inno1-060909Music rules, OK?
A British inventor has come up with an idea to inspire creativity in every school child. Dan Wieden's Musical Ruler looks like any standard plastic model with the measurement units marked in centimeters on one edge except that it also has finger markings and note positions showing you exactly how far the ruler needs to hang off the edge of your desk to produce a particular note.

Rubbish islandinno2-060909
I can think of quite a few local bodies of water that would benefit from this idea featured in Low Tech Magazine (lowtechmagazine.com). Floating islands occur naturally when a piece of river or lake bank breaks off and drifts around, sometimes for years. The islands, which consist of water plants held together by their roots, act as a kind of liver for the body of water. The roots dangle down into the water and create a habitat for bacteria, algae, zooplankton, and other creatures. These organisms, as well as the plants themselves, take up  nutrients and degrade toxins in the water. Artificial islands like the one in the picture are particularly useful in treating water polluted by storm water run off which overwhelms dams and lakes during heavy rain. This so-called non-point source pollution, distinct from point-source pollution which comes from a single polluter like a factory, is difficult to treat since it comes from many different sources. Plastic bottles and styrofoam, which are often found washed up on banks, plastic fencing, zip ties and water plants are used to construct the islands which are then attached to a mooring rope. Instructions are available on the website.

What a FLAP
Pop!Tech, the Portable Light Project and messenger bag company Timbuk2 are collaborating with African innovation website Afrigadget to develop a solar bag that will bring the benefits of portable power to selected communities around the world. The bag, dubbed FLAP  – for Flexible Light And Power – connects a solar panel with a tech tray equipped with an on/off switch, an LED light and a USB connection, which can  be used anywhere as a portable lighting and power supply unit. Afrigadget is in the process of making the bag available to a variety of potential users from diverse walks of life in order to test the product for adaptibility and to open it up to possible local improvements. Follow its progress on afrigadget.com.