Archive for November, 2009

“Recompute”

As I was watching TV the other day on the news they mentioned cardboard computers. I wondered for a really long time what they meant about cardboard computers. But I had to wait for commercials to be over so they can get back to the news and explain what they meant. Well it turns out that computers can now be made out of cardboard. How cool is that? You’ll have a really cool looking computer on your desk now. Bet nun of your friends would have one. And no you can’t have one ether. (Sadly) Brenden Macaluso, came up with this idea, but he only made three or four cardboard computers and there all in museums. Soon these new eco-friendly computers might replace your old computer.  This new was of designing computers is a great idea with a good benefit. One of the reasons cardboard computers are a success in my book is because these computers reduce the amount of e-waist released. Another reason why these computers are such a great success is what Macaluso calls “Recompute.” “Recompute” is a word he uses to describe the fast process of manufacturing and disassembling. But the release of these computers isn’t decided yet. This Grad student from University of Houston is still working out things with retailers and manufacturers but it is said that maybe around the holiday these computers could be available in stores.

-Betsy Garcia

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Discoverying Conections – Poverty, Climate, & Art

The Green Debate Team had a great time at the Discovery Green Park in Downtown Houston today as they helped fellow Houstonians make connections between the UN Foundation’s Debate Topic and one of our other favorite topics, Art.

Thanks to the Discovery Green office, our team hosted a booth in the center of Discovery Green, where we sponsored activities for children and parents alike to explore the 50 Art Globes that are on exhibit throughout the park. Kids were given color sheets to study the globes, each with their own environmental theme, and to write what it had to do with climate change and what they could do about it. Each child who participated in this fun scavenger hunt, got their faces painted with envirnomental theme slogans and images, as well as a chance to win a prize from the Green Grab Box, which among other prizes, they could recieve ornaments reminding them about these issues.

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It’s Not All Black & White

  Print Images In Halftone

 Halftone, dithering, grayscale – call it what you wish, the point is that it saves alot of ink.

  While we’re at making sure ink isn’t wasted on text, it’s even more important for images, which usually don’t even have to be really crystal sharp.

 To understand halftones, you have to understand a mosaic (Warning: big image). Viewed really closely, mosaics appear to simply be individual images – small little pixels that viewed as one make one main image. When you see it from farther away, it becomes harder to see each individual point.

 That’s similar to how a grayscale functions. Instead of printing each pixel one by one as it appears onscreen, instead a large number of dots are printed with varying intensity to give the APPEARANCE of the same image, without actually filling every little gap with ink. It’s very effective, as it gives a similar result for less ink.

 There’s no one way to get grayscale for all printers, and some may not even have it. But for most, you just open a word document, press print, and then look around in the settings until you find it. It will most likely be under a tab similar to “print quality”. For those whose printers don’t have such an option, like me, you might discover some cool stuff that will also save ink regardless. On mine personally, I found an option called “Quick print” that printed fully imaged pages in about 2 seconds flat – a leap from the normal minute or so. It also consumes far less ink, and that’s something the printer can say a-ok to.

 And that finishes up today’s blog. I hope you all learned something special today. And always remember that FRIENDSHIP IS POWER!

 And saving ink is cool for us and the environment. That too.

 ~Jay Meza

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Don’t Believe the Type!

  Replace normal text with EcoFont

“Ecofont? What the heck is that Jay?” Good question that you never asked. Ecofont (Downloaded here) is a neat idea developed by some people that wanted to try making text use less ink, but wanted to still make it legible. Thus, the idea of Swiss che ese text was born, and you have EcoFont. According to the site, it should save about 20% of the normal ink you use for text on average. This is quite a savings, especially if you’re a heavy duty printer or involved in activities that may require large amounts of printing. This claim has not yet been disputed on any statistical grounds other then the savings might be a bit lower with the smallest fonts, but that’s to be expected. It seems to print rather nicely, and is a fairly simple way to save money and help the environment.

Don’t believe your printer when it’s low on ink! When a printer says that it’s running low on ink, be wary on believing what it tells you. According to some statistics, as much as 60% of ink could still be left in each cartridge when the printer begins giving you these signals. For some people, that could mean as much as 1000 more pages of use! You want to maximize the life of your toner, preferably to the point that it actually causes a noticeable decline in the quality of the print.

 If your printer doesn’t stop you from printing, then that’s awesome and you can continue on your day knowing this information and thinking twice before getting a new one. But for others, a printer may flat out refuse to even print without a replacement. And for those, there are a couple of ways around this. Firstly, you might want to try shaking that ink canister really hard, possibly prying out some of the loose ink chunks from the wall and making it seem full again. Take out the cartridge, wait about 20 seconds, and put it back in; A printer may take this as it being replaced. Put black electric tape on the bottom of the sensor and watch as the printer is unable to tell that you didn’t actually put in a full glass again.

 These methods generally apply for laser printers, but may work for ink ones. A word of caution however: you risk accidentally screwing up your printer’s print head by using these methods, but such instances are a fairly minor occurrence and pose no huge risk in the end. Still, hopefully you will now be able to extract the precious black gold for all it’s worth.

 ~Jay Meza

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My CAR lowers CAR-bon Emissions!

For many of us the cash for clunkers program was a hectic time of signing papers, saying good bye to our best friends, shopping for new friends, and getting our cars denied because they were too old. Dealers took the cars, and you took your $4,500 or whatever amount of money that you got. So what did you do with it? Did you buy a “new” used car that has the same MPG that your old car had? Well if you did, congratulations you completely missed the point of cash for clunkers!

According to Jeff Bingaman, senator from New Mexico, the point of the program was to encourage Americans to go out and buy fuel efficient cars, cars that lowered carbon emissions. Yet so many people have not realized the full potential of the program. The program is long gone now, and you’ve probably used all of the money. But now is still the time to think of using fuel efficient cars. It’s your turn to motivate yourself to buy hybrid. Your carbon footprint depends on it. And the more you put it off, the more polluted the world becomes. So save up some money, look in your piggy banks, or actually plan to buy a car, because really do you want your car to put the car in carbon emissions.

-Jesse Anyalebechi

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Discovering Houston’s Discovery Green

After all the turkey is done, members of the Green Debate Team and the NAHS Green squad plan to spend the day at Houston’s very own Discovery Green in Downtown Houston. As a part of their Fall TPS project, sponsored by the United Nation’s Foundation, our kids will take time out of their busy Thanksgiving weekend to get to know more about the great offerings of our very own Green Park, and share their knowledge of climate change issues with fellow Houstonians.

The team hopes to have a booth available where they can do green face painting, share information about climate change that they have researched and our green activities, and help others discover the beauty of Discovery Green. Besides all the other great permanent features that the park has to offer, they also have approximately 50 Art Globes erected around the park, each highlighting important issues of climate change, energy issues, and other environmental concerns. The team will design a scavenger hunt type game around these globes and all members will take pictures of these great pieces of art to share them on our blogs in the months to come. It is our hope to help promote the power of art, words, and action in protecting our environment.

More definite details will follow, but currently, we plan to begin the day by promoting our very own online Alief TPS Climate debates by inviting elected officials to log on

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Alief TPS Global Debates – Let Your Voice Be Heard!



This years Fall Alief TPS Global Debates was held at Kerr High School in early November and is being hosted on TheGreenDebateTeam.wordpress.org in order to reach a much wider audience. Inspired by last Spring’s TPS debates, which was judged by our very own Alief School Board president, Sarah Winkler and the distinguished Dr. John Hansen, among others. Our goal this year was to include not only honorable guest from our community, but reach out to the global community which the resolution and the issues of poverty and climate change effect.

After initial preliminary debates, the two schools, Alief Kerr and Alief Taylor faced each other in this great online debate.
It is the hope of both teams that their discussions will inspire others to take notice of these two paramount issues, and leave their comments and insights on our site.

We ask that everyone log onto the survey link provided below to vote for the side you think best defended their position, and the winning team will be announced on December 12th, 2009.

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