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Wireless Electricity Is Near


Imagine a world where cords do not exist. Where surge protectors and extension cords are obsolete and multiple wall sockets are unnecessary.What if your electronic devices could be powered by air?Sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but that world of ultra-convenience is right around the corner, according to WiTricity, a Massachusetts-based company that says it will have wireless electricity on the market within the next two years. It's a bold statement and the first time a company has publicly announced plans to make the technology commercially available.Based on the theory and methods developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, enterprising professor and MacArthur Genius Grant-winner Marin Solja?i? and his team of scientists have developed a way to harness and concentrate electric power, then project it several meters. The invisible currents then power computers, TVs, stereos, and just about anything electronic. In other words, this thing is bound to put the extension cord industry out of business.So how will it work, and more importantly, how do we know it's safe?The idea is that WiTricity coils plugged into an electrical source will be embedded into the wall of your home or hidden behind a bookcase or couch. These coils then send radiant electricity to electronic devices throughout a specified area via magnetic fields (no not that kind. This kind).This is non-radiative, magnetic energy, meaning it won't cook you like a microwave or burn you like a laser. The world-renowned physicist Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London explains on the group's site: "The body really responds strongly to electric fields, which is why you can cook a chicken in a microwave. But it doesn't respond to magnetic fields. As far as we know the body has almost zero response to magnetic fields in terms of the amount of power it absorbs."Hmm, sounds ok, except for that whole "as far as we know" part.It's hard to process just exactly how this will work, since we can't actually see the power flying through the air (and since WiTricity's Web site is dense with MIT scientist-lingo). But the group has already been able to power a light bulb from two feet away and is well on its way to taking it to the next level.It's worth mentioning that this isn't new technology. The Austrian scientist Nikola Tesla was the first to develop the idea and the technology to transfer electricity through the air in the late 1800s. But for anyone who has seen a Tesla Coil in action knows, he definitely stopped short of making it consumer-friendly.As with any out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new invention, important questions need to be answered: Will this new way to power our devices increase our already soaring energy use? Are there side effects to the transfer of electricity through the air? What's going to happen to all the electricians of the world?There's no way anyone can know right now. But in a world where everything seems like it's been done before, isn't it fun to be on the cusp of something revolutionary?Guest blogger Michelle Lanz is a writer living in Los Angeles. Photo (cc) by Flickr user j / f/ photos.
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She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

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Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

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