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Mexican Student Invents Rubber Road Pavement That Self-Repairs When Exposed to Rainwater

It could save billions of dollars on costs for governments and construction companies around the world.

Elias Marat

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Rubber Road

(TMU) — A Mexican university student has earned praise after creating a new rubber pavement made from recycled tires that regenerates every time it rains.

Israel Antonio Briseño Carmona, a civil engineering student at the Autonomous University of Coahuila in Torreón, Mexico, created the new self-regenerating pavement as a means to address the problem of damaged pavement and potholes in cities where rain occurs regularly, as is the case across Mexico.

The new invention could save billions of dollars on infrastructure costs for governments and construction companies around the world.

The invention has already earned Briseño the national top spot as a 2019 James Dyson Award winner for Mexico.

Briseño told Mexican news portal Expansión:

“What happens is that when it rains, water filters down to the subbase [of the pavement], creating a fault, and when cars pass over it, it collapses. That’s why I wanted to turn the main material that deteriorates into one that can recover. This project [can allow] water to instead be a source of maintenance for our roads.”

The young man devised the idea last year after he first experimented with a formula using asphalt before he tested a formula using recycled rubber from tires, which would make the roads both cheaper and more sustainable.

In April, Briseño patented his new invention under the name Paflec.

According to the James Dyson Award website, rainwater would allow the rubber and various additives to become a putty-like substance whenever it comes into contact with water, allowing for the “regeneration and physical-chemical improvement of the pavement.”

Briseño hopes to team up with a construction company from whom he could get a 5 percent commission on whatever the total costs would amount to, but he hasn’t yet formed such a relationship with any companies. A partnership remains necessary for the young inventor to certify and tender such a project.

https://twitter.com/enfoqueinforma/status/1186462205333643264

To get over this hurdle, Briseño has devised a three-step plan that would allow him to turn his concept into reality.

First, he plans to meet with an engineer who would be able to iron out any problems with the concept while simultaneously building a short strip of road that could be tested to ensure that it works as planned.

Next, Briseño will seek certification for the new system through the national construction standardization organization ONNCCE, which he hopes can approve the formula for use in Mexico.

Finally, the young inventor hopes to gain approval from national authorities so that he could authorize any contracts using the self-generating pavement.

Briseño said:

“At present there are already pavement types that can regenerate, but none use water as a means of regeneration [nor are they] made of tires.”

Meanwhile in Mexico, 80 percent of the pavement is asphalt and 20 percent is hydraulic cement, which remain poor materials when considering the importance of roads as the crucial infrastructure for society, he noted.

However, as the Mind Unleashed previously reported, it was recently discovered that the simple act of driving may be polluting the environment in ways that weren’t previously known. According to a recent study, the single greatest source of microplastics in California’s coastal waters comes from car tires as a result of their breaking down while driving.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Featured

Louisiana man who was given life sentence for stealing hedge clippers finally walks free

Elias Marat

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A man who was serving a life sentence in Louisiana for stealing hedge clippers from someone’s garage in 1997 has been granted parole after spending 23 years in prison.

Fair Wayne Bryant, 63, was facing life behind bars due to the attempted burglary conviction and his criminal record. However, the state’s draconian habitual offender laws led to Bryant’s harsh sentence.

Bryant’s life sentence became the subject of withering criticism from civil liberties advocates and the chief justice of Louisiana’s Supreme Court, who called the sentence “cruel and unusual” and a legacy of slavery and racism in the Southern state.

According to Bryant’s parole panel, Bryant’s criminal record consisted of 22 arrests and 11 convictions. The past convictions included four felonies, only one of which was for a violent crime – an attempted armed robbery of a taxi driver in 1979.

In 1997, Bryant was driving when his car stalled and he went into somebody’s garage looking for a tank of gas. At that point, he was encountered and attempted to flee on foot.

When police apprehended him, he was accused of having stolen a pair of hedge clippers that were found in his vehicle, a claim that he denied. Evidence suggested that he had, however, intended to commit theft. Bryant’s previous criminal record and the state’s harsh repeat offender laws led to him receiving a life sentence, which he tried to appeal for the next 23 years.

Two months ago, Bryant’s case appeared before the Louisiana Supreme Court, which voted 5-1 to reject the appeal. The five votes came from while male board members, while the sole dissenting vote came from Bernette J. Johnson, the state’s first Black Chief Justice, who called for a review of the case.

In her opinion, Chief Justice Johnson blasted the sentence as completely disproportionate to the crime, noting that Bryant’s sentence had already cost taxpayers $518,667.

“Harsh habitual offender laws … permit a life sentence for a Black man convicted of property crimes,” Johnson wrote. “This man’s life sentence for a failed attempt to steal a set of hedge clippers is grossly out of proportion to the crime and serves no legitimate penal purpose.”

“If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers,” she added.

Additionally, she described his past criminal offenses as the sort of “petty theft” rooted in the “ravages of poverty or addiction.”

She also blasted the state’s notorious repeat offender law as similar to the racist Black Codes and “Pig Laws” that unjustly penalized poor Black people for crimes like stealing farm animals or being unemployed, while also treating common misdemeanors and trivial offenses as felonies. In Mississippi, “pig laws” meant that any theft of property over $10 was enhanced to grand larceny. As a result of the “pig laws,” the prison population quadrupled.

On Thursday, the Committee on Parole voted unanimously to release him by a vote of 3-0. Bryant will be required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings due to his history of drug and alcohol abuse, and he must also perform community service and adhere to a curfew.

Louisiana State University (LSU) Professor Robert Lancaster, director of the LSU Parole and Re-entry Clinic, represented Bryant during the hearing. Bryant was also assisted by Kelsey Jenkins, a third-year LSU Law student who helped Lancaster draft a memo that was submitted in support of early release.

Mr. Bryant’s sentence is an example of the flaws in Louisiana’s criminal legal system, but the Parole Committee’s decision to grant him early release shows the importance of periodic evaluation of an individual’s rehabilitation, which Mr. Bryant will continue with the support of the Louisiana Parole Project, Inc.,” wrote Jenkins.

Rights defenders such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana hailed the decision as long overdue.

“Now it is imperative that the Legislature repeal the habitual offender law that allows for these unfair sentences, and for district attorneys across the state to immediately stop seeking extreme penalties for minor offenses,” said Louisiana ACLU executive director Alanah Odoms in an emailed statement.

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Good News

Jelly Belly founder launches Gold Ticket treasure hunt, and the winner gets their own candy factory

Elias Marat

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It seems like something straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: the man behind Jelly Belly has launched a nationwide treasure hunt for golden tickets, and the winner could receive their very own candy factory.

David Klein’s Jelly Belly took the world by storm in 1976 with its lineup of colorful jelly beans, which used natural ingredients to offer intense, gourmet-quality flavors such as strawberry daiquiri, coffee, French vanilla, pink lemonade, and even buttered popcorn.

Klein sold his stake in the wildly popular jelly bean company in 1980. However, the candy creator now runs a company called Spectrum Confections that specializes in CBD-infused gourmet jelly beans, including such beloved mainstays as toasted marshmallow, piña colada, strawberry cheesecake, cinnamon, mango, and spicy licorice.

This is The Candyman..want to thank everyone who helped make our CBD jelly beans a world wide success. Overnight success that took 44 years…

Posted by David Klein on Saturday, August 1, 2020

And as Klein’s storied career reaches its end, the inventor is marking his coming retirement with a series of treasure hunts for golden tickets.

In a video message posted online last week, Klein said that the big winner will receive the keys to their very own candy factory. Thousands of dollars in prizes are also up for grabs.

It certainly reads like something ripped straight from the pages of Roald Dahl’s beloved 1965 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – but don’t expect the tickets to be hidden in the candy you’ll find on grocery store shelves.

“David and his partner have started going across the USA hiding gold style tickets in the form of necklaces in places they come across with an interesting story,” noted a press release from the company. “Plans are to have multiple treasure hunts for these gold tickets in each state.”

One treasure hunter in all 50 states will be able to win a prize of $5,000, while the lucky participant who wins the candy factory winner must track down the “ultimate treasure.”

“You will be looking for a Gold Ticket in the form of a necklace with a tag that includes a code you need to use to verify your find,” according to contest rules.

The candy factory is actually one of Klein’s “Candyman Kitchens,” a 4,000-square foot property located in Florida. It remains unknown what the actual value of the factory is.

The winner will also receive an all-expenses paid trip and tuition for candy-making courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

However, the contest isn’t free. Participants must pay $49.99 to receive the riddle specific to their state. The website to enter the contest has already crashed due to the heavy influx of traffic, while a gold ticket Facebook group has also gone live and attracted tens of thousands of members in a matter of days.

Needless to say, demand for the golden tickets is extremely high.

“Each treasure hunt has a strict limit of 1,000 participants,” added Klein.

Klein is excited about how well the contest has already been received.

“The world needs this right now, we have received thousands of comments from people who say this has come at such a perfect time,” Klein told ABC7.

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Environment

Ancient 2,000-year-old redwoods feared destroyed in California wildfires have amazingly survived

Elias Marat

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When terrifying wildfires ripped through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, one of California’s oldest and most cherished nature reserves, it wasn’t the campgrounds, nature center and other structures that people were mourning.

Instead, wildlife lovers and conservationists were heartbroken and devastated that old-growth redwoods, some as old as 2,000 years old, had been destroyed.

However, it turns out that even the thousands of lightning strikes and staggeringly massive forest fires that laid waste to the Santa Cruz Mountains were unable to destroy some of the oldest and tallest living things on Earth.

“We are devastated to report that Big Basin, as we have known it, loved it, and cherished it for generations, is gone,” the redwood conservationists at Sempervirens Fund said in a painful statement on Thursday. “Early reports are that the wildfire has consumed much of the park’s historic facilities. We do not yet know the fate of the park’s grandest old trees.”

However, an Associated Press reporter was happy to discover that most of the ancient redwoods feared to have been annihilated by the blaze have been scorched but are still standing tall – including the towering redwood named “Mother of the Forest” which once stood at 329 feet high prior to a recent storm and has a mighty circumference of 70 feet on the ground.

“That is such good news, I can’t tell you how much that gives me peace of mind,” Sempervirens conservation director Laura McLendon told AP.

Forest fires are a natural and regularly-occuring feature of redwood forests, and the bark of redwood trees is extremely fire-resistant – but the tragic announcements that the park had been wiped off the face of the Earth by the fires turned out to be misleading.

California’s venerable Big Basin state park, “home to the largest continuous stand of ancient coast redwoods south of San Francisco,” was founded in 1902 and receives a quarter of a million visitors each year. And while the 18,000-acre park is surely reeling after sustaining massive damage from the raging inferno that tore through it, the park’s infrastructure can certainly be rebuilt.

“But the forest is not gone … it will regrow,” McLendon said.

Indeed, redwood trees are extremely durable – which is why many of them have histories that date back to before the founding of the Roman Empire. And Big Basin’s redwoods bear the scars of wildfires, windstorm, and lightning strikes of centuries past.

“Every old growth redwood I’ve ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them,” McLendon said. “They’ve been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this.”

It’s part of the majestic redwood forest’s natural process: when trees are seemingly destroyed, new trunks simply sprout up in place of the old growth. Meanwhile, fallen trees become nurse trees upon which new redwoods grow, while banana slugs and insects crucial to the ancient forest’s ecological balance are sustained under the logs.

The reason those trees are so old is because they are really resilient,” said State Parks District Superintendent Chris Spohrer.

Following the fire that ripped through the park, Steller’s jays and woodpeckers returned to the park to scour the forest for insects.

The park had been closed during the COVID-19 lockdown and had only recently reopened following the state’s relaxation of the quarantine. However, the park is now facing indefinite closure, with fallen trees blocking roads, and buildings including the nature museum, ranger’s office, campground bathrooms, and historic park headquarters being utterly wiped out. Several large trees are still burning.

“The historic structures in California’s first state park are almost completely destroyed. It’s awful,” said Sam Hodder, the president of Save the Redwoods League, an environmentalist organization based in San Francisco that was founded in 1918.

“We are grateful that everybody got out and everybody is safe. That’s the most important thing,” Hodder said. “To have lost something that has been transforming people’s lives for more than 110 years, such an iconic place, such a terrific example of what parks mean to communities, it’s heartbreaking.”

But once the campgrounds are rebuilt, trails are cleared, and damaged oaks, firs and madrones are rehabilitated, the park will likely flourish in due time.

“The forest, in some ways, is resetting,” McLendon said.

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