Tag: alternative fuels

(Almost) real time wind map is very cool. Plus, I think I see the face of Chewbacca!

Check it out here. (Thanks Ian!)

Solar powered cremation (a.k.a. funeral with a death ray)

Look at the schematic carefully, and you can just picture the proceedings. First you have the service in the room with the seats; then the casket would ceremoniously rise to the roof; whereupon a crane would lift it into the path of concentrated solar energy.

“A temperature of about 1,700° F. is required to provide incineration and a total of about 3,000,000 BTU’s is required to consume a corpse. Thus, at a supply rate of about 1,000,000 BTU/hour, cremation would take about three hours. A concave mirror-reflector bowl similar to the steam-producing Crosbyton hemisphere in Lubbock, Texas is considered a suitable collector. At 65 ft. diameter, a bowl of this type can produce approximately 1,000,000 BTU/Hr. under full sunshine conditions from mid-morning to mid-afternoon.”

Design by Kenneth H. Gardner, via Futility Closet.

Photos of invisible bicycles.

No sign of Wonder Woman though…

“If you look closely, you’ll notice a pretty key element is missing from these photographs! China-born photographer Zhao Huasen created this fun collection of images where bicyclists float along city streets, pedaling and steering invisible bikes. For the project, entitled Floating, the artist captured hundreds of cyclists going about their every day lives and he then digitally removed the bicycles from the images. The bicycle seats, position of the riders, and the shadows on the streets remain intact, allowing viewers to easily fill in the gaps and understand the story.”

By Zhao Huasen, text from

Wouldn’t it be great if Richard Scarry was still around to do a new Busytown book on science or sustainability?

A while back, I was playing with my kids and having fun with the Find Lowly Worm game that seems to be a rite of passage when looking through a Richard Scarry picture book.

Anyway, in our edition of “What Do People Do All Day?” I was amused by a substantial 4 page spread about coal as a source of energy (titled Digging coal to make electricity work for us). I guess it got me thinking that wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a similar children’s book produced that can have the same degree of cultural prevalence, but also includes graphics looking at energy alternatives like wind, solar, wave, hydro, nuclear, etc. In essense, a Busytown book that focuses on concepts of sustainability or maybe even technology in general, where rapport can be continually fostered with analogous Lowly Worm type traditions.

I would soooo buy that book, if only because those kind of slides would rock in a slideshow. Anyway, check out the spreads below:

Ironic that one of more obvious graphic elements is the billowing smoke from the barbeque on the right… (click here for larger shot)

Notes from Mattel’s “Future of Barbie®” Brainstorming Session (including Stem Cell Barbie and others…)

I always thought the Stem Cell Barbie’s slogan would make an interesting t-shirt. Note that this was originally published at Yankee Pot Raost.


ConceptStem-Cell Barbie®

Description: Produce a plastic mesh form in the shape of a Barbie doll. Seed this mesh with embryonic stem cells. Culture in bio-chambers until cells infiltrate and coat the plastic form.
Pro: This Barbie might get pregnant.
Con: This Barbie might get cancer
Potential slogan: “Feels like real skin because it is real skin.”

ConceptHybrid Barbie®

Description: Barbie doll powered by both conventional gasoline engine, as well as an electric motor.
Pro: Barbie is emissions-compliant.
Con: No one can figure out a good place for the gas nozzle to go in. It always ends up looking dirty.
Potential slogan: “This baby gets up to 40 miles per gallon.”

ConceptSchrödinger’s Barbie®

Description: Interactive Barbie doll placed inside a thick lead box, containing a mock cyanide canister, and mock Geiger counter. The Geiger counter may or may not release one decaying mock atom, which in turn, may or may not break the canister releasing the cyanide. Therefore, child would be uncertain as to the fate of the Barbie doll (who could be pretend-dead or pretend-alive) until the lead box is actually opened.
Pro: This is fun way to illustrate an aspect of quantum law, which suggests that due to the superposition of states, Barbie is both dead and alive until the box is opened.
Con: Huh?
Potential slogan: “Schrödinger’s Barbie—be the first to give a shit.”

ConceptSuper Malleable Barbie®

Description: Produce Barbie dolls using the Dow Corning 3179 dilatant compound (a mixture containing silicone oil and boric acid, commonly known as Silly Putty).
Pro: Barbie can bounce.
Con: When Barbie pretend-falls asleep whilst pretend-reading a newspaper, the newsprint will show up on her face.
Potential slogan: “Ken will thank you.”

ConceptFlame-Retardant Barbie®

Description: Coat existing doll product with copious amounts of the common flame retardant, polybrominated diphenyl ether.
Pro: Excellent opportunity for accessories (fireworks, matches, flame throwers, etc).
Con: Excellent opportunity for accessories (fireworks, matches, flame throwers, etc).
Potential slogan: “Throw the Barbie on the barbie!”

ConceptSupercomputer Artificial-Intelligence Robot Barbie®

Description: Multiple clusters of high-powered processors networked to a Barbie doll mainframe. 2 USB ports standard. CD/DVD burner drive optional.
Pro: No more stupid brainstorming sessions—send Barbie instead.
Con: Small chance of total world domination and destruction of the human race as we know it.
Potential slogan: “Kicks ass at chess!”

When oxygen gets excited. Great video on the chemistry of “fire.” (via @beatricebiology)

This is nicely done.  Great simple overview of the notion of “burning.”  Good for use when talking about fossil fuels.

By Beatrice the Biologist.

Brilliant brilliant solar energy billboard. Did I mention how brilliant this is?

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