Help me make my apartment self-sufficient and green

Hello,I'm interested in making my apartment greener and more self sufficient than it already is. I want to do this for many reasons, but mostly to see how far I can take this. I'm sure a lot of this will depend on what I can put up with, but i'm looking for some ideas of things to implement. I'll follow Instructables if they exist about it and if they don't, I'll create some to document this.There are some restrictions: I am a renter and I don't own the place. I can make some changes, but I can't cut the walls out or replace appliances. I also can't put anything on the roof or outside of my apartment. I'm also very serious about conserving floorspace in my apartment and not accumulation a lot of junk. I need a bit of space to do my projects and have some sanity in this place (I live in NYC). This means no giant compost piles or what not in my living room.Here's my thoughts on things that I will need to work on:Measuring my consumption of thingsReduce energy useReduce energy wasteProduce some of my own power (Solar? I have a big window)Alternate lighting and heating methods?Making my own food to reduce the amount of waste packagingUsing local ingredientsjoining a CSA (just did that this week actually!)Growing some of my own foodReducing garbage and waste waterReusing things that I canCan you add to the list? Anything that you could help clarify? Anyone interested in taking the challenge with me? Thanks!

Posted by drocko 9 years ago


Clock based dripper tracker for solar applications (panels solar cookers, etc)

I just made an instructable and entered it in the green competition. Way too late of course. the picture shows the generic driver of a battery wall clock. I have adapted one by removing the 2 concentric pipes in the middle that run the minute and second hand to just leave the hour hand driver that i use to drive a "gear" wheel. Anyway, the idea is to do a little dismemberment of clocks, and use the little drive mechanism to control the turning of a solar reflector to continually have the sun focused on what you cook. My current edition of it seems to be working. I believe a simple tracker is sorely needed for solar applications. Once a reliable one comes on the market, you may see new backyard applications popping up. For instance, I cook soil! I stick it in a big black pot, and steam it in my tracking solar cooker for a day. This generally reaches 60 or 70 C (It is a big pot and soil has a low thermal conductivity) which is enough to kill seed eating bugs and weed seeds. I end up with excellent home made seeding soil. Solarization is also possible. Again, a big pot or can, put in all your rotten insect infested fruit, cook for a day, and next year, less bugs on your trees and less sourse of fungal infection. It might even end up as a stage in the processing of compost. Lots of weed roots and seeds survive the compost heat. But they might not do so good after a day at 70 C! Tracking might even be accurate enough to make quicklime! Quicklime is made from limestone CaCO3 that is heated enough to drive off the CO2. You then slake the lime (add water) and it gives off a lot of heat. Heat storage potential? and you have Ca(OH)2 which is the basis for lime plaster. Parabolic dish concentrators can get hot enough to cook limestone. but I do not know the details. There is more of but that will do for now. I hope people try this and prove to the holy free market that simple trackers are needed! Brian White

Posted by gaiatechnician 10 years ago


This device is the opposite of environmentally friendly.

This machine burns energy year round. Is there or is there not another way to compost without a plug?

Posted by A good name 9 years ago


Helpful tips giving gift christmas and new year are environmentally friendly

Christmas and new year is near. What have you prepared? hmmm … christmas and new year celebrations are usually synonymous with giving gifts to family, friends and people we love. Here are some tips for gift-giving is still ‘green’ in order to maintain sustainability of the planet  more details : tips giving gift christmas and new year are environmentally friendly

Posted by ling-ling lia 6 years ago


Green Living

Hey guys, what are you all doing to live green and lessen your environmental impact?

Posted by irish death1 9 years ago


TARDIS toilets

There is a company in the Uk called Tardis Environmental UK, trading as "Tardishire"They use a red TARDIS image (probably without permission) - imagine your disappointment using one of their toilets? or not?!L

Posted by lemonie 9 years ago


Soda Bottle Change Purse

Store your change in this recycled plastic bottle change purse.  Throw this environmentally friendly accessory into your bag.  What a great conversation starter!

Posted by Carleyy 8 years ago


$100,000 prize for environmental design

From EETimes EuropeActual Competition Web page(This hasn't year appeared on the US EETimes web site. Wonder Why?)Electronics engineers, students and academics are being invited to submit designs for aninnovative product that uses electronic components and has a positive impact on theenvironment in the Live Edge competition.The winning entrant will receive a cash prize of $50,000 as well as the support to movethe design towards production. The support package, estimated to be worth an additional$50,000, will include the services of an electronic design consultancy that will develop thedesign to prototype stage, assistance with legal matters and IP registration, marketing andpublicity, as well as Premier Farnell’s help in securing investment funding.

Posted by westfw 11 years ago


Comparative Environmental Friendliness of Internal Combustion and Electric Vehicles

I would like to know which type of vehicle is more environmentally friendly. Electric and hybrid vehicles are gaining in popularity and they are touted as green, but they clearly require more energy and resources in their manufacture due to their battery packs, rare earth metals and electric motors. On the other hand, traditional internal combustion vehicles require fewer resources to manufacture. However, I imagine that it converts fossil fuels to energy less efficiently than electrics because the conversion process is smaller, unlike in large scale power plants (not sure if this is true). Electric === More resources to create (-) Power Plant (Generates energy efficiently?) (+) -> Power Lines (A: energy loss) (-) -> Motion +,-,- Gas === Fewer Resources to create (+) Combustion Motor (Generates energy inefficiently? B: energy loss) (-) -> Motion +,- I'm pretty terrible at explaining this, but is the energy loss at A or B worse when comparing the two systems? For electrics to be viable, it must offset the higher creation cost. Just wondering which one is actually more "green" when you factor in production (disregard cost of transporting fossil fuels to gas stations and power plants).

Posted by crestind 7 years ago


GoodGuide

GoodGuide is a cool website I discovered via Web 2.0's Launch Pad (which Instructables was a part of in 2006). It ranks various products on Health Performance, Environmental Performance, and Social Performance. See how good or bad your soap is for you, the environment, and the workers who produce it.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


"speaking piano" reciting the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court

A "speaking piano" reciting the Proclamation of the European Environmental Criminal Court at World Venice Forum 2009. Austrian composer Peter Ablinger transferred the frequency spectrom of the childs voice to his computer controlled mechanical piano. (translated from German) Peter Ablinger: I break down this phonography, meaning a recording of something the voice, in this case -, in individual pixels, one can say. And if I have the possibility of a rendering in a fairly high resolution (and that I only get with a mechanical piano), then I in fact restore some kind of continuity. Therefore, with a little practice, or help or subtitling, we actually can hear a human voice in a piano sound. link: youtube

Posted by mikeasaurus 7 years ago


Saul Griffith: Lofty ideas from inventor with eco ideals

Inventor Saul Griffith sits down with CNN to discuss the environmental crisis, autonomous electricity generating kites and what inspires him.I don't think this has already been posted...unless this is much older than I thought...Via CNN

Posted by Lithium Rain 9 years ago


A safe, economical, eco-friendly solution…

Paving the ecology foundation for our future generations… With technology advancement, population explosion and improved living standard come environmental issues: 1. Excessive unmanaged waste; 2. Increased water and air pollutions; and 3. Great resources and energy consumption .. Is this the world we want to leave it for our children to inherit? Follow me to learn more

Posted by GearUp 3 years ago


Monsterbike is a serious bicycle

This video from YouTube user wautur shows off the Monsterbike, a brutal penny-farthing with what looks like a tractor wheel in front. According to his profile, wautur is in the Netherlands, but there's no other info on this one, sadly. Skip to 1:30 to see the bike in action. Related: Crush All Those Who Stand Before You, The Environmentally Friendly Way. via treehugger

Posted by fungus amungus 8 years ago


I have reached 100!

I have finally reached 100 tips on how to reduce your impact!100 Ways to Reduce Your ImpactAfter many long hours of research...I have made it out. I have reached my original seemingly unsumountable goal of 100 steps. Whooosh. Time to take a breather.Share it with your friends to help them become environmentally savvy.

Posted by Brennn10 10 years ago


Jevons Paradox

I recently read a thought-provoking article in the New Yorker: "The Efficiency Dilemma" by David Owen. The main gist of the article is that as our machines use less energy, we use them more, thus negating any environmental benefit we hope to achieve. This is known as "Jevons Paradox". You can read the abstract and article here, but you have to be a subscriber for the full article. You can read a commentary, with excerpts, here. Please discuss...

Posted by aeray 7 years ago


No category for environment or alternative power?

Well I just submitted my first instructable under the new organization, it may be my last. There doesn't seem to be a "category" or "channel" or whatever silly thing that covers things like environmental science or alternative power source or most of the 20+ instructables I have posted. Anybody else feeling left out? Since I must now apparently put in mandatory keywords for community posts I used the keyword "unhappy author"...

Posted by egbertfitzwilly 8 years ago


THE BEST FUEL

Hello I am looking for the most accessible, cheapest, hottest burning, most efficient fuel and maybe even environmentally friendly. And what would be already in my house(and NO I AM NOT MODIFYING MY NATURAL GAS PIPES).So post what you think. I usually burn fuels in those little pop can stoves, and in my pyrotechnics. Thats Not My Stove. But Its VERY similar.

Posted by littlechef37 10 years ago


Ultrasound Cleaning

For maintenance purposes, I would like to construct an ultrasound cleaning tank. Preferably an encapsulated ultrasound transducer and generator that could be used in an old solvent cleaning tank which now should not be used. From reading a little about the subject, its application would find a wide use as a clean and environmentally friendly solution in many industrial and domestic applications. Is it feasable and cost effective to build a generator and an encapsulated transducer, and are there any websites to go to to find out more?

Posted by brianeggar 11 years ago


nephew's halloween costume

Hi all, I am new here because my nephew wants to be a robot for halloween. I showed him a number of sites which featured adult halloween costumes (and some for children) and he didn't like anything I saw on the site. Does anyone have any links I can check out or ideas about how to make a robot costume that is both environmentally healthy and more importantly safe for my nephew (He's 10 years old)

Posted by jTyler 10 years ago


compiling the definitive guide to awesome conferences

Hi there,Do you all know of any interesting conferences that are coming up or that happen annually? I'm particularly interested in those related to environmental sustainability, international development, and the design process, but everything's fair game. If there are enough ideas, I'd like to bring them together in a more-readable instructables slideshow. So let everyone know! What's the conference about? When and where is it going to be? How much does it cost? Who else will be there? (Here's Al Gore at TED)

Posted by m0d 9 years ago


woven bamboo subsititute for fiberglass cloth

I spent a lot of time in the Philippines and saw that they use woven bamboo mats to make the walls of houses. While at the hardware store I saw fiberglass resin and remembered the wired.com article about the guy and the bambo bike. This got me to thinking if there was a way to use woven bamboo mats as a subsitute for fiberglass cloth. Mainly because I am cheap and not for environmental concerns. maybe hand woven bamboo mats laminated together for plywood, or use as a boat hull? maybe housing material?

Posted by KungFuChicken 9 years ago


Anyone Know About Green Wood Stains

I've been thinking about redoing a bass guitar and I was looking into different stains when I came across this environmentally friendly wood finishing stain.  So this stuff is hugely more expensive than most products out there and I really don't know much about it.  And there really isn't that much information on it so  I was hoping someone on here might have some experience using some of this stuff.  Would this stuff work better than the chemical stains or is it just more expensive because its organic?

Posted by aninjaturtle 6 years ago


The Kids Are Alright

Via The Sietch BlogIf I asked you if giving up your car and plane travel (permanently) was a sensible solution to global warming, most people of adult age (lets say 20+) would have a hard time doing that. However the next generation, the ones who are really going to be screwed by the ill effects of the global climate crisis see things a little differently."new generation of green teenagers are prepared to support radical measures to help the planet, says a new study.A survey of 16- to 19-year-olds by the Future Foundation found more than one in eight (13%) supported a ban on travelling by air for leisure purposes, while one in 10 say they would back a ban on cars if global warming continues to worsen.Almost 10% even say they would be prepared to take part in guerrilla activities carried out by environmental groups.Meanwhile others - primarily girls - are so eco-conscious they have developed a whole new strand of teen insecurity: "green angst", defined as anxiety about one's eco credentials. Others said environmental awareness even influences their choice of friends and partners.The report was conducted on behalf of the National Lottery to inform funding of environmental projects."It might sound like these kids have lost their minds, supporting guerrilla organizations?! But when you consider the kind of world they are going to inherit it makes perfect sense. If you knew that your parents generation was going to leave you a doomed world, you might be a little pissed. No one wants to grow up to inhabit a mad max movie.According to the study released today by The National Lottery (UK organization), half of 16-19 year olds (50 per cent) want plastic bags banned completely, 71 per cent think that unnecessary packaging on food should go, and 13% per cent want a ban on traveling by plane for leisure purposes. While a quarter (24 per cent) think there should be increases on the taxes and tolls affecting cars, one in ten is prepared to go even further and would support a complete ban on cars if global warming continues to get worse.Read more here.

Posted by TheNaib 10 years ago


Resistance Isn't So Futile

Nissan has introduced the Eco Pedal, an acceleration pedal that pushes back on the driver's foot if the driver is supplying unnecessary pressure and therefore being fuel inefficient. From Wired News: Nissan estimates that the Eco Pedal, coupled with the already ubiquitous instant fuel readout on the dash, can increase fuel economy 10 to 15 percent.While it may hinder driving freedom a little bit, it seems more like it's there to be a friendly little reminder. Sort of like parents when you're learning how to drive. Very environmentally friendly, fuel optimizing parents. Nissan via Wired News

Posted by joshf 10 years ago


Homeowners go greener with do-it-yourself jobs

Michael Davis and his 60 Watt DIY Solar panel were mentioned in SFGate's Homeowners go greener with do-it-yourself jobs.Like a lot of Bay Area homeowners, Alissa Hauser and husband Steve Brown have already done the small things to save on utility bills and pursue a green life: lower the thermostat, install energy-efficient lightbulbs, use old T-shirts for rags instead of paper towels.But earlier this month, the East Bay couple took a longer stride into the do-it-yourself green home improvement era by spending a Saturday afternoon routing gray water pipes from their laundry machine to their garden. Now, each time they run a load of dirty clothes, the excess H{-2}O runs through a filtering system that waters their apple, plum and lemon trees. "In many ways, environmentalism has become an expensive, consumer-driven effort," Hauser, a director at a nonprofit, said. "But this kind of project proves environmentalism can be a money-saving lifestyle, too."...Michael Davis, a Florida inventor who owns property in the Arizona desert, became a minor DIY Internet sensation on the environmental Web site treehugger.com last month when he posted a step-by-step guide on building a homemade solar panel system for $105.Davis said he needed the free electricity to power tools and equipment on his property near Arizona's Painted Desert, where he relies mostly on a generator. He bought used and blemished solar panels off eBay for about $30 and strung together a bootleg unit that managed to power 60 watts of free juice, enough to recharge his drill overnight - a small but important step in the DIY quest to corral solar energy on the cheap.Davis' panels also received high attention on instructables.com, the San Francisco-based Web site that has become a popular destination for do-it-yourselfers looking for detailed instructions. Since the site added a green section last year, users worldwide have contributed more than 120 blueprints on green home improvement projects, everything from contraptions to convert attic heat into hot water to tinning a roof with aluminum cans.More news and press about Instructables here.

Posted by ewilhelm 9 years ago


Computer recycling: Dangers for even the well intentioned

Are we really making it impossible to live in this ever increasingly "darned if you do, darned if you don't" society? Disposal of computer repercussions" Picture a stack of used PCs packed with corporate data sitting unattended on a shipping company loading dock. Imagine what happens to your company's stock price when the Environmental Protection Agency tracks the serial numbers of lead-filled monitors from an illegal landfill back to you. Think about a villager in a third-world nation burning circuit boards in an open-air shop to recover a few cents' worth of precious metals. Now, what's going to be generated by that 3-year-old PC your administrator just pulled from an employee's desk? Data theft? Lawsuit? Poison? Finally, consider research firm IDC's estimate that 269 million PCs were sold worldwide last year, along with 8 million servers. The bulk of them likely were replacements for systems moved into recycling or reuse. You start to get a sense of the dangers associated with disposing of outdated computer equipment.Concerns about computer disposal fall into three main categories: Eradicating data, finding a market for outdated but usable equipment and recycling or disposing of materials in an environmentally safe manner...."Anyone have any suggestions for are "fearless leaders" ? Image is of SKILLS from the PA recycling center and can be read about at this link for SKILLS

Posted by Goodhart 10 years ago


"Your Environmentalism Sucks!" Says WIRED

The cover story of WIRED this month has been published online and you can read their 10 "heresies" about the environment. They're clearly trying to shake things up by telling people stuff that sounds so wrong, but is obviously right according to them.The gist of WIRED's philosophy is that it's all about the carbon dioxide emissions and that every discussion should be framed entirely by this. After that setup, each article is a quick hit against some supposedly sacred cow.The full list of articles is below and here's a response from ecogeek that continues the discussion. So what do you think?Live in Cities: Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban LifestyleA/C Is OK: Air-Conditioning Actually Emits Less C02 Than HeatingOrganics Are Not the Answer: Surprise! Conventional Agriculture Can Be Easier on the PlanetFarm the Forests: Old-Growth Forests Can Actually Contribute to Global WarmingChina Is the Solution: The People's Republic Leads the Way in Alternative-Energy HardwareAccept Genetic Engineering: Superefficient Frankencrops Could Put a Real Dent in Greenhouse Gas EmissionsCarbon Trading Doesn't Work: Carbon Credits Were a Great Idea, But the Benefits Are IllusoryEmbrace Nuclear Power: Face It. Nukes Are the Most Climate-Friendly Industrial-Scale Form of EnergyUsed Cars - Not Hybrids: Don't Buy That New Prius! Test-Drive a Used Car InsteadPrepare for the Worst: Climate Change Is Inevitable. Get Used to ItCounterpoint: Dangers of Focusing Solely on Climate Change

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


Science Channel Seeking Grassroots Green Inventors!

US television network wants you and your green inventions! Are you a grassroots green inventor who wants to be featured on a new television series? Do you take it upon yourself to create your own ingenious solutions to environmental conundrums? We’re looking to feature inventions and inventors from all walks of life that will inspire a greener globe! A brief description of your savvy invention along with why your project is deserving of national attention should be included! Photographs would also be great, but aren't necessary. Email us! greeninventors@peacepoint.tv Very best, Stephanie Pickering Chase Producer 416-365-7734 ext. 213

Posted by Stephanie Ann 11 years ago


Cars running on vegetable oil regulated

The man is really bringing me down here...Drivers of SVO (straight vegetable oil) fueled cars are running afoul of the law.Not too long ago, cars that ran on leftover vegetable oil were rare, a curiosity. But now that lots of people are buying kits and hiring mechanics to mod their cars to run on french fry juice, the government is starting to take notice. Drivers of these cars now have to pay the same taxes as traditional fuel drivers, register with the state, file monthly reports and payments, as well as make sure they are in compliance with local environmental laws. Noncompliance will be punished with stiff fines.

Posted by Lithium Rain 10 years ago


Adopt the Sky Before it's Too Late

This is one of the coolest environmental action websites I have seen. So help keep our air clean and the EPA in check by signing the petition. http://www.adoptthesky.org/From treehugger.com:The website encourages people to "adopt the sky" by signing a petition that assigns them to a virtual square-mile of sky over one of many dirty areas in the country. The interface screen resembles a foggy sky with little floating air molecules representing the names, home and adopted state locations and messages of users who've signed onto the petition.Read the full article here:http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/07/adopt_the_sky.php

Posted by lebowski 11 years ago


Printed Batteries Provide Paper-Thin Power.

Check this out! A team of German scientists has invented the world's first printable batteries. Thin, flexible and environmentally friendly, the batteries can be produced in large quantities for a fraction of what it takes to produce conventional batteries. The new battery is also different in other ways from conventional batteries. The printable version weighs less than one gram on the scales, is not even one millimeter thick and can therefore be integrated into bank cash cards. The battery contains no mercury and is in this respect environmentally friendly. Its voltage is 1.5 V, which lies within the normal range. By placing several batteries in a row, voltages of 3 V, 4.5 V and 6 V can also be achieved. The new battery was developed by a research team led by Dr. Reinhard Baumann of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Electronic Nano Systems ENAS in Chemnitz, Germany. "Our goal is to be able to mass produce the batteries at a price of single digit cent range each," states Dr. Andreas Willert, group manager at ENAS. The batteries are printed using a silk-screen printing method similar to that used for t-shirts and posters. A kind of rubber lip presses the printing paste through a screen onto the substrate. A template covers the areas that are not to be printed on. Through this process it is possible to apply comparatively large quantities of printing paste, and the individual layers are slightly thicker than a hair. Therefore, the battery is suitable for applications which have a limited life span or a limited power requirement, for instance greeting cards. The researchers have already produced the batteries on a laboratory scale. At the end of this year, the first products could possibly be finished.

Posted by YourSolarLink 9 years ago


The next generation of Refrigerator Magnets

My Mom has started her own business - an online business! Refrigerator ReferenceThis is cool, she is selling the next generation of refrigerator magnets, not the fun souvenir types, but the helpful ones...Refrigerator Reference is a new range of useful and stylish fridge magnets to inform, entertain and adorn your kitchen. Everything from oven temperature conversion charts, basic recipes, seasonal produce, ingredient substitutions, and food additives to baby basics, pet information, hangover cures, natural cleaners and much more.All of her magnets are Environmental Friendly, and she also offers 'Reduce Your Carbon Footprint' magnet FREE to every customer!

Posted by Plasmana 9 years ago


Green cleaning products

Found a few easy recipes for making green cleaning products... Anyone have more suggestions? "Americans spend millions of dollars a year on cleaning supplies. This spring, make your own cleaning agents with these recipes from EarthShare and EarthWays, two nonprofit environmental organizations. The recipes are friendly to the environment and to your bank account." Air fresheners: Simmer a small amount of cinnamon, orange peel, and cloves on the stove to give off a pleasant fragrance in your home. Glass cleaner: Mix 2 tablespoons of borax or washing soda with three cups of water for sparkling windows and mirrors. Carpet freshener: Sprinkle dry cornstarch or baking soda on your carpet and vacuum. Furniture polish: Combine 1/2 cup lemon juice to 1 cup vegetable oil, olive oil, or mayonnaise. Apply to rag. Source: ManageMyHome

Posted by DinaC 9 years ago


Planet Green Debuted Wednesday

Discovery Channel's Planet Green debuts today. Planet Green is a whole new 24-hour channel which which specializes in a environmental friendly lifestyle. I was actually contacted by the producer of the show G Word about my 100 Ways to Reduce Your Impact instructable. G-Word is a show that features "green" content from people like you and me. However, the producer decided to go with only video content, so my instructable was dropped. Anyway, if you want to find out what channel Planet Green is being featured on, visit http://planetgreen.channelfinder.net/, and just insert your zip code and cable provider.We can all learn something every day to reduce our impact, and save some money while we are at it.

Posted by Brennn10 10 years ago


The New Pollution

A green revolution is supposed to lead us to a utopia where the birds chirp and the human stain is smaller on the planet, but sometimes the new looks a little too much like the old.Take this story about biofuel plants dumping glycerin into rivers. Sure, it can be broken down by organisms, but it still causes big problems when dumped into ecosystems, just like the black stuff."They're really considered nontoxic, as you would expect," said Bruce P. Hollebone, a researcher with Environment Canada in Ottawa and one of the world's leading experts on the environmental impact of vegetable oil and glycerin spills."You can eat the stuff, after all," Mr. Hollebone said. "But as with most organic materials, oil and glycerin deplete the oxygen content of water very quickly, and that will suffocate fish and other organisms. And for birds, a vegetable oil spill is just as deadly as a crude oil spill." Link to nytimes articlevia treehugger

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


Wanted: Car Sensing Camera

Hello, I'm looking to build a solar powered camera that detects cars moving past and takes a photo. I've been trialing an off the shelf model that relies on software to detect motion but it does not perform well when the cars are travelling over 15km/h. For this reason I'd like to try and develop a camera that senses the magnetic properties of a car (like traffic lights). I'm open to suggestions but here's how I picture it working: Magnetometer detects car > Micro controller > Camera > Micro controller > 3G/4G antenna > Internet. The system would need to be powered by a battery which is charged by a solar panel. Send me an email and we can chat on how to tackle the project. I work for an environmental consultancy so we can provide you with proof of an internship. impact.environmental.ptyltd@gmail.com Thanks.

Posted by TomF127 1 year ago


Design a Green Gadget and Win Some Cash

Want to make the world a little greener and be rewarded for it? The folks at core77 are running a contest called the Greener Gadgets Design Competition. They're asking people to submit ideas that reduce environmental impact of consumer electrical devices.Three of the areas they want designers to consider are:1. Energy2. Materials / Lifecycle / Recycling3. Social & educational developmentThe contest sounds like a good one with the first prize winner taking home $2,500 and two runners up winning $1,000 each.Each entry needs three images and a 500 word description. The set of images must tell the story of the design at three scales:- one image showing context- one image showing object- one image showing details, exploded view, etc.You have to get the design in by January 27th 11:59pm EST. Try it! link

Posted by fungus amungus 10 years ago


Is Alumisol Soft Plastic food safe?

I'm looking to cast a fake monster tongue out of Alumisol Soft Plastic (Plastisol) for a costume. Obviously it will end up going in my mouth. I can't find any information anywhere about the food-safety of the solid compound. What I gather from the msds sheet is that it's non-toxic, but it's a little ambiguous. The retailer I asked couldn't find any information either. From what I can tell it's usually used to create soft rubber fishing lures, so I'd assume it's environmentally friendly with respect to not releasing toxins into the water, and its listed uses include special effects as well as medical reproductions (Of tissue). Has anyone used this type of plastisol in contact with food or the surface of your mouth before? All help is appreciated.

Posted by SixFootBlue 3 years ago


Make water balloons explode in mid-air

Hello to all, This is my first post, so if I make a mistake I apologize in advance. I am looking for a way to make water balloons explode in mid-air. It must be safe (i.e. I am not going to shoot them out of the sky with some sort of projectile) and I would prefer not to utilize some form of explosive device. I would prefer something I could time and continuously reproduce. Whether it be an apparatus or a chemical reaction. It has to be safe to be done around children, environmentally friendly, in other words I don't want to cause anyone or anything harm other than the balloon itself. I would like to be able to make the balloons burst at either a specific time after launching or throwing or have them burst after reaching a certain height in the air. If I can figure out a way to this I will gladly share my whole idea. Thanks in advance.

Posted by feign 11 years ago


How can I build a Solar Powered Camera for Car Detection

Hello, I'm looking to build a solar powered camera that detects cars moving past and takes a photo. I've been trialing an off the shelf model that relies on software to detect motion but it does not perform well when the cars are travelling over 15km/h. For this reason I'd like to try and develop a camera that senses the magnetic properties of a car (like traffic lights). I'm open to suggestions but here's how I picture it working: Magnetometer detects car > Micro controller > Camera > Micro controller > 3G/4G antenna > Internet. The system would need to be powered by a battery which is charged by a solar panel. Send me an email and we can chat on how to tackle the project. I work for an environmental consultancy so we can provide you with proof of an internship. impact.environmental.ptyltd@gmail.com Thanks.

Posted by TomF127 1 year ago


Merry ... uh....

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practi[c|s]ed within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, col[o|ou]r, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

Posted by westfw 10 years ago


Help me reduce my carbon footprint and big fat gut!

So I'm trying to arrange a set up where every morning I pedal my bike, in a training stand, attached to a car alternator, attached to a deep cycle battery which will ultimately be feeding all those computer peripherals that I have scattered across my desk. No exercise, no DSL, etc. (And no, I don't do subsistence farming in my back yard (yet) so I know I'm not really doing much environmentally besides reminding myself how much energy all those littler peripherals suck.) Anyhow, I've seen numerous articles where people are easily getting 12-14 volts out of their alternator. At a level of effort that feels like 20 mph on level ground I'm getting maybe 3v. Any idea what I'm doing wrong?

Posted by Austringer 10 years ago


Make water balloons explode in mid-air

Hello to all, This is my first post, so if I make a mistake I apologize in advance. I am looking for a way to make water balloons explode in mid-air. It must be safe (i.e. I am not going to shoot them out of the sky with some sort of projectile) and I would prefer not to utilize some form of explosive device. I would prefer something I could time and continuously reproduce. Whether it be an apparatus or a chemical reaction. It has to be safe to be done around children, environmentally friendly, in other words I don't want to cause anyone or anything harm other than the balloon itself. I would like to be able to make the balloons burst at either a specific time after launching or throwing or have them burst after reaching a certain height in the air. If I can figure out a way to this I will gladly share my whole idea. Thanks in advance.

Posted by feign 11 years ago


Help participants submit their data - Citizen Science Contest

The SciStarter Citizen Science Contest is live! This is your opportunity to help millions of citizen scientists contribute to real scientific discovery. Make their experiences better by coming up with solutions to some real annoyances that hinder their participation. To get you started, here is a specific--and very real--challenge sent to us by project organizers. HELP PARTICIPANTS SUBMIT THEIR DATA Background: Project BudBurst engages the public in making careful observations of phenophases, such as first leafing, first flower, and first fruit ripening. Scientists compare this valuable environmental information to historical records and learn about the prevailing climatic characteristics in a region over time. The Problem: Prospective and current volunteers are often unsure if they have correctly identified plants and phenophases. This may lead to them not submit the data they've collected. Other volunteers simply forget to add their data. The Challenge: Find a way to encourage and remind participants to submit data after making field observations. Enter now! Contest closes January 21, 2013

Posted by scistarter 5 years ago


Why I like Instructables

In junior high and high school I was an avid reader of Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, and Mechanix Illustrated magazines. I liked the technical articles and the project plans. Many of them required tools about which I could only dream; like a bench or table saw, a drill press, a lathe, or a welder. Thankfully, in the intervening five or six decades I have access to most of those tools. Unfortunately, those magazines either no longer exist or have turned dramatically toward consumer interests and reviews in place of hands-on projects for the weekend handyman and home workshop. Instructables is a place where new projects appear daily. Some of them seem to me to be a little silly (hypothetical example: an environmentally friendly spit wad that doubles as a USB battery charger). But, some of them are solid useful things easy to do and of great benefit. I am greatly enjoying my new bicycle cadence meter from a recent Instructable. It has also been fun to post some things that I have found very helpful over the years.

Posted by Phil B 10 years ago


Recycled Regatta

Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia SC is hosting its First Annual Recycled Regatta! Its a build your own boat contest. All you have to do is collect recyclables, trash or anything that would normally wind up in a landfill. Build a boat with the items and bring it to the Park May 10th! You must register no later than May 1 2008. Boats will be judged on creativity, best use of materials, best sinker and speed/agility! There will be some really sweet prizes - so start making your boat today! Boats must hold at least one person! Boats also must be human powered! No motors or trained dolphins! This is a new activity for the 2008 Earth Fair event (5th year running) We will continue to have all the normal environmental educational booths, canoe and kayak demos, mountain bike demos, fly fishing classes, bird walks and more! This is an awesome event! We hope to see you there! Email me for more info!

Posted by EdventureChildrensMuseum 10 years ago


Antarctica-Bound Hybrid-Electric Hummers Visit Pier 9

Drive Around the World, a nonprofit founded in the Bay Area, revealed its latest innovation, a pair of hybrid­-electric Polar Traverse Vehicles, also known as the Zero South PTVs. These two unique vehicles are bound for a history­-making expedition across Antarctica and they came to Pier 9 today to talk about it.  These revolutionary vehicles, designed using Autodesk tools, have undergone an extensive transformation from gas guzzling Hummers to open source, environmentally conscious biofuel hybrid­-electric vehicles outfitted with ice tracks and capable of standing up to the Earth’s harshest environments. Vehicle designers and leading NASA scientists discussed the expedition's logistics and the latest in climate discoveries. From the Zero South team: There is intentional irony in repurposing the Hummer H1, which many view as a contemporary symbol of gross consumer waste and inefficiency. Others view it as a remarkable multipurpose machine capable of extreme on­ and off­-road performance. But no matter which way the audience is ³polarized² by the vehicle, this adventure will appeal to everyone. Zero South Electrical Engineer Brock Winberg

Posted by xxlauraxx 3 years ago


California Government tries to prevent reuse; issues ACCRC a violation

Just the other day while I was cleaning out old computers I thought to myself how wonderful it was that the Alameda County Computer Recycling Center was nearby. The ACCRC is a not-for-profit organization that accepts old electronic parts to build working computers that they give away to people in need. Anything they can't use gets properly recycled, and they do this all without charging any fees. The Department of Toxic Substance Control of the California Environmental Protection Agency is causing trouble for the ACCRC, and this may ultimately lead to the ACCRC's demise. In short, the government is using the letter of the law to do totally bone-headed things, and has slapped the ACCRC with a violation. It's our government, and it should work for us to encourage smart ways, like the ACCRC, to lessen our impact on the environment. Even if you don't live in California, this is important because California typically leads the nation on these types of issues.There's a couple of things you can do, including contacting people at the government agency and donating directly to the ACCRC. Check ACCRC's founder James Burgett's blog for details on both. More coverage here at Boingboing.

Posted by ewilhelm 11 years ago


Help wanted. Problems that need solving!

Hi, The coursework for one of the modules I'm taking this year at university requires for us to design and manufacture something to help someone. That is the brief. It can be software or hardware based (we're studying electronic engineering). To help us pick a suitable project that can be completed within 11 weeks, myself and two others are brainstorming all of the problems we can think of so that we can have a large range of problems to choose from and design a solution. If you can think of something that is hard for a cetain group of people that could be made easier with an engineered solution or if you can think of a problem that needs solving, I would love for you to post it below. Some quick examples, many of these have been solved by otheres, they are just examples: - steps are a problem for wheel chair users, a deployable ramp for converting steps into a ramp safely - jars are hard to open for those with weak wrists or arthiritus, an apparatus to aid in their opening - educating people on what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint is hard. A website to give users a weekly suggestion of things in their  life they might be able to change to be more environmentally friendly. They would be able to tick them as adopted or rejected and see a list of the things that they've changed for the better.

Posted by Jayefuu 8 years ago