Plastics like styrofoam currently take up between 25%-30% of our landfill space, and a single cubic foot of styrofoam has the same energy content as about one and a half liters of gasoline.
College pals Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre established Ecovative, which grows cost-effective alternatives to plastic insulation and packaging. While they were students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Bayer and McIntyre experimented with mycelium, the network of vegetative filaments in mushrooms, and realized that it could be used to form incredibly strong bonds. Essentially, the substance functions like a glue that you can grow and use to form agricultural byproducts like plant stalks and seed husks into natural alternatives to styrofoam packaging and insulation.
“If you think that chipping away at the nominal debt by slashing government programs for people who earn less than 23,000 dollars is going to do a damn thing about this, then you’re delusional or ideological or both,” he tells me. “The best cure for debt is growth.” - Author Mark Blyth”
"The job as we understood it is disappearing."
On Friday, May 24, at 2:00 p.m. EST senior writer Anya Kamenetz will be moderating a discussion with Glen Hiemstra, founder of Futurist.com, about how work will evolve over the next several decades both in America and globally.
Join us: Simply follow this link to register with Cisco’s WebEx software now, and then sign in on Friday to take part. Bring any questions you might have.
A new app uses the power of your own positive thinking to create a placebo effect—which works even if you know it’s happening.
You start by setting a goal: say, more joy or love in your life. Then, you choose someone to give you the placebo (maybe a friend or family member), what you want it to be (a pill, say), and where you want to take it (maybe a forest where you go running with a friend). You then “take” the placebo whenever you want to, following a pre-set ritual built into the app.
The point is to replicate what’s important about the placebo effect, which isn’t the pill itself, but the experience.
Laying Pipe By Helicopter To Bring Water To The Driest Parts Of The World
This amazing device can unspool three miles of hose from a helicopter in a matter of minutes, to easily get water to places far away from any source.
Read more about this life-saving innovation here.
This app teaches kids to code by letting them make their own games.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine, the 17.4 million marijuana smokers in the U.S. tend to be skinnier and have lower blood sugar.
As we noted in a recent post, consumers care about buying items from socially responsible brands more than they ever have before. But caring about something doesn’t always translate into action.
Would You Move To A Shrinking City If It Paid Off Your Loans?
That’s the plan of New York’s Niagra Falls. In the hopes of staunching its population decline and bringing a new generation of engaged youth, the city is accepting applications for urban pioneers willing to move in exchange for a little debt relief.
Niagara Falls is a poster child for population loss. The city had more than 100,000 people in 1950. Now they’re struggling to keep above 50,000, a number which carries more than just symbolic consequences: It’s the cut-off for HUD entitlement funding. “That’s a dollar loss right off the bat,” Niagara Falls director of community development Seth Piccirillo says. It means less money for everything from home repairs to police. But Piccirillo is worried about the private sector, too: “When was the last time an employer said, ‘I want to put 500 jobs in a shrinking city’? It doesn’t happen.”
A solution they came up with, literally on the back of a napkin, is called Live NF. It will reimburse up to $3,492 a year of your student loans for two years—if you move to downtown Niagara Falls. They had 42 applicants, and have just announced their first five winners, who range from an artist from Buffalo to a web designer with a Masters in Bible Studies.
Forget GDP: The Social Progress Index Measures National Well-Being
This new index tracks everything from opportunity to health to sustainability.
For many years, the powers that be thought that economic indicators were the ultimate measure of a country’s wellbeing. That’s starting to change. As we have discussed before, the general happiness of a country doesn’t always correlate with its wealth.
In fact, economic indicators don’t match up with a number of important indicators about well-being.
Hence the Social Progress Index, an initiative from The Social Progress Imperative and Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter that examines how 50 countries perform on 52 indicators related to basic human needs, the foundations of well-being, and opportunity.
The top country: Sweden. The U.S. doesn’t even rank in the top five…
Google’s Plan To Fight Human Trafficking With Big Data
A collection of tech and data companies are working together to track, map, and fight the criminal underworld that ships people around the world.
Google announced this week that it’s giving a $3 million Global Impact Award (part of a series of grants given to nonprofits changing the world with technology) to help three anti-trafficking organizations—Polaris Project, Liberty Asia, and La Strada International—create a Global Human Trafficking Hotline Network. While these organizations operate effective trafficking hotlines across the world, they don’t share their information. That’s the kind of big-data problem that Google can help with.
Nine months ago, Google Ideas convened a summit on exposing, mapping, and disrupting illicit networks—the kind that organize human trafficking. This is a big problem that’s often hidden from public discourse; last year, over 20 million people were trafficked across the globe, generating over $32 billion in profits.
Mike Merrill is literally selling himself. Not his body, his self.
Since 2008, the straight-laced entrepreneur has been selling shares of his person at Kmikeym.com.
As Joshua Davis at Wired tells the story, at first shareholders only voted on small projects, but now they make decisions about his most intimate life:
One anonymous investor sent Merrill on a date with a polyamorous woman. “She is currently seeing someone, but she has permission to date,” he wrote in his after-action report. “I’m of mixed feeling about that, but I recognize that this is a decision for the shareholders to make.” They decided against continuing the relationship but gave a 97% approval rating to a guy referred to as Jordon California. Feeling the weight of investor expectations, Merrill spent a drunken night “fooling around” with him.
The media attention has brought Merrill a number of new shareholders, but otherwise, life at KMikeyM headquarters continues, according to his latest email update: “We are working very hard on responding to the influx of new shareholders, our new venture Jumpbots, and we just completed moving in with our shareholder-approved girlfriend.”
If you want to own a piece of Mike Merrill for yourself, he’s currently going for about $15 a share.
The World Needs 1.8 Billion Jobs—But What If They Already Exist?
What if we were able to monetize the information we put on the Internet? A revolution in which people are paid by the networks they use could herald a new economy for the world’s jobless.