Maurice Picow – Green Prophet Good news that impacts the Middle East and your world Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:27:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Maurice Picow – Green Prophet 32 32 Arab Emirates wants to colonize Mars Mon, 24 Apr 2017 05:19:33 +0000

Build a “mini city” on Mars? A project being conceived in the United Arab Emirates plans to construct a human settlement on the Red Planet within the next 100 years. These plans are a result of environmental studies made at Abu Dhabi’s on-going sustainable Masdar City environmental project which also studies the wrath of global warming and its effects on the Middle East. Will Mars be the Arab Gulf’s ticket out of an uninhabitable environment?

Related: California City to be rebranded as Mars City

The destruction of human habitat and global warming in the Arab world alone may make much of this region virtually uninhabitable by the end of the 21st century. The UAE’s Mars settlement project was launched recently by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who announced the “Mars 2017” project at the World Government Summit conference held in Dubai. He predicted there would be a sustainable human settlement on Mars within 100 years. The first steps for this venture would include a UAE launced Mars Hope probe, which will make extensive studies of the Martian topography and atmosphere in preparation for a human exploration voyage.

Exploring and settling the Red Planet has been the dream of scientists for years. Findings made by NASA’s Curiosity Rover Mars probe indicate the existence of water on Mars, mostly in the form of ice at the polar regions and underground.  There is even speculation that Mars may once have had oceans as much as a mile (1.6 km) deep, as well as a much warmer climate and denser atmosphere.

The presence of sufficient quantities of water would be essential for any sustainable human settlement there. The increasing depletion of water resources in the Arab World, especially the Gulf region, is said to be decreasing by more than 10% alone by the year 2050. This may be a prime reason why this seemingly far fetched project is being planned.

There is no limit to Man’s imagination as to what a future Martian city could look like, as shown in the photo below:

It is no easy task to take humans to Mars, however. A voyage there is estimated to take more than six to eight months, based on current models of space travel vehicles and propulsion. Perhaps it might be much better to make use of funds for such a project towards finding solutions for damage caused by global warming and habitat destruction on our own planet; instead of trying to settle a planet that by current studies to date indicate a much more inhospitable environment than Earth’s.

Meanwhile Mars City plans on building the first Mars prototype city in California, and will feed people using hydroponics. Check out the gala planned for LA next month.

Read more about damage caused to the Middle East by habitat destruction and global warming:

Dispatch from inside Masdar
Amazing “Atlas” tracks Arab world habitat destruction over time
The Wrath of Global Warming and the Middle East

Mars colony image illustrations by Richard Beasley 

]]> 0
Lab grown meat is your future food Mon, 20 Mar 2017 08:28:03 +0000 cultured meat chicken grown in a lab

Is test tube meat, grown in a laboratory, slated to become the future of food?  If proven to be grown from natural substances, and not genetically modified, lab grown meat products may become commercially viable enough to replace live animals and reduce animal slaughter; according to experiments now being carried out.

Although laboratory grown meat cells are not yet found in local supermarkets or as hamburger patties or chicken nuggets at fast food restaurants, the idea of growing meat from self-producing animal cells may wind up causing a revolution in the meat production industry. Following on the heels of successful laboratory growing of ground beef from animal cells, efforts by a couple of food companies, US based Memphis Meats and a Dutch company Mosa Meats, successful growing of chicken strips for food purposes has now become a reality.

The new lab grown chicken strips were grown in stainless steel vats and were successfully tested on a group of people, who said afterwards that they would eat the lab grown chicken product again.

It’s still prohibitively expensive to produce such meat, however, since the lab produced beef patties and meatballs cost around $!8,000 a pound (450g) and the new chicken strips around $9,000 a pound. The eventual savings to the environment, as well as less animal slaughter, will definitely weigh in, once the costs of producing such foods are reduced.

Producing lab grown or cultured chicken meat is considered to be a major achievement in the future of meat processing, due to so much chicken meat being consumed in Western countries. The average American eats more than 90 lbs (41kg) of chicken per year; and Israelis alone consume more than 36 kg per year or 76 lbs. It will still be awhile before lab grown chicken meat will be found common chicken nuggets; but Memphis Meats hopes to have it available for the mass market by 2021. Work in developing cultured meat in Israel is being undertaken by the Modern Agriculture Foundation.

There may be issues concerning cultured meat in that it can be grown faster if genetically modified. This possibility remains to be dealt with, however, as cultured meat is still a work in progress.

Read more on cultured or test-tube meat and GM meat:
Could test-tube meat be the future of food?
Coming soon: chicken meat without the slaughter
Genetically Modified Foods in Israel, Lots of it

]]> 0
Intel’s massive Mobileye buyout heralds bright future to driverless car technology Tue, 14 Mar 2017 18:52:35 +0000 mobileye buyout billions by Intel

Intel’s massive buyout of Israel’s driverless car innovator and electronic sensor company Mobileye may finally give the driverless car concept the attention it so well deserves. Intel, whose computer chips and semiconductor technology is found in nearly every personal computer, appears now to be very serious about being involved in the driverless car concept.

Prior to the March 13 press releases by both Mobileye and Intel Corp, experiments in driverless car technology have been carried out by companies such as Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, Uber’ self-driving taxi tests, and by software search engine giant Google.

So far, experiments using driverless car technologies have had mixed results, with test cars “struggling” when approaching bridges and when dealing with complex road work and environmental challenges.

Mobileye, an advanced technologies company based in Israel, was founded in 1999 with the aim to develop what it refers to as ‘vision-safety technology’ to make cars and roads safer, reduce traffic congestion and save lives. Mobileye helped develop devices to enable cars to “sense” approaching obstacles like other vehicles, pedestrians; and even walls and other obstacles in parking lots.

This resulted in what is now known as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)  that are now
commonplace in many new cars. These systems have been used for years in taxis in Israel.

As stated by Ziv Aviram, CEO and co-founder of Mobileye: “Drivers are responsible for 93 percent of road accidents. We have an epidemic of the modern world, and in some sense, we’ve become indifferent. There is a remedy that will save a million and a half lives and 50 million injuries a year, and therefore the autonomous car trend has caught on and can’t be stopped. It won’t be stopped.”

Tesla using Mobileye system before the crash

Once installed, Mobileye’s vision sensors literally view the road ahead and warns the driver in real-time of approaching road dangers.

So why would a computer chip giant like Intel want to invest so much money, $15.3 Billion, in a company like Mobileye? The answer: Intel wants to be a partner and major game player in the development of driverless cars. The future of this technology appears to be well worth such a large investment from Intel’s point of view. There is also much more at stake than only having cars with artificial intelligence sophisticated enough to drive themselves.

Mobileye’s advanced vision systems are already in use in many late model cars today. This will hopefully help reduce the number of road accidents on major streets and highways. These vision systems alone gave Mobileye a total revenue of more than $358 Million in 2016; a gain of over 47% over the previous year.

With Intel and Mobileye joining forces in such a big way, it shouldn’t long before the driverless car concept will be commonplace in large American, European and Asian cities; especially with taxi companies like Uber.

Read more about self-driving cars and electric car technology:
Google goes for awesome driverless car concept
Driverless Tesla electric car will test run on Israel’s Better Place grid
Will GM make electric cars the right way?

]]> 0
SmartFlower plug and play mobile solar array for power on the go Mon, 06 Mar 2017 08:54:31 +0000 Solving solar power has enabled this renewable energy technology Smart Flower to create Middle East solar projects for West Bank farmers and other energy poor locations. It is also providing solar power for curing post-revolution darkness in countries like Yemen.

While many solar energy projects involve covering large open areas with solar array panels, smaller personal solar energy equipment mostly involves covering the roofs of private houses and other buildings with non-aesthetic solar panels to provide enough electric power. A new solar energy system, SmartFlower, not only solves the problem of aesthetics for private homes and businesses; it also provides a very practical flower shaped system that literally follows the sun to create solar power.

The device resembles a kind of mechanical sunflower that opens like a flower in the morning and rotates during to day to track and follow the sun to take advantage of the sun’s maximum energy potential. At night, or during bad weather, the device folds up like a flower.

SmartFlower’s compact size, ease of installation; and advanced energy creating capability in its unusual solar panels creates up to 40% more electrical energy than standard solar panels. This makes it an ideal energy solution for locations where there is a lack of space for using conventional solar panels. People owning electric EV cars can also use SmartFlower for recharging EV battery packs during daylight hours. A perfect use example is a shopping mall or office park where EV vehicles can be receiving power while their owners work or shop.

A household SmartFlower device has an electricity creating capacity of 4,000 to 6.200 KWh per year; more than enough for a family or small business’ electrical power needs. An advanced model, SmartFlower Plus (photo below), has special storage batteries to store energy for after daylight or emergency “off the grid” use.

SmartFlower is available in a variety colors, making it aesthetically pleasing to the eye. In the realm of solar energy technology, it’s definitely something new under the sun.

More about solar energy projects:
Jews and Arabs turn on MidEast solar project for West Bank farmers
Mystery energies of solar power solved!
Yemeni Girls Solar Power Post Revolution Darkness

]]> 0
Elon Musk’s backup battery plans to power LA Tue, 21 Feb 2017 08:09:19 +0000

Lithium ion batteries, used to power electric cars such as Tesla Motor’s high priced electric sports cars,  as well as a host of other electric devices, have been talked and written about as possible solutions for providing alternative power sources for homes and small businesses. Electric cars powered by these batteries, or battery packs to be more correct, have yet to become commonplace on the roads. Israel’s Better Place electric car network experiment, for example, ended with less than 1,000 ZE cars actually being sold. It was a disaster for electric cars. But given the lack of sex appeal for the Renault cars, we can understand why. There is no status symbol in that ugly car. We feel sorry for the ones who bought them, now bereft and without battery switch stations as promised.

Incorporating a large network of lithium battery packs to provide back-up electricity to entire communities is for many an even more far-fetched idea than millions of electric cars plugged into household electrical current sockets. Tesla’s Elon Musk, however, has even more grand ideas for using the concept of electric car battery systems to provide power to large population centers, such as those as large as Los Angeles. LA is a city well known for electric power shortages, often resulting in electric power “brown outs” during high peak seasonal use.  It’s also a city where you need a car to get around.

tesla back up batteryFor a city the size of Los Angeles, providing enough back-up electrical power systems from lithium storage batteries may seem like an idea out of a science fiction story. Elon Musk, whose technological and scientific group of projects includes those for inter-planetary space travel, is now putting a lot of time and money into incorporating his electric car battery concepts into a much larger scale by literally grouping together hundreds of electric battery packs. They will provide as much as 80 mega-watts of emergency electricity power for up to 2,500 households for a day or 1,000 electric cars.

RELATED: This group Mars Farm Odyssey will be growing food on Mars

To understand how this idea will actually work, one has to understand how literally thousands of small lithium ion batteries are grouped together to form one battery pack powerful enough to run one electric sports car or sedan.

His company’s success in doing this has enabled Tesla cars to have cruising ranges of up to 300 KM or over 230 miles on a single charge. Musk’s new idea is to build large numbers of  commercial “mega batteries” in a new Gigafactory he is building in Nevada.

The first Tesla battery power pack system will be installed in a California Edison power substation, located about 40 miles outside of Los Angeles. If this battery pilot project works satisfactorily, other such projects will be undertaken as well. Musk has a solution for providing power to charge these mega batteries, involving plans to construct solar energy power plants to provide non-polluting renewable energy that can be incorporated into municipal power grids.

Futuristic? Judging from what Musk and Tesla has been able to do so far (his Tesla Model S electric sports sedan sold better in the USA last year than all other high priced luxury cars) anything is possible.

Read more on Tesla, Betterplace, and other electric energy storage ideas:
Will Tesla high priced electric sport cars be selling soon in Israel?
Interview with a Betterplace electric car owner; not stranded yet
Energy batteries bottle energy in new breakthrough

]]> 0
Ancient urban gardens in Istanbul threatened to be wiped out Fri, 10 Feb 2017 13:37:04 +0000

Urban farming and gardening is as old as civilization itself. The ancient hanging gardens of Babylon helped inspire the water farming known as hydroponics (see how it’s evolved into artificial intelligence with this robot Eddy!). Historic major cities, such as the Byzantine city of Constantinople, which later became Istanbul, were planting urban gardens to help feed inhabitants during times of famine and warfare.

Istanbul’s historical market gardens, known as bostan, were known for providing fresh garden produce for Turkey’s largest city for hundreds of years. These market gardens were located inside city walls, and the produce grown there helped feed hundreds of thousands of people.

Modern construction and population growth has resulted in most of these gardens being doomed for destruction to make way for planned building projects. The bostan gardens in the Yedikule quarter have more recently been rented by immigrants and others to provide an income for themselves and their families. Istanbul’s metro population, which now is more than 15 million, is simply running out of space.

“The bostan in Yedikule are one of the first forerunners to what we today term urban farming,” says Aslihan Demirtas, an Istanbul-based architect. The Istanbul municipality wants to remove these garden plots in order to provide room to construct a large 90,000 square meter park. Doing so will destroy the incomes of people who came from rural locations and have no other means of making a living. “If you throw me out onto the street, what am I going to do to make a living,” says a 53-year-old bostan farmer.

Police recently entered some of last garden plot areas and told the people renting them that they only have until the “next harvest” to continue farming there. This will end a farming tradition that goes back more than 1,500 years. The gardens which lay along the ancient city walls, until recently have been a UNESCO protected site.

The approaching end of Istanbul’s bostan urban farming does not mean that urban farming is doomed, however. Inhabitants on other major urban locations, ranging from New York City’s Brooklyn based Gotham Greens to urban agriculture movements in Cairo Egypt, indicate that urban farming projects are alive and well.

Read more on urban farming movements and projects:
Join the urban farming movement
Brooklyn’s Gotham Greens builds world’s larget urban rooftop farm
Hanging gardens of Babylon inspire water farming called hydroponics
Egypt’s urban agriculture movement is growing

Photos of Yedikule garden plots by Hattam 

]]> 0
Arctic ice melt is rocking world weather Sun, 08 Jan 2017 08:48:36 +0000 polar

Polar vortex, the term attributed to the recent frigid weather patterns that recently put much of North America, Europe and even the Middle East into the deep freeze, is now slated to become even more frequent, due to the increasing melt-down of the earth’s Arctic ice cap. The polar bears are moving south and if you are living in a warm or tropical country, now might be a good time to get a second citizenship!

This phenomena is caused by a weakening of the normal jet stream air currents that encircle the earth’s arctic regions, due to higher than average summer temperatures. As a result, these “meandering” jet stream air currents are now dipping into the more southern regions, bringing with them frigid Arctic air.

Fortunately, these polar air dips usually last only a week or two; but they are intense enough to make northern American cities like Chicago, Detroit and New York City experience frigid temperatures of well below zero; often combined with heavy snowfall and strong winds. Many European cities experience intense these winter weather bouts as well. Climatologists and other scientists studying the adverse weather patterns are now tying these jet stream dips to faster than expected melting of Arctic ice, especially in the polar region.

polar vortex is making crazy weather

Melting polar ice fields are exposing more of the dark Arctic Ocean surface, which absorbs more sunlight, resulting in an even more accelerated melting factor. The result are increased ocean temperatures, which  cause the newer layers of Arctic ice to melt even faster.

snow on the western wall, jerusalem

Many climatologists are now attributing this to mankind’s continued reliance on fossil fuels, combined with other human influenced depletions of the earth’s natural environment. In regions such as the Middle East, people now experience more adverse weather patterns, including crazy summer “heat domes” that will make many areas (like Jerusalem above) uninhabitable by 2100.

polar vortex, arctic weather change

“We are now in “uncharted territory,” says Prof Jennifer Francis, an Arctic climate expert at Rutgers University in the US. “These rapid changes in the Arctic are affecting weather patterns where you live right now.”

Read more on human caused climate change issues:
It’s not the tide. It’s not the wind. It’s us.
Will the polar vortex “dip” freeze the Middle East?
Time to Adapt to Climate Change

]]> 0
CNN: The Sixth Mass Global Extinction has arrived Tue, 20 Dec 2016 09:41:09 +0000 161207134536-vanishing-elephant-carcass-1-super-169

Whether it’s disappearing elephant herds in Botswana, dying coral reefs in Australia, or near silence of small tropical tree frogs in a Central American rain forest, the vanishing of animal and plant species all over the world is finally being directly attributed to manmade causes. This mass nature depletion, despite previous “wake up call warnings” is now occurring at an even faster rate than biologists and climatologists had previously imagined.

A recent CNN program, Vanishing, dealt with a variety of creatures presently in danger of simply vanishing from the face of earth due to direct and indirect influences of global warming,climate change; and human caused decimation. Ranging from some of the earth’s smallest animal species, such as coral and bees, all the way to the earth’s largest land mammal, the African elephant, the program gives a graphic account of how many of these animal species are in danger to becoming extinct.

Starting with African elephants living in Botswana, one of Africa’s largest remaining concentration of the species, the number of elephants remaining have dwindled dramatically in the past 10 years; and by more than 20% in the past few years alone: “If present elephant depletions continue at this rate, the entire elephant population here
could be gone in the next 20 years,” said a Botswana based zoologist.

Although elephants and other large animal species like giraffes are more noticeable as being severely endangered, the fate of many small creatures are mentioned as well. These include Oregon bumble bees, Central American rain forest amphibians like tree frogs; and coral reefs off the coast of Madagascar. These animal species in particular appear slated to become part of the Sixth Mass Extinction, according to the CNN program.

As pointed out in the program, the resident bumble bee populations of many areas have declined so dramatically in recent years that local farmers are now importing bees to be used to pollinate their crops.

One of the most graphic examples of mankind’s adverse influence on natural habitats, according to the Vanishing documentary, takes place on the Pacific Midway Island atoll. Located virtually midway between the continental USA and Japan,  The atoll is home to large colonies of albatrosses and other marine birds. It is also a “collection point” for huge quantities of plastic wastes that wash up on the island’s beaches from the ocean. Located in the vicinity of what is known as the Great North Pacific Gyre, this plastic waste is often ingested by the birds, eventually killing them.

The tragic result are large number of dead birds; their gullets literally filled with this plastic material the birds thought to be food. Studies of the large “plastic island” waste patch in the Pacific Gyre estimate it to be larger than the American state of Texas.

In a region closer to home, the Middle East, the demise of animal species is no less alarming. The last lion was killed in Palestine more than 150 years ago; and the few remaining leopards in Israel and Jordan are now on the critically endangered list. This also goes for the once common Syrian bear; now seen more in zoos than in the wild. Hoofed animals such as the oryx and Nubian Ibex are also on the endangered list. These are only a few of formerly indigenous mammals that have either become extinct or are in danger of becoming so due to human encroachment and climate change.

It may be already too late to significantly reverse these disturbing trends. But at least we need to make a more concerted effort to save what’s left of the world’s animal species. If not, humankind will be directly affected by this Sixt Mass Extinction as well.

Read more on wildlife extinction and endangered species threats:
Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction – wake up call, folks!
Oceans spiralling downwards, threatening life on earth
Israel Animals Killed by Economic Development

Photo of elephant climate change victim by CNN

]]> 0
Join the urban farming movement Thu, 08 Dec 2016 11:56:18 +0000 urban-farming-in-the-city
Urban farming, whether found in large urban cities like Chicago, or in a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem, is rapidly becoming a worldwide movement. All it really takes is a small, available plot of ground, an accessible rooftop on a warehouse or other urban building; or even a large balcony in a private home for growing a wide variety of fresh garden produce.

City dwellers are now enjoying the pleasure and personal benefits of growing their own garden produce, which is often very expensive when purchased at local supermarkets and green grocers. Urban farmers who lack experience in growing their own veggies are receiving assistance from urban farming organizations, such as one called Urban Farming, a Michigan based NGO, which is making a big impact on turning American and other urban communities into active participants in the global urban farming food chain.

Urban Farming has helped establish local community farming projects in American urban locations such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco and St Louis. Besides giving local residents the opportunity to participate in growing their own garden produce, Urban Farming is also helping to bring people together into a stronger sense of working together as a community. Part of the produce grown in these community farming projects is given to local food banks for distribution to needy people.


In water and land scarce parts of the Middle East, urban farming is coming into its own. A good example is taking place in Cario Egypt (photo), where a number of urban farming projects are turning rooftops into blooming urban gardens.

Cairo suffers from a combination of extreme population density, combined with a chronic lack of available vegetable produce. Local urban organizations such as the Egyptian Food Sovereignty Project, has established successful urban farming projects in this city of more than 12 million people.

Another M.E. urban farming example is taking place in the West Bank, where Palestinian refugees are now growing vegetable produce in rooftop gardens in a Bethlehem refugee camp. It all goes to show that successful urban gardening projects are possible virtually anywhere. All it takes is a bit of available space and a willingness to be involved in helping to green the planet.

Read more on urban farming projects:

Chicago’s urban farming produces fresh veggies all year, 24/7

Brooklyn’s Gotham Greens builds world’s largest rooftop urban garden

Sow much good farmer a CNN hero for spreading her seeds at the urban farm

Photo of urban farming in the city by

]]> 0
Pee power may be best alternative energy bet yet Mon, 14 Nov 2016 18:16:21 +0000 mechanicalen-pee-power

Finding a viable alternative energy source to create low cost bio energy may be closer than we think. Some of these sources include energy from trash and algae as fuel for our future energy needs. Another alternative energy source, comes from a “product” usually discarded as a waste substance: urine. The use of urine as a
fuel source was previously written about when a group of high school students in Lagos Nigeria created a practical way to separate hydrogen from urine and then use it to power a generator to create electricity.

Going one step further, a research engineer from the University of Sorona State in Northern Mexico has found a way to use urine’s natural ability as an electrolyte to separate to separate oxygen from hydrogen in common urine and create a viable biofuel.

The engineer, Gabriel Luna-Sandoval, claims to have invented a machine that transforms urine into a biogas that can be used to provide power to heat water in kitchens, bathrooms, and other household uses. The conversion process developed by Dr. Luna-Sandoval involves inserting electrodes into a square plastic container holding the urine. The charged electrodes then separate oxygen and hydrogen from the urine with the hydrogen being used as a biogas.

Luna-Sandoval’s prototype device creates enough biogas to provide His invention provides enough heat for a 15-minute hot shower, using only 15 to 20 millilitres of urine. Cooking food like beans for one hour requires only 70 to 130 millilitres of urine, he says.

He is also thinking about the oxygen separation process as being beneficial for astronauts in space travel. “An average adult person “produces” around 1.4 liters of urine a day, which normally is thrown away. Why not put this waste material to good use, he says. The device Luna-Sandoval created has received attention from the government’s National Science and Technology Council, which featured it in a recent article.

This is just another idea for making use of a waste substance that is normally flushed down the toilet.

Read more on alternative energy ideas:
Algae returns as fuel for our future
Pee power is making electricity from urine in Africa
Energy from Trash to Become Reality with $17 Million Israeli Investment

Photos of Gabriel Luna-Sandova and his urine processing device by 

]]> 0