Plastic bottles are a blight, but some folks are putting them to great use.
In the Philippines, Isang Litrong Liwanag has had great success putting MIT’s Solar Bottle Bulbs to use. Their homes are packed together tightly and aren’t always wired for electricity, but the bulb costs no money to operate and is incredibly cheap to build and install. How Stuff Works’ blog explains more (as does the video below):
Here’s the setup: The plastic water bottles are cleaned, filled with water and bleach, and tucked snugly into holes cut into a roof. When sunlight hits the bottle, the water refracts the light and provides about as much illumination as a 50-watt light bulb.
The plastic bottles are stuffed with trash, tucked between supportive chicken wire, and coated in layers of concrete to form walls between the framing. The bottles make up the insulation, while more structurally sound materials like wood posts are used for the framing.
I don’t know any Wendy’s faithful, beyond the Frosty, which is why it’s good to see they’re debuting a new version of their burger. While they could have added some guacamole or a fourth patty, they instead looked at the design of their burger. In fact, they took away more than they added.
Tasters said they wanted a thicker burger, so Wendy’s started packing the meat more loosely, trained cooks to press down on the patties two times instead of eight and printed Handle Like Eggs on the boxes that the patties were shipped in so they wouldn’t get smashed. And Wendy’s researchers knew that customers wanted warmer and crunchier buns, so they decided that buttering and toasting them was the way to go.
In the end, Wendy’s changed everything but the ketchup. It switched to whole-fat mayonnaise, nixed the mustard, and cut down on the pickles and onions — all to emphasize the flavor of the beef. The chain also started storing the cheese at higher temperatures so it would melt better, a change that required federal approval.
“It’s not about getting real exotic,” said Lori Estrada, Wendy’s senior vice president of menu innovation and packaging. “It’s about making everything work.”
I have no idea how it tastes, but I’m intrigued by such complicated systems and how simpler can often be better. The costs of change are magnified when you have thousands of restaurants. “They thought about making the tomato slices thicker but didn’t want to ask franchisees to buy new slicing equipment.” It may have made a slightly better burger, but not a better product.
The concept has been around since the 80s, but a team at UPenn have found a way to beat leukemia and lymphoma (in medical studies) by harnessing HIV’s ability to invite your T-cells. Unlike HIV, it doesn’t destroy them but teach them to fight cancer. Rarely am I giddy at the prospect of tricking mother nature, but this one puts a smile on my face. We just have to be really careful.
Engineered T-cells have attacked healthy tissue in patients at other centers. Such a reaction killed a 39-year-old woman with advanced colon cancer in a study at the National Cancer Institute, researchers there reported last year in the journal Molecular Therapy.
She developed severe breathing trouble 15 minutes after receiving the T-cells, had to be put on a ventilator and died a few days later. Apparently, a protein target on the cancer cells was also present in her lungs, and the T-cells homed in on it.
Almost six years after my initial post, Nike is finally making the Nike Air McFly’s (i.e. Nike Air MAG) a reality. The good news is they are being released tonight (!!). The bad news is that there are only 1,500 pairs and they’re being auctioned off. But, all of the money goes to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
There’s a 5-hour battery pack that powers the lights, but it’s not clear if it has the automatic laces (I can’t seem to find confirmation, anyway). There are a lot more pictures if you click through and I’ve included a couple hype videos below.
Update (9/15/11): If you want the full scoop on the launch and some background, Co Design has the full scoop. It doesn’t say so in the article, but they’ve already raised a million dollars, which is awesome. The article does say this:
Hatfield seemed to be hinting that items at more affordable price-points might be available after the auction closes on September 18. In fact, there’s already a lower tier: Ceramic models of the shoe were being sold at last night’s event for $88.00 (of course).
When I upgrade to an iPhone 5 next month, I’m not going to get a case. I like showing off a beautiful piece of technology. Elasty, a new case concept from Yoori Koo, might change my mind. It looks painfully practical, even if I imagine it will stick to the inside of my pockets. It’s something I would use if I was going for a run or didn’t want to bring a wallet. [via Kenyatta]
Tag Savage, who has an awesome name, recently turned older and David Cole gave him a bad-ass gift. He had Mechanical Turkers create 365 portraits of Tag and he compiled them all into a book. You can see the portraits, which are boring on average but awesome in total.
I am curious how much David paid for each portrait and if the quality would have improved if he offered more or less.
Many of my friends, myself included, rush to drink Mexican Coke as it’s made with cane sugar and comes in a glass bottle. Kenji from Serious Eats was also obsessed, but decided to test if it’s actually better. I’ll let you read through his post to find out, but it reminded me of an episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit where they tear down organic foods. At the end, they did a taste test of organic vs. non-organic and no one could tell the difference.