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3 Ways Technology May Save Us

3 Ways Technology May Save Us

The news is filled with pollution reports, climate change notices, and dire weather warnings on a daily basis. It is enough to make anyone live in terror for their future and for the future we are setting up for our kids. Mashable put out a report a year ago detailing the “masked city” in China, a city where most residents wear masks over their mouths to keep from breathing in the near-toxic levels of pollution.

It would be easy to blame many of the technologies we have today for these problems. Cars are constantly spewing smoke into the air. Factories run 24/7, burning and melting toxic substances and polluting everything around them. Everything, it seems, generates some sort of pollution in its manufacturing or operation.

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Blaming technology is too easy, though. Technology has likely saved many more lives than it has harmed. It will also be the thing most likely to save us from ourselves. Here are a few technological innovations with the potential to save the world.

Fuel made from algae

Yes, this is the algae that grows all over bodies of water and annoys people to no end. It actually has the potential to power everything we do. Algae-based fuel technology has been making headway since 2009, and there are actually vehicles in operation today that can run solely on algae.

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Here is the best part about algae. Not only does it burn much cleaner than fossil fuel, it actually has the potential to clean the air as well. Here is how it works.

Algae is a plant, meaning it needs carbon dioxide to grow. This means that it is actually cleaning carbon dioxide out of the air while it is growing. Some experts think companies could grow algae right next to big factories, and the algae could actually clean the air while it’s growing. Once the algae is ready, it could then be used to power vehicles.

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Smog cleaning buildings

Imagine if your apartment building could simply clean the air for you. It might sound crazy, but the technology actually exists and is being utilized in Mexico, a place not well known for its air quality.

There is a hospital in Mexico that uses tiles that pull energy from the sun during the day. They then use that energy to take in pollution from the air and convert it into less harmful substances. The tiles do this all day while the sun is out, requiring no electricity or labor. You can read more about how smog-cleaning buildings work here.

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The Ocean Cleanup

The Ocean Cleanup is a project that has been talked about for awhile now. Many people do not realize just how much waste and trash is thrown into the ocean each year. This waste follows the currents and often ends up in the same place. In fact, in 2013, researchers investigated what is called the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” a 286,000 square mile patch of garbage that had collected in the Pacific Ocean.

The Ocean Cleanup project utilizes many different technologies to start cleaning up the garbage. Project leaders estimate that they will be able to clean up half of the debris in the ocean within 10 years. The technology actually uses the ocean to clean itself up, a novel concept that has drawn much attention. You can read about how the technology works on their website.

Yes, technological advancements are causing some environmental issues. However, new technologies are constantly being invented that can solve those problems. That is how humankind works. We solve problems, and when more problems arise we eventually solve those too. Technology that eliminates pollution, cleans water, and makes the world a better place will continue to come out far into the future. We just need to do our part and help where we can.

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Spencer Mecham

Personal Finance Coach, Digital Marketer

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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