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Sean Turvey
 Canada
Rapidly Degrading Paper Items Printer Friendly Version
Driving down highways, you will see a lot of litter. Much of it is fast food packaging or other disposable paper. Education does not seem to be the answer, as we have been told not to litter for years - yet, it still piles up. More meals are being eaten on the road or sidewalk, as our lives become faster. What I believe we need is a paper that degrades quickly when exposed to the sun's UV rays.
It would seem that the addition of titanium dioxide in its anatase form to the pulp would break down the organic compounds into a powder. The speed of the degradation would probably be controlled by the amount of TiO2 added. To keep the photocatalyst reaction from starting too soon, the items would have to be kept out of direct sunlight.
It would not have to be a full breakdown of the item, just enough to produce tiny holes, as paper seems to degrade from the edges of the piece to the centre. This basic idea is being used to make self cleaning windows and buildings.
Uses:
- Take out food packaging
- Bus or event tickets
- Flyers & pamphlets
- Disposable diapers
- ATM receipts
- Cigarette butts & packages
- Women's hygene products
- Condoms

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50°

    
Michael D. Grissom
 USA
Electronic Component Tattle-Tail Stickers Printer Friendly Version
There are chemicals that change color with temperature (mood rings) and can be designed to coat paper stickers so that when a certain temperature threshold is reached, the sticker will change from green to red (for example) and not change back. We also know that most electronic components will increase in normal temperature when a failure occurs.
With a sticker designed for and affixed to all components at point of manufacture, a failure would become VISUALLY apparent. Many TVs, monitors, stereos, etc. are tossed simply because an intermittant problem won't happen when the tech has it in the shop. Many are discarded because the problem is so difficult to troubleshoot that the estimate is too high to be worth repairing. Many COULD be repaired by the home do-it-yourselfer with a soldering iron if he/she could visually see the component to replace.
This invention would make these things possible.
I thought of this idea when I found out that my $2000.00 21" monitor that died just out of warranty doesn't have a schematic available from any source in the world -- not even the manufacturer. In searching, I found that to be a common industry problem these days.
So,... anybody know any chemist out there that would like to tackle this one?
Reward: The NAME of the slave labor 7 year old that put that bad capacitor in my Chinese made monitor. ;-)
5/5/03 Update: My monitor problem was a 10M ohm wire-wound resistor that burnt open (like a blown fuse) without leaving a mark on the body of the resistor. This means that instead of stickers, some components capable of 'spot' failures should be completely coated with a translucent color changing chemical coating. That would have made this problem visually detectable. 

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48°

    
John Montgomery
 USA
Academic Papers Database Printer Friendly Version
I propose that the national government expend public funds to sponsor scientific research by creating a comprehensive Academic Papers Database. Many journals and data warehouses exist to contain academic papers, but a central data repository would have numerous advantages.
1) Undergraduate students who produce papers for college could have their papers permanantly inducted into the database when submitted for grading in electronic form. Thereafter, University Professors all over the country could execute a text comparison search against papaers already in the database to detect plagarism.
2) Graduate researchers and specialists could search a single Internet source for their research rather than many.
3) The data warehouse would serve as a repository of human knowledge that could be easily archived in permanant (optical) form as a time capsule of the 21st century.
4) We could better share work with other nations and between scientists with a central resource.
5) The government may need to restrict access to certain types of information in order to protect from terrorist attacks. A central warehouse for information can be made secure, but uncontrolled stockpiles of information on nuclear physics, bio-terrorism, explosive chemistry, et cetera could be exploited by the wrong people.
6) Centralized data containment can become a source of public revenue by charging for access time to the database. Naturally, the price would be kept low due to the efficiency of centralized management. Rather than belong to 10 scholarly journals that impose high fees, a researcher can use the comprehensive Academic Papers Archive for one low price.
7) Library science can grow to its fullest potential only when all of the information in human civilization is availible for review by a single administrative organization. The science of classification to facilitate searches requires the broadest possible flexibility to permit interdisciplinary sciences to emerge and grow.
8) Outdated information that is no longer current or valid can be rejected when all the data for a given subject is under central review. Modern research proceeds as fast as individuals can get information about the subject and how it changes ; if the turn around time for experimental ideas improves, science will discover new knoweldge faster.
9) The paper volume of scientific information doubles every decade. To slow this explosion of scholarly effort, we must ensure that people can know what is currently open for investigation all over the world in all fields. That way duplicated effort will be done to verify or disprove results, but never "overdone" by more researchers than are necessary to complete a given task.
10) Textbooks about the subjects of knoweldge can be written once the database gets formed ; a comprehensive database could lead to text books that are the most comprehensive, balanced, and fair treatments of the subjects that can be made.
Reward: I'ld like to be able to surf the Academic Papers Archive to read the latest research in all fields of interest! 

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