Make Earth Cool Again…

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You see the wildest, craziest, almost unbelievable science and gadgets on the internet…and they really can be cool AF! You see them used for life hacks, fun in the name of science, even complete random nonsense. But, can fun science and engineering be put to better use? Can we use them to make Earth cool again?

In this article, we will take you through a few modern revolutionary items which could be used to create a much more sustainable environment.

This isn’t just an article as to why it could improve our planet, it’s the direction we must go. The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) was the biggest step we have taken so far into globally agreeing the actions we must all take to save our planet. There were many challenges discussed and many actions to defeat them, but the most significant agreement to have been made at COP21 is that we must not let the planet temperature rise another 2 degrees Celsius. By informing and engaging less-developed countries, as well as agreeing actions within individual nations (such as bans on petrol and diesel cars in many countries), the leaders, the businesses and the people of their respective nations will be doing their part in saving the planet.

As per my last blog article on the current state of our planet (Earth is Dead), I shifted a lot of blame on those in power; whether they be government or private companies; but COP21 will ensure everyone plays a part in providing and relying on more efficient energy sources.

While the plans and actions have been agreed, there’s only one place where we can exceed those expectations and really give ourselves a boost in the mission to save our planet… Science and Technology! And guess what, they’ve already started! Here are three revolutionary products, created by the art that is engineering, which can change the world and give us a MASSIVE boost!

OohoSkipping Rocks Lab

To be honest, I don’t know how this hasn’t taken over the majority of packaging materials. This is a game changer. I don’t understand how this isn’t talked about. I’ve told a lot of people about this and yet it seems to be the case that I am the only one who was actually aware of this.

Notpa – Ohoo Water Orb

If this is news to you, which I can guarantee it is for the majority reading this, Ohoo is an ‘alternative’ material for packaging. It’s not plastic. It’s not even paper or metal. It’s seaweed!

The product was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab and is sold by Notpla. Notpla plan to lease the machine used to produce Ooho’s to relevant stakeholders and customers. For example, if an events company wishes to use Ooho’s to create little sachet’s of sauce or food, then Notpla will provide this. Ooho’s are 100% biodegradable and take around 4 to 6 weeks to “disappear”. It’s been used to create little orbs of water, in an attempt to remove plastic bottles from shelves. A single orb can hold around 20ml to 150ml worth of product (primarily liquids). Head to Notpla’s website to find out more.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is amazing? If this can be developed further and produced on a mass scale, it wouldn’t just reduce the production of plastic and its use for packaging, it could completely replace it! Now you know what I mean when I say it’s a game changer. However, maybe Ooho’s are not so talked about generally because of how undeveloped they still are. They can only be used for very small packaging at the moment, but I am certain that they will become hugely significant in the near future. We would really be reaching our targets as a planet if we do have a strong focus on the use of packaging and Ooho’s will be a very strong start to that. Plastic is very harmful when being disposed of, but the production of plastic is where it really causes damage. If you think of where and how plastic is used, you’ll realise how dependant we currently are on plastic and how the need for Ooho is essential.

Tesla SolarTesla

Tesla Solar – Roof Tiles

So simple yet so clever. Many people are already aware of this product. It’s actually taken off amazingly well in America. To put it simply, Tesla have designed roof tiles which have incorporated invisible solar cells. The best part is that it’s actually a cheaper alternative to slate roof tiling. In fact, it offers different materials and slate is one of them!

Tesla’s batteries are already renowned for their efficiency and use of sustainable energy. The solar tiles are integrated with their Powerall home battery which means you are able to rely on your own produced energy and use it as and when you wish to.

Why is this huge? Because it means we wouldn’t have to rely on massive power plants to power our homes with more expensive and less sustainable energy. Tesla have already taken this international, but it’s about adapting this to the existing, rather than just new homes/buildings. It also begs the question of what new ways we are able to share energy.

Tesla Solar is the first major effort, that I have seen, to change the way homeowners/residents use and gain energy. I mean, obviously solar panels already exist and have done for a while, as well as other renewable energy sources, but Tesla Solar is the first time I’ve seen someone push for sustainable energy as a ‘norm’. It makes the current method of energy-use look somewhat ‘old’. It’s kind of like a “get with the programme” statement.

Bamboo

Bamboo is often used for architecture – Bali (shown here) are well-known for this

An overlooked resource. Bamboo is natural, grows quick and easy and can be used for tons of stuff inside and outside a home! It also absorbs greenhouse gases and grows anywhere and everywhere! I think people need to realise how incredibly useful Bamboo can be. It’s a tough material. It’s used for scaffolding in many parts of the world, in particular East Asia. But not only can Bamboo be used for beneficial tools, it can also be used for luxury items, such as decoration, ornaments, etc.

In all honesty, engineers should take this resource and let their imaginations run wild with it. If any professional region is going to turn this highly reliable, hugely sustainable material into something beneficial for everyday life, it’s them.

In Fact…

…It’s our engineers who have accelerated our journey to a sustainable planet as they are the ones who innovated such game-changing products and the ones who have put our natural resources to efficient use.

Our hopes of the future lie in our scientists and our engineers. Developing and growing such ideas like those in this article are what can help the planet achieve our mission from COP21 and can help us ‘Make Earth Cool Again’.

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Earth is Open to Suggestions

What innovative products/materials should be used at a higher volume, or should have higher funding and focus, to help develop a more sustainable environment? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Elon Musk: Hero or Villain?

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I first came across this idea back when I was a student. In one particular lecture, my professor asked the question “Is Elon Musk really trying to save the planet or is he exposing a hot topic for profit?” Those who thought he was a hero stood on one side of the room, the others on the opposite. It was 50/50. I thought (and still do) that Elon is the hero we’ve been looking for, but the result of that question genuinely had me surprised. In this article, let us explore both arguments.

Who the Hell is Elon Musk???

He’s the man of the hour. He might just be the man who saves us. He is his own franchise (not sure if that’s the right word here). He’s not only an entrepreneur, but he’s also an engineer, an investor and an all-around genius.

He’s the co-founder of PayPal, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Tesla as well as the founder of, my personal favourite adventure of his, SpaceX. These are not the only companies he has founded by the way, just the ones which are more commonly known amongst the general population. He’s the CEO of three of those companies. He has a net-worth of over $20 billion. He’s made it on to two of Forbes most prestigious lists: ‘21st in The World’s Most Powerful People (December 2016)’ and he is the ‘40th Richest Person in the World (April 2019)’. If you want a more detailed background on the man, check out his Wikipedia page.

In this article, we are going to look at his three most recognised successes: PayPal, Tesla and Space X. It will talk about why or why not they may be beneficial to the future of our home. It’s time to decide whether Elon Musk is our saviour or our super-villain.

PayPal

PayPal logo

Not a great amount can be said on PayPal in all honesty, aside the fact it is contributing to the whole ‘cashless society’ movement. It was an early move from Musk, more of a start-up to fund his more recent projects rather than going straight for the sole purpose he conveys.

The whole cashless society idea, which I believe is estimated to be lodged around 2030, is a movement which can really benefit the environment. The printing of cash will be a thing of the past and so intangible monies will significantly reduce the resourcing and use of paper.

However, PayPal incurs fees for commercial purposes for sellers. It’s a fair amount too but there’s many variations, dependant on geographical location, which you can see here (Finder, 2019).

Now, the question is here is: Is Elon Musk passionate about advancing towards intangible cash to reduce paper-use? Or is he using this reasoning to take advantage of the extra costs of using card-payments, whilst applying his own fees, for higher profit?

Tesla

Tesla are the automotive and energy company who are really on the come up. The quality of their vehicles is second-to-none. Although founded in 2003, it is only recently that Tesla are becoming quite the popular name.

Why are they popular? It’s because of the efficiency of their products. Tesla cars are entirely electric, yet they are still as powerful, beautiful and luxurious as your top-end car brands (such as JLR, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, etc). Only once have I sat in a Tesla car, but oh my is it quick! It’s easy for me to drift on a tangent here and talk about why it’s probably the best brand in the motor industry right now, but let me stick to the point here. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say Elon Musk has changed the industry by focusing on electric motors, as many other car manufacturers are also taking the route of electric (and even hybrid) vehicles, but he is certainly accelerating the rate of pace in which electricity-run motors are taking over our roads by producing the best quality product through the only well-known car manufacturer who do not rely on fossil-fuels.

Tesla Logo

Who knows where this might lead. It could come to the point where Tesla are the leading brand in the industry and so other car brands would have no choice but to accelerate their own pace of throwing out the oil-run motors and relying on electricity. It would lead to public transport relying on electricity too. It might even expand further than the roads. Our boats on the waters and our planes in the air could all follow in the footsteps of Tesla.

However, there is another side to this. Does Elon Musk want the others to follow Tesla?

A forum on Quroa suggests that Tesla does not supply their batteries to other cars. This is because Tesla’s technology is different. They’re ahead of the game. Their batteries/chargers wouldn’t be compatible with other cars, or even if they were, would not work as well. By offering better product which is more advanced tech than your competitors, and by keeping in-house and quiet, it will give you a distinct advantage in the industry and will definitely induce profit even though they are not selling it.

Does Tesla want to take over? Do they not want their competitors to succeed? Do they want to get so far ahead they kill them off? Do they want 100% of the market share? ALL the profit? Do they want to be just like Apple in their quest of world domination?
Or do they really want to create efficient motors and be the only ones to do so? Does Elon Musk think he’s the only one with the “right” vision and doesn’t trust the others in following that path?

What do you think Elon is trying to do with Tesla?

SpaceX

SpaceX Logo

SpaceX, supposedly, is here for space exploration, transportation and developing space technology. They’ve developed a rocket (Falcon 9) which is “re-usable”, and by that I mean it doesn’t just fall off into the sea it actually lands back on Earth and can be sent up again.

But you know what their mission statement is? Their “ultimate goal” is to enable people to “live on other planets” (SpaceX, 2019). In other words, even though Elon Musk is trying to save this planet, even he knows it’s f****d. In my eyes, SpaceX is a programme to get us the hell out of here before it’s too late. It’s his ‘Plan B’. Just watch this video and you’ll know what I mean:

Elon Musk’s vision for Mars

He wants to send people to Mars by 2024. You know why? Because once that step is done, and considering the pace Musk’s companies develop at, there won’t be many more steps before people can actually live there. Recent discoveries from NASA have suggested that there once may have been life on Mars, with some ice under the surface having been found.

How could Musk possibly be using this programme as a venture for profit rather than an escape plan? There’s not much against it, in all honesty. I might be saying that because I am, admittedly, slightly bias. I love his work. The only argument I could possibly think of is that he’s exposing an industry which only he is capable of being successful in. He has the finances to fund such a venture, as well as the advanced technology to actually have a massive presence there. The longer they stay there and develop their technology, and potentially exceeding NASA, it turns into a bit of a monopoly. NASA will have no choice but to buy from SpaceX (they’re already putting their astronauts on Falcon 9) because if they don’t, SpaceX will do it themselves. They have the knowledge, technology and, at some point, will definitely have the money. They’re either a threat or friend to NASA.

It’s difficult to suggest that SpaceX is some sort of “exploitation”. It’s nothing close to that in my eyes. Yes, it is guaranteed profit; if you factor Musk’s technological ability, his financial stability and his excellent entrepreneurial skills; but you need that if you are going achieve a mission which people don’t think is possible for DECADES! The big money is essential if he is going to achieve that goal. But I guess you could always ask ‘will he ever achieve it?’

YOU DECIDE

Is Elon Musk a hero or a villain? After reading this, it would be great to hear what you think of Musk and his projects!

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and give us a follow while you’re there):