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Science and Technology

Chickpeas in the room?

Individual responsibility in the fight against climate change will play an increasingly important role in the future. Do consumers avoid waste at its source, i.e. when shopping? Do they produce or purchase electricity from renewable sources? Do they travel on holiday by train, by air or by plane, or do they stay at home? One example: a two-week hiking trip to Portugal for readers of this magazine costs each participant €1,590. The price includes all overnight stays, three meals a day, all guided tours, accident insurance and transfers, but not the outward or return journeys. Each participant is responsible for …

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Miniaturisation and Mobility

In the current times, we have various energy concerns and not always coinciding. On the one hand, we want to save energy and not always for ecological reasons – the cost of utility bills also carries its own weight. Furthermore, we access an ever larger number of consumer devices without which we would seemingly otherwise not exist: computers, machines for every possible purpose, mobile phones, iPads, iPods, photo and video cameras, etcetera. As if this dichotomy were not enough, many such devices are portable as everybody has some need to be in contact with everybody at whatever the time even …

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The eco-efficient window

To present the project for creating, developing and producing the eco-efficient window (EEW), ECO123 interviewed its creator, architect Miguel Veríssimo. ECO 123 – What led you to design this window?   Miguel Veríssimo – The EEW is a project dating from 2005/07. It arose from a practical need: a lack of eco-efficient building solutions on the market that could be mass produced, are easy to apply and are able to guarantee results when fitted in buildings. Once the idea was launched, I set up partnerships with the Physics and Technology of Buildings Laboratory at the University of Minho and with …

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BeUm – the electric bicycle from Minho

beum - kit electric bicycle

There are still people who don’t ride bikes because Portugal is not a “cyclable” country. But Rui Araújo, a Portuguese researcher from the University of Minho, decided to solve the problem: he made a prototype of a kit that can turn “normal” bicycles into electric bicycles. Costing €500, this device can be fitted to all bicycles, providing a range of 60 km and a maximum speed of 25 kph. This project was Rui’s Master’s thesis for the course in Industrial Electronic Engineering and Computers he is attending, and although it’s not ready to be sold commercially yet, a new kit …

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Recipes out of the crisis – Part 2

Dr. Philipp Althöfer

ECO123 spoke to the inventor of a completely new method of producing recycled paper, the biologist Dr. Philipp Althöfer (47). He studied natural sciences at the universities of Düsseldorf, Bonn and Cologne. The topic for his diploma thesis was: Biotechnical treatment of process-water using the example of a paper factory processing scrap paper in a large city. And his 2001 doctoral thesis: Softening and re-use of biologically treated circulation water from paper manufacture. Althöfer is a lecturer at the University of Cologne, teaching the course “Biological Cleaning of Wastewater”. Just before this edition went to press, Althöfer showed ECO123 the …

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Recipes out of the crisis

FRT-Ballen

Innovation and investment are the spices in our economic soup. You will need the following ingredients: 38,887 daily returns of the tabloid Correio da Manhã, 27,804 copies of the weekly Sábado, 17,824 unsold copies of Expresso, 12,547 copies of Público and 16,118 unsold copies of the Diário de Notícias, 23,339 copies of the daily Jornal de Notícias, 16,050 returns of the sports paper O Jogo, 33,442 unsold copies of Record, 5,625 returns of Vida Económica, 10,574 copies of Visão – a total of over 250,000 copies of all daily papers and magazines in Portugal per day: A Bola, Caras, Cosmopolitan, …

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Styrofoam or Cork?

Cortiça

Styropor (Styrofoam) was invented by Fritz Rudolf Stastny. He was born in the Czech city of Brno on 4th March 1908 and died on 25th May 1985 in Ludwigshafen in Germany. It was more by chance than anything else that he invented this material, which nowadays plagues us right down to the foundations of our houses and presumably on to the hazardous waste sites. He studied at the Technical High School in Brno and completed his studies of chemistry and chemical technologies in 1930 as a qualified chemist and engineer. In 1939, Fritz Stastny moved from the Semperit Rubber Company …

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Gabriel Leite Mota

Gabriel Leite Mota

Specialist in the economics of happiness 33-year-old Gabriel Leite Mota is the first Portuguese person to hold a doctorate in the Economics of Happiness. The title was awarded to him in 2010 by the Faculty of Economics of Porto (FEP), the institution where got his first degree in 2002. He teaches Economics, Politics and Happiness at ISPA – the Higher Institute of Social and Political Sciences and he’s a researcher at the Applied Microeconomics Research Centre of the University of Minho. He is also a columnist and commentator. His research interests range from the economics of well-being to behavioural and …

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Science and Nature

Universidade do Algarve

from Dr. Eusébio Conceição Every year, a kindergarten in Olhão used to be ravaged by flu and colds. Today, the children are healthier and do their activities in airier rooms with improved air quality. It doesn’t involve any magic, improvisation or divine intervention; but is rather the fruit of a scientific study and the application of such simple measures as strategically opening some windows and, in the future, planting trees and constructing strategically located shade structures.

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