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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The World’s Most Inspiring Teens

It's crazy, but nonetheless inspiring, to think of what other teens (your age or younger) have managed to accomplish at their age. You are all amazing people in your own ways, and these teens are certainly no exception.

At 19, Boyan Slat created a solution to cleaning up the Pacific garbage patch in the ocean. By stringing a huge blockade and screen across polluted waters and collecting the trash along a conveyor belt, this could clean up a huge portion of the ocean pollution.

At 17, Angela Zhang (from Cupertino!) developed a potential cure for cancer. By essentially tagging tumors with nanoparticles, doctors could see the tumor regions under infrared light and target these to kill the cancer. So cool!

At 16, Martin Odegaard became the youngest person to ever play for the Real Madrid Castilla football team when he subbed in for Cristiano Ronaldo at the 58th minute of the game.

At 15, Jack Andraka was just a high school sophomore when he invented a test for detecting early pancreatic cancer, an illness that has just a 2% chance of survival. A self-proclaimed “science geek,” Andraka’s discovery won him the Intel International Science Fair.

At 14, Rowan Blanchard had spoken at the UN Women annual conference, starred Disney Channel’s Girl Meets World, and spoken out for feminism. At 14, I was just trying to survive my freshman year of high school.

At 13, Katelyn Lohr just wanted to wear socks with her flip flops but everyone made fun of her. Instead, she decided to create toeless socks, and now she has her own business to help others experiencing the same issue!

At 13, Mallory Kievman solved an issue that no one has quite seemed to figure out: how to stop hiccups! By testing different spices and ingredients, she developed the Hiccupop, a lollipop that can end a nasty bout of hiccups. Now that is my kind of invention!


Know any other inspiring teens that are out there, creating solutions in our world? Never believe that you are too young to accomplish something, because you actually have more potential than any other generation. Speak up, act out, and "be the change you wish to see in the world." 

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Transportation of The Future

So maybe floating cars aren’t today’s reality. Maybe our world is not being run by robots. Though you have to admit, Google’s self-driving cars are pretty close.

If you’ve been a longtime Mountain View resident, you’ve probably noticed the exponential growth in traffic recently. With more residents, we have more cars, and more people on the road, making it take longer to drive from point A to point B. To solve this issue of traffic and time, two California companies are investing in futuristic public transportation that will save time, save energy, and change the face of transportation.

SkyTran has been working under NASA at Moffett Field to build a suspended monorail that lifts passengers several meters above the ground. The two-passenger vehicles operate on a grid, and they're programmed with your destination to take you along the fastest route, without ever having to stop like most trains do. 

Though not implemented as mass transit quite yet, SkyTran is already boasting all its wonderful  features: for one, it will have practically zero emissions and run on renewable energy! It also promises zero traffic, it can forever expand as the “grid” grows, and it’s incredibly safe and fast (although there are no indications of just how fast quite yet). What’s the downside? Well, we would have suspended vehicles taking up our precious skyline, but hey, maybe that’s something we can accept in the near future. 

Hyperloop One is proposing a way to travel distances of hundreds of miles in a matter of minutes. Thanks to a vacuum technology, small pods carrying 6-100 people will travel through tubes that use a “custom electric motor to accelerate and decelerate a levitated pod through a low pressure tube,” according to their website.
You may have heard Elon Musk is behind this, but in fact, his company SpaceX is simply open-sourcing third party companies and challenging them to design a hyperloop. Hyperloop’s big claim is that you don’t just save money (it would cost just the same as a bus fare), but you save perhaps the most valuable thing of all: time. If implemented properly, Hyperloop One could begin transporting passengers in 2021, just a mere 5 years away. Could you imagine a future where it would take less than an hour to travel from San Francisco to LA?

 The advantages to a successful Hyperloop would include energy efficiency, a reduced environmental footprint, reduced traffic, saved money, and of course, saved time.  It does have its downsides, namely being the fact that some of this technology sounds unfeasible (and nonexistent) to several scientists.  But nevertheless, this is the future we are talking about!

So what do you think is going to be our primary mode of transit five, ten, twenty years from now? Will it be self-driving cars that populate the roadways, will Teslas take up our household garages, or will it be innovative mass transit solutions like SkyTran and Hyperloop?

Post by Katia G., Homework Assistant