5 Unusual Sources of Green Energy

An image of abstract green energy concept with green earth.
An image of abstract green energy concept with green earth.

Green energy is rapidly becoming a viable solution for powering the modern world.

Finding sources of green energy is a growing challenge for most scientists and companies across the globe to harness the potential and in order to solve the impending needs in modern world and high-tech lifestyles. When it comes to green energy, everyone’s heard about the usual source such as solar power, wind and hydro-electricity captured with dams or from the tides.

But the world of green energy is full of scientists with massive imaginations and they have come up with some pretty amazing ideas. These scientists are continuing the quest of abundant, cheap and efficient energy by investigating the more unusual sources, ones that may seems a little bizarre, unrealistic and even ridiculous in some cases.

Here are lesser-known sources of green energy;

1. Anaerobic Digesters

Anaerobic digesters are quintessential example of the phrase “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. These machines used micro-organisms that ‘eat’ biological waste (grass clippings, food waste or even cow dung) and capture the methane that produced from the process. Methane is a huge contributor to global warming if it is allowed to rise into the atmosphere but capturing and burning it for energy, it rather breaks down to less harmful chemicals.

2. The Kinetic Dance Floor

Kinetic energy is an energy produced when you move, something that scientists have been trying to figure out to harness since a long time. The kinetic dance floor has debuted at clubs and concerts, and it uses the impact of dancing feet to create electricity. The dance floor however has to be on the bigger size to generate enough power but surely the project has a lot of potential. What if street lights could be powered by footsteps on a sidewalk?

3. Sound Waves

When a quartz crystal (like the one found in wrist watches) is put under pressure, it releases a small electric charge. This is called piezoelectricity and it’s the basis of a lot of renewable energy concepts. One idea has had use these crystals to catch sound waves which will produce the necessary charge just from ambient sound. This is possible to make things like self-charging cell phones to viable if the technology could be properly harnessed. This same technology has been worked onto clothing that allows people to charge a cell phone while simply walking around.

4. Algae

The slimy green scum that grows in ponds and fish tanks might actually be the future of fuel. Algae produces more than half of its body weight in lipid oils, and those oils can be converted rather easily into an efficient form of biodiesel. The obstacle that has to be overcome is scaling up production to meet energy demands but there are already dozens of companies working on it.

5. Human Body Electricity

Anyone who’s seen The Matrix knows that the human body generates a lot of electricity just by existing. Artist Naomi Kizhner has taken this concept to a whole new level by creating jewellery that plugs into your body, using your pulse to power the mechanism. While this is still a theoretical energy source, it is a good reminder of how much power is all around us – and inside us – that isn’t being harnessed, and also raises the question of how far we’ll go to produce the power we need.

The Risks of Being a Whistleblower

An image of a whistleblower with his co-workers in black and white.
An image of a whistleblower with his co-workers in black and white.

Being a whistleblower can also be very difficult in terms of the stress and anxiety associated with standing up to powerful corporate or government interests.

We all like to think that we would do the right thing if we knew about an illegal or harmful act taking place in our midst. But when we discover our employers doing something wrong, whether it’s ignoring safety regulations, stealing wages, or committing other crimes, it can be extremely difficult to blow the whistle. That’s because there are often some significant risks involved in becoming a whistleblower. These risks include;

Employer Retaliation

For someone who’s considering blowing the whistle on their employer, a primary fear is that said employer will retaliate against them. While there are laws in place meant to protect whistleblowers, they are often not enough. This means that those who point out wrong doing might be faced with a hostile work environment, scheduling upsets and demotion, or termination on a false pretence — or even outright termination in a place without strong employee-protection laws. For those with a family to support, this can be a very daunting risk.

Industry Blacklisting

So what if one employer gives you the boot, there’s a whole industry out there, right? Maybe, but if you’re known as a whistleblower then even companies who don’t have anything to hide may be reluctant to hire you. It may be necessary for you to leave your field entirely, or it might mean that the only job you can get is an entry-level position from which you won’t be promoted. In extreme circumstances whistleblowers simply won’t be able to get a new job, period.

Legal Consequences

While speaking up about illegal activity is a noble thing to do, it’s also possible for whistleblowers to be caught up in the punishment that comes with the crime. Often, they’ll have to face charges of their own for being part of the crime in the first place, which can make them even more reluctant to stand up and say something (even though blowing the whistle may result in a lighter sentence).

Professional Violations

In many cases being a whistleblower may violate a contract or a professional obligation. In these instances, there may be additional penalties such as civil suits for breaching agreements and confidences.

But Whistleblowers Get Paid, Right?

It’s true that whistleblowers are entitled to a percentage of the settlement of any case in which they are involved. The problem is that even though there may be large sums of money involved, it can take years (sometimes decades) for these cases to be completely settled. In the meantime, a whistleblower has to deal with the negative consequences of the decision while waiting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

At the end of the day, being a whistleblower is a very risky endeavour. We can certainly help you to remain anonymous with your website. Contact us, in case you have any questions regarding our services or your privacy online.

Privacy on the Internet: Your Selfie is a Gold Mine for Marketers

An image of smiling friends taking selfie photo from nightclub with billiard.
An image of smiling friends taking selfie photo from nightclub with billiard.

The self-portrait you thought was private, could be used without your permission for marketing purposes.

We all love selfies. You constantly see the ones your friends take in your newsfeed and you post yours on Facebook and Twitter every chance you get. You take your self-portraits anywhere: at stores, restaurants, work, school, or the gym. You even love when your kids put their photos online, so you always press the ‘Like’ button.

There’s just one small catch, says an article from the Wall Street Journal. Several companies are now using your self-portraits for marketing purposes. They look for ones where you’re holding a clearly identifiable product, such as a Starbucks cup, or wearing a noticeable logo. And they prefer photos where you’re smiling, because it implies that you feel good about the things you’re wearing, holding, or consuming. Even the background is useful, since it shows these companies where and how you like to use their products.

Basically, this pictorial information is a treasure trove for market researchers. They can base new campaigns on the context in which their products are being used, and even send targeted ads to you specifically. Your selfie isn’t just a form of self-expression — it’s a promotion.

The privacy controls on Facebook generally prevent picture mining companies from using the images you post there. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, or Pinterest. Pictures on those sites become grist for the marketing mill.

There are no clear laws to protect you against misuse of your photos, so about all you can do is write to the offending sites to express your displeasure. In the meantime, putting your selfies only on Facebook can offer you some measure of privacy. You can also encourage your kids, friends, and relatives to do the same.

Find out more information about improving your privacy on the Internet, please contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can with this process.

 

6 Tips to Choose an Effective Domain name

An image of 3D man thinking about domain name.
An image of 3D man thinking about domain name.

Choosing an effective domain name for your website is becoming more important in the age of internet marketing and branding development.

For some, the process of domain registration and choosing a domain name is a real mystery. But coming up with a good domain name for your business website doesn’t have to be difficult. These six handy tips will help you create a catchy, memorable and effective one.

1) Choosing .com or Country Top Level Domain?

There are many extensions to choose from, including .net, .org, .biz, .cc and etc. If you are building your website for international users, .com domain is the best option for you. Most Internet browsers automatically default to this extension as well. It’s definitely wise to take advantage of this default when choosing your domain name.

In case your website is only for users located in a certain country or area, you may consider using country level domains, such as .us, .uk or .is. These domains have more availability to choose from. It is however important to realize that rules and regulations for registering these domains may significantly differ from the common domain extensions.

2) Who are You, Where are You Located and What do You do?

Try to incorporate your business name and words that best describe what you do in your domain and in your entire site’s content. For example, Henri’s Car Wash in Reykjavik, Iceland might use a name like ‘henriscarwash.com’ or ‘reykjavikcarwash.com’. When searching for this type of service, people will most often look for ‘car wash´ near where they live, so make sure your location is mentioned in a lot of places on your website, or even in your URL. After all, who would want to travel to next town to get their car washed if they lived in Reykjavik?

3) Choose an Easy Name

Keep in mind that you’ll be giving your email and website address to people quite often. Many times, you’ll do so over the phone, which can lead to misunderstandings and inaccurate spellings. So, for example, if your car wash business is in the town of Kirkjubaejarklaustur (which is actual name of town in Iceland), you probably don’t want to include that in the name of your website.

A good option, in this case, might be to choose something basic like ‘carwash.is’, and just include your location in a lot of places on your website. That way, people searching for your services near your location will find it, but you don’t have to worry about misunderstandings when you’re telling people the name of your site. The golden rule is, the easier your domain name is to spell for the majority of people, the better.

4) Search for Expired Domain Names

Domain names expire constantly and expired names are a great way to get free traffic to your website. If you can find a good fit for your business by using an expired name, it will go a long way toward increasing your online exposure. Be aware that used domains are scooped up by resellers as soon as they become available. Check every day for expired domain names as soon as you know you want to set up a website.

5) Keep Your Domain Name Short

Making your domain name as short as possible is the best way to help people remember it. Longer, more complex names are more difficult to recall and fewer people will think of you when looking for your services. If you are creative and unique while keeping it short, your site name will stick in visitors’ minds. Shorter names are also easier to type and less likely to be spelled incorrectly.

6) Public or Private Registration

Companies will often search for the owners of domains when looking to solicit their own services. Choosing to use your company name rather than your personal name and address is a good way to protect your privacy. This will direct them to send their information to your business address, not your personal address. Furthermore, some of domain name registrars will keep your information private, keeping marketers and others at bay. This is already included within the price on our services.

Choosing a domain name for your website isn’t the most difficult thing you’ll do as a business owner, but it is extremely important. Following this guide should make it a little easier for you to decide. If you get creative and keep these tips in mind, you’re sure to find the perfect name for your domain.

If you’re still not sure which direction to go with your domain name, contact us. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you any way we can with this process.

Understanding Freedom of Speech in Practice

An image of a man's mouth sealed with 'freedom' note

Freedom of speech is not to be taken for granted in the modern world.

Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental rights someone can have. That said, there’s a lot of confusion these days as to what freedom of speech does and doesn’t mean in practice. So before you decide to start shouting at someone that you have a right to your speech, it’s a good idea to make sure you know what you’re talking about.

Freedom of Speech is A Political Right

Freedom of speech means that the government will not restrict a person’s speech simply because it doesn’t want to hear what that person has to say. Most western governments cannot, for instance, imprison members of a peaceful protest simply for speaking out against government policies (or at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work).

That is a very good thing, and it’s a relatively recent historical development — and if you watch the news, you know how many people in the world still can’t freely criticize their governments. However, it’s important to remember that freedom of speech doesn’t extend to all aspects of life; it doesn’t mean anyone has to listen, and it doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want.

…What Do You Mean?

Basically, freedom of speech only applies to government enforcement. That means that if someone is in a coffee shop and decides to start talking at peak volume about how the government’s new immigration policies are wrong; the management is perfectly within its rights to tell that person to get out. Other patrons can ignore the speaker, or even jeer derisively. There’s no such thing as the guarantee that anyone will care what you have to say, or freedom from being made fun of.

There are also areas of legally restricted speech. You know the old saying; you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre? While the government cannot restrict you on purely political grounds, it can restrict certain forms of speech it considers a genuine danger. For instance, “hate speech,” which might incite violence against certain groups of people. The key thing is that you can’t turn your words into weapons. Once you do that you’ve stopped expressing your right to free speech and started infringing on the rights of others.

A more controversial area of restricted speech is the act of sharing state secrets. Governments argue that doing so can have disastrous consequences — even if some would argue that the consequences of not revealing some secrets are more serious in the long term.

The Grey Area

All of this is, of course, how free speech is supposed to work in an ideal situation. Unfortunately it’s a very hairy subject that can be interpreted in many different ways depending on who’s doing the interpreting. Often, governments try to gag citizens so they don’t share information that, while damning or embarrassing for the government, is in no way something that constitutes a danger to people if revealed.

Take the revelations by Julian Assange of Wikileaks for instance. On one hand, Assange was in possession of state secrets, particularly regarding the wars in the Middle East that could have constituted a danger to troops on the ground. On the other hand, some of the information he possessed was not dangerous at all, but simply inconvenient for the United States government. Where the line should be drawn? How much of the information is truly dangerous state secrets, and how much of it is just facts that the government wants to suppress? How do they decide, and how can we tell if they decide fairly?

These kinds of situations happen all the time. At what point does a peaceful protester who is discussing the facts of a law have to stop because her tone might incite a riot? What are the limits imposed on a government when it wants to silence someone?

It’s important to remember that there are certain situations where people shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever they want (such as revealing the names of undercover officers, or talking about the new identities of those in the Witness Protection Program), but that doesn’t mean the government should be implicitly trusted to always rule on the side of citizens. It’s only through a careful examination of the law and what’s being discussed that the question of how free speech applies can really be answered.

For more information on how freedom of speech works in the internet age, contact us today!