Hue, a wireless lighting system, allows you to “tune” your lights to up to 16 million different colors.
You can control them remotely so that you don’t walk into a dark house. You can adjust the color or intensity to increase concentration or relaxation, based on years of studies on the effect of light on human behavior. Hue can even produce gentle reminders, so that your hallway lights automatically turn blue on a rainy morning (Bring your umbrella today) or so your house lights dim steadily beginning at 8 a.m. (Time to catch the train). Thanks to LEDs’ ability to accept digital signals, in other words, home illumination isn’t only about seeing or feeling better. It is an atmospheric conveyor of information, too.
"We’ve been making lighting products for 120 years, and until last year, for the home, all they did was turn on and off. We thought: Why not do more with it than just turn it on or off?"
Happy Friday! Today, do the hardest things on your list first.
Getting lost in email or mindless tasks can suck away much of your energy. It’s also a great way to avoid tackling the tough projects. But ultimately, when you’re not focusing your greatest energy on your most important tasks, you’re wasting it. He’s a big proponent of doing the most challenging,most important things first-thing in the morning when you’re rested and less prone to distraction.
You need energy to do your best work or be a good friend or partner. Weekends give energy. So unplug for the next 60 hours or so, because when you’re detached from your work over the weekend, you are able to recover from your workweek.
The JF-Kit House by the Spanish design firm Elii is an experiment in “domestic fitness,” rendering “the image of a possible future where citizens produce part of their domestic energy requirements with their own physical activities.” Each room features a fancifully named exercise station that would, theoretically, help create energy to power the home, including an “arm workout bureau,” a “spinning kitchen,” and a “triceps greenhouse.” A video shows the home’s imagined inhabitant lifting weights, cycling, and doing calisthenics as part of his house’s everyday upkeep and daily chores like cooking.
There are a lot of roads just sitting there in the sun, doing nothing with all that energy. Why not use them to collect it? Introducing the Solar Roadway, a road built out of solar panels.
The road is made of three parts: a hard-wearing translucent top-layer with the solar cells, LED lights (for road markings) and a heating element (to keep off snow and ice); an electronics layer to control lighting and communications; and a base plate layer that distributes power to nearby homes and businesses (and perhaps electric vehicle charging stations). Plus, there’s a channel at the edge to collect and filter run-off water (including anti-freeze and other chemicals that normally leeches into the ground).
According to the Association of American Railroads, freight trains are four times more fuel efficient than trucks, with 75% fewer carbon emissions for the same distance (it has a handy calculator here, if you want to plug in a few actual journeys). The video above shows off some new diesel locomotives that General Electric says are particularly efficient, using “11% less fuel than the existing locomotive average in North America.”
"You start your city without any money, and you could exploit the coal seams underneath the city and start digging coal out of the ground and make a city that’s pretty filthy, one that’s built on burning coal for power, might have a lot of coal-sustained industries around it and would make me a ton of money as a player. In the long term that would sort of blight the prospects of the city." In that coal-dependent city, there would be little natural beauty and excessive air and ground pollution, not to mention citizens suffering from coal-related health problems.
Alternatively, players could opt for other sources of energy—gas-fired power plants, solar panels, wind turbines, or nuclear power. All of these sources have their drawbacks. Solar panels, for example, take up a lot of space and produce less power for the money when compared to coal…