Karen Washington Wants to Revolutionize America’s Food System
Bronx-based Karen Washington fights injustice and inequalities in the US food system in various ways. An activist and urban farmer, Washington is also the founder of Rise and Root farm and co-founder of Garden of Happiness, La Familia Verde Garden Coalition, Black Urban Growers and Black Farmer Fund. Coining the phrase “food apartheid” (as opposed to “food deserts”), she says that the country’s food system is designed to deny people of color access to healthy, affordable food; farming and land; and various other opportunities within the food and agriculture industries. She explains to Nina Lakhani at The Guardian, “The food system is not broken nor does it need to be fixed. It’s a caste system doing exactly what it’s meant to be.” Washington’s overarching hope is for a new system in which (predominantly white-led) food banks aren’t needed, and communities have all the resources necessary to “put power back into the hands of people who have been marginalized for so long.” Read more about her decades of work and predictions for urban farming at The Guardian.
Image courtesy of Ali Smith / The Guardian
Kelekona’s 40 Passenger eVTOL Concept Aircraft
NYC-based startup Kelekona has debuted a new, first-of-its-kind eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) vehicle concept. Whereas most concepts (and prototypes) in the category propose or accommodate two people, Kelekona’s envisions 40 passengers, along with a pilot, for each flight. Utilizing four banks, each containing two very large ducted fans, the blimp-shaped aircraft would purportedly be able to travel 330 miles per charge at a speed that’s equivalent to an hour between LA and San Francisco. Read more about the technology behind the concept at Slash Gear.
Image courtesy of Kelekona
Turning Concrete Buildings Into Large Batteries
Though the technology needed to transform a concrete building into a rechargeable battery has existed since the early 20th century, new research from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology affirms that it’s possible to implement right now within many of the world’s pre-existing concrete buildings. According to Luping Tang of Chalmers and Emma Zhang of engineering and technology company Delta of Sweden, embedding carbon fibers (among other things) would allow concrete to conduct and store energy, possibly from solar panels. This would enhance the benefits of the world’s most used building material and lend an environmentally friendly attribute to the notorious infrastructure material. Read more about the tech and its benefits at Fast Company.
Image courtesy of Struffel/Blendswap, Simon_M/Blendswap
Yinka Ilori’s 3D-Printed, Candy-Colored Basketball Court
British-Nigerian artist and designer Yinka Ilori has created a public, half-sized basketball court intended to inspire optimism in London’s Canary Wharf. The court—designed for three-on-three games—eschews traditional materials in favor of 3D-printed polypropylene tiles called Traction² made by Hampshire’s OnCourt. The first public basketball court in the neighborhood, it boasts one hoop, a plethora of colors and patterns, and the slogan “Be the best you can be.” Ilori tells Jennifer Hahn at Dezeen, “I didn’t want people to put too much pressure on themselves and instead just celebrate being alive and being around family and friends because not everyone made it through the year. It was about trying to inject this sense of hope and positivity into the space. All you can do is give your best—I think that applies to everything that we do in our lives.” Read and see more at Dezeen.
Ocean Radiation Could Predict Tsunamis
In an effort to better predict tsunamis, researchers at the University of Athens are working on underwater radiation-detecting drones as part of a project called RAMONES (RadioActivity Monitoring in Ocean EcoSystems). Understanding that seismic activity on land releases “small quantities of radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, into soil in the days before earthquakes happen,” scientists are developing a way to do the same on the sea floor. “Radioactivity itself is largely unknown in the marine environment, despite its importance,” Professor Theo J Mertzimekis—who is leading the just-started, four-year project—tells VICE’s Matt Allinson. Since traditional equipment used on land cannot be placed on the sea floor (most obviously because of the water, but also due to pressure, currents, winds and waves), the team will develop drones, “computers and types of AI that can do the job with the lowest electricity demands possible.” Read more at VICE.
Image courtesy of Jeremy Bishop / Pexels
Migrate Art’s “Raising for Myanmar” Project
With new editions released today, Migrate Art’s “Raising for Myanmar” initiative sells prints by well-known and emerging artists, with profits going to Mutual Aid Myanmar. Each poster (including designs by Richard Mosse, Tacita Dean, Guerilla Girls and Bart Was Not Here) sells for £50, and Mutual Aid Myanmar promises that every cent they receive goes directly to those in need: over 750 civilians have been killed and more than 250,000 have been displaced due to the military coup. Countless people in Myanmar are standing up and putting themselves in harm’s way to defend democracy, and purchasing one of these prints helps support them.
Image courtesy of Bart Was Not Here