Skip to main content

In Other Words: Inspirational Videos - "PBS Profile: Jay Kiesling"

I would like to thank Wilbert Escorcia, who recently also joined this blogging site, for having shown me the PBS site as another great source of information on the internet.

He shared with me the profile of one of the people who are and will likely make a big difference in the sustainable biotechnology field: Jay Kiesling, founder of Amyris Biotechnologies, which was originally known for a bio-based method to efficiently and affordably produce artemisinin, an anti-malarial drug. Amyris Biotechnologies was a company I previously wrote about in my coverage of bio-based companies in California.

On a Personal Note:

Before, we dive into the video, I would just like to throw in a personal note. In light of the latest discussion about federal funding for public media on capitol hill, I think it is important to emphasize that the unique service public broadcast and radio provides - namely to inform and educate affordably, and broadly - is almost completely absent anywhere else in the entire American media landscape. A thriving democracy depends on a well-educated and informed general public, and so the services that public media provide, in my opinion, represent a rare beacon of light in support of our democracy in the ocean of sensationalist eye witness news reporting and opinionated quasi news shows on the major cable networks (Disclaimer: I don't think highly of the current quality of news coverage provided by most of the current US cable news outlets.). Right now public media (both radio and broadcast) are having their spring membership drive. No matter where you stand on the debate on whether to help fund public media federally, contributions from individuals like yourself are even more important this time around. And so, with the risk of sounding just like a member drive spokes person, I hope that you will consider doing the right thing.Thank you!


Watch the full episode. See more NOVA scienceNOW.

Popular posts from this blog

Sustainable Living: Sunscreens

This is an important topic and so I want to get the most important things out of the way first:

Chemical sunscreens containing the following ingredients contribute to coral bleaching: 
OxybenzoneOctinoxateOctocrylene (used to also stabilize avobenzone)4-methylbenzylidine camphorAnything containing Parabens Don't be part of the problem and avoid using them! It's important to note that claims on sunscreens are not regulated and therefore, companies can put the wording "coral reef safe" on the packaging even though they contain the above chemicals. This is misleading if not outright false. Instead use "physical" sun screens that contain non-nanoparticle zink oxide. Physical sun screens differ from chemical sunscreens in that the sit ontop of the skin to reflect or scatter UVA/B rays away from the skin before it reaches it. Chemical sunscreens absorb the UVA/B rays instead to neutralize them.

To be clear, I am not proposing not using sunscreen! Instead use phys…

Focus on Algae - Part II: Energy

In the last focus section, we discussed how algae can be used to treat waste waters and mitigate CO2 in the process. Today's post will explore how algae can be used for energy generation. As already mentioned in the last time, biofuels have become very visible as of late due to environmental, economical and geopolitcal reasons. If at the heart of traditional biofuel generation lies in the creation and decomposition of biomass, then it would be easy to substitute corn or other less controversial land-based plants with algae. Although a lot of attention is paid to the use of algae in biofuel generation, and this article also mainly focusses on this aspect, it should be noted that algae can also be used to generate electricity by direct combustion of the biomass. Plans for these kinds of schemes are already on the way in Venice and a few other European locations [1].

Algae and Biofuels

What happens to the biomass after it has been created depends on the type of biofuel that is desired…

Sustainable Living: One man's trash...

Since Earth Week is starting tomorrow, I wanted share with you some concrete ways of how individuals like you and me can make an impact on a wider scale. I then also wanted to use this example to challenge everyone to think creatively about the larger context.

So you know how the saying goes: "One man's trash is another one's treasure." Today, I want to talk to you about garbage. Plastic garbage specifically. Plastic is quite a wondrous material. Made from oil by man with just a few additives can turn this polymer into so many different sorts of plastics with so many different properties from thin and flimsy plastic bags, to the carpet on which I am standing, to this plastic bottle from which I am drinking.