Just what we needed dept: A backup battery built into a belt

Dead battery on your phone? Take your belt to it and give it a jolt.

Lloyd usually brings you the ‘Just what we needed dept‘ here on TreeHugger, but when I saw this product, I decided to try to take a page from his book and try on the ION Belt, so to speak.

Perhaps it’s time to stop talking about EV range anxiety, and start focusing on smartphone charge anxiety instead. Based on the number of crowds clustered around electric outlets at just about every public space, all tethered to the wall while they wait for their phones to charge, there’s an obvious need for more solutions for mobile power supplies.

And the market is responding, as it seems like a new charger or cord or battery is launched just about every week, each one with a bit of a different twist or feature to it, and all of which are hailed as being a gamechanger in some way or another. The latest concept in mobile charging, while not the first of its kind that I’ve seen, is to essentially turn your battery into a wearable, in this case, a belt.

The ION Belt, currently seeking backers on Kickstarter, is introduced with a pithy tag-line, “POWER IS THE ULTIMATE ACCESSORY” and this promise: “Never get caught with your pants down again!,” but even after explaining that the product is a 3,000 mAh battery/charger combo belt, with the belt buckle serving as the power input plug and the tail of the belt concealing a USB out port for charging devices, I still wasn’t convinced this is a thing that would actually get worn and used. But you be the judge:

Just based on my own experiences with wearing a belt every day for decades now, I can’t imagine the added bulk of the battery packs at the back of the belt, where I imagine that they would be uncomfortable when sitting down, but I think I’d be willing to put up with it if the belt had some serious storage capacity. But for just 3,000 mAh, said to be enough for 1.5 charges of an iPhone 6, I’m not so sure. For the price of $130 retail ($79 for early backers), it’s simply not ‘all that’ and portable battery packs like this one, with the same capacity, can be had for less than $40.

To be honest, there is probably a little bit of a Batman factor to this belt, as a quick look at the beginning of this very sales-y pitch video shows, so perhaps there is a need for it, if only to satisfy that desire to have a power belt with a button on it:

As for me, I’ll stick with carrying a small separate backup battery, and keep my belt minimal (I backed this belt on Kickstarter and have been very happy with mine), but to each their own, so if you want to wear your next charge around your waist, the ION might be your best bet.

Source Article from http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/just-what-we-needed-dept-belt-built-backup-battery.html

The Indonesian fires in pictures

Every year, Indonesia catches on fire. Intentionally set as a cheap way to clear land for for palm oil plantations, pulp and paper mill operations, and other agriculture, the fires create smoke and haze that are debilitating for many. But this year the fires grew wildly out of control courtesy of prolonged drought and the effects of El Niño. Indonesia’s Forestry Ministry announced that more than 4.2 million acres of forest and open land had been destroyed by the fires so far. It’s devastating. The economic impact is staggering, lives have been lost, hundreds of thousands of people have become sick from the smoke, and wildlife is in great peril. This is a disaster of epic proportions.

Researchers from the scientific non-profit, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), traveled to Palangka Raya in Central Kalimantan to try and get an assessment of the situation. The following images were taken during their research (most of these are from mid-October) and show not only the bleak reality, but that life must go one even when the world is on fire.

Source Article from http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/culture/life-amid-indonesian-fires-photos/

‘Superlocal’ hairdryer made out of local materials will be open sourced

There’s a bit of romantic idealism behind the whole do-it-yourself, build-it-from-scratch, buy-local movement(s). Is it realistic? Some have experimented with creating something as mundane as a toaster from scratch and have found that it is in fact, not as simple as it looks. Perhaps recycling parts may help, and that’s what Eindhoven, Netherlands based designer Andrea de Chirico attempts to do with this fully functioning, “superlocal” hairdryer made out of recycled and local materials.

Trailer – SUPERLOCAL, 0 miles production from Andrea de Chirico on Vimeo.

Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico
Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico

Seen over at Inhabitat, the “SUPERLOCAL, 0 miles production” project is an experiment in updating methods of production that must now take into account “social and environmental viability” instead of focusing just on efficiency and profits. De Chirico’s aim is to create an hair dryer, a dressing table, a mirror, a lamp and a stool out of only locally found materials.

Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico
Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico
Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico

For the hairdryer, recyclable glass and cork were used, and electrical parts salvaged from the local junkyard. A professional glassblower, 3D fabricator and electrician from Eindhoven were recruited to help create the hairdryer’s shell, joint and filter and circuitry.

Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico

In all, the project took 100 euros of funds, 15 hours of time, and 4.5 kilometres (2.8 miles) of travel distance to create. Not the cheapest, but as we’ve noted before, the true cost of most of our objects is hidden, and externalized elsewhere, as air pollution in China, or gigantic quarried holes for granite all over the world. The ultimate aim here is awareness of these externalized costs, and to engage people with object-making — and to go through the process of making these “superlocal” items, recording the process, and making the information available online. Says de Chirico:

The goal of SUPERLOCAL is to provide an open production database for making everyday objects, and thereby give creative and critical tools to people for re-creating their world.

Perhaps making everything from scratch ourselves may be overly romantic and realistically difficult, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Production 1.0 of these items has finished, and now de Chirico is working on version 1.1. More over at Andrea de Chirico and Superlocal.

Andrea de Chirico© Andrea de Chirico

Source Article from http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/superlocal-hairdryer-recycled-local-materials-andrea-de-chirico.html

Stool ZERO: Handwoven seating made from recycled fans & wire

Creativity is the quantum leap of awareness that connects-the-dots and lets us see past preconceptions and into a realm of new territory. Such is the idea behind things like permaculture, adaptive reuse and just generally reusing old things to make new and unexpected objects. Hong Kong based KaCaMa Design Lab (previously) now brings us Stool ZERO, a stylish stool made from landfilled ventilator fans and scrap wire.

KaCaMa Design Lab© KaCaMa Design Lab

Colourfully hand-woven with lengths of plastic wire casing (the copper was taken out and reused elsewhere), the fans’ wire cages are sourced from a local recycling center.

KaCaMa Design Lab© KaCaMa Design Lab
KaCaMa Design Lab© KaCaMa Design Lab
KaCaMa Design Lab© KaCaMa Design Lab

The plastic casing serves to give the seating a bit of cushioning, while also providing some eye-catching patterns to decorate the metal cage. No word on where the wood comes from, but it looks like regular, dimensional pine lumber.

KaCaMa Design Lab© KaCaMa Design Lab

We’ve also seen junked fans turned into beautiful lighting; after all, there’s something versatile about that rounded form and convenient metal grille that probably has many more creative reuse possibilities waiting to be discovered… More over at KaCaMa Design Lab .

Source Article from http://www.treehugger.com/eco-friendly-furniture/stool-zero-stools-recycled-fans-and-wire-kacama-design-lab.html

Photo: A friendly jumping spider

Although many people are afraid of spiders, Dr. Petra Sierwald of The Field Museum in Chicago explains a good reason you shouldn’t be scared: spiders can’t run for more than a few seconds. After that they run out of oxygen. So, you can always outrun a spider!

Photographer Ted Roger Karson describes this spider as friendly.

Would you like to see your nature photo featured as the TreeHugger photo of the day? Join TreeHugger’s Reader Photo Pool on Flickr and add your pictures to the group!

Source Article from http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/readers-photos/photo-friendly-jumping-spider/

Photos: The Brutal DIY Weapons of the Ukrainian Revolution

Their nasty homemade hardware is the subject of a series of portraits by photographer Tom Jamieson. They suggest how determined protesters were to deal damage to–or defend themselves from, depending on your politics–government security forces.

While other photographers scrambled to shoot the epic scenes playing out at the front line, Jamieson wandered the occupied zone asking to see what protesters were packing.

“Every single person without fail had a club or a bat or something like that,” says Jamieson. “You couldn’t help but notice the DIY nature of the whole thing, from the barricades themselves to the totally inadequate body armor that people were wearing, and the weapons as well. It looked like something out of Mad Max, it was crazy.”

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/185746-2015-10-31-photos-the-brutal-diy-weapons-of-the-ukrainian-revolution.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Wisconsin jury ignores federal law in gun shop case

But what feat of prestidigitation did this group of citizens manage? Did they team up with O.J. and finally find the real killers? Has Bigfoot been located at long last? No… it turns out that they managed to find a gun dealer responsible in a civil trial for the damage caused by a person who illegally purchased a weapon from a straw purchaser who fraudulently bought it from the dealer. Even though authorized gun dealers are specifically protected from such baseless accusations under federal law, justice has apparently been served, citizens!

While the candidates debated, a jury decided.

Despite a federal immunity statute for gun manufacturers and sellers, Wisconsin jurors held accountable the seller of a gun used to shoot two policemen, just as the Democratic presidential candidates began to argue about immunity for the firearms industry…

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/185745-2015-10-31-wisconsin-jury-ignores-federal-law-in-gun-shop-case.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Prison phone companies fight for right to charge inmates $14 a minute

The Federal Communications Commission is about to face another lawsuit, this time over a vote to cap the prices prisoners pay for phone calls.

Yesterday’s vote came after complaints that inmate-calling companies are overcharging prisoners, their families, and attorneys. Saying the price of calls sometimes hits $14 per minute, the FCC has now capped rates at 11¢ per minute.

FCC says it will put a stop to price gouging.

“None of us would consider ever paying $500 a month for a voice-only service where calls are dropped for seemingly no reason, where fees and commissions could be as high at 60 percent per call and, if we are not careful, where a four-minute call could cost us a whopping $54,” FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said before yesterday’s vote.

Those are the kinds of prices that the two major inmate calling companies, Global Tel*Link (GTL) and Securus Technologies, want to keep charging. Both vowed to take the FCC to court over the decision.

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/185744-2015-10-31-prison-phone-companies-fight-for-right-to-charge-inmates-14.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

How To Stamp Out Cultural Marxism In A Single Generation

It is perhaps no mistake that cultural Marxists in the form of “social justice warriors”, PC busybodies and feminists tend to create artificial divisions between people and “classes” while attacking and homogenizing very real and natural divisions between individuals based on biological reality and inherent genetic and psychological ability. This is what cultural Marxists do: divide and conquer or homogenize and conquer, whatever the situation happens to call for.

They do this most commonly by designated arbitrary “victim status” to various classes, thus dividing them from each other based on how “oppressed” they supposedly are.  The less statistically prominent a particular group is (less represented in a job field, media, education, population, etc.) in any western society based on their color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, etc., generally the more victim group status is afforded to them by social justice gatekeepers.  Whites and males (straight males) are of course far at the bottom of their list of people who have reason to complain and we are repeatedly targeted by SJW organizations and web mobs as purveyors of some absurd theory called “the patriarchy”.

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/185743-2015-10-31-how-to-stamp-out-cultural-marxism-in-a-single-generation.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS