Designing a cleaner future

first_imgA slum on the outskirts of Accra, Ghana, received major media attention in 2010 and 2011 when the outside world realized where computers go to die. In an area called Agbogbloshie, impoverished residents were burning broken electronic parts, discarded and dumped by wealthier nations, to extract the metal components. Crouched around bonfires, they inhaled toxic smoke and unwittingly leached heavy metals into a nearby river, just to eke out a living.Rachel Field ’12, then an undergraduate engineering sciences concentrator, read the news reports and devoted her senior thesis project to addressing the problem.“It had gotten so much attention before, but it was amazing to me that almost nobody was trying to actually help out or figure out a solution,” she recalls.The result of her efforts is Bicyclean, a pedal-powered grindstone that pulverizes entire circuit boards inside a polycarbonate enclosure, capturing the dust. Though Field is now a year out of college, her project recently won the silver award at the Acer Foundation’s Incredible Green Contest in Taiwan and was displayed for three days at Computex Taipei, one of the world’s largest computer industry expositions.The $35,000 prize will enable her to return to Ghana to test a second-generation prototype and to seek nonprofit status for the endeavor, a significant milestone in a project she was afraid might fall by the wayside after graduation.Captivated by the problem in her senior year, Field dove headfirst into her research. Supported by a grant from the Harvard Committee on African Studies, she traveled to Agbogbloshie in January 2012.“It really does look surreal,” she says. “An otherworldly place. When I first got there, it was just completely shocking and unbelievable that people would expose themselves to this hazard. But, obviously, most of the people who work there are living in these slums that are right next to it.”So she spent her monthlong winter break meeting the community and observing their work.“There was a phase where I had this vision of building something like those emergency trailers that go out after big storms, but with a little chemical lab in it. Of course, once I went there, I realized that would make no sense.“What’s interesting, though, is that a lot of guys there know how to weld. There are a lot of very talented craftsmen, because they’re already using these types of skills to very expertly dismantle the electronics.”“I knew it was very important to the project that I see what was going on firsthand, and that I really talk to people,” said Rachel Field. File photo by Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerA device that Ghanaians could actually assemble themselves might work well, she realized.All undergraduates pursuing the bachelor of science degree through the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) are required to complete a senior design project, known as ES 100, with the guidance of an experienced adviser. Design preceptor Joe Zinter and specialist Jordan Stephens helped Field create a rational list of goals and constraints. “I thought, well, what do I not want them to do? I don’t want people to be directly exposed to toxins, and if that’s one of the parameters then I don’t want people to have to use heat. I want this to be something that people can afford and build from materials that are already available to them.”Bicycle parts are ubiquitous and universal, portable, relatively inexpensive, and — of course — human-powered.At the competition this June, she was up against a wide range of other “green” projects — 2,100 of them in all. The high-profile judges evaluated the entries on the basis of their “Earth-friendliness, reality-friendliness, and innovation-friendliness.” Teams from around the world had interpreted those parameters to produce an impressive array of solutions to sustainability challenges. The Taiwanese team that won first prize offered a new way to cool a computer without using fans and using minimal electricity; other projects tackled oil spills, reduced waste in food supply chains, and improved public transportation for suburban areas.“If you listen to Rachel talk about her project, it always starts with, ‘I traveled, I saw, I was affected, I was inspired,’” says Anas Chalah, director of the Instructional Laboratories and the Safety Program at SEAS, who watched the project evolve over the course of two years. “It’s not a trivial idea; it’s a universal problem. It has the recycling element, the socioeconomic and budget element — making money out of waste — and it’s environmentally friendly.”Chalah kept Field’s prototype on display in the teaching labs in 2012-13 to inspire the next class of seniors as they worked on their own thesis projects, so it was still available to her when she decided to enter it in the Incredible Green Contest. Stephens helped her to polish it up again and prepare for multiple rounds of interviews; he even traveled to Taipei to support her through her final presentation.“We don’t close our doors when students graduate,” remarks Chalah.Field has spent the past year in Paris, continuing work on a project she began in the SEAS course ES 20, “How to Create Things and Have Them Matter,” taught by David Edwards, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Biomedical Engineering. That project is decidedly more indulgent; Field and her collaborators have created an app that sends scents — real scents, like butterscotch or roses — from one user to another. Le Laboratoire, of which Edwards is founder and director, is currently hosting an exhibition in which members of the public can sensuously experience virtual coffee using a small, handheld device called an OPHONE (for “olfactory phone”) that connects to an Android phone via Bluetooth.“This is something I’ve been working on all year, and having random people from the public using it is just the best feeling,” says Field.With the support she’ll now receive from the Incredible Green Contest, Field may soon be able to advance the Bicyclean project to the same stage, and perhaps see it in action in Ghana. Her friends near Agbogbloshie have been sending her Facebook messages during the past year, asking when she might return. Immediately after the award ceremony, she was able to write back to them: “I just got funding.”“I didn’t ever want to be someone who just stopped by for a month, saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll totally help you out,’ and then never show up again, so this is pretty exciting,” she says. “When I got to send that message to them, it was a really good moment for me. At the end of the day, the site is still there, the problem’s still there, and hopefully this is going to be part of the solution.”last_img read more

One of lane of State Road 156 set to open today in Switzerland County

first_imgSwitzerland County, In. — State Road 156 in Switzerland County is scheduled to reopen as one lane with a temporary signal the afternoon of Monday, May 13.The road was closed Tuesday between Tapps Ridge Road and Markland Pike, east of Vevay, due to continued sliding near Hunt’s Creek Road.INDOT is working with a contractor and utility companies to set a timeline to perform repairs at the location to stabilize roadway.last_img

Hulett to pilot power project

first_img26 February 2008South African agri-processing company Tongaat Hulett is in negotiations to supply state company Eskom with electricity generated at its plants, in answer to the government’s call for co-generation projects by industrial players.According to a statement released by the company in late January, Tongaat Hulett has the ability to co-generate electricity at its sugar and starch operations, supplying the national grid with up to nine megawatts of electricity during the crushing season.“The company’s sugar and starch operations have pre-qualified to participate in Eskom’s co-generation pilot programme,” Tongaat Hulett CEO Peter Staude said in the statement.“The potential electricity that we would be able to generate, assuming co-generation projects at four South African sugar mills and two starch plants, was initially indicated as 209 megawatts and, if all the biomass of cane and the emerging technologies were used, it could increase to approximately 600 megawatts.”He added that, as the programme was currently in the bidding phase, no further specific information was being made public with this regard.Engineering News quoted Staude this week as saying he would be “surprised” if a co-generation deal between his company and Eskom was not struck this year, with the only remaining obstacle being the power purchase price agreement, which would determine the extent of his company’s investment in co-generation.The publication reports that the company had put electricity back into the national grid in 2007 at a price of 12 cents per kilowatt-hour, which Staude said provided “very little incentive” for co-generation, adding that he would prefer a buy-back price in the region of 60 cents per kilowatt-hour.Powered by sugarAs the size and growth in demand for electricity in South Africa and the supply dynamic have become clearer, the importance of the potential generation of power by the sugar industry is increasing.“In a scenario of a number of the right investments and the latest technology, the South African sugar industry could supply in excess of 2% of South Africa’s power needs,” Staude said in the company statement.“The timely finalisation of an agreement to produce co-generated power will enhance the viability and competitiveness of the South African sugar industry, including the growers when compared to countries such as Australia and Brazil who already have sugar energy regimes in place.”SAinfo reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Triglav 2864 — Geocache of the Week

first_imgLocation:SloveniaN 46° 22.692 E 013° 50.175 TraditionalGC14N3Hby TeMpL Team At 2,864m (9,396ft), Mount Triglav may not be breaking any peak height records (though it is the highest peak in Slovenia), but it could be the only mountain in the world with a rocket on top.Triglav rocket. Photo by Očko.Okay, okay, so it isn’t really a rocket. But the comically small, perfectly cylindrical hut does look more aerodynamic than quite necessary for something entirely earthbound.Mount Triglav rises well into the clouds above Slovenia, towering over a national park of the same name. Since its first recorded summit on August 26, 1778, droves of climbers have made it to the top. According to the cache page, “It is now said that you are not a complete Slovenian until you have climbed Triglav.” Although the climb is strenuous and requires special equipment, it can be done by most people in reasonably fit condition.Triglav from below. Photo by Soilworker.It’s customary to pose for a group photo with the rocket.Photo by jaja a paja.Photo by Jpety.Photo by Ke4upFor many geocachers, finding the Mount Triglav cache is an even better reward than the photo opportunity or the sense of superiority you have over your friends who haven’t climbed a mountain.Photo by jakteam.The cache may have one of the best views in the world…at least, when it’s not buried underneath the snow. Difficulty:1.5Terrain:4.5center_img GC14N3H. Photo by aqua55.Although the cache faces the same hazards of weather and climate that many mountain caches face and sometimes goes missing, we hope that it remains active for many years to come.Photo by Whoever_CZ .Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.Share with your Friends:More SharePrint Related”Triglav 2864″ GC14N3H GEOCACHE OF THE WEEK – February 27, 2012February 15, 2012In “Community”Extreme Geocaching in Pictures (and Video)April 29, 2013In “Community”I FEEL sLOVEnia: Brand New Geocaching Country Souvenir for SloveniaNovember 16, 2015In “Community”last_img read more

Small ghost bike for a young Toronto boy making a memorial for

first_imgTORONTO – Geoffrey Bercarich has been making “ghost bikes” for fallen cyclists for more than a decade, but he’s never made one this small.At his Toronto home, he stands beside a child’s bike — gleaming white from a fresh paint job — that is dedicated to Xavier Morgan, a five-year-old who crashed his bike on a city trail and fell onto a nearby six-lane roadway where he was killed by a car last week.“This is definitely the youngest child I’ve ever had to put a memorial up for,” Bercarich says, his voice trailing off. “I don’t want this to ever happen again. And this memorial is definitely not good enough, but it’s my way to show that every life is sacred.”Ghost bikes — reminders of the risks cyclists face — have cropped up around the country and across the world. In Toronto, Bercarich, along with the group Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists, has been building and maintaining them for years.On Saturday morning, Bercarich will be among a large group of cyclists expected to ride en masse, slowly, but surely, to the spot where Xavier died on Toronto’s Lake Shore Boulevard.Bercarich will bring his latest ghost bike with him, lock it to a nearby post and give the keys to Xavier’s aunt and uncle who are expected to be there, he says. The family can take the bike down if the memorial proves too painful.Since the boy’s death, Bercarich and other cyclists have called for a barrier to be put in place on the portion of the Martin Goodman Trail where Xavier fell onto the busy road. On Friday afternoon, city staff announced plans to erect fencing along that section of the trail.Xavier is so far the only cyclist to die this year in Toronto. Last year, one person died. There were four deaths in 2015, three in 2014 and four in 2013, according to Toronto police.Bercarich, 33, says he gets a call every time a cyclist is killed in the city.The latest case was no different. A friend called, sobbing, he says, repeating the words “tragedy” over and over before hanging up.“Then I got word that it was a five-year-old cyclist that went down,” he says. “Then I heard the five-year-old cyclist went to the same school I went to. Then I heard it was on the same trail that I learned to ride a bike on. And it hit really close to home — my home.”So Bercarich — who fixes bikes in his spare time and gives them away for free to those in need — got to work.He knew exactly which bike, among the dozens he has at his home, to paint for Xavier. It was his friend’s first bike, one she learned to ride on. She donated it to him a while ago and wanted something special done with it.It took him about two hours, using three cans of spray paint, to finish Xavier’s bike. First he laid on two coats of flat white paint.“The final coat is gloss, the overcoat, which creates a reflective surface so cars, when they fly by it, they’ll be able to see it better,” he says.After Xavier died, Toronto Mayor John Tory demanded a review of the safety of the city’s bike trails.“It is past time for us to have a hard look at safety on these trails,” he said.Bercarich, however, has little time for politicians’ words. He’s been hearing the same thing for years, he says.Between Jan. 1 and May 18, there have been 174 collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles, according to Toronto police data. There were 206 such incidents over the same time period last year. And those numbers don’t include doorings, cyclist versus cyclist, or cyclist versus pedestrian crashes.Bercarich says he wants Xavier’s family to know the little boy will be thought of for a very long time to come.“There are a lot of people who will not rest until some sort of consequences have been made because of his death,” he says. “We’re going to push really hard for a long time so his death doesn’t go unmarked by city councillors and planners.”last_img read more

Venus Williams Ousted From Olympics

Venus Williams was in control, or so it seemed. She led in each set of her match Wednesday against Germany’s Angelique Kerber. But Williams did not close, and, instead, was closed out, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5).Williams was classy in defeat, giving credit to Kerber and not use fatigue from playing twice a day as an excuse.“I made a few errors and she hit a few winners, and things can go quickly in tennis,” Williams said. ” “She had a lot of answers. She’s having a great year, and I have to give her credit for playing well.”Three times in the first set Williams had a chance to take it. But she did not. Then, in the tiebreaker, she had a 5-1 lead and blew that, too.In the second set, Williams raced out to a 3-1 lead in the set. But again she floundered and Kerber rallied for the comeback and, ultimately, the victory.In the first set Williams failed to convert three set points, then blew a 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. She was up 3-1 in the second set, but Kerber again charged back.Kerber, a semifinalist at Wimbledon last month and at the U.S. Open last year, is ranked a career-high No. 7. Knocking off Williams advances her to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.Wiliams suffers from an autoimmune disease that saps her energy. She has been playing through it, which was a challenge because she was playing singles and doubles with her sister, Serena, in the same day. The loss leaves her at three Olympic gold medals. She and Serena, who has not won a singles title in Olympic competition, continue their quest for doubles gold on Thursday.She marched on easily before her sister’s defeat, rocketing  12 in a 6-1, 6-0 domination of Vera Zvonareva of Russia in just 51 minutes.“I was just playing unbelievable,” Williams said. “I was nervous going into the match and I didn’t speak to anyone and I had a bad practice. I had no idea I would play like this.” read more

Gueye keen to earn bragging rights over Mane

first_imgEverton midfielder Idrissa Gueye says he’s keen to earn bragging rights over close friend Sadio Mane during the Merseyside derby on Sunday.Everton travel to Anfield looking to end a winless run of 18 games against their Merseyside rival in all competitions.“We’re good friends, we’ll sometimes meet up for a chat. But one week before the derby, we stop talking. We don’t send messages and we don’t call. We play this game like we’re supporters,” said Gueye, according to Daily Mail.“Sadio told me after our last international duty (v Equatorial Guinea on November 17) not to call and I said OK. We can start talking again after the game. If we win, I’ll call him straight away!”“He scored the winning goal at Goodison (2016) and came to me afterwards. Hopefully, it will be my turn to do that.”divock origi, liverpoolReport: Origi cause Klopp injury concerns George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Divock Origi injury in today’s game against Newcastle is a cause for concern for Jurgen Klopp.Perhaps with one eye on Tuesday’s trip to Italy…Speaking about the enormous pressure African players undergo during the international period, he cited Sadio Mane crying after being booed by Senegalese fans.Gueye said: “I tried to talk to him after the game but he just wanted to be by himself.”“I knew it was difficult for him. He is a big player and one of Senegal’s best players so people are expecting a lot from him.”“They see him doing very good things for Liverpool so they want him to do the same for the national team. It’s not the same team but they expect more and more from him.”“People in Senegal will be watching this game for sure. The last time, I tackled Sadio hard and received a lot of messages from home saying ‘Don’t injure him.’”last_img read more