How to be a responsible steward of Democracy, Human Rights Capitalism and Planet Earth.

How to be a responsible steward of Planet Earth.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Harvard Professor Invents The WikiCell, Food Packaging You Can Eat - Business Insider

Harvard Professor Invents The WikiCell, Food Packaging You Can Eat - Business Insider

part of a 30-part series called "Game Changers." This special series investigates the most remarkable advancements in science, energy and health — and how they will impact the way we live. This series is brought to you by Samsung's Galaxy S3.

The WikiCell comes in many different flavors and forms. Here the WikiCell is shown without the outer shell.

A major global company like Coca-Cola sells more than 1.5 billion cans of coke every day. Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. In 2010, 14 million tons of plastic containers and packaging ended up in U.S. landfills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The barriers to plastic alternatives have not historically been a lack of ideas. It's the combination of scale, stability and cost — all those things that have made plastic a success over the last century — that has prevented the implementation of those ideas.
WikiCells, an edible skin that takes the place of plastic packaging and protects the food or liquid within, moves past all of those obstacles.  

"This may be the first scalable, inexpensive, stable packaging solution that fully eliminates plastic," said inventor David Edwards, a professor at Harvard University. "Beyond being edible, the reality is it's solving a major industry, health and environmental need today."
Here's where it started.    

At Harvard, Edwards teaches a class called "How to Create Things and Have Them Matter." In the fall of 2008, Edwards gave his students the seed of an idea: To explore how a biological cell could help us think about carrying water more efficiently in drought-stricken parts of the world. 

About a year later, the biomedical engineer, whose past ideas have led to imaginative creations like inhalable caffeine and breathable chocolate, realized the the rules of nature could also be applied to food packaging.    

"Like a grape, you can't empty the inside of biological cell and have something left," says Edwards. "It made me wonder whether you could recreate packaging with that in mind and eliminate plastic." 

From there, Edwards contacted a designer in Paris, Francois Azambourg, and asked if he would like to work on the project. The first take on the WikiCell design was the Edible Bottle a concept that debuted at Le Leboratoire in Fall 2010. The French lab, located next to the Louvre in Paris, was founded by Edwards in 2007 for people to showcase experiments in art, design and science and invite the public to test them.

"At that point, the project was very hypothetical and curiosity-driven," Edwards said. "Yes, we were sensitive to the need of eliminating plastic and packaging, but it clearly wasn't the commercial notion; it was just a general, philosophical scientific design question."  

Over the next two years, Edwards continued to test the limits of WikiCells: gazpacho soup wrapped in a tomato skin, a grape pouch filled with wine, and orange juice in an orange-flavored skin. In January 2012, the engineer presented the idea of WikiCells at Harvard. The talk generated immediate buzz culminating in the founding of WikiCells Designs, a startup based in Cambridge, Ma. The company's CEO is Robert Connelly. Ice cream housed in an edible shell is their first commercial product.   

What is a WikiCell? 

Ice Cream wrapped in a fudge membrane. 

A WikiCell acts like the protective peel of an orange or the shell of a coconut. 
A soft skin holds and protects foods and drinks like ice cream, yogurt, cheese, juice and pudding.  

The WikiCell actually has two layers of packaging. The primary packaging, which is all edible, is mostly made of natural food particles from chocolate, nuts, fruit and seeds (imagine chocolate chip ice cream with a cookie dough skin or yogurt with a blueberry skin, for example). This soft wrapper is equivalent to the skin of the grape and can be washed like a regular piece of fruit. Then there's the hard-shell packing, which may or may not be edible. In the cases where you can't eat the outer-shell, it's completely biodegradable so it can be peeled off and thrown away at less cost to the environment.  

In a supermarket setting, it helps to think of WikiCell Ice Cream like a Magnum bar. Chocolate ice creams bars are sold in cardboard boxes. Within that box, each chocolate bar is individually covered in a plastic wrapper. With a WikiCell, the cardboard box would be the outer-shell (only completely biodegradable). The edible skin of the WikiCell completely eliminates a need for the secondary wrapper.   

"It's as shippable as a standard package," says Edwards. 

The Future

In the near-term, products like WikiCell ice cream, yogurt and juice are available though something called a WikiBar, a setting that allows the public to sample and experiment with edible wrapping. The first WikiBar opened at the lab store in Paris last year. WikiBars will begin to appear in American retail shops in 2013. With the next three years, WikiCells will expand into specialty shops and supermarkets like Whole Foods and Stop &Shop.  

The idea is to partner with established brands in the food and beverage industry, creating new flavor combinations by wrapping well-known products with WikiCells, says company CEO Robert Connelly. 

In parallel, the company plans to go directly to consumer by developing a vending machine for the home that would allow people to design their own WikiCell packaging, say choosing a soda with a caramel skin in the size of a grape.  

"The notion of giving consumers the ability to 'Wiki-fy' their packaging is inherent in what we're doing," Edwards said. "Likely, over the next several years, as we cross a broad spectrum of products — starting with ice cream, then yogurts, cheeses, soda and eventually water — all of these things will ask for different amounts of consumer adoption or change of behavior."

If changing the way we eat means challenging the throwaway culture, then we are more than ready, Dr. Edwards. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Define Success to properly set your compass on your definite purpose.

 To be a responsible steward in your day-to-day activities, you will need to assess what are the areas of your life that impact the environment and which of those behaviors can you change to help save Spaceship Earth from further degradation, i.e., what car do you drive?

Repetition is the mother of all learning.

I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair. In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.
- Bertrand Russell

“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ”
― Mark Twain

"In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins
- not by strength but by perseverance."
- H. Jackson Brown

“Don't mistake activity with achievement.”
― John Wooden

“Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Define Success to properly set your compass on your definite purpose.

“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

“I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
― Amelia Earhart

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Define Success to properly set your compass on your definite purpose.




During 2009-2010 Hugo photographed the people and landscape of an expansive dump of obsolete technology in Ghana. The area, on the outskirts of a slum known as Agbogbloshie, is referred to by local inhabitants as Sodom and Gomorrah, a vivid acknowledgment of the profound inhumanity of the place. When Hugo asked the inhabitants what they called the pit where the burning takes place, they repeatedly responded: ‘For this place, we have no name’.

 Their response is a reminder of the alien circumstances that are imposed on marginal communities of the world by the West’s obsession with consumption and obsolesce. This wasteland, where people and cattle live on mountains of motherboards, monitors and discarded hard drives, is far removed from the benefits accorded by the unrelenting advances of technology.

The UN Environment Program has stated that Western countries produce around 50 million tons of digital waste every year. In Europe, only 25 percent of this type of waste is collected and effectively recycled. Much of the rest is piled in containers and shipped to developing countries, supposedly to reduce the digital divide, to create jobs and help people.

In reality, the inhabitants of dumps like Agbogbloshie survive largely by burning the electronic devices to extract copper and other metals out of the plastic used in their manufacture. The electronic waste contaminates rivers and lagoons with consequences that are easily imaginable. In 2008 Green Peace took samples of the burnt soil in Agbogbloshie and found high concentrations of lead, mercury, thallium, hydrogen cyanide and PVC.

Notions of time and progress are collapsed in these photographs. There are elements in the images that fast-forward us to an apocalyptic end of the world as we know it, yet the alchemy on this site and the strolling cows recall a pastoral existence that rewinds our minds to a medieval setting. The cycles of history and the lifespan of our technology are both clearly apparent in this cemetery of artifacts from the industrialised world. We are also reminded of the fragility of the information and stories that were stored in the computers which are now just black smoke and melted plastic.


Blogger BlogThis! - Saved

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Albert Einstein on Giving Back

Now learn how to get smarter

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving...


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BIODIVERSITY with anAsian point of view

KJ seeks thought-provoking writings and visual explorations that dispel stereotypical views of Asia, for a worldwide readership.
Our name, Kyoto Journal, reflects our physical base, the city of Kyoto: a place of deep spiritual and cultural heritage that has been the measure of such things for more than a millennium — and which attracts visitors and long-term expat residents with diverse and creative interests that extend far beyond the city itself to encompass and reflect our theme of "perspectives from Asia."
A journal is primarily an ongoing means of looking afresh at the world, and one's place in it, and to recognize this as vital to the evolution of self and society.
Through the generous and long-standing support of our publisher, Harada Shokei, and Heian Bunka Center, KJ is not confined to a particular marketing niche. This gives us remarkable freedom. We also print a very high proportion of unsolicited submissions. KJ editors work closely with contributors to develop content, and seek connections and resonances between selections to help each issue find its own unique identity.
KJ is a community that transcends place. We especially thank all our contributors, throughout Asia and beyond, and the all-volunteer staff who give so generously of their time and energy to make KJ what it is.

Chief Editor: Stewart Wachs
Design: John Einarsen

[click on cover to enlarge]
This richly informative and lavishly illustrated edition of KJ features diverse contributions by more than 50 writers, photographers and artists, specially prepared for distribution this fall at COP10 in Nagoya, the UN’s 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

COP10 may be our last best chance to act on the recognition that our own fate is inseparably bound up with the sustainable health of the biosphere and its myriad species, known and as yet unknown. Through the wealth of ideas, knowledge, beauty and sheer wonder produced for this special issue on life’s preciousness and peril, we hope to inspire participants at COP10 to act on behalf of the Earth (and our own species’ best interests) to craft a truly effective response to the now-catastrophic rate of extinction.

Specially featured is a 22-page section exploring the ideal – and troubling present-day reality – of Japan’s satoyama: rural areas where people have lived with the land and on it without spoiling it over many generations, preserving and even promoting biodiversity.

And as a bonus, complementing the print issue, we have compiled and designed over 30 additional exclusive online reports – all available free, downloadable as PDF files.



Friday, September 7, 2012

Cod comeback seen off Newfoundland - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Living on the West Coast of Canada, we see more problems with the Salmon fishery and the need to avoid the mistakes made with the Cod over fishing that went so far as to nearly wipe out Cod altogether.  Our salmon fishery has seen major depletions of stock and most years have been dismal for the commercial fishermen......

Last Updated: Aug 16, 2012 3:57 PM NT

The once-abundant cod now account for a small fraction of the overall value of Newfoundland and Labrador's seafood industry. The once-abundant cod now account for a small fraction of the overall value of Newfoundland and Labrador's seafood industry. (CBC)

Related Stories Who are we now? 20 years without cod More coverage: The Fisheries Broadcast

External Links Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research

(Note:CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.) 
Cod comeback?25:23

Northern cod appear to be in better shape than any time since Ottawa imposed a moratorium on the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery two decades ago, a leading fisheries scientist says.
Cod seem to be making a comeback offshore, a cautious fisheries scientist says. 

But George Rose, a former federal fisheries scientist who has studied cod stocks for decades, says the improvement is not nearly strong enough or well documented to warrant an increase in cod quotas.

"I haven't seen that amount of fish or the size of the fish that we encountered this spring in, well, it's over 20 years," said Rose, director of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystem Research at Memorial University.

"We really are at a new beginning, particularly with regards to caplin and the cod, which seem to be on the increase — at least in some areas," he told CBC News.

Rose said researchers, though, will not have hard numbers on cod stocks until next spring.
Without enough data, he warns against increasing quotas for a commercial cod fishery.
There are limited fisheries for cod around Newfoundland and Labrador, although it represents a tiny fraction of the overall seafood industry.

In 2011, cod had a landed value of just over $11 million, with fishermen pulling in 9,745 tonnes.

Nonetheless, Rose said there are clear signals that cod are in better health than in many years.

"We've seen considerable and significant changes to the better, particularly in the northern regions — that is from the Grand Banks north up to Labrador, particularly in the one area we call the Bonavista corridor, where the fish have increased in number and in size rather dramatically in the last few years," he said.

Cod comeback seen off Newfoundland - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

 Inspire children...

 David Malan / Getty Images
 David Malan / Getty Images

Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly

If you started using reusable bags exclusively starting at age 25, you could save more than 21,000 plastic bags in your lifetime. Point being: sustainable eating doesn’t have to be hard, and it also doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. A single change can make a difference

33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly | Healthland |

Saturday, September 1, 2012

'Spiders Alive' an Important Insect of Our Ecosystem

Spiders Alive! At The American Museum of Natural History

Image Courtesy of The American Museum of Natural History

Spiders: love them or hate them, they are an important part of our ecosystem by helping to keep the insect population in check. It is estimated that the spiders in 1 acre of woodlands consume 80 pounds of insects a year. Spiders come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and an estimated 43,000 species of spiders exist. They have taken up residence on every continent except Antarctica and survive in climates ranging from deserts to rain forests.
They are truly remarkable creatures and The American Museum of Natural History in New York City want you and your kids to experience them up close and personal. “Spiders Alive! represents a new type of exhibition for the Museum,” said Norman Platnick, curator emeritus in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology and curator of Spiders Alive! Most exhibits are made up mainly of preserved specimens, of which the AMNH has the largest collection of spiders in the world. Spiders Alive! will feature over 20 live arachnids, including scorpions and orb weavers. Visitors will be able to interact with museum staff and volunteers during live demonstrations that will highlight the fascinating features and characteristics of the different arachnids.
Along with the live specimens the exhibit will also feature a 40 foot model of the golden orb-web spider which weaves a golden web that can be as large as 3 feet in diameter. The exhibit also includes a rare 100 million year old spider fossilized in limestone.

Here is just a few of the spiders that will be on display:
  • Trapdoor spider that ambush their prey from underground burrows.
  • The fishing spider that senses vibrations in the water using its front legs.
  • The Giant vinegaroon that emits a foul smell to ward off predators
  • The Indian Ornamental, the Ivory Ornamental and the Metallica Tarantula, spiders as colorful as tropical birds.
  • The Goliath Bird-Eating Spider which is possibly the largest spider in the world.
While spiders are usually the first thing that comes to mind when you hear arachnid, scorpions are also part of this amazing group of animals.
The Spiders! Alive exhibit will run until December 2, 2012, and visitors can purchase tickets online at the American Museum of Natural History Website. The entrances are timed in order to keep the crowds small which means you will have a chance to see some once in a lifetime spiders … ALIVE!