"A person that never made a mistake, never tried

anything new.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Futuristic Transportation

I didn’t think I really ever would see the day when a flying car or hovercraft would be made! It’s exciting to think that our very own military is working to create a new futuristic flying car! We have to take into account, there would be many precautions and limitations before just ANYONE could drive one, but isn’t it cool to just think about it?

My mom and I regularly browse through old newspapers that she has kept from when she was a little girl. One that stood out to me was one titled “Flying High in 2009”. When taking a closer look, it goes on to describe a modernized city with flying copters and landing ports. This article came out in the 70’s! It’s interesting how so many people in the past have put in great amounts of thought about the technology of the future. By the future I mean a modern world with flying hovercrafts and a cliché city similar to a scene alien movie. It’s funny how so much detail was put into that little article and nothing from it is true currently at all.

Although we are making progressions, and when the US Army decides to release their civilian car, the Transition, it will be a long time until plans are fulfilled. How is this safe? There are so many concerns that come along with new technology such as this.

One great feature about this flying car is that it rides like a car on the ground, flies in the air like a helicopter, and it has an automated flight control so you don’t need to be a trained pilot.

Terrafugia, one of the companies testing and producing the Transition, is eager to say that the car may appear as soon as 2015! I am very interested to see what becomes of this new piece of technology.

Terrifugia Military Car Terrafugia Website

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Barrier Reefs

Coral reefs are the most diverse marine habitat. Even though they only cover a small part of the ocean floor, they provide a home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life. Bones and parts of ancient animals have formed reefs over long periods of time. Coral reefs are built with the help of polyps. Polyps are individual small animals and organisms. Polyps connect to one another by their tentacles, and over time they harden, and new living ones grow on top of them.

Many coral reefs are found in semitropical and tropical parts of climates. They are found where the water is warm, usually ranging from 61-86 degrees Fahrenheit (16-30 degrees Celsius). There are small strips of coral reef in the North Atlantic, called cold water coral, but most coral thrives in warmer water.

There are two types of coral; soft and hard. Soft coral is not reef-building coral. It is soft, and other types of coral can not grow on top of it, unlike hard coral. Soft coral thrives in nutrient filled water, and collects food that floats past. Coral is alive, and the flesh of the coral is spiky, grainy, and textured, which keep away most predators.  Many soft corals are being cut for research, and as a hobby. Coral grown into captivity grows more rapidly, therefore helping the soft coral thrive.

Soft Coral

Hard coral can also be know as stone coral, because it is hard, and feels like a rock. Unlike soft coral, hard coral is hard enough to allow more coral to grow on top of it. It is a home to many animals that burrow in the holes, eat from its surface, and use it as protection.
Hard Coral

There are three types of coral; barrier reefs, atolls, and fringing reefs.

Barrier reefs- Offshore reefs that have water separating them from the mainland.

Atolls- Islands of coral surrounding a central lagoon

Fringing reefs- Reefs that are continuous with the land mass or mainland

What is happening to our reefs?
 There is always a constant threat to the reefs because they are dying off. We have already lost up to 15 percent of our reefs, due to natural and human causes. We can’t destroy the reefs because they provide a home to many animals. Also painkillers and Anti-cancer drugs are being made from chemicals in the reefs. Reefs are another wonder of our Beautiful earth

Sources and links to check out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Maximizing a Minimum

A common theme amongst my blogs seems to be eco friendly and conservation. This week I decided to stick with this common theme and share with you a very interesting story about one man who utilized the small space presented to him and how he turned it into an eco friendly modern apartment.  
            Searching for something interesting to read in my free time, I stumbled across this video on an yahoo news. As it may seem based off of my previous blogs, I am really interested in architecture, conservation, and smart homes. One man, Gary Chang was interested in architecture long before he became an architecht. Living in Hong Kong with 7million other people means that there really isn’t that much living space. As a kid, he lived in a 330 square foot apartment that he later bought and renovated. Not only did he modernize everything, he made great use of the space. 330 square feet is a VERY small space, even for a single man like himself. The average house size (for Americans, is over 1,200 square feet). This gives us a great idea of how small apartments are in the heart of Hong Kong.
            What Gary did that mesmerized me was that he took the 330 square feet of apartment and transformed it so that he had 24 different rooms (combinations). There are two main rooms but one of the rooms has tracks on the ceiling and wheels on the floor. There are different pull out walls he inserted into his home. If he needs to take a bath he can simply pull out the TV/ living room panel and roll the bathtub panel out. Above the tub is a pull down bed for a guest to stay in. There are several pull outs and pull downs throughout his apartment such as a tv, kitchen, closet, and bed. Talk about a GREAT way to maximize a small space!

This is a video of Gary explaining his creation:
Tell me what you think! Would you be willing to live in this fashion if it meant living greener? Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Smart" Smart Homes

My interest started just a few years ago when my family visited the Museum of Science and Industry’s new exhibit “Smart Home”.

I was always one of those kids who would begged and plead to their parent’s every time they passed one of those new giant mansions, to buy it. I always wanted a newer, hip, unique house. I had a fine house, it served its main purpose but it was nothing special.

When I saw the smart home I was flabbergasted; I had NEVER seen anything like it. It was made of many materials, and had a funky design that made it look really modern. When taking a tour of the house, I made sure to put my best listening ears on. Almost EVERY item in the house served a purpose and was eco-friendly. Everything down to the floor, table, chair materials, and wall panels were perfectly planned and had a great eco-friendly reason for being there. I was really envious of this house. All the other big mansions that I had ever seen were put to shame. This one beat it all.

Since the first time I went to visit in 2007, I have been back 5 times. The museum is always changing the furniture, just to prove that there are a lot of eco-friendly materials and options out there. My family has made small adjustments to our home, such as the kind of lights we use.

What I didn’t know was that there were tons of these “smart houses” all over the United States. I picked up a book, flipped through a few pages, and saw many homes of similar designs and even those that are made in the ground (or in a hill).

Not only do these "smart eco friendly homes exist in the US but the ideas are being used and adapted in many other countries. Check out this video, it features a man in china that lives in a 300sq feet apartment but has 24 "rooms". I promise you won't be disappointed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lg9qnWg9kak

This is a look inside his small flat in Hong Kong.

These are some of my favorite looking "smart homes" from around the world. Be creative, be inventive, be earth friendly.

The mastermind behind the smart home in Chicago’s Museum is Michelle Kaufmann. This is her blog page so you can follow too!

In the smart home at the Museum of Science and Industry, these are some of the eco-friendly resources and items you may find…

Solar panels- They are placed on the roof and create enough energy to power the majority of the entire smart home.

Skystream turbine- harnesses wind and turns it into electric energy for the home.

Nix- digital frame that turns off when it doesn’t sense human presence.

LED lights- last longer and are 90% more effective than incandescent lights.

FLOR carpet tiles- uses non-offgrassing, recycled materials, and doesn’t harbor mold or mildew.

Low-Flow Faucets- save thousands of gallons a year.

There are many more items then the ones listed above. As I said earlier, almost EVERYTHING in the house is eco-friendly.

If you are reading this, just hear me out. Maybe this will sound cheesy but hear me out. Take the time out of your day or make the effort to change SOMETHING in your life. WE are the future. If you're a kid suggest something to your mom or dad and if you are an adult take the initiative. Our world NEEDS our help and we are the only ones who can help it. Thanks so much for reading :) 
ENJOY! Try to make a difference!

Source for Smart Home Chicago:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Time Before Doom Day

In 2012 the world is going to end. That’s what I’ve been hearing from many people these days. December 21 of 2012 is the last day on the Mayan Calendar according to analysts. But now it’s a possibility they are wrong.

The Mayan “long count” calendar may not even end on December 21 of 2010. When the Mayan calendar was reconverted to the Gregorian calendar, the conversions may have been off by 50 or even 100 years. This was calculated by using a (The) GMT constant; named after a Mayan researcher. The good news is that we will all live! Now of course both conversions could be wrong, but I like to believe the most recent discovery.

After reading this article, I was really relieved. I’m a sucker for scary stories and to me the “ending of the world” was one of my biggest nightmares. There’s a lot I want to do and accomplish in my life. Give me 2 more years until 2012, and there’s no way I can accomplish half the things on my list. I’m going to need WAY more time.

Here’s the article I found online.

What are your opinions? Are you relieved,\or did you not care in the first place?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Water, A Man's Best Friend?

What is the big deal about water? I always find myself making trips to the water fountain after a long 90 minutes at gym class, running to the cafeteria to purchase a $2.00 bottle of water, and just sipping on water throughout the day to prepare myself for a big tennis game. What’s the big deal? I’m entitled to drinking water aren’t I? Why of course I am! One issue that I find myself in is that I’m not thinking about water on a global perspective.

My teacher in class told me that we could optionally blog about water. Today is blog action day; bloggers worldwide are posting their thoughts on water. So I figured I would write about water, list a few facts, share my opinion, and be done with it. That was my plan, but everything changed after I watched a video my teacher had posted on her blog. This is the video; I hope you find it as interesting, informative, and moving as I did.

I think that Michael Pritchard’s invention that is able to take filthy water and make it drinkable is brilliant! When I watched the video and saw the short clip where the children were taking cups and filling them with water that looked like dirt, clay, mud and a little bit of water absolutely crushed me. I was surprised that I actually felt guilty and upset. There are many more people that have to drink water as filthy or FILTHIER then that in his picture. It breaks my heart to see young children forced to drink that water. His filter is a great idea. I don’t know how much each filter costs but I think that since it is reusable for a few thousand liters of water, it is worth it. Many children die each year because of diarrhea. It isn’t fair that people are dying because they don’t have access to something each and every one of us needs. No one should be water deprived. 

What can I do to help?

A few years ago, I was asked a question. My mom and dad approached me asking, “It’s time to donate out tzedakah, what do you want to do with it?” Tzedakah is a Hebrew word meaning “justice or charity”. Saved coins are placed into a tzedakah box, and once a year the savings are emptied and donated.. That particular year, we counted our money up, researched a few charities, and finally decided to WaterAid. This charity donates money all over the world and goes into countries to give them easy access to water. You can select from a drop down list of 26 countries to see the work WaterAid has done.

You don’t have to donate to be a help! Little things can make a BIG difference, such as, turning off the faucet when you brush you’re teeth, using less toilet water, or turning the shower off when shampooing your hair.

Here are some random water facts and tips you may enjoy.

  • A leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a day. 

  • An average bath requires 37 gallons of water.

  • Never put water down the drain when there may be another use for it such as watering a plant or garden, or cleaning.      

  • You use about 5 gallons of water if you leave the water running while brushing your teeth.

  • 88% of deaths from diarrhea are caused by drinking unsafe water.

Source : http://planetgreen.discovery.com/go-green/green-water/green-water-statistics.html

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Marine Biology

For all of my life, I have been fascinated by the vast world that thrives below me. If given the chance, viewing marine life is an experience that will change your life forever! Few have gotten to experience the mysterious world down below. There are over 200,000 species of animals and plants that live in a marine environment. 71% of the world is covered in water!
Dolphins have been my favorite animal since I remember. Maybe it is because of the silly clicking noises they use to communicate, or their playful personalities. My dream one day is to be able to swim and work with dolphins! The closest thing I’ve ever come to that is getting to be a trainer for the day at the local zoo. There I got to prepare the meal, play with them, and train them.
Someday I hope to be able to get my scuba license and be able to explore the ocean depths.  A lot of people are presented with this opportunity and have an eye opening experience. There’s just one problem… I’m DEATHLY afraid of sharks! Wherever there are dolphins (in the ocean), there are most likely sharks. In my mind, I think that I will be attacked when I enter the water even though shark attacks are a rare phenomenon. The chances of being bitten are 1 in 11.5 million! When looking at that ratio, we realize just how rare these attacks occur and that our fears are sometimes a little irrational.  
Hopefully when I’m older and a little wiser and braver I can put aside my fear and just enjoy the exquisite animal and plant life that thrive in the water!