Category Archives: Creativity

Electric-car brakes last 3x longer than conventional – threatening auto mechanics

Not only do electric cars threaten all those gas stations on every corner, but also the auto-mechanics and car parts stores:

Mechanic worries that electric-car brakes will ruin his business

Joe Ferrer says that brakes are easily 35 to 40 percent of his total business. Replacing rotors, calipers, and pads keeps his shop humming.

But on hybrids, brake jobs aren’t needed every 15,000 miles as they are on conventional cars–more like 45,000 miles, he says.

 

Those regenerative braking systems reduce the impact when braking and extend the life of the brake pads.

Of course, this isn’t the only thing that will change, Jiffy Lube will also be hurt. Electric vehicles (EV’s) get rid of nearly all the liquid lube in cars, so that means no more oil changes.

What is going to happen to all that land currently used for gas stations, Jiffy Lubes, and mechanics shops?

 

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The iPhone as your wallet – Apple creates Passbook for iOS 6 – check-in to flights, buy a Starbucks coffee

The best way to learn about Passbook is to see it in action, the video below auto-starts at 1:32:55 (except on mobile devices):

 

In my personal quest to shrink my wallet, maybe even get rid of it, I love this feature. No more loyalty cards and gift cards, just my phone.

More on this new app from Apple:

 

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The rise of wooden surfboards – alaia’s

Have you seen a wooden surfboard in the water yet? If not, you will soon as these earth-friendly boards grow in popularity.

The famous shaper, Tom Wegener, gave a talk about his designs for the ancient Hawaiian board, the Alaia (pronounced: ah-LIE-ah):

According to Wegener, this historical Hawaiian surfcraft – which appears to be little more than a flat piece of wood in the shape of an ironing board – may not only be the most enviro friendly surfboard available today, it might be part of one of surfing’s next big leaps in modern board design.

It is also a much-needed design, since the foam boards of today are nearly as toxic as you can make something. The recent movie, ‘Manufacturing Stoke’, discusses this strange development, as well as a detailed post I wrote on Green Surfboards.

The next step is finding the right type of wood that can match the ultra-high performance of the industrial-era poly/resin/chemical boards used by professional surfers today.

Phil Joske introduced him (Tom) to a sustainable board building material called Paulownia wood. With a much greater strength-to-weight ratio than balsa, an easy-to-work-with nature, and an imperviousness to saltwater, Tom used this unique wood and his innovative longboard designs to help revolutionize the genre of hollow wood surfboards.

Many in the industry are taking note of these designs, there is a certain beauty to a glossy wooden board. Especially, knowing that it is handcrafted and great for the environment.

Learn more at Patagonia’s – Wood is Good series (featuring videos, interviews, and lots of links to surf films and designers).

 

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Men can wear shorts (and dress shorts with blazers, dress shirts, & brogues)

A fun article from the N.Y. Times, asking should men wear shorts?

“No, no. I’m a grown-up.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by many style arbiters: men of a certain age and distinction, the thinking goes, cannot wear shorts and be taken seriously. This applies not only to the workplace, but also in social settings.

I find myself battling this essential summer question, to go shorts or not?

Making the article a delightful read, especially when it get’s serious by bringing in the fashion industry. It appears that “dress shorts” are surging in popularity.

They are “worn with summer blazers and gingham shirts” or “a suit jacket with a great pair of brogues or a desert boot.”

Then, going back into pre-Victorian style, saying that men used to wear Capri’s (breeches) that showed off the calf muscle, “it was part of a code of masculine beauty to have a perfect leg.”

Thankfully, that is gone but two things that haven’t, and the fashion world considers nasty, are long shorts (anything below the knee) and socks.

 

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30 free sci-fi classics on the web in text, audiobook, live-readings and more

An amazing collection fo sci-fi books on the web:

Free Science Fiction Classics on the Web: Huxley, Orwell, Asimov, Gaiman & Beyond

Today we’re bringing you a roundup of some of the great Science Fiction, Fantasy and Dystopian classics available on the web. And what better way to get started than with Aldous Huxley reading a dramatized recording of his 1932 novel, Brave New World. The reading aired on the CBS Radio Workshop in 1956. You can listen to Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

By my count there are over 30 stories in all forms – audiobooks, movie, e-text, and even a few live readings from the author.

 

 
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Archaeologist uncover hidden Mayan temple, deep in the jungle, to find terrifying giant masks

Does this sound like an Indiana Jones adventure or what!

Two archaeologists deep in the jungles of Guatemala are searching the lost empire of El Zotz, an ancient Maya city-state. First, they discover Diablo’s Pyramid, a 45-foot tall royal palace that is 1600 years old.

Then, they spot another building but it’s buried deep in the jungle. Two years later they have it uncovered (ok, that is not-so adventurous but realistic archaeological work), and find beyond the overgrowth some devilish faces, from the National Geographic article:

The sides of the temple are decorated with 5-foot-tall stucco masks showing the face of the sun god changing as he traverses the sky over the course of a day.

One mask is sharklike, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean in the east, Houston said.

The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.

 

Screenshots:

Imagine making your way through the jungle to find this entrance…

 

To find this guy staring down at you!

 

The Mayans sure were fascinated with power, death, and the sun.

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The United States continues to go green – CO2 emissions near 1990 levels

CO2 emissions in US drop to 20-year low

In a surprising turnaround, the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.

Isn’t that great news?

I think we need some uplifting climate change news with all the “doom and gloom” stories out there. Let’s keep it going.

The United States has cut its CO2 output more than any other country in recent years, with our output dropping since 2007.  We are now close to 1990 levels and may be able to fit in with the Kyoto Protocols.

Of the fossil fuels, natural gas releases the least amount of air pollution and CO2. It is a homegrown source which improves our energy independence and stability, as well as keeping our money at home.

Coal has gone from producing half our energy to only one-third.

Good news!

 

** Fracking for natural gas – it is unknown how destructive this new, hugely popular process is. 

 

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Astronomers discover a star-creating galaxy that sheds light on the galactic cooling problem

Massive galaxy cluster spawns more than 700 stars a year

A newly discovered cluster of galaxies, more than 5 billion light years from Earth…is among the most massive clusters of galaxies in the universe, and produces X-rays at a rate faster than any other known cluster.

It also creates new stars at an “unmatched” pace of more than 700 per year, said Michael McDonald. “This extreme rate of star formation was unexpected,” he said during a NASA news conference Wednesday, noting that the Milky Way forms just one or two stars a year.

In addition to being massive, unique, and the biggest star-nursery in the universe, this area, called Phoenix, also helps theorists with something, the galactic cooling problem.

 

Phoenix Cluster: a combination of the X-ray, Optical, and Ultraviolet images, left; artists concept of the central galaxy, right. (photo: NASA)

 

For years scientists have been coming up with explanations for how stars are formed. The earliest being a mass of molecules would collapse in on themselves as fusion begins. The mass would then accumulate until its gravity becomes strong enough to spin, turn into a sphere, and pull on everything around it, collecting planets, asteroids, and other debris into its solar system.

But, this doesn’t take into account thermodynamics, specifically why doesn’t the star expand as it heats up. Indeed, several half-stars were observed in the universe stuck in this state of expansion unable to contract into the ultra-compact ball of a star.

That’s where a new theory comes in, the galactic “cooling flow”.

**There appears to be no name for the theory, all references are to a general theory theory of star formation.

This says the creation of stars is a lot like an explosion, with an initial burst of heat which then dissipates bringing cool air back into the explosion zone. In this case, thermonuclear fusion ignites much of the galaxy and begins sucking into the center lots of mass, including the surrounding galaxies.

As the (star) forms, this plasma initially heats up due to the gravitational energy released from the infall of smaller galaxies.

As the gas cools, it should condense and sink inward, a process known as a “cooling flow.” 

In the cluster’s center, this cooling flow can lead to very dense cores of gas, termed “cool cores,” which should fuel bursts of star formation in all clusters that go through this process. Most of these predictions had been confirmed with observations – the X-ray glow, the lower temperatures at the cluster centers – but starbursts accompanying this cooling remain rare. – TG Daily

 

A step forward in our knowledge of star formation, but something tells me we are not there yet.

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