Archive for September, 2009

09/28/2009: The of Use of RFID in Recycling and Waste Management

RFID which stands for Radio Frequency Identification makes the use of an RFID tag and can be used just about anywhere, from clothing tags to missiles to pet tags to food — anywhere that a unique identification system is needed. The tag can carry information as simple as a pet owners name and address or the cleaning instruction on a sweater to as complex as instructions on how to assemble a car.

The RFID technology is already deployed in many manufacturing processes, supply chains, supermarkets, or even for parcel shipping support such as Wal-Mart using it for efficient inventory tracking and management.

RFID which is also called ‘dedicated short range communication (DSRC)’ often confused with another technology called ‘bar code identification’. Unlike bar code identification, RFID eliminates the need for line-of-sight reading and scanning can be done at great distances.

The use of RFID is growing rapidly in various sectors. The benefits of using RFID in maximizing the efficiency of recycling and waste management have been taken into considerations in the following areas: Incentive-Based Recycling, Bill by Volume and Specialty Disposal.

A handful of forward-thinking municipalities are already using RFID tags for incentive-based recycling. This incentive-based recycling program focuses on accurately rewarding customers for the amount they recycle, while minimizing the amount of trash headed for the landfill.

One recent example is the city of Philadelphia’s partnership with Recycle Bank. Philadelphia residents receive a bin fitted with a low frequency (LF) RFID tag that identifies each household. Recycling trucks are outfitted with a scale and an RFID reader. On recycling pick up day, a resident’s bin is placed on a scale, identified by the RFID tag and reader, and then weighed. The Recycle Bank system tracks how many pounds of recycling each household produces per month, and the households then receive Recycle Bank Rewards Dollars. Residents can redeem rewards dollars with more than 300 retailers.

rfid_wastemanagementWith the use of RFID, municipalities may change the trash collection pricing structures from flat fee-based systems to pay-as-you-throw and pay-by-weight. As the fully automated truck lifts the RFID-tagged bin to empty it, the tag’s ID number is read and eventually processed into individual customer invoices. Trucks fitted with scales can add weight data for pay-by-weight billing as well.

RFID can also be used to identify, secure and verify items for disposal such as corporate documents destined for shredding or recycling, or hazardous waste that has to be hauled safely to an approved disposal site.

The use of RFID in recycling and waste management is curse or blessing is still not clear because the ecological effects of using item-level RFID seem worrying at first glance. Hence, further research should be conducted to provide an in depth investigation of disposability and reemployment of used microchips in RFID technology.

Thanks for reading~

Don’t forget to take the quiz on Blackboard.

Sandeep

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September 28, 2009 at 4:30 am 3 comments

9/24/09 The FCC Takes a Stand for Net Neutrality

The internet is great. It is the largest collection of trivial time wasting entertainment available to you.   Its given us everything from anthropomorphic kittens to videos of the police playing Wii during a drug raid.  But to many, particularly students, the internet is an indispensable tool, especially high speed internet.  It gives us access to respectable material, even on controversial topics,  and massive online databases.  Sites like Bittorrent.com give users access a range of material from pirated movies to collections of political cartoons.  This massive tranfer of information is what makes the internet as great as it is.  It is the least regulated and most diverse form of communication we have,  but some people are trying to change that.

Net Neutrality is the idea that a network should be free of restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed.net_neutrality

Recently the FCC released its plan to maintain net neutrality after Com Cast was exposed throttling users bandwidth while they used torrent sites.  When an internet service provider (ISP), like Com Cast, throttles bandwidth, they severely restrict the amount of information a user can send or receive.  They make your internet painfully slow.  Whats worse is that Com Cast never mentioned its actions to users.  Eventually it was discovered by an engineer in Oregon while he was trying to upload old recording of a barbershop quartet.

This type of network discrimination  could really harm the internet.  In theory ISPs could block lawful traffic or pick favorites, offering some websites at higher speeds than other competitors or users.  AOL might force you to use yahoo by limiting access to Google, if not restricting it entirely.  ISPs could also discriminate against websites who hold opposing political, commercial, or cultural positions.

The FCC has acted against Com Cast and promised protection for users but many ISPs have responded negatively to them.  And while the FCC has acted to protect land lines it hasn’t extended its net neutrality guidelines to wireless.  So in the next coming months when congressmen speak about restrictions on the internet, remember net neutrality is there for you.

Thanks math 120 students,

dont forget to take the quiz on blackboard

David

September 24, 2009 at 8:38 am 3 comments

Quick update for everyone.

Hey everyone,

I made some changes to allow users to make comments without registering with wordpress. This will allow you to remain anonymous when letting us know what you think about the articles. You won’t even have to type in your email if you choose not to. All you’ll have to do is just type in whatever you want your name to be displayed as, and whatever you’d like to say!

Nick

September 22, 2009 at 11:33 am 1 comment

9/21/09 – Japan to Propose Green Technology, Funding-Minister

So, I’d feel pretty darn confident in myself in saying that you are all aware of global warming and the possible dangers that lie ahead if we don’t do something about it.  Well, with mankind’s advancements in different fields of technology, we are joining together to protect our planet.  From the multiplying number of hybrids I see on the road to recycling and even to getting reusable bags for grocery shopping, we are most certainly getting on the right track.

Even though we are doing what we can to battle the climate changes that have been realized these past years, it’s a difficult and very expensive process where many people in different countries can’t join in because of how costly it is.

With Japan’s new government going into office just last week, one of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s premier plans of action is to reveal a strategy at the U.N. meeting this week that will help support developing countries technology and funding to fight climate change.  By focusing on the rewards that come from our efforts from making the changes, Hatoyama plans on persuading firms and those who are skeptical.

‘The Hatoyama Initiative’ as it’s referred to would provide financial and technological support to developing nations that are devoted and actively trying to reduce their emissions.  For starters, the Japanese government has released a few commercials encouraging and helping people within their country put up solar panels to use less electricity.

While the plans for helping countries are set in stone with The Hatoyama Initiative, there is going to be possible talk at the next U.N. meeting of an environment tax as aid to funding to help Japan itself reach its goal of lowering its emissions and helping other countries do the same.

It’s important that the government start to step in more in the fight against global warming.  Being the law of the land and having the ability to generate more funding and work with citizens to reduce emissions can help save our planet and unite the world in a fight against global warming.

Under The Hatoyama Initiative, the Prime Minister and his cabinet aim for a challenging 25% reduction in emissions by 2020.  Even if the goal is not reached, having a higher goal will lead to higher results with more effort put into reaching it.  Now, if Japan can unite the nations in the U.N. to follow the same or a similar process, think of the outcome we would see by the time our children have reached our current age.

Though the road to winning the clash we face against global warming may seem distant, the Japanese are among the first to start focusing this much attention on the issue and taking progressive steps to saving the planet.

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to get those points from the quiz on blackboard!  And feel free to check out the article.

Mike

September 21, 2009 at 7:46 am 1 comment

9/17/09: Federal Government websites to allow users to login with Yahoo/Google/Paypal IDs!

Hey Math 120 students! First of all, I want to thank you guys for listening to our little presentation in class yesterday. The fact that you’re here reading this means that you found the site & blackboard course, so we’re off to a good start! Now, to the article:

Regardless of who you voted for in the 2008 presidential election, it was clear that during his campaign, Barack Obama’s camp was quick to make use of current web trends. With his campaign’s support of Web 2.0 trends and social networking, it was clear that his administration would bring us one of the tech-savviest governments yet.whitehouseopenid

In an effort to create a better interaction between government and citizens, the U.S. Government has announced that it will make use of two popular login standards on their websites: OpenID & Information Cards. According to Micheal Calore from Wired.com,

“Under the new program, which will go into effect in the coming weeks, people will be able to sign in, request information, participate in forums and build user profiles on the government’s websites without having to set up a new user account. Anyone will be able to interact with the government sites using credentials provided to them by Yahoo, Google, AOL, VeriSign or PayPal, among others.”

This means that rather than having to go through the hassle of registering a new account and creating a user profile on a government website, citizens will be able to log in using information they already have, such as their Gmail account information. Additionally, because multiple government websites will support this new standard, you won’t have to create multiple accounts to interact with different branches of the government.

Now, if you’re sitting there wondering, “with this information, couldn’t the government track what I do on the internet?” You have a valid cause for concern. Luckily, the people from OpenID already thought of that. Again, according to Michael Calore from Wired,

“These companies have undergone a certification process — designed by the Information Card Foundation, the OpenID Foundation and the federal government — that guarantees certain privacy safeguards. For instance, the sites have to use SSL to handle logins, and they have to provide pseudonymous identifying information so the government can’t correlate user identities (and track a single user’s behavior) across multiple agency websites.”

To put that point simply, when you are logging into a government website using the information from your Google account, your login credentials are matched against Google’s records, not the government’s. This means that users will have the option to share as much, or as little information as they choose.  One of the board members of OpenID, Chris Messina, had this to say about security: “Using OpenID, if you don’t want to reveal any information about who you are, you are completely pseudonymous.”

For more information, check out the full article over at Wired, or visit the OpenID site.

So, with the added convenience of having a user account that already works on government websites, do you guys think that participation in the interaction between government and citizens will be more widespread? Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree, and if you liked or disliked this article! Also, don’t forget to take your quiz! You’ll need to do that to receive extra credit!

Thanks for reading!

Nick

September 17, 2009 at 12:01 am 2 comments


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