July 2008

Monthly Archive

Tendril + Zigbee = Smart Grid @ Home

Posted by on 31 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency

Cnet’s Green Tech blog offers a write-up on Tendril:

“Most in-home displays take information from the outside meter, but because ours are networked devices and because we’re talking to the utilities’ back office, we know what the price plan is and we can present it in dollars and cents.” Continued at Green Tech…

Smart indeed!

Photo Credits: Tendril Networks Inc.

Biomimicry Workshop in September

Posted by on 29 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry, events

There’s a new opportunity for training in Biomimicry – a 3-day short course in Leavenworth, WA September 9-11, 2008.  This course will be an all-inclusive, intensive learning opportunity for design practitioners and educators interested in incorporating Biomimicry into their design process.

Bay Area Public Transport via Google Maps

Posted by on 24 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: personal comments, transport

If you live in the San Francisco bay area, check out a recent addition to Google Maps – bus times – right on the map. This is just the kind of innovation needed to move people from personal cars to public transport, and with record high gas prices the timing couldn’t be better. Spread the word!

Update: Google adding help for bikers and pedestrians, via BusinessWeek.

Funding News: Measure & Monitise Carbon

Posted by on 21 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: financial


Cnet News reports on two recent fundings:

Software company Carbonetworks on Monday is expected to announce it has secured $5 million series in A financing, led by clean-tech venture firm NGEN Partners. Continued at Cnet…

CarbonFlow has raised $2.9 million in its first round of venture funding from Clean Pacific Ventures, OVP Venture Partners, and Meridian Energy Limited, a New Zealand renewable energy supplier, which is a strategic partner. Continued at Cnet…

Human Health Depends on Biodiversity

Posted by on 13 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: books, climate change

Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity

One of the key things that attracted me to the field of biomimicry was that it showed in very clear terms the value of protecting biodiversity. I just heard the authors of “Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity” interviewed on PRI’s Living on Earth and thought it well worth sharing:

Variety isn’t just the spice of life…it’s essential for life. According to the new book “Sustaining Life, How Human Health Depends upon Biodiversity,” we need birds, bugs, and bacteria a lot more than they need us. We use them for medicines, biomedical and agricultural research, and new materials.

And from the book’s publisher: The Earth’s biodiversity-the rich variety of life on our planet-is disappearing at an alarming rate. And while many books have focused on the expected ecological consequences, or on the aesthetic, ethical, sociological, or economic dimensions of this loss, Sustaining Life is the first book to examine the full range of potential threats that diminishing biodiversity poses to human health.

Check it out now at Oxford University Press, Amazon or your favorite book seller.

Re-thinking Animal Intelligence

Posted by on 13 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

To the Best of Our Knowledge

Fascinating program this morning from one of my favorite radio shows/podcasts:

In Baltimore, Maryland, there’s an octopus that likes to play with toys. In Vienna, Austria, there’s a border collie with a vocabulary of 340 words – more than many toddlers. Southeast Asia is home to dozens of elephants who like to paint. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, re-thinking animal intelligence. Not only are they smarter than we thought – in some cases they’re smarter than us.

You can listen to the program here, but note you’ll need Real Audio player installed.

Getting a Grip

Posted by on 10 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: books

Frances Moore Lappe

I’m feeling inspired after catching an interview on KPFA (starts at 96:25) with author and long-time activist Frances Moore Lappé. I recommend taking a look at her latest book “Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad

Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad Cover

“My book’s intent is to enable us to see what is happening all around us, but is still invisible to most of us. It is about people in all walks of life who are penetrating the spiral of despair and reversing it with new ideas, ingenious innovation – and courage.” Continued at http://www.gettingagrip.net/look-inside/

Smart Sprinkler Systems

Posted by on 09 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, water

Cyber-Rain Logo

Here’s another ‘smart’ product company: VentureBeat reports that Cyber-Rain, maker of wireless sprinkler control systems, an has raised $1.5 million in first round funding.

Cyber-Rain claims its technology can save customers 30 to 70 percent on their watering bills. While smart networks are nothing new in the utility sector, Cyber-Rain is one of the few startups we’ve seen that offers wireless control systems for water management. Continued at VentureBeat…

Whales, Dolphins and Wind Turbine Design

Posted by on 07 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

If you happen to be in Marseille, France tomorrow (Tuesday, July 8th) stop by the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting at the Parc Chanot to learn about “Hydrodynamic flow control in marine mammals”.

Sea creatures have evolved over millions of years to maximize efficiency of movement through water; humans have been trying to perfect streamlined designs for barely a century. So shouldn’t we be taking more notice of the experts?

The shape of whale flippers with one bumpy edge has inspired the creation of a completely novel design for wind turbine blades. This design has been shown to be more efficient and also quieter, but defies traditional engineering theories. “Engineers have previously tried to ensure steady flow patterns on rigid and simple lifting surfaces, such as wings. The lesson from biomimicry is that unsteady flow and complex shapes can increase lift, reduce drag and delay ‘stall’, a dramatic and abrupt loss of lift, beyond what existing engineered systems can accomplish,”


Reminder of Why We’re Doing This Work

Posted by on 05 Jul 2008 | Tagged as: video

My friend Mark Feenstra copied me this video last week. With all the daily distractions I find it useful to see reminders like this…

Severn Cullis-Suzuki is the daughter of David Suzuki (who isn’t so well known in the US but I recall him making an impression when I heard his message during his visits to Australia in the 80s).
I was fortunate to hear Severn speak at the annual Bioneers Conference a couple of years back. Like her father, she is a compelling speaker and I look forward to sharing this video with my daughter in a couple of years. (I’m hoping she’ll grow up to be an influential activist!)

Next Page »