The Protest for Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

On September 10th, sites across the web will display an alert with a symbolic “loading” symbol and promote a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress, and the White House.

Today a group of popular websites that rely on speedy Internet have launched an online protest against proposed changes to “net neutrality.” They call themselves Team Internet and are comprised of popular websites, such as Netflix, Vimeo, Reddit, and WordPress – just to name a few.

The protest aims to fight policy changes via the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that would overturn a 2010 ruling that required Internet service providers to treat all web traffic the same.

This from TIME:

Since May, the FCC has been weighing changes to its regulations on “net neutrality” — the 2010 rules requiring Internet service providers to treat all web traffic the same. The changes would allow cable companies to grant paying customers faster service, but ban them from slowing down, or throttling, the access of nonpaying companies. The FCC has already lost two court cases brought by cable companies who have challenged the legality of its existing net-neutrality rules.

Read the full article here.

ECS fights a similar battle in the realm of publication. In order to avoid the dissemination of science and research that creates a world of haves and have-nots, ECS fully supports open access publishing.

Find out more about open access and check out our Digital Library to find the latest published OA pieces.

Introducing Mr. Toilet

Meet Mr. Toilet

“What you don’t talk about, you cannot improve.”
-Jack Sim

Everybody poops – but not everybody has a place to do so. Sanitation is a growing – and often times deadly – crisis in the developing world, and the silence on this issue must be broken.

Let sanitation superhero Jack Sim tell you why you should care about this issue. He is, after all, the one and only Mr. Toilet.

This from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

The need for better sanitation in the developing world is clear. Forty percent of the world’s population—2.5 billion people—practice open defecation or lack adequate sanitation facilities, and the consequences can be devastating for human health as well as the environment. Even in urban areas, where household and communal toilets are more prevalent, 2.1 billion people use toilets connected to septic tanks that are not safely emptied or use other systems that discharge raw sewage into open drains or surface waters.

ECS is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to enable universal access to sustainable sanitation services with innovative solutions to funding research.

Join us in Cancun for the 2014 Electrochemical Energy and Water Summit, where more than $200,000 will be available as seed funding for projects that address critical technical gaps in global sanitation.

Find out how you could be a part of this brainstorming workshop and help solve some of the most challenging issues in the world today.

Ernest B. Yeager

Professor Yeager was a keen advocate for the importance of the electrochemical sciences and technologies.

An article by Chung Chiun Liu and Robert F. Savinell in the latest issue of Interface.

Ernest B. Yeager of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) Cleveland, Ohio, USA single-handedly established an electrochemical science and technology powerhouse at CWRU. Professor Yeager, the Frank Hovorka Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at CWRU, dedicated 50 years of his professional life to two things: advancing the field of electrochemical science and mentoring and advising students. One must also appreciate that Professor Yeager was an excellent and accomplished pianist, as well as a devout church citizen.

In 1976, Professor Yeager established the Case Center of Electrochemical Studies at CWRU focusing on the advancement of knowledge of electrochemical sciences. Students, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists around the world came through the Center and learned and acquired knowledge and skills on various aspects of electrochemical sciences and technologies. In recognition of his immense effort and devotion to electrochemical sciences, the Board of Trustees of CWRU designated the Case Center of Electrochemical Sciences as the Ernest B. Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences on August 17, 1994, and the Center is now known as the Yeager Center for Electrochemical Sciences.

Read the rest.

With the 2016 Olympics looming in the distance, Rio de Janeiro city officials are aiming to tackle a major issue before the games begin – and that issue would be sanitation.

According to the Associated Press, Rio de Janeiro officials unveiled a new sanitation project, which hopes to eliminate the raw sewage that is tainting the waters of Rio’s Gloria Marian.

This from the Associated Press:

More than half of the sewage in this city of 12 million goes untreated, meaning that collected rainwater is often contaminated with raw sewage. More than 10,000 liters of raw sewage flows each second into most of Rio’s waterways, from the massive Guanabara Bay, where the Gloria Marina is located, to its beaches and lagoons.

Read the full article here.

In order to address this problem, the government is to build a pipeline to stem the flow of raw sewage into the marina. The project will connect area rainwater collectors with sewage treatment centers in order to eliminate the issue of raw sewage in the marina.

The project is expected to run around $6.2 million.

Though the issue of adequate sanitation goes far beyond Rio de Janeiro’s Gloria Marian. Forty percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – practice open defecation or lack adequate sanitation facilities, and the consequences can be devastation for human health as well as the environment. To help combat this global issue, ECS is partnering with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in an exciting and innovative way to fund water and sanitation research.

Do you want to help solve some of the most challenging issues in the world today? Would you like to receive research funding to support your most innovative and creative problem solving ideas? Then please join us to lend your voice and expertise in helping to solve some of the world’s most challenging water and sanitation problems!

The Birthplace of Electrochemistry

Volta Medal

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile.

The following is an article from the latest issue of Interface by ECS Executive Director, Roque J. Calvo.

The 17th International Meeting on Lithium Batteries (IMLB)* was held this past June in the beautiful and historic setting at Villa Erba along the shores of Lake Como, Italy. This international meeting has become an exceptional gathering where the world’s top battery research scientists present their work on electrochemical conversion and storage. The application of their research now powers our essential wireless devices so that they run longer, cleaner, and more efficiently. But the splendor of the location was not the only reason that IMLB was so exceptional this year; the meeting venue reconnected attendees to their roots. Lake Como is the birthplace of Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the first battery, which he called the electric pile, and the place where the science of electrochemistry began.

Modern electrochemistry can be traced back over 200 years to the 18th century and the work of Alessandro Volta and his experiments with the electric pile. While Volta hailed from Lake Como and was a trained physicist, many consider him to be the first great electrochemist. As a result of his vast scientific influence, the ECS Europe Section named an award after him and every two years they recognize a scientist with the prestigious Volta Medal (see photo). The medal depicts his electric pile, the first notable electrochemical storage device.

Read the rest.

Sensors make Senior Independence Achievable

Lively

Technology like this pillbox sensor from Lively can help caretakers monitor people with Alzheimer’s and dementia from afar.

Sensors may be the answer to easy and accessible in-home senior care – at least that’s what the elder care tech industry is trying to achieve.

It’s no secret that the American population is greying, and with the continuing aging of the “baby boom” generation, the issue of independence at home has become a high priority. Now, seniors have to opportunity to stay in their own homes safely thanks to sensors.

This from CNN:

SmartThings is a DIY home automation system that connects sensors and smart devices with a wireless hub. In addition to sensors like those in Mary Lou’s home, the system can loop in smart thermostats, smart plugs, door locks and surveillance cameras.

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Matt Damon

Damon opts to use toilet water in lieu of fresh H2O for his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

Like many other celebrities, Matt Damon has decided to do his part and participate in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Though, the award-winning actor and humanitarian was a bit conflicted about wasting a bucket of clean water.

His solution? Use toilet water, of course.

“It posed kind of a problem for me, not only because there’s a drought here in California,” Damon explained in his video, “but because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to clean drinking water – and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t – and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy.”

According to Water.org, there are about 2.4 billion people globally who still lack access to clean sanitation systems. Through his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Damon saw a way to not only contribute to a good cause – but also educate about the very important global issue of sanitation.

“For those of you like my wife who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access too.”

ECS is also focusing on the global issue of sanitation by partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the 4th International Electrochemical Energy Summit. By distributing over $200,000 in funding, ECS hopes to empower researchers and bolster innovate research. Join us in Cancun, October 5-9, to take part in this multi-day workshop.

Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO)

Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is a method of producing renewable energy from two streams of a different salinity.
Credit: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

When the River Meets the Sea” may very well be a John Denver song circa 1979, but it is also an intersection with the potential to generate a significant amount of power. According to a team of mechanical engineers at MIT, when river water collides with sea water, there exists the potential to harness a significant amount of renewable energy.

This from Phys.org:

The researchers evaluated an emerging method of power generation called pressure retarded osmosis (PRO), in which two streams of different salinity are mixed to produce energy. In principle, a PRO system would take in river water and seawater on either side of a semi-permeable membrane. Through osmosis, water from the less-salty stream would cross the membrane to a pre-pressurized saltier side, creating a flow that can be sent through a turbine to recover power.

Read the full article here.

According to calculations by Leonardo Banchik, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, a PRO system could potentially power a coastal wastewater-treatment plant by taking in seawater and combining it with treated wastewater to produce renewable energy.

Although more research needs to be done to see in what applications the PRO system is economically viable, Banchik sees the huge potential of this method.

“Say we’re in a place that could really use desalinated water, like California, which is going through a terrible drought,” Banchik says. “They’re building a desalination plant that would sit right at the sea, which would take in seawater and give Californians water to drink. It would also produce a saltier brine, which you could mix with wastewater to produce power.”

Learn more about new devlopments in osmosis via ECS’s Digital Library.

Solar Energy Without Blocking the View

Solar Concentrator

The solar harvesting system uses small organic molecules developed by Lunt and his team to absorb specific nonvisible wavelengths of sunlight.
Credit: Yimu Zhao

A team of researchers at Michigan State University has developed a new type of solar concentrator that can harvest energy when placed over a window without blocking the view.

The new development is called the transparent luminescent solar concentrator and it has the potential to be used on buildings, cell phones, and any other device that has a flat, clear surface.

This from Science Daily:

Research in the production of energy from solar cells placed around luminescent plastic-like materials is not new. These past efforts, however, have yielded poor results – the energy production was inefficient and the materials were highly colored.

Read the full article here.

The transparent luminescent solar concentrator is still in the beginning of its development – yielding a solar conversion efficiency just close to one percent. However, Richard Lunt of MSU’s College of Engineering believes the concentrator will reach efficiencies beyond five percent when fully optimized.

“It opens a lot of area to deploy solar energy in a non-intrusive way,” Lunt said. “It can be used on tall buildings with lots of windows or any kind of mobile device that demands high aesthetic quality like a phone or e-reader. Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there.”

ECS will have a symposium at the upcoming meeting in Cancun dealing with solar fuels and the utilization of solar energy. Find out more about the meeting and sign-up for early bird registration today!

Electrochemical Detector

The device vibrates the test strip to mix the sample and reagent runs an electric current through it, and spits out the results on the screen.
Credit: Stephanie Mitchell

The researchers at Harvard University have devised a new portable device that has the ability to perform an abundance of medical tests – all thanks to electrochemistry.

“By applying a small amount of electricity to a drop of blood mixed with a reagent, the device can gauge glucose levels. The same goes for heavy metals in water, malaria antigens in blood, and sodium in urine,” researchers explained.

The beauty of the device lies in its simplicity and affordability. The total manufacturing costs comes in at $25, making it accessible to many. It also has an audio-out port, which allows users to transmit their readings via a cellphone to an online server.

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