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Archive for November, 2011

Engineering, not magic: the 2011 winner of the James Dyson Award extracts water from thin air. Airdrop is a low cost, self powered, and easy to install solution to the problems of growing crops in arid regions.

Inspired by Australia’s worst drought in a century, Edward Linacre from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, turned to nature to find ways of capturing moisture from air. Edward studied the Namib beetle, an ingenious species which lives in one of the driest places on earth. With half an inch of rain per year, the beetle can only survive by consuming the dew it collects on the hydrophilic skin of its back in the early mornings.

Airdrop borrows this concept, working on the principle that even the driest air contains water molecules which can be extracted by lowering the air’s temperature to the point of condensation. It pumps air through a network of underground pipes, to cool it to the point at which the water condenses. Delivering water directly to the roots of plants.

Edward’s research suggests that 11.5 millilitres of water can be harvested from every cubic meter of air in the driest of deserts. Further iterations of his design will increase the yield of Airdrop. A further £10,000 has also be awarded to Edward’s university department to support other young engineers keen to follow in his footsteps.

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Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.

Britta Riley is an artist and technologist who makes crowdsourced R&D solutions for environmental issues. Her company, Windowfarms.org was named one of the top 100 businesses to watch in 2010 by Entrepreneur Magazine. Windowfarms makes vertical hydroponic platforms for growing food in city windows, designed in conjunction with a online citizen science web platform for with over 16,000 community members worldwide.

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Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

This piece includes his short film on Gratitude and Happiness. Brother David Steindl’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions and Louie’s cinematography make this a stunningly beautiful piece, reminding us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.

As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and “slice-of-life” photography – the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.

Louie was recognized as one of the top 70 Cinematographers for the On Film Kodak Salute Series. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Louie is credited by many with pioneering the contemporary stock footage industry by founding Energy Film Library, a global company with a network of 12 foreign offices, which was acquired by Getty Images in 1997. Motion picture clients of his cinematic artistry include Sex in the City, The Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Syriana, Crash, Men in Black and classics such as American Beauty, Koyaanisqatsi and E.T. among others.

Louie went on to found BlackLight Films, a creative production company specializing in producing original theatrical feature, large format films, HD and TV programming.

In 2004, BlackLight Films completed production of the theatrical feature film, America’s Heart &Soul, distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures. In 2006, BlackLight Films completed a series of HD shorts, Louie Films, for the launch of Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s Blu-Ray DVD releases. In 2007, the company produced a 1-hour special, Chasing the Light, which aired nationally on PBS.

Past projects include the 35mm film Seasons of the Vine for Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park and a 26-half hour series, America!, for The Hallmark Channel.

Louie has won two Clio Awards for Best Environmental Broadcast Spot, an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography for the Discovery Channel Special, Oceans of Air, and the Heartland Film Festival’s Truly Moving Picture Award for Walt Disney Pictures’ feature film release America’s Heart & Soul.

Louie completed production on a feature length nature documentary, Wings of Life, to be theatrically released worldwide, under Walt Disney Pictures’ new production banner, Disneynature. The film was released in France (March 2011) under the title Pollen and won the Roscar Award for Best Cinematography at the 2011 Wild Talk Africa Film Festival.

Louie spoke at the TED 2011 conference in Long Beach, CA and has been a regular presenter at the annual Bioneers Conference in San Francisco. Currently, Louie is in production with National Geographic to produce Hidden Worlds, a 3D Imax film.

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Milkwood.net writes…

“A zuni bowl is a riparian restoration technique involving rocks, water, biology and time. It’s a great way of dealing with a small headcut (or erosion which is about to become a headcut) in order to prevent that headcut continuing up your catchment.

Headcuts are not an uncommon sight in our valley’s many gullies. Many decades of clearing the land and grazing pressure have made the soils very fragile. For a long time, we’ve been scouting around for the best way to deal with them using simple, accessible materials and knowledge. And now we’re starting to find answers…”

Read more

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You can live a life in bal­ance with Nature. Nick Ritar, per­ma­cul­ture farmer and edu­ca­tor can teach us how.

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