Solar Panels…powered by bacteria!

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a cool new innovation in the field of solar power – bacteria!

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Solar cells are great for harvesting energy from the sun, but the drawback is that they have a drastic drop in efficiency on cloudy days or situations with dim light. There are certain types of bacteria that produce a natural dye that helps them convert light energy into food, and scientists had experimented with extracting this dye for use in solar technology. Extracting the dye proved difficult and costly, so they decided on a more elegant solution–putting the bacteria themselves into the solar cells!

These new solar panels are called “biogenic” because they are a hybrid of technology and nature. How cool is that?

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This could be a great solution for parts of the world that would benefit from solar power, but have too many overcast days to currently make it practical. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new bio-tech continues to develop!

Check out the original article here –> University of British Columbia

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Bee Saving Paper!

We’ve all heard of the problems honey bees have been facing lately, and it’s imperative to our world that we protect this super important pollinator. One company has developed a unique and unexpected bee saving solution: paper!

This bee saving paper is made with a special type of sugar that is easily digestible by bees, so they can get a snack while they’re out on pollen patrol. It’s covered with UV-sensitive red spots that are highly visible to bees, and it even has seeds embedded into the fibers to grow new wildflowers after the paper decomposes!

 

I love seeing the positive and unique solutions people have come up with to solve some of our modern problems! Be sure to check out the maker’s website here: Bee Saving Paper

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If you enjoy this content, please support us with a coffee! 🙂 –> Ko-Fi/SkyHigh

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A Wrinkle in Time and Consciousness

I saw the new movie A Wrinkle in Time over the weekend. I read the book as a child (fourth or fifth grade, I think?), but I don’t remember much about it, so the movie was basically new to me. I was surprised to see that the story revolves around several ideas of consciousness that I’ve been learning a lot about lately.

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The main plot happens because of quantum physics, when the lead character’s father finds a way to use vibration to travel across space. Vibration is the cornerstone of theories of consciousness and law of attraction, since every thought and emotion we have creates a vibration that is transmitted out into the universe, which the universe then responds to with a matching vibration. Scientists in the film also touch on quantum entanglement, which is the ability of two related particles to interact even across vast distances.

The main villain is a dark creature that infects societies with negativity, which spreads and multiplies and slowly tears people apart. This also relates to theories of consciousness, because negativity and positivity can be spread through our group consciousness and affect the overall energy level of the human race.

I thought it was interesting to see these ideas in a kid’s movie! They aren’t explored very deeply, as this is mostly a fantasy adventure film, but it’s still cool that these concepts are being introduced to a young audience. Hopefully they will look into it and learn about the power of thought early on, and not wait until middle age like me! 😛

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Air Purifier!

I got a new healthy toy recently: an air purifier!

My house is very dusty, partially because of pets and partially because of my aging carpet. Sometimes I get congested because of it, especially in the morning after breathing dust all night. So I decided to get a room air purifier to see if that made a difference.

I chose a Holmes 3 speed model from Amazon, because it’s about the right size and the price was good.

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It has 3 speeds; the highest is a little loud, but the lowest is very quiet, which makes it perfect for running at night.

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It has a fancy HEPA-type filter, which catches dust and allergens, as well as a foam outer filter to catch the big stuff (like cat hair). 🙂

So far I really like it! I’ve been running the medium or high speed during the day, and low at night. I’ve got it sitting on the mini-desk over the cat’s litter box, since that’s one of the major sources of dust in my bedroom.

Once I’ve had it for a few weeks, I’ll write a full review and let everyone know how well it works! 🙂 The exact model is Holmes HAP412BNS , and it’s currently on sale!

(Note: This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made from these links help to support the blog! 🙂

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Ocean Clean Up!

Plastics have revolutionized modern life, and helped us in uncountable ways. Unfortunately, they also cause a lot of damage in the world. One of the big problems caused by plastic is the pollution of our oceans. Millions of tons of plastic garbage is floating in the sea, causing a lot of damage to wildlife when they get tangled or try to eat it. This problem has existed for decades, but it’s been reaching critical levels lately.

Fortunately, there are good people working to end this problem!

Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Rokke has announced a plan to fund a 600 ft (182 m) long yacht dedicated to ocean research and health. The REV (Research Expedition Vessel) will have a trash collection system able to collect 5 tons of garbage a day! It will also have sensors for collecting data, two aerial drones, and and underwater vehicle for exploration and research.

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The vessel will be managed by World Wildlife Foundation Norway, and will be staffed with dozens of scientists. It’s in the planning stages and should be ready to sail in 2020. I can’t wait to see this cool ship in action. 🙂

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Another project dedicated to this problem is The Ocean Cleanup. Started in 2013 and headed by founder Boyan Slat, this organization has been testing methods of garbage collecting on the high seas. Thanks to investors who raised $21 million dollars, they plan to have a large-scale system in place sometime during 2018. They have the ambitious goal of clearing out half of the massive Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years, which is a HUGE undertaking but would kick butt if they could pull it off. 🙂

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You can stay up-to-date on their progress here!

And for an example of clean up on a smaller, more personal scale, there’s the inspiring story of Pukka Travel’s coastal cleanup day. This 2017 expedition featured four boats carrying 50 volunteers around a section of Norwegian coast, where they collected trash from the beaches and coastline. After only 3 hours, they had rid the ocean of 1400 kg (~3000 lbs) of garbage!

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Check out some gorgeous photos of this expedition here. This is a really cool idea, and I would love to be part of something like this. 🙂

The state of our precious oceans is worrying, but it’s so good to know that there are some people and organizations out there working on the problem. It seems that the solution will likely come from individuals instead of governments, so I hope that these efforts continue to grow. We CAN clean up our planet and make a difference!

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The day Jupiter saved our butts!

I’ve always been fascinated with outer space, and lately I’ve been watching YouTube videos about comets and asteroids, and how they may have affected life on Earth through the eons. Almost everyone knows about the most famous impact, the meteor that slammed into the Yucatan and ended the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. But objects have been pelting our planet for a long time.

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Back in the mid 90s, when I was just finishing high school, I remember hearing about a comet called Shoemaker-Levy 9. At the time I was busy with worrying about my GPA and applying to college, so I didn’t pay much attention. Sure, comet passing by, cool, but I have stuff to do!

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A couple of decades later, I encountered some discussions of this particular comet in some videos. In July 1994, Shoemaker-Levy 9, which was discovered by Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy, zoomed into our solar system, broke apart into 21 pieces, and crashed into Jupiter. The explosions caused by the impacts, which were observed and photographed by NASA, were astounding – each explosion was literally LARGER THAN PLANET EARTH.

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Which means if any of the comet fragments had hit our planet, we wouldn’t be here now. Seriously. Earth would have been completely obliterated, leaving nothing but dust and vapor. YIKES.

The reason they didn’t hit us was because of the influence of Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and its gravity is so strong that most comets and asteroids that fly through the solar system are pulled off course. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of instances through Earth’s history when deadly objects that could have hit us were pulled away or deflected instead. Shoemaker-Levy was just one recent example.

So, in other words, Jupiter saved our butts from total annihilation in 1994. And probably many other times too!

So the next time you look up into the sky, give a word of thanks for the largest planet in our solar system. Because of Jupiter’s protective influence, we still have a beautiful, vibrant planet to call home!

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