"A person that never made a mistake, never tried

anything new.

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!