Posts Tagged ‘batteries’

Change the World Wednesday – 30th Jul

followed-blog-200-1xThe 26th was the third birthday for this blog. I have passed 200 followers and more than 1,000 ‘likes’. Actually, I got the 1337 (LEET) award for likes.

likeable-blog-1337-2xEver wondered what this 1337 means, why that is significant?

No, me neither. But I stumbled across the answer in my browsing. It means ‘elite’ and stems from the code used principally by hackers, 31337, later shortened to 1337, LEET.

One more useless fact bought to your screen by too much coffee.

Small is back with us this week.

The world returns to normal.

Click the banner for the full post

This week’s CTWW is about batteries.

The reusable type.


If you are not using rechargeable batteries, please make plans to buy them when you next need batteries. As you replace single-use versions, be sure to recycle them rather than toss them into the trash bin.


OR …

If you have already made the switch to rechargeable batteries, please find one single-use item in your home and replace it with a reusable version.


OR …

If you’ve banned single-use items from your life, please share one of your favorite “upgrades” to reusable.


I have had a bad experience with battery rechargers. I gave up on them as I had six go ‘fut’ within a short space of time and at around R$35 a time, that’s expensive.

I actually use very few batteries. I have my TV remote that I rarely use (I turn my TV off at the set), which leaves the batteries enough power to run my wall clock for a couple of months. So I get double use from my normal batteries.

I changed my camera from an external rechargeable battery type, to an internal rechargeable battery, that has never failed me.

That’s it! No other batteries in the house.

Sharing one of my favourite upgrades to “reusable”; here’s one that will surprise you:


Old pizza boxes

Yes, I upgrade, repurpose and recycle my pizza boxes.

When Clorinha was a kitten, she’s a big pussy now. I used my pizza box base with sand as a litter box.

When it’s full, put on the lid for easy stinkless disposal.

My litter boxes went on the compost heap, and turned over the compost on top. Two months later… POOF! All gone.

Now that she’s a big pussy, my pizza boxes go out for the recycle collection.

That’s all for this week.


There’s More to Weeds than Meets the Eye

Strathclyde University scientists end marabu weed nightmare

Marabu has sprung up on land abandoned after the decline of Cuba's sugar industry

It was the plant that had nothing going for it.

Once an innocent and attractive import from Africa, marabu likes the fertile soil of Cuba rather too much.

The woody shrub was brought to the Caribbean because of its attractive flowers, but when the collapse of the Soviet bloc led to the decline of the Cuban sugar industry it left thousands of hectares of land open to weeds.

Marabu was quick to take advantage. At the last count, it covered 1.7 million hectares of once-productive land.

Marabu wood is no good for building. It’s too smoky for cooking or heating. It doesn’t even float.

It was pretty much useless – until Strathclyde University’s engineering faculty got their hands on it.

Excellent filter

According to Prof Peter Hall, he and his colleagues started “playing” with it. At the end of the process they found they had produced high-quality activated carbon for a fraction of the cost of similar materials.

Professor Hall holds up a small plastic vial containing a few grams of marabu carbon. Each tiny shard contains millions of microscopic holes.

“That,” he says, “has a surface area equivalent to the city of Glasgow.”

Marabu stalk Scientists at Strathclyde have used marabu to create a filter for rum, whisky and even water

It’s a characteristic that makes it an excellent filter. Cuba currently spends millions of dollars importing activated carbon for use in its rum industry. Marabu carbon could do the job instead. The process could also be applied to gin, vodka, whisky – or to produce clean drinking water in the developing world.

But that’s not the half of it. Ground down and mixed with a polymer base, it can be painted onto aluminium to create lightweight electrodes.

Working with colleagues at St Andrews University, the Strathclyde engineers are using them to make cells for lithium-oxygen batteries which are fifteen times thinner and lighter than existing ones. They’re rechargeable and non-toxic.

Scientific mission

Possible uses include electric cars that weigh less and can travel further between charges.

The Strathclyde engineers are also using marabu carbon to take a step beyond batteries to super capacitors. They carry a bigger charge and pack more power than ordinary capacitors. Their applications range from running mp3 players to powering buses.

The Scottish-Cuban research project began after a scientific mission funded by Scottish Development International introduced Scottish experts to Cuban government ministers.

From the collapse of the USSR to slimmer, lighter mobile phones and better tasting cocktails?

Some of these developments will take years to make it to the marketplace.

But if they’re a commercial success the Cubans may have to start farming the weed nobody wanted.

Source: BBC News

Marabú Flowers

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