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A Car that Runs on Air?!


Yes! Here at Learning it, Loving it we are into our Tech while being quite environmentally minded. Check out today’s lesson to pick up some great new vocabulary and find out about a car that can actually run on air!

But first, have a look at the following cartoons.

What message are they trying to make?

calvin-and-hobbes_60ko
What’s your take (opinion) on the message in this cartoon? Litterbug: a person who carelessly drops litter in a public place. 

dilbertpollution
Weasel: a slender, carnivorous mammal related to the stoat only smaller / a deceitful or treacherous person

13f69ff05b7997411ed500fa64c53e7d--air-pollution-comic-strips
Looking at the cartoon, what problems do you think cars create for the environment?

In your opinion, is having a car more about the status it brings or would you use it only as a functional tool?

How are environmental pollutants affecting your everyday life or those of people in other countries?

Now check out this video on a revolutionary car design that literally runs on fresh air!

Questions:

  1. Name 2 advantages of using the AirPod? (0:45)
  2. What is the annual fuel consumption of the world’s approximate 600 million passenger cars? (1:05)
  3. What measure could be taken to reduce the AirPod’s emmissions to practically zero? (2:38)
  4. What will be the approximate cost of the AirPod in €? (3:10)

Can you think of any disadvantages of using this car?

READING

Here is some vocabulary from the following article that might trip you up!  

  • To take evasive action: to initiate emergency proceedures
  • Tech heads: informal expression for technological innovators
  • Not all doom and gloom: it isn’t all bad news
  • To come to terms with something: to accept something
  • Working from the sidelines: working in the background
  • Swirling: a circular movement
  • Being billed as: being promoted as
  • To roll out a product: to launch / start selling a product
  • To tackle / to handle / deal with a problem: to solve a problem
  • To bombard something / somewhere: to overpower something/ somewhere with something
  • In a bid to save: in an attempt to save

The five innovations that shaped sustainability in 2016

Extract from an article that appeared in the The Guardian newspaper by Laura Parker
Published: 21:00 GMT-02:00 Sun 1 January 2017

From edible cutlery to drone vaccines, we celebrate the technologies and innovations that promise to advance sustainability efforts in the years ahead

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. In the world of sustainability alone, we saw the landmark Paris climate change agreement come into force; learned how rising temperatures in the Arctic are negatively impacting local residents; and watched as the world’s top conservationists mourned the declining state of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

And then, a bombshell: a certain “short-fingered vulgarian” won the US presidential race and called into question everything from America’s basic environmental protection to Nasa’s ongoing climate change research. Corporate America took evasive action, signing a letter telling Donald Trump it is serious about sustainability, while others began unpacking Trump’s emphasis on “clean coal” and what it really means for the future of energy in the US.

But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. While the rest of the world struggled to come to terms with the aforementioned craziness, innovators, scientists and tech heads worked quietly from the sidelines to come up with solutions. And some succeeded: from a trashcan that sucks up ocean garbage to a drone that delivers vaccines to endangered ferrets, here are our top picks for this year’s best sustainable tech.

A trashcan for the ocean

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Peter Ceglinski, left, and Andrew Turton invented the Seabin device, which traps garbage floating around marinas and docks. Photograph: Seabin

Peter Ceglinski, left, and Andrew Turton invented the Seabin device, which traps garbage floating around marinas and docks.
It’s no secret that our oceans are turning into swirling garbage dumps. There are some 5.25tn pieces of floating plastic debris in the oceans right now, and it’s estimated that some 8m metric tons of plastic waste enter global waters every year.

Earlier this year, Peter Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, two surfers from Australia, came up with a device they’re calling the Seabin – a kind of submersible garbage can that captures floating trash. Picture a cylinder, with the upper opening just below the surface of the water. An electric pump draws water through the bottom of the cylinder, creating a vortex around the upper edge that pulls in water and floating trash. A bag filter, made of natural material, collects the trash and allows water to pass through.

After raising more than $267,000 in an Indiegogo campaign to help build the device, Ceglinski and Turton are keen to start selling the Seabin to marinas around the world. First stop: Miami, Florida, where Miami Beach’s marinas manager wants to start using the Seabin in 2017 to counter the bags, bottles, paper plates and forks found daily in the water.

A handheld cancer-detecting device

images (1)
A startup has invented a DNA analyzer that could potentially revolutionize healthcare in the developing world. Photograph: QuantuMDx

A startup has invented a DNA analyzer that could potentially revolutionize healthcare in the developing world.

Earlier this year, British-based tech firm QuantuMDx developed a new, low-cost diagnostic DNA analyzer the size of a smartphone which is being billed as a “handheld lab”. The device – called Q-Poc – can accurately diagnose everything from cancers to infectious diseases in minutes. Although it is currently in alpha testing stage, the company hopes to get the product in the hands of doctors by early 2018.

Q-Poc runs on a solar-powered battery and it’s designed to read biological samples submitted via a credit card-size cartridge. It can work with a range of sample types: swabs can be used to detect sexually-transmitted infections,while saliva is used to detect tuberculosis. (Tests for other diseases will be added at a later date.) The device uses mobile technology, enabling the test results to be geo-stamped and shared in real time.

The prospect of a speedy diagnosis at a patient’s side is exciting,particularly in countries where access to medical care is a challenge. Subject to regulatory approval by the World Health Organization (WHO), QuantuMDx hopes to initially roll out the Q-Poc unit in South Africa, before expanding to other markets

What do you think of the Seabin invention?

Which of the two ideas in the article do you like the most and why?

Homework

Relax, put your feet up and watch this documentary in English. It’s on Netflix at the moment

Listening Answers

  1. It has zero emissions and it’s very cheap to use
  2. One billion cubic metres
  3. Compressing the air using wind turbines
  4. Around €7,000

Don’t forget to leave us a quick comment or share your writing answers in the comments box below.

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