Time Releases 50 Greatest Inventions of ‘08by Tim Manni
Time Magazine has published their list of the 50 greatest inventions of 2008. Many are inconceivable and way too futuristically scary — number 24 is bionic contacts that create “a display over the wearer’s visual field, so images, maps, data, etc., appear to float in midair.” Yet others on the list are useful products that could change the way we live while saving consumers some money.
#11 is Green Crude: “Milton Sommerfeld and Qiang Hu have been working on raising algae to turn into a biofuel that would be virtually identical to gasoline. The fuel would actually be carbon-neutral, because algae consume carbon dioxide as they grow. Unlike traditional corn or sugarcane — two plants used for most ethanol biofuels today — algae can’t be eaten, so using it for fuel doesn’t cut into food supplies.”
#35 Airborne Wind Power is an alternative method of harvesting wind energy. “As you get higher, the wind gets stronger. Harvesting just 1% of those high-altitude breezes could produce enough power for everyone on Earth. That’s what Sky Windpower aims to do. The San Diego company — founded by a scientist who got his start breaking codes during World War II — is designing flying wind turbines that could harness the jet stream.”
#45 is undoubtedly a bi-product of the housing crisis. The Short Refinance is a new option for homeowners who are struggling to make payments on a house that has lost a lot of its value. How does the process work? “Another new lender agrees to rewrite the loan tied to a fresh appraisal. The tricky part is getting the current mortgage company to take less than what it’s owed — but given banks’ woes, it’s more likely than it once was.”
Perhaps in 2009 inventors will create the money tree. They’ll have to break up some concrete to make room for gardens down on Wall Street and over in Detroit, but then all of our financial problems will be solved.