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Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Best Eco-Innovations of 2012

Below is a collection of  some of the top eco-innovations of 2012. It’s not a complete list, of course—there were many fantastic, weird, and wonderful ideas that came into being over the last 12 months—but there are a few little gems here that we can tap into to use in our own lives.

Cuppow!

Say it out loud. Really loudly. You know you want to.

cuppow

     

    Cuppow is a reusable lid that turns any jar with a standard mouth into a drinking vessel. Canning jars, mason jars, jam jars—now they can all be used to drink from without slopping your smoothie down the front of your shirt. The Cuppow lid can be sipped-from directly, or you can poke a straw through the opening for a more genteel drinking experience. The lid is made of phthalate- and BPA-free plastic, is completely recyclable, and will likely last you for years.

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    Peel-and-Stick Solar Panels

    solar-cell-sticker

       

      The brilliant beasties over at Stanford have created peel-and-stick solar cells that could revolutionize the way we use solar energy. The cells, made of a silicon, silicon dioxide and metal “sandwich”, are topped off with thermal release tape that allows them to be peeled off and stuck to surfaces such as paper, plastic, fabric, glass… just about anything you can imagine.

      Tiny Houses

      tiny house

         

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        Last year seemed to be the year of the tiny house. Though 2011 took great strides with buildings like the teensy Eco Cube, 2012 saw an enormous number of small-scale, eco-friendly houses being built around the globe. Though miniscule “survivalist” dwellings like these might be a bit extreme, cute little dwellings like those created by the Tumbleweed Tiny House company and Twelve 3 manage to combine sustainable living with adorable, innovative design. This past June, the most recent creation by the Micro Compact Home company was installed near Lake Maggiore in Switzerland, and is an absolute work of art, complete with double beds, a modern bathroom, great storage, and a modern kitchen. These tiny buildings prove that you don’t need a lot of space to live in style, and sustainable living doesn’t necessarily equal living in forest yurts.

        Wind Turbine, Even With No Wind?

        apple-wind-patent

           

          So, this is really new news, and the thing hasn’t been built yet, but apparently Apple has filed a patent for a wind turbine that can produce energy even when there’s no wind. According to the official patent, published online here:

          “…the system uses a set of rotating blades to convert rotational energy from a wind turbine into heat in a low-heat-capacity fluid. Next, the system selectively transfers the heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid to a working fluid. Finally, the system uses the transferred heat in the working fluid to generate electricity”

          From what I’ve been able to glean, it will draw its energy from heat rather than rotation, and can draw on that stored heat in the fluid whenever the wind isn’t blowing hard enough to spin its blades. That’s pretty impressive, right there.

          The Water Bottle that Fills Itself

          self-filling-water

             

            As water pollution renders more and more of the earth’s potable water supplies undrinkable, action is being taken to ensure that people will have enough clean water to survive. Enter the NBD Nano: a water bottle that fills itself by drawing moisture from the atmosphere. The bottle is still in its development stage (they’re hoping to have it available to the public by 2014) but the technology could make a monumental difference in developing countries where clean, safe water is scarce. The inspiration for the bottle came from the Namib desert beetle, whose carapace is covered in little bumps: these allow tiny beads of moisture from the air’s humidity to accumulate until they’re large enough to roll into its mouth, thus allowing it to stay hydrated (and so, survive!) in an environment that’s hostile to most other forms of life.

            As a final nod to eco-innovation, we have…

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            The Energy Belt

            energy-belt

               

              If you’ve been worried about the excess weight you might have put on over the holidays, what with stuffing your gullet at countless family gatherings and all, fear not! There’s the Energy Belt, from the Nano Supermarket. It sounds like something a superhero would wear, doesn’t it? Well, sure… if that superhero needed to lose a few, but wanted to be environmentally proactive about it too.

              The Energy Belt mimics the body’s “brown fat”(which is the beneficial fat that cushions our internal organs), drawing energy from the white fat (the mooshy stuff we get after eating too many burgers) and converting it into Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) energy. That chemical energy can then be used to create electricity, so you could technically power your mp3 player with your own body fat.

              From the official website:

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               “Eat what you want at dinner, and give up that gym membership for good. Energy Belt cuts down on electricity costs while you cut down on size.”

              Considering how many people around the world are overweight/obese, this could certainly be a great way to slim down the population while creating energy to fuel all manner of devices. I’d say that’s a win-win all around.

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              Published on November 9, 2018

              How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

              How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

              Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

              Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

              So, are you ready? Here we begin.

              6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

              When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

              1. Spreadsheets and Databases

              Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

              To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

              In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

              • Microsoft Excel
              • Microsoft Access
              • Statistics
              • Data Analytics
              • Adobe Campaign
              • Quickbooks
              • XML Database management system
              • Filemaker Pro
              • MATLAB
              • Hive
              • FORTRAN
              • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
              • SAS

              2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

              Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

              Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

              • Content Management System (CMS)
              • Google Analytics
              • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
              • Email Marketing
              • Web Page Design
              • WordPress
              • Digital Media
              • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
              • Campaign Management Software

              3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

              A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

              • Adobe Photoshop
              • Adobe InDesign
              • Adobe Illustrator
              • AutoCAD
              • CorelDRAW
              • Microsoft Visual Studio
              • Maya
              • Microsoft Word
              • Microsoft Publisher
              • Operating Digital Cameras

              4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

              The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

              To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

              • HTML
              • C/C++
              • Java
              • Python
              • XML
              • UI/UX
              • LINUX
              • CISC and RISC architecture
              • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
              • Memory Management
              • PCB Layout
              • SQL

              5. IT Troubleshooting

              Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

              So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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              • Backup management
              • Diagnostics
              • End User support
              • Client-Server management
              • Installation and configuration
              • Issue tracking system (ITS)
              • System administration
              • Tech support

              6. Enterprise Systems

              Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

              Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

              The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

              Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

              Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

              Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

              1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

              a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

              Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

              Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

              b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

              This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

              c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

              Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

              Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

              2. Rule the Social Media World

              a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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              Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

              From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

              b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

              This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

              c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

              Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

              Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

              3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

              a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

              From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

              b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

              Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

              The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

              c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

              The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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              4. Live and Breathe Creativity

              a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

              It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

              From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

              b. Canva Design School

              From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

              c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

              62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

              d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

              The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

              Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

              5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

              a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

              IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

              It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

              b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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              The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

              Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

              The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

              • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
              • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
              • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
              • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
              • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
              • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
              • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

              Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

              Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

              1. Practice, Practice, Practice

              It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

              Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

              2. Work on Your Efficiency

              Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

              For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

              3. Look for Shortcuts

              Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

              4. Apply for an Internship

              Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

              By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

              How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

              The Bottom Line

              Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

              So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

              Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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