Pedal for Food

March 24, 2008

Cycling For Food: Engineers Work On Pedal-powered Grain Crusher

Three college students (2 are civil engineering majors and 1 is a mechanical engineering major) came up with the idea to develop a pedal-powered grain crusher. Their goal was to produce a fairly simple mechanical device that people in developing countries can use to process anything from corn to barley. If this really works, the grain crusher can help produce food for residents for Third World countries and enable some people to generate an income as they travel from community to community. The students have been working on this device for the past two years. They along with a professor as part of a Rowan Engineering Clinic, have built an aluminum grain crusher that attaches to the bicycle, which is mounted on a stand. As a rider pedals, the back wheel moves a contact element that turns a pulley that moves plates in the crusher to process the food from large fine pieces suitable for cooking. The grain crusher has crushed corn, lentils, split peas and barley.

For more information, here is the article:


Toxic mud being removed in Montana

March 19, 2008

“MILLTOWN, Mont. – Every evening, a 45-car train rumbles away from the Clark Fork River, loaded not with copper, gold or silver ore, but with the toxic legacy of more than a century of mining: tons of contaminated mud from behind an old dam.

Workers are removing 2.2 million cubic yards of the muck — and dismantling the 101-year-old Milltown Dam — in a breathtakingly scenic part of Montana trout-fishing country celebrated in Norman Maclean’s novel “A River Runs Through It.”

 More here.

Nordstrom Bags It

March 18, 2008

Nordstrom, the upscale department store chain, is getting on the “green” bag bandwagon.  The company recently announced that, starting in April, it will begin transitioning to shopping bags, gift boxes and tissue paper that are 100% recyclable.  The company is also introducing a reusable shopping tote.  The foldable, metallic brushed linen bag will feature a cityscape design representing every city where a Nordstrom store can be found.  The bag comes in a little case that serves as the bottom of the bag when it is unfolded.  It is big enough to fit two shoe boxes and the bag will be available to buy for $21.95.  It will first be marketed in the Northwest, Northern California and Southern California.

This article as short, but Nordstrom is making small steps to becoming more environmentally friendly.

You can read the entire article here: 


Reaction for Unsettling of America

March 8, 2008

While reading Unsettling of America, I found it similar to our previous book, Nature.  I thought it was relatively thick and dry material.  This book opened my eyes to many new environmental and sociological problems that our society faces constantly but I just have never realized.  The people can never just stop eating so it is crucial to address the problems associated with agriculture.  Agriculture is truly the “backbone” of civilization and it’s important to recognize its importance and how it ties in with our society and our environment.

So many things talked about in this book have happened. There’s things he talks of that seem unbelievable…but years ago he said there would be dairy farms here and beef farms there and the diverse farms would give way to specialization. That has happened. There’s a good many points in this book that presents his views – and that of many Americans – straight up. Not everyone will agree. There are companies who say it’s safe to use their chemical or it’s only the other guy who’s careless. Country and farms are disappearing today at a rate that most don’t even realize.


Can Color Be Renewable?

March 7, 2008

Dr. Dave Worsley is investigating ways of painting solar cells onto the flexible steel surfaces commonly used for cladding buildings.  Dr. Worsley is a Reader in the Materials Research Centre at the University’s School of Engineering.  A research grant from the Welsh Assembly Government’s Welsh Energy Research Centre (WERC) enable Dr. Worsely to work with leading metals group Corus to investigate the feasibility of developing an efficient solar cell system that can be applied to steel building products.  The success of the study led to the award of a three-year project worth over $1 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Paint is applied to steel when it is passed through rollers during the manufacturing process, and it is hoped that the same approach can be used to build up layers of the solar cell system.  The researchers’ aim is to produce cells that can be pained onto a flexible steel surface at a rate of 30-40m2 a minute.

To read the entire article click here:


Oil prices have hit an all time high – Max

March 7, 2008

This week, oil prices have finally hit an all time high of $103.76 per barrel, surpassing the previous high set in April 1980. The price today is three times higher than it was four years ago. World oil production has began to decline in the past three years (thus making 2005 the peak year for oil production), though it is not known if this trend will continue. This decline in oil production is attributed to a combination of political and geographical factors in a number oil markets most productive countries. It is now predicted that crude oil could hit $150 by as early as 2010! Sounds like it’s about time to invest in alternatives…   more here   – Max


March 5, 2008


this kind of art is made on cars, dirty cars. no more “wash me” signs made with your finger this is an artist who thrives on your car being dirty. this is an environmental issue because it is natural and safe for the environment. not that cars are, but the art is.

-Nick W