Tag Archives: IBM

Rainmakers and Water Misers

Remember when Lex Luthor designed a weather-controlling machine? Superman, of course, foiled his sinister plans…or did he? Using technology to control the weather sounds like the exclusive domain of comic books and science fiction, but it’s happening in reality, both in the US and in China.

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise talks with Kathryn Flagg, whose recent article in Orion Magazine discusses the practice of cloud seeding, including its history, how it helps, and how it may harm. As the projected impact of climate change includes widespread fresh water shortages, people are searching for answers. Of equal importance, though, are our practices around water use and conservation. A little later in the show we hear from Peter Williams, the Chief Technology Officer for IBM’s Big Green Innovations Unit. He tells us about how a smarter design in our water meters can help advance more conscientious consumption of the earth’s most precious resource.

The Solution Next Door

The most interesting things in life are sometimes right under our noses. Sea Change Radio host Alex Wise spent part of his Thanksgiving weekend trekking all of thirty feet to speak to his next-door-neighbor, John Hafernik, professor of biology at San Francisco State University and the President of the California Academy of Sciences. This week on Sea Change Radio, John Hafernik talks about the sudden, mysterious disappearance of many of the world’s honey bees (known as colony collapse disorder) as well as a wider pollinator crisis. Then, we discover an ecological opportunity right under our noses: IBM Researcher Christine Robson has helped develop a new iPhone application known as CreekWatch which enables regular folks to help measure the world’s water supply by simply visiting their neighborhood parks.

Plastic Horizon: From Ocean Trash to A Renewable Breakthrough

“There’s so much plastic in this culture that vinyl leopard skin is becoming an endangered synthetic.”  -Lily Tomlin
We all know plastic is a problem. It has been estimated that between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are manufactured across the world each year. In the US alone, 12 million barrels of oil go toward plastic bag production. And with the popularity of bottled water, the number of plastic bottles disposed of every year around the world has soared to 200 billion. This massive use of “disposable” plastics creates an enormous amount of harmful waste, and exacerbates our unhealthy reliance on petroleum. So what is to be done?
This week on Sea Change Radio we speak with the leader of an organization that’s trying to raise awareness of a particular plastic problem, and with a scientist whose team is developing a new process that could help actually solve the plastic problem. First, we talk with Doug Woodring, a Hong Kong-based entrepreneur and environmentalist whose Project Kaisei is making strides to highlight the enormous floating plastic mass in the North Pacific known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Then we hear from the head of IBM’s Almaden Research Center, Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan, who describes his team’s latest breakthrough, an earth-friendly, endlessly recyclable plastic.

Thirst-Quenching Solutions

In some parts of the world, millions of people struggle daily for access to safe drinking water, while elsewhere people consume water at nonrenewable rates. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak with two individuals who are working to help find a solution.  Alex Wise talks with Carlos Perea, the CEO of Miox, an Albuquerque-based water purification company that uses salt and electrolysis to make potable water.  Perea explains how Miox’s technology can be a cost-effective solution for both a hiker and an entire municipality.  Dr. Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan, who heads IBM’s Almaden Lab Science & Technology Organization, discusses his team’s approach to developing energy-efficient, large-scale desalination systems using both reverse and forward osmosis (here’s a video about their work):

Picture of a Positive Future: A Different Way Of Getting Around

This week on Sea Change Radio, Dr. Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan of IBM’s Almaden Research Center talks to Sea Change host Alex Wise about his team’s Battery 500 Project.  Then, digital artist, Steve Price, of Urban Advantage, a firm that creates visions of pedestrian-friendly, socially-interactive communities by transforming photographs using photo-editing software, walks us through some of the traffic, parking and other transportation-related issues facing today’s green urban designers. 

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Water Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

The title of today’s show, which quotes Samuel Coleridge in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, aptly describes the dilemma companies are starting to face when it comes to water management.  Today, we speak with Jeff Erikson of SustainAbility, a think tank that recently surveyed experts globally on corporate impacts on water, and Cameron Brooks of IBM’s Big Green Innovations team, which has been focusing on “Smarter Water Management.”

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