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Philly opens "a new treasure" in Barnes Museum

The Los Angeles Times likes what it sees in the Barnes Museum's recently opened new location along the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
 
Standing at the threshold of the new museum, I couldn't help but smirk when I thought about how angry its relocation would have made old man Barnes -- unfair because it fails to credit the founder's genius for finding and championing art that Philadelphia philistines once scoffed at. Soon mean-spiritedness gave way to excitement.
 
Original source: Los Angeles Times
Read the full story here.
 
 

UPenn leading "open source" model of medical device design

The Economist writes about the University of Pennsylvania and the "open source" model of designing medical devices to drive innovation and improve safety.
 
The Generic Infusion Pump project, a joint effort between the University of Pennsylvania and the FDA, is taking these troublesome devices back to basics. The researchers began not by building a device or writing code but by imagining everything that could possibly go wrong with a drug-infusion pump. Manufacturers were asked to help, and several did so, including vTitan, a start-up based in America and India. “For a new manufacturer, it’s a great head start,” says Peri Kasthuri, vTitan’s co-founder. By working together on an open-source platform, manufacturers can build safer products for everyone, while still retaining the ability to add extra features to differentiate themselves from their rivals.
 
Original source: The Economist
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Would you sit in something made of recycled plastic, glass and sawdust?

Fast Company Co.Design writes about Hanover-based Emeco, the heralded innovative chair-maker that recently rolled out its Broom chair made from recycled plastic, glass and sawdust.
 
The Broom got its start back in 2001, when Starck conceived of a bucket chair with a curved aluminum seat and backrest embedded in a plastic frame, intended to add a more affordable version to Emeco’s existing catalog. But the costs of tooling and creating two molds--one for the plastic component, the other for the aluminum--led the company to mothball the idea. After partnering with Coke on the 111 chair, a revamp of the classic Navy made from recycled plastic bottles, the company set about finding another way to push the bounds of sustainability through the use of innovative materials. So Emeco’s director of product management, Magnus Breitling, began a quest for an eco-friendly substance made purely from waste, rather than from a food product such as corn. According to Metropolis, “It occurred to Breitling that using sawdust as a stiffening agent in combination with discarded offcuts of a suitable all-synthetic polymer would result in an almost entirely recycled product.”
 
Original source: Fast Company Co.Design
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City of Philadelphia innovation driver Friedman named to national civic engagement post

Code for America writes about the launch of its Engagement Commons civic engagement tool and how Jeff Friedman, the manager of civic innovation and participation for Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's office, will head its advisory board.
 
Jeff brings almost fifteen years experience driving innovative practices within the City of Philadelphia, and extensive expertise at the intersection of technology, civic engagement, and governance.
 
"This is an important project -- with budget cuts and tremendous challenges facing our cities, it’s more critical than ever that we communicate and connect with our citizens in an transparent way. And to do so, cities have to embrace new approaches to engagement," commented Jeff. "Engagement Commons has the potential to help make that happen, and the feedback from this advisory board will be instrumental in realizing that potential."
 
Original source: Code for America
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'When art wins, everyone wins': Barnes Museum opens in Philadelphia May 19

Two New York Magazine writers go head to head on the Barnes Museum's controversial move from suburban Lower Merion to the Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.

Soon the dust will settle, the feuds will fade, and art will do what it does. Till then, remember this: Owners of art are temporary caretakers. Their wishes are not to be sacrosanct in perpetuity. The move of this singular jewel in the crown to a more accessible location, into a far better-equipped, much more flexible building, allows this monumental testament to art’s possibilities to shine forth more magnanimously and generously than ever before. When art wins, everyone wins. Even ­Albert Barnes.
 
Original source: New York Magazine
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Evive launches in Pittsburgh, raises $2M in seed funding to break water bottle habit

TechCrunch posts on Evive, which has launched with a splash thanks to its stainless steel reusable bottles meant for re-filling with water.
 
So, what’s cool about Evive is that they offer users double-walled stainless steel reusable bottles, which means no more plastic, and lower carbon footprints. In turn, their kiosks filter municipal water, offer unlimited re-filling and cleaning of those steel bottles by way of a patent-pending process that only takes a minute. And everything other than the bottles are free.
 
Original source: TechCrunch
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Penn State-Berks scores LEED-Gold status for Gaige Technology and Business Innovation building

World Interior Design Network posts about Penn State's LEED-Gold certification for the new Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building at Penn State-Berks.
 
The building has low flow water fixtures and two button flush system in the bathrooms, which bring about saving in water. The facility has motion sensor enabled water bottle filling stations. It has two 35,000-gallon underground tanks which bring about a saving of 92% in potable water consumption.
 
Original source: World Interior Design Network
Read the full story here.
 
 

How the Cook siblings built one of America's most-trafficked websites out of New Hope

Siblings Geoff and Catherine Cook reveal how they built teen social networking site myYearbook in New Hope over the last seven years in an interview with Inc. magazine.
 
Last year, myYearbook, one of the nation's 25 most-trafficked websites, merged with Quepasa, a publicly traded company that runs social networking sites aimed at Latinos, in a $100 million deal. The Cooks still run the show and are focused on graduating to a global market. As told to Liz Welch.
 
In 2010, we had $23 million in revenue, but 85 percent of our users were in North America. Winners tend to be global brands, so we started looking for ways that myYearbook could span the world. 
 
Original source: Inc.
Read the full story here.
 
 

Fast Company ponders Philly as America's next big tech town

Fast Company talks to Technically Philly's Sean Blanda and DuckDuckGo's Gabriel Weinberg, among others, about Philadelphia's bustling technology sector.
 
"Like many cities, Philly has seen a significant increase in all aspects of the startup lifecycle--start, growth, exit," says DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg. "I think we're riding the global trend here, but also we've had great community leaders as well." He continues: "Our community is very tight-knit, which means it is very easy to connect with the top people in the scene."
 
Original source: Fast Company
Read the full story here.


How the magic happens inside a Bethlehem home brewing lab

Gizmodo drinks in the HammerSmith Ale House and Brewery, a shed in Bethlehem belonging to beer enthusiast and home brewer Chris Bowen.
 
Bowen was fermenting and bottling in his basement before he decided to purchase an acre of land in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which contained an old 22 x 14-foot Amish-built shed. He remodeled the structure, which now houses his yeast laboratory, four refrigerators, two sinks, and a sophisticated microbrewery system he designed and built from scratch. With this setup, he can replicate water from almost anywhere in the world to churn out 10-gallon batches of specific styles of beer. That's right: Bowen can reproduce the world's water, matching the mineral content on tap in over 70 countries. 
 
Original source: Gizmodo
Read the full story here.
 

Your iPad can act like a typewriter thanks to Philly engineer

The Toronto Star checks in with 27-year old Jack Zylkin of Philadelphia and his USB Typewriter, which replicates the sound and feel of a typewriter for computer users.
 
"Something was really lost when we moved away from the technology of typewriters," he said.
 
With that in mind, Zylkin began thinking of ways to remake the typewriter he had found. It was while working at Hive 76 – a hacker space where people share tools, parts and space – that he came up with the idea of making the typewriter’s keyboard function as a keyboard for a computer.
 
Original source: Toronto Star
Read the full story here.
 

Inspired by a piano and a banjo, Lancaster area high school student invents land mine detector

Fast Company interviews Marian Bechtel, a Lancaster-area teen who's developed an inexpensive device that uses sound waves to locate land mines.

"My parents are both geologists," she says. "Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines. During the summer before 8th grade, I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say, and wanted to get involved in science and possibly land mine detection."

Where does a 17-year-old find inspiration for life-saving innovation? In her music practice:

"I noticed that when I played certain chords or notes on the piano, the strings on a nearby banjo would resonate," says Bechtel. "I heard this, and it was almost like the story of the apple falling on Newton’s head -- I thought that maybe I could use the same principle to find landmines. So, I began doing research and talking with scientists in humanitarian de-mining and acoustics; three years later I had built a prototype."


Original source: Fast Company
Read the full story here.

Eyes of Congress are on energy-saving building research in Philadelphia

ClimateWire explains that a construction project at the Philadelphia Navy Yard is a federally funded test case for the future of energy-efficient building design.

Currently, the hub team is outlining its plan of attack. Architects, engineers, contractors and businesspeople are using computer models to figure out where the lights, insulation, furnaces, solar panels and other systems should go. The goal is to make these systems work better together, cutting the building's energy use by half relative to a comparable office building.

GPIC expects to settle on a design in the next six months or so, and then the sledgehammers and buzz saws arrive. Over the next year and a half, Building 661 will be gutted and renovated.

If all goes well, GPIC will make the building its headquarters, a place to continue its research and a "living lab" for green-building skeptics to visit. In 2015, when the hub's first award of federal cash runs out, GPIC will have to convince Congress it's worthy of another five-year endowment; if Congress says no, GPIC will have to find another cash source or scale back its ambitions.


Original source: ClimateWire
Read the full story here.

PA-bred rockers take on side project, bringing new life to vacant Reading outlet mall

Members of the band Live, which soared to stardom in the 1990s, have teamed up with a Lehigh Valley developer to bring residents and high-tech workers to an abandoned building in a former Reading outlet mall.


Working through their Lancaster-based company, Think Loud Development, they said they plan to spend more than $36 million to make the project happen.

A crucial, formative piece was securing a major corporate tenant. (Developer Bill) Hynes said Think Loud, formerly known as Think Spot Development, has signed an agreement with an undisclosed high-tech company that will occupy at least 50,000 square feet of the 320,000-square-foot structure.

Hynes said a confidentiality agreement prohibited Think Loud from revealing the identity of the company. It will be disclosed in the next few months, he said.



Original source: Reading Eagle
Read the full story here.

Philly schools receive national green building award

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city's school district was given a national award for green features like microfiber mops and green roofs.

Another showplace is (11th-grader Manny) Ortiz's school in Kensington, which opened two years ago on a weedy, trash- and tire-pocked lot. Compared to his former school, "this is bright, and there's more room," he said. "We're able to move from class to class without getting crushed in the halls."

He and special-ed teacher Joshua Kleiman gave a tour Thursday, pointing out green roofs whose native plants hold rainwater and spare the city's overloaded sewer system. Rain that falls on the gym is stored in two cisterns that provide the water used to flush the toilets.

The insulation is so tight the architects were able to place the performance spaces in the front of the building, across Front Street from the tracks of the El, whose trains pass with a dull roar.


Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the full story here.
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