DRIVERLESS SHIPS

Driverless cars are moving up fast on the outside and in California there is even legislation being proposed to make them legal on the roads. But just when you thought it’s safe to go out on the ocean, here come captain-less ships. Actually, they’re supposed to be safer that way.

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LIGHT BULBS

We tested the 40 watt version of an LED light bulb from “Switch” and sure enough, it turned on. Gives out about 40 watts of light. Feels like a heavy drinking glass. But it’s expected to last 10 years. The future is heavy, but long-lasting. A 40 watt LED bulb uses only six watts of energy and costs around $37 at Amazon.

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A SMARTER LIGHTBULB

Even though an LED light bulb can last 30,000 hours, compared to 750 to 1000 for an ordinary bulb, we’ve been reluctant to spend $70 on one. The “Lumen TL 800″ may change our minds. Very impressive.

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PASSING SEGWAYS

The most outdoor fun Joy had this summer was riding a Segway on a Chicago architectural tour, gliding around the museums on a path bordering Lake Michigan. Segways are electric scooters that respond to your body movements, You stand upright and hold a handlebar; lean forward and you go. At $7,000 we’re not about to buy one but an alternative will be out soon for half that.

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DEAD ZONE THE SIZE OF CONNECTICUT

Science.Time.com has science articles from Time Magazine. We read about the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-deprived area of water. It was predicted that this year’s dead zone would be the size of New Jersey. Now it’s only the size of Connecticut.  

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BUYCOTT (boycott) APP

Buycott is an Android and iPhone app for finding out the company behind a product you’re buying. We scanned the barcode on a bottle of Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice and saw that the parent company, Roll International also owns Paramount Farms, which owns a lot of nut companies. Pom Wonderful owns Fiji Water, and many other companies.

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SOLAR KEYBOARD

Happiness is a new keyboard that lets your fingers fly. Joy is a speed typist and has complained endlessly about her Hewlett Packard keyboard. Bob is a slow typist, but complains endlessly about his keyboard anyway.

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COMPUTER DESK LAMP

This struck us as a way for the computer to power its own desk lamp. The $25 Satechi “USB LED Bottle Lamp” fits into the opening of any bottle and includes a cord you plug into a USB port to power the lamp. If you don’t have an open USB port, you can plug it into an electrical outlet using an adapter. The bottle lamp’s shade is frosted white and there’s a silver on/off button. If you need light elsewhere, lift it out and drop it into another bottle.  We can imagine a whole room of these. The LED light has no mercury and lasts up to 50,000 hours. The lamp consumes 1.2 watts, much less than an incandescent or […]

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PLASTIC-EATING DRONE COULD SWALLOW GARBAGE PATCH

Popsci.com has an article on what to do with the miles of junk floating in the Pacific. It’s called, “Plastic-Eating Drone Could Swallow Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” An electric boat would tow a net to scoop the debris. We haven’t gotten to the part yet, where something comes along to scoop up the nets.

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POLLUTION-EATING DETERGENT

Wash your clothes in a pollution-eating laundry detergent, and you’ll decrease your city’s smog, according to a report in the Scientific American. The “CatClo” detergent coats clothes with nano-particles that convert nitrogen oxide pollution (caused mainly by traffic) into harmless byproducts. More info at Catalytic-Clothing.org. You clean the air (in your own small way) just by walking around. Sitting around doesn’t count.

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