Hacks to Avoid Food Waste

I kept a page from my local city newsletter that says, "Worldwide, it takes 2.5 billion acres of land just to grow the food we waste." Posting the page on my fridge helps remind me to do my part in avoiding food waste. I submitted two ideas that I've implemented in my own kitchen to the Quick Tips section of Cook's Illustrated Magazine. Months later, I received an email from the magazine saying one of them would be published in the September/October 2017 issue.

Taking Inspiration from Hummingbirds

Taking Inspiration from Hummingbirds

On my trip to Vancouver, BC earlier this summer, I made a point to notice materials. While browsing the gift shop at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a collection of earrings caught my eye. Although I own plenty of earrings – at least 25 pairs – I decided I had to buy these. They advertise being made from lead-free pewter and handcrafted in Canada, and the hummingbird is supposedly a symbol of good fortune. How could I not buy them?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Goals for Progress

Last weekend I completed a triathlon, my fourth to date. When people hear the word "triathlon" many automatically think of the Ironman, a competition consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile (marathon) run. My event was much more modest: 0.75-mile swim, 22.5-mile bike ride, and 4-mile run. This is slightly shorter than an Olympic triathlon (1.5-km swim, 40-km bike, 10-km run) but longer than most sprint distance events. How is the triathlon related to the title of this blog post? Keep reading to find out. 

Sticking Our Heads in the Sand? We Shouldn't Have To

Sticking Our Heads in the Sand? We Shouldn't Have To

Peter Holgate conveys an air of confidence without seeming arrogant. His desire to achieve something “consequential” with his third startup drove him to found Ronin8, a company whose mission revolves around changing the world by changing e-waste processing. I met with Peter in his Vancouver, BC office recently to interview him for the book I’m writing on sustainable materials management.

Jargon and Acronyms: Beware

Jargon and Acronyms: Beware

I read a blog post recently that started with an analogy to laying tiles, something most people can grasp, but then shifted to engineering jargon. This strikes me as a perfect example of the challenge of understanding your audience. Are you writing for engineers who are experts in your field, or for executives who care very little about the technical details and just want to know how the new technology will save time or money?

Living in an Anthropocene World

The Unnatural World by David Biello caught my attention. It was part of a featured selections display in the library, where the images of leaves on the cover and the title drew me in. Biello’s message – that we are living in the Anthropocene Era, in which humans control the planet’s environment and which may date to as long ago as the beginnings of agriculture – asserts itself throughout the book

Why writing a book is like making a jigsaw puzzle

Why writing a book is like making a jigsaw puzzle

A friend of mine told me recently, “Writing a book is like making a jigsaw puzzle. It’s hard to get started, and it comes together slowly at first, but it is faster toward the end.” He had it somewhat right, but not exactly. As a writer who also enjoys jigsaw puzzles, I had to take it further. The analogy works in a much deeper way than my friend had considered.

3D Printing of Metals: Is It Really Printing, and Does That Matter?

3D Printing of Metals: Is It Really Printing, and Does That Matter?

While visiting the Fabrisonic booth at the IDTechEx Show recently, I was compelled to ask whether a process that welds thin metal foils together should really be called 3D printing. The question is, what defines 3D printing? It's a buzzword that gets attention and sounds a lot more exciting than "additive manufacturing," but it can mean many different types of processes.

What Goes into a Solar Car?

What Goes into a Solar Car?

I started attending the annual IDTechEx Show in Santa Clara, CA in 2011 when the primary focus was printed electronics, which was a perfect match for my role writing a column on printed electronics for Industrial+Specialty Printing Magazine. In recent years, the show has expanded its focus to a huge range of emerging technologies. Some of the co-located topics may appear to have little to do with each other, but a keynote from the Nuon Solar Team demonstrated the synergy between them.