efficiency.

Well Crank is a US company that falls at the intersection of design, functionality and sustainability. The premise is simple, recycle used inner tubes and turn them into a fashionable wallet. Crank found a niche popular among bike enthusiasts and focuses on re-purposing materials that would have normally ended up in the landfill. It's not a new idea, but it makes sense in a time when raw materials are becoming more scarce.
Crank @

Monday, November 3, 2008

Changing Behavior

"If you want to change the future, play with it first." World Without Oil recently won a webby for best game in 2007. It's a game that is a powerful educational resource and interesting tool for facilitating large scale behavior changes.

I like this idea b/c there's so much truth to the fact that people won't start resolving an issue until they're confronted with a reality. It's a great way to break our habit of procrastination and start solving problems before we're already two feet in the hole.

From a planning perspective this is a great brainstorming tool. It has the potential to facilitate large scale changes in behavior. We are used to media like movies or television. The Inconvenient Truth created healthy discussion, but World Without Oil is more comprehensive. It's a great use of new media because it encourages interactivity and takes engagement with an issue to the next level. Everyone involved has the potential to collaborate and although the results technically exist in an "alternate reality" it is an exercise that produces real solutions.

I think there are at least two important things going on here:

1. When people participate in a game like WWO they become engaged in a community, it increases their level of understanding and they become more willing to change. This is a powerful tool because it enables people to anticipate a problem and change before the problem becomes a reality.

2. Ideas come from ideas. This kind of immersive role playing environment let's people create solutions for a future problem. Creating a frame of mind makes an alternate reality tangible and that is a great stepping off point for resolving an issue before it manifests.