Tag Archives: TEDx

This 19-Year Old Has A Plan To Clean Up Half of The Pacific Garbage Patch In 10 Years (Video)

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of the United States, lies the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

It’s tough to say exactly how widespread the island of plastic is; estimates range from 270,000 square miles (slightly larger than Texas), up to 15,000,000 square miles (twice the size of the United States).

An estimation of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Click to enlarge

Its real size is probably somewhere in the middle, but even at the lowest estimates, the island is massive and only continues to grow every day.

Enter Boyan Slat, a 19-year-old entrepreneur and conservationist from the Netherlands. Boyan has come up with a simple yet ingenious way to clean up half of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years, using the ocean’s currents to his advantage. Check out the video below to learn more about it.

Slat claims that half of the garbage patch will be equal to 70 million kilograms of plastic- that’s more than 77,000 tons.

These plastics could be used in a number of ways- we recently reported on the world’s first waste-to-biofuel facility, which converts even non-recyclable plastics into methanol, a useful building block for chemicals and a component of many gasoline blends today.

Slat first publicized his idea at a TEDx conference in his home town of Delft in the Netherlands. You can watch it below to learn more about the details of his plan.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is only one of five trash patches around the world. These patches form in gyres, which are basically massive vortexes that form as a result of ocean currents and prevailing winds.

All the floating trash that ends up in our waterways will eventually end up in one of these gyres.

The five gyres. Click to enlarge (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
The five gyres. Click to enlarge (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

If Boyan’s idea proves successful, we could use it worldwide to battle these ever-growing trash islands, while simultaneously turning this trash back into biofuels.

Boyan was recently named one of Intel’s 20 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs Worldwide. Check out the homepage of his company The Ocean Clean Up.

If you’re curious, here’s a great graphic that shows how long it takes for various pieces of garbage to decompose in the ocean. Click the image to see the full size version.

WOW! Aging Was Just Successfully Reversed in Mice; Human Trials Are Up Next

David Sinclair is a gerontologist (scientist who studies aging) from the University of New South Wales. He has been leading a team of researchers attempting to slow or stop the degenerative effects of aging in mice.

Sinclair was optimistic about their most recently tested compound, but even he was shocked by how successful it was:

“I’ve been studying aging at the molecular level now for nearly 20 years and I didn’t think I’d see a day when aging could be reversed. I thought we’d be lucky to slow it down a little bit. The mice had more energy, their muscles were as though they’d be exercising and it was able to mimic the benefits of diet and exercise just within a week. We think that should be able to keep people healthier for longer and keep them from getting diseases of aging.”

Lead researcher David Sinclair (Photo: Tim Pascoe, News Limited)

The compound toned the mice’s muscles as if they had been exercising, reduced inflammation (one of the biggest factors in age-related health issues) and drastically reduced insulin resistance, which naturally increases as we grow older.

The researchers compared the effect observed in the mice to a 60-year old person suddenly having the muscle tone and energy of a person in their 20s. More impressively, these results were seen in only one week.

One of the keys to the success of the anti-aging compound was that it raised levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide. This substance is naturally produced in our bodies, and decreases with age. It decreases more slowly, however, in people who maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Sinclair hopes to begin testing the compound on humans soon, but says he must raise more funding before he can set an official start date for these human trials.

Read the full story from The Guardian Liberty Voice here.

Also, check out David Sinclair’s awesome TED talk on this topic from last year: