Southern California environment news and trends

Power-generating solar film developed at UCLA

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Now that’s technological innovation. A team of UCLA researchers has created a transparent solar cell that can be converted into an electricity-generating film. As reported by Bloomberg, the film could potentially be sprayed onto everything from car sunroofs to personal devices like an iPad.

“These results open the potential for visibly transparent polymer solar cells as add-on components of portable electronics, smart windows and building-integrated photovoltaics and in other applications,” said Yang Yang, lead researcher and UCLA professor of materials science and engineering in a press release.

While the development of such a film would revolutionize the solar industry with the ease of installation (as opposed to the industry standard panels), Yang says a marketable retail version is many years to come. Still, he admits that “several companies” have contacted him with commercial interests in the technology.


Death by Los Angeles: is modern life killing you?

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“You won't see a cop walkin’ on the beat/You only see him drivin’ cars on the street/You won't see a kid walkin’ home from school/Their mothers pick them up in a car pool...

 Walking in LA/Nobody walks in LA…”

Drummer Terry Bozzio of Los Angeles new wave band Missing Persons penned this snappy pop song back in 1982, and it’s just as true (if not eerily prophetic) in today’s L.A. Especially the way Dr. Richard J. Jackson tells it.

Jackson, the professor and chairman of environmental health sciences at UCLA, has penned a new book that makes a sobering case that expanded metro areas have become a primary cause of what ails its citizens.

In his new book titled “Designing Healthy Communities” (there's also be an upcoming PBS mini-series), Jackson and co-writer Stacy Sinclair, director of education at the Media Policy Center in Santa Monica, examine how Americans have created car-dependent environments that have changed the way the way we live to the point that people born since 1980 could be the first generation not to live as long as their parents did. Kids who’ve never had the desire to walk anywhere probably never will, thus starting a downward spiral of diminishing physical activity.