Those of us who are avid sci-fi fans have doubtless read at least one tale where paper has been made obsolete, replaced with a reusable medium. Whether it's called microvellum, durofilm, or another futuristic-sounding name, electronic paper has definite possibilities. From Livescience.com:
Imagine curling up on the couch with the morning paper and then using the same sheet of paper to read the latest novel by your favorite author. That's one possibility of electronic paper, a flexible display that looks very much like real paper but can be reused over and over. The display contains many tiny microcapsules filled with particles that carry electric charges bonded to a steel foil. Each microcapsule has white and black particles that are associated with either a positive or negative charge. Depending on which charge is applied; the black or white particles surface displaying different patterns. In the United States alone, more than 55 million newspapers are sold each weekday.
**Note: Microvellum and Durofilm are names for the e-paper concept that have been used in sci-fi novels that I've read, but upon Googling those names I have found that they are now names of corporations. For my purposes this is entirely coincidental.
The Reader's breakthrough is its "electronic paper" display, which is touted to be as easy to read as a printed page. The screen is not backlighted and is viewable from multiple angles. And unlike a computer's display, it doesn't "redraw" itself dozens of times a second. The lack of flicker is easier on the eyes.
I love it when the real world catches up with the imaginations of sci-fi authors. Although the thought of a flexible, "scroll" version, that you can roll up and stick in your pocket (like an actual scroll) is still unattainable, the possibility remains fascinating.
Another emerging technology that I find fascinating is the notion of planted rooftops. The notion goes back to the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (and familiar to many CivIII players for it's happiness inducing effects!)
Planted rooftops have the potential to help us in a few different ways:
Roof gardens help absorb heat, reduce the carbon dioxide impact by taking up Co2 and giving off oxygen, absorb storm water, and reduce summer air conditioning usage. (from LiveScience)
And as I learned on one of those do-it-yourself shows planted rooftop gardens are a great way to insulate your home. And if you live in the city I would imagine garden space is hard to come by, so here's an alternative, eh? The idea is taking root, so to speak, in many areas like Los Angeles. Here's hoping it bears fruit.