Good Thinking

MIT researchers harness tree power to fight wildfires

While specialist fire-fighting crews, squadrons of trucks and water-bombing helicopters all play an important role, access to reliable and timely information on fire behavior is among the most critical of all the tools used to combat wild fires and prevent the loss of life, livestock and property damage. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers are now working on a system that uses energy from the trees themselves to power a network of temperature and humidity sensors that act as remote weather stations to aid in fire management.Read More

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

September 24, 2008 Impulse control is becoming increasingly important on a personal and global scale for solving problems as diverse as obesity, smoking, compulsive shopping and even global warming. But if appealing to our intellect rarely works, what does? Psychologist Dr Max Sutherland looks at the issue and writes that rather than engage the mind in combat, take advantage of how it works. Don’t shop when you’re preoccupied or hungry, do good deeds after, but not before, shopping. And shop well in advance. Another fascinating article full of psychological tips to help control impulses and resist temptation.Read More

Flatshare Fridge could save big arguments

Anyone who’s ever lived in a share house knows the disappointment of finding their tasty leftovers devoured by a greedy roommate, only to have them deny all responsibility. This great idea dubbed the Flatshare Fridge is a concept designed to eliminate arguments by providing separate food storage spaces for each household member.Read More

Storm Safe hurricane shelter

Recent horrific weather conditions in Northern and Central America have seen many people displaced, injured and even killed - most recently by Hurricane Ike. While early evacuation is always the best option, it can't hurt to have a plan B along the lines of the Storm Safe, a floating, hexagon-shaped hurricane shelter made from heavy aluminum plate that's designed to protect you in the event of a large storm.Read More

Sharp's solar LED street lights incorporate seismic detection

The argument for switching to solar-powered street lighting seems very clear cut: they run on sunlight, emit no CO2 emissions, provide an off-the grid source of lighting during in an emergency situation and use efficient LED-based light which tends not to attract insects. Sharp Corporation has announced plans to roll-out two new models of solar-powered LED street lights in the Japanese market and these have the added bonus of in-built Seismic Motion Sensors which detect earthquakes of five or greater on the Japanese seismic scale and respond by switching to full illumination for two nights.Read More

The first Kitahaus relocatable living and office pods

September 6, 2006 As technology evolves, our ability to create remarkable, sustainable temporary living and working environments has grown considerably, as can be evidenced by Gizmag stories on relocatable structures such as the off-the-grid home, the Sphere House, the Nackros Villa, the Free Spirit Sphere, the LoftCube and the first mobile hotel room. Two years ago we wrote about the KitaHaus Pod which is designed as a stand-alone accommodation or temporary office and can also be interlinked to create unique temporary or permanent living and working environments. The KitaHaus legs are adjustable so it can be situated in almost any site including normally unusable sloped and wooded areas. The first built Kitahaus pods are currently going into Elleray Prep School in Windermere, UK as three classrooms and the designer is now seeking JV partners wishing to create eco-tourism resorts.Read More

Vinturi – the instant wine aerator

September 1, 2008 The world will consume 25 billion litres of wine this year, which makes the Vinturi a very important invention. That’s because most wines needs to “breathe” – a bottle of wine drunk within a half hour of opening will not taste as good as one which has been allowed to aerate for an hour or more. Decanting wine speeds up the aeration and oxidation process, but not like a Vinturi – operating on Bernoulli's principle (as the speed of a moving fluid increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases), the Vinturi does what decanting will do in an hour in the time it takes to pour a glass. At US$40, the tiny Californian invention may well destroy some time-honoured rituals, but it’s a killer product in a thriving industryRead More

Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death

August 27, 2008 The crime of manslaughter exists as a 'catch-all offence' to punish those who are blameworthy in causing the death of another but whose culpability falls short of that required for murder. Manslaughter is an extremely broad offence and it has a difficult task in ensuring that all those who warrant punishment for 'non-aggressive' deaths are convicted. Simultaneously, it should not be too broad in covering those who do not warrant punishment for such deaths. There is little consistency in whether a particular dangerous activity leads to liability for a specific offence or for the generic offence of manslaughter when death is caused. This new book, entitled “Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death” examines the current law and includes a variety of perspectives on the subject with chapters on specific modes of killing as well as issues that permeate all areas. Read More


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