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Environment

Tibet Spring Bottled Water: Status Symbol or Slippery Slope?

From the “roof of the world” to the roof of your mouth, China's Tibet 5100 Water Resources Holdings Ltd. will never Everest in its quest to be the world's most desired luxury bottled water. The climb to watery wealth has a downside, however, and those who can least afford this premium product could end up paying the most.

Silk May Be The Key To Dissolvable Electronics

When I read about the dissolvable electronic medical implants created by Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto of Tufts University and John A. Rogers at the University of Illinois, my first thought was what about dissolving all my old cell phones packed up in my garage?  And, sure enough...

Bandai's Magic Pets Populate & Personalize Your Water Bottle

Strangers won't mess with one's personal portable potables thanks to Bandai's Magic Pets, plastic critters who “live” in your water bottle, personalizing it and keeping owners entertained all the while.

10 Ig Nobel Prizes For 2012: Recognition Of Funny, Obscure Research

You gotta love the Russian company SKN for converting old Russian ammunitions into diamonds, and didn't you always want to know how many steps you'd have to take to create the inevitable splash of coffee on your carpet?  But the SpeechJammer in 2012?  A machine that delays speech and makes one stutter is decades old, and it actually has the practical application of helping stutterers speak without stuttering.

 

Scores Dye Horribly in Violet Explosion

Purple prose phrased headline aside, a slow leak in a large bag of powdered violet dye brought big trouble to a little Chinese village. The generically dark powder wasn't noticed as it spilled from a truck passing through town but when rain fell, villagers suddenly saw their world through rose-colored glasses.

Houston Zoo First To Successfully Breed Big-Headed Turtles In Captitivity

The Houston Zoo proudly announced the birth of five Madagascan big-headed turtles today, the eighteenth most endangered species of turtle in the world.  It was the first birth for zoos worldwide.

As The World Burns, NIST Tries To Cool It Down

On the day the National Snow And Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced the dreary news that the level of ice in the Arctic Sea is the lowest it has been since such information was recorded, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) presented some positive news regarding its goal to reduce the global warming potential (GWP) of the refrigerants used in our homes and cars.

Energy Saving Nano-Carbon Light Bulbs Could Outshine CFLs and LEDs

A Taiwan university research team has been awarded a patent on energy efficient nano-carbon light bulbs. Unlike popular CFL bulbs and LED lights, the new nano-carbon light bulbs and tubes use a mercury-free manufacturing process and can be easily integrated into existing light bulb production facilities.

Life Light: An Eco-Friendly Lifesaver, Buoy & Emergency Light Concept

The “Life Light” is a combination lifesaver ring, marker buoy and emergency light that's powered with renewable energy and a built-in battery. When the sun – and a swimmer in trouble – goes down, the Life Light's LED light goes on, alerting rescuers to its presence.

Pedal-Powered DC Generator Charges Up Any USB Device

BikeCharge Dynamo from Hong Kong-based iBikeConsole has updated the bicycle wheel-mounted DC generator of your childhood. It'll fully charge most brands of mobile phone over the course of a 2- to 3-hour bike ride.

Shark's Fin Soup to be Banished from Chinese Official Banquets

No soup for you! Shark's Fin Soup, a traditional yet controversial Chinese delicacy, is to be phased out of official reception menus. The decision banning shark's fin announced by China's State Council is a long-awaited response to the rising tide of revulsion against conspicuous consumption of a threatened group of species.

Back Up!! Nissan Leaf to Break Reverse Driving Speed Record

Terry Grant is hoping NOT to turn over a new Leaf... a Nissan Leaf, that is. The professional stunt driver will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “fastest time over a distance of one mile in reverse” this weekend at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Biodegradable Portable & Reusable Drink Bottles Sport Can Camouflage

Can those cans and battle the bottles! Japan's ongoing “eco” movement for environmental friendliness and sustainable living seems to have even influenced the appearance of plastic water bottles... these ones look like cans.

'Happy Farm' Online Game Inspires Eco-friendly Pig Cottages

A Chinese pig farm project inspired by the hugely popular online game “Happy Farm” has seen over 500 eco-friendly pig cottages spring up in the coastal province of Jiangsu. Though these swine are living fine, don't get jealous: their luxurious digs are intended to encourage tastier meat.

Self-Stirring Pot Puts New Spin on Stove-top Cooking

Is stuck pasta your kitchen nightmare? A Japanese dentist has created a stir with Kuru-Kuru Nabe (“Round and Round Pot”), a cooking pot with sculpted sides. Turn up the heat and watch basic thermodynamics go to work so you don't have to!

Tsunami Soccer Ball and Volleyball Kicked 3,100 Miles to Alaska

Now ain't that a kick: signed soccer and volleyballs found washed up on an island off Alaska several weeks apart are to be returned to their surprised but grateful owners. The balls may be the first identifiable pieces of debris from Japan's devastating March 11th, 2011 earthquake and tsunami to reach North American shores.

Don't Kill Gambian Pouch Rats! Recruit Them

Annihilation by man or beast is not called for.  The giant African pouch rat, with its pouchy cheeks resembling a hamster, is easily trained.  So easily trained with food as treats that in its native Africa, the giant rat is used to detect land mines and tuberculosis. In Belgium, one of the countries where they are trained, the African giant pouched rat is called "heroRAT!"

Folding Shoes from Timberland Japan Zip Up & Clip On

Radler Trail “Camp” shoes from Timberland Japan take portability to the next level. A built-in zipper running along the upper flange of the sole allows the shoes to be folded, zipped and hung by a carabiner clip when not being worn.

Panasonic Eneloop Batteries Celebrate Walt Disney's 110th Anniversary

Panasonic's popular Eneloop rechargeable batteries are showing their “LoveLove” for the late Walt Disney. Officially approved, limited edition battery designs in red, white and black honor the award-winning animation pioneer by celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth.

'Dragon Tree' May Bring Good Luck to Japan's Tsunami Ravaged Coast

The massive tsunami that pounded Japan's northeastern coast following the devastating March 11th, 2011 earthquake left few trees standing along the shoreline. Among those few survivors is a battered, twisted pine that now resembles a Chinese Dragon. The so-called Dragon Tree has become a symbol of hope and renewal for the region's hard-pressed residents.