Posted: January 28, 2017 Filed under: Productivity
As we move in and get cozy with 2017, one of the first things we all want to do is look at how we can make New Year’s resolutions a reality. Evernote is all about digital organization and productivity, but our physical spaces matter, too. That’s why we invited Sam from Simply Organized to join us in a Facebook Live event to talk about how to begin organizing at home.
Sam, whose specialty is working with families, goes into homes and helps people arrange their space in ways that make sense to them. She’s an expert when it comes to shelving, drawers, bins, and boxes, and says she reaches a state of zen when folding items to put away. Though she works primarily with mothers with small children, she’s also helped empty-nest families with downsizing once the children have grown.
“Organization is really about simplifying things,” Sam told Josh Zerkel, Evernote’s Director of Community. “It’s about solving a problem, and being able to find what you need easily.”
Sam advised not to strive for perfection when you’re organizing your space. “Social media makes you think everything is perfect,” she said. “But those photos are art-directed. Nobody lives in those spaces. You need to live in your space, and living is sometimes a little bit messy.”
Click Here for more details and the full interview
Posted: January 3, 2017 Filed under: Food
Although they seem like a nuisance, the stickers or labels attached to fruit and some vegetables have more of a function than helping scan the price at the checkout stand. The PLU code, or price lookup number printed on the sticker, also tells you how the fruit was grown. By reading the PLU code, you can tell if the fruit was genetically modified, organically grown or produced with chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides.
Here are the basics of what you should know:
- If there are only four numbers in the PLU, this means that the produce was grown conventionally or “traditionally” with the use of pesticides. The last four letters of the PLU code are simply what kind of vegetable or fruit. An example is that all bananas are labeled with the code of 4011.
- If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “8”, this tells you that the item is a genetically modified fruit or vegetable. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables trump being organic. So, it is impossible to eat organic produce that are grown from genetically modified seeds. A genetically engineered (GE or GMO) banana would be: 84011
- If there are five numbers in the PLU code, and the number starts with “9”, this tells you that the produce was grown organically and is not genetically modified. An organic banana would be: 94011
Incidentally, the adhesive used to attach the stickers is considered food-grade, but the stickers themselves aren’t edible.
And here is the full list from the Environmental Working Groups of fruits and vegetables with the least to most pesticides. When shopping, the most important produce to buy organic are those at the bottom of this list http://www.foodnews.org/fulllist.php .
Dr. Frank Lipman
Posted: January 3, 2017 Filed under: Green Technology
A Michigan State University research team has at last made a truly transparent solar panel — a innovation that could soon usher in a world where windows, panes of glass, and even complete buildings could be used to produce solar energy. Until now, solar cells of this kind have been only partly transparent and generally a bit tinted, but these new ones are so transparent that they are almost indistinguishable from a usual pane of glass.
Previous claims toward transparent solar panels have been deceptive, since the very nature of transparent materials means that light must pass through them. Transparent photovoltaic cells are almost impossible, in fact, as solar panels produce energy by changing absorbed photons into electrons. For a material to be completely transparent, light would have to travel uninhibited to the eye which means those photons would have to pass through the material wholly (without being absorbed to produce solar power).
So, to attain a truly transparent solar cell, the Michigan State team made this thing called a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (TLSC), which employs organic salts to absorb wavelengths of, light those are at present unseen to the human eye. Steering clear of the fundamental difficulties of making a transparent photovoltaic cell permitted the scientists to harness the power of infrared and ultraviolet light.
The TLSC projects a luminescent glow that has a converted wavelength of infrared light which is also invisible to the human eye. More traditional (non-transparent) photovoltaic solar cells frame the panel of the main material, and it is these solar cells that transform the concentrated infrared light into electricity.
Versions of previous semi-transparent solar cells that cast light in colored shadows can generally achieve proficiency of about 7%, but Michigan State’s TLSC is projected to attain a top efficiency of 5% with additional testing (presently, the prototype’s efficiency reaches a mere one percent). While numbers like seven and five percent efficiency appear low, houses featuring fully solar windows or buildings made from the organic material could compound that electricity and bring it to a more useful level.
Scientists on the Michigan State team believe their TLSC technology could span from industrial applications to more manageable uses like consumer devices and handheld gadgets. Their main priorities in continuing to develop the technology seem to be power efficiency and maintaining a scalable level of affordability, so that solar power can continue to grow as a major player in the field of renewable energy.