The idea of environmental lifecycle assessments is a good one.It provides the potential for engineers and consumers to make educated decisions about which products really are good or bad for the environment. Case in point: When environmental activists sought bans on foamed cups used for coffee, they were clearly barking up the wrong tree. A Canadian lifecycle assessment showed that foamed plastic cups had much less effect on the environment than the paper cups that were ushered in. Not that the study did a lot of good. Foamed cups are still pariahs, and adding insult to injury, many people used double paper cups to get the insulation value of a single foamed cup.
Now there’s a new head scratcher.
The American Christmas Tree Association, which represents producers of artificial trees, has released a report contending “that a consumer using an average artificial Christmas tree has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than a consumer using average farm-grown Christmas trees.” Facts were compared on most commonly sold 6-foot artificial Christmas tree, manufactured in China, to 6-foot real Christmas trees grown locally in the United States. The report on the group’s Web site lacks details, but I assume the study is based on a 10-year use of an artificial tree. Presumably, the study assumes real trees are trucked in from some remote location to an urban location. That happens 10 times. And then the consumer drives to and from the retail store selling the trees 10 times. OK. Maybe. But what about the carbon dioxide sequestration value of those ten trees?
What’s even weirder is that the artificial trees are made from PVC. Most design engineers are being told to avoid use of PVC because of potential dioxin effects when it’s incinerated.
The American Christmas Tree Association gets my Chutzpah of the Year Award,
Inspired by the hooks a parasitic worm uses to penetrate its host's intestines, the Karp Lab has invented a flexible adhesive patch covered with microneedles that adheres well to wet, soft tissues, but doesn't cause damage when removed.
Researchers at the Missouri University of Science & Technology have designed a new nanoscale material that can transmit light faster than the 186,000 miles per second it usually takes to travel through air.
It has often been said that as California goes, so goes the nation. This spring, the state's wind power is setting energy generation records and solar energy generation is expected to rise sharply during the second half of 2013.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is