Friday, 17 September 2010

Final Projects: MA Design and Environment

The MA Design and Environment has collected the final student projects in an online pamphlet. Feel free to have a look here.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Science Barge

One for Jay! (still horizontal though)

The deluxe version of the waterpod.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

This chart from Phil Howard at Michigan State University shows how three chemical giants, Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta, have come to dominate the agricultural seed industry in the last 10 years. Obviously, there are concerns about whether this market is fair:
Monsanto supplies proprietary traits to 85 percent of corn planted in the United States, and 92 percent of soy. Corn and soy are the lifeblood of the U.S. food system. If you eat a standard diet, you’re ingesting a Monsanto-originated product with just about every bite you take. Nor is the company a benign monopolist, the report shows. GMO corn seeds have jumped from $110 per unit in 1999 to upwards of $190 by 2008; for soy, prices soared from less than $25 to more than $40.

But this monopoly isn't just bad for farmers' livelihoods; it's bad for the resilience of our ecosystem. We have 71 percent of U.S. cropland being used for just three crops, and a small handful of companies supplying the seeds. That's a precarious situation, and it's why projects like the Seed Vault are important. There's a bigger version of the chart here.

Half full toilet

1A: A (Clean) Toilet Hack

Potential water savings: Up to 18 gallons per day, per person.

How to easily reduce the water wasted by every flush.

Toilets waste tons of water every year. When you flush, that’s about five or six gallons right there if you have a conventional toilet, and on average we each flush six times a day. Thankfully, there are now all sorts of products to lessen gallons per flush. There are low-cost add-ons like the Toilet Tummy or the British-made Hippo the Water Saver. You can also purchase a dual-flush toilet, which can save up to five gallons per flush by offering one kind of flush for each bodily function. But the lower-tech and less-well-heeled among us might want to try this easy and free hack.

Get Started

1. Remove the lid from your toilet.

2. Observe the black floating ball. This thing determines the water level in your toilet.

3. Reach into the toilet tank and grab the thin metal rod attached to the black floating ball.

4. Bend the rod downward just a little. It won’t break easily, but be ginger, yeah?

5. Be an optimist. Your tank is now half full.

How much water do we use?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Ecological Age -- Arup

Arup has developed a film / presentation for transitioning to an 'Ecological Age.' The film presents an overview of issues that form the basis for new strategies for cities, sustainability and resources. The blog with links to films can be found here.