Innovative Company Named One of 10 Most Promising at Rice Alliance’s Annual Venture Forum

The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship held the 13th Annual Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum in Houston two weeks ago and at it announced their 10 Most Promising Energy and Clean Technology Venture Companies list. The event was the largest venture capital conference in the Southwest with about 500 people in attendance, from venture capitalists and investors to industry experts and entrepreneurs, according to a press release posted on Businesswire.com. One of the companies named to the list was the innovative, San Diego-based surveyor, GroundMetrics. Energy information enthusiast and Forbes contributor, Bill Tucker, wrote about the company back in January when he first heard about it. He followed that up with another piece for Forbes last week after it won a spot on the prestigious ranking. “[GroundMetrics uses] a unique electromagnetic technology which allows it to detect not only underground pockets of deposits, but to determine what is in those pockets more accurately so a decision to drill or not to drill can be made with greater certainty,” Tucker wrote. “Its appeal was increased efficiency and much higher drilling success rates.” Tucker went on to say that GroundMetrics CEO, George Eiskamp, told him he’s been “overwhelmed” by the opportunities that are now available to him as a result of the award. While GroundMetrics is not currently trying to actively secure funding, they are in the process of persuading drilling companies that they can help them save time and money. The oil and natural gas industry is one of the biggest in the U.S., accounting for approximately 9.8 million jobs and 8% of the economy, so opportunities abound for companies that offer this kind of technology. Brad Burke, Rice Alliance managing director, believes the reason for much of the convention’s success is the continuous improvement in the quality of companies showcased. “Over the past 13 years, more than 1,700 companies have presented at Rice Alliance Technology Venture Forums. These companies have raised more than $2.1 billion in funding,” Burke said. “This speaks to the quality of the companies and to the robust entrepreneurial ecosystem of investors that has been developed to support these companies. Despite the challenging economic environment over the past several years, good companies have been able to attract...

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Air Pollution from Landfills May Be Contributing to an Increase in Premature Mortalities

As environmental conditions get worse, people are looking deeper into our everyday processes of waste disposal, which have been linked to climate change. With the average person generating around four pounds of trash everyday, finding suitable forms of waste removal is becoming an increasingly important matter. According to Discovery News, an analysis of the volume of landfills conducted in 2012 grossly underestimated how much trash was being disposed of in this manner. The original estimate of 122 millions tons recorded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) paled in comparison to the actual 262 million tons of waste present in landfills that year. The biggest worry stemming from these numbers is the production of the greenhouse gas methane, which is a direct result of the emissions given off by landfills. “These results demonstrate the clear need to target open landfills to achieve significant near-term methane emission reductions,” said a trio of United States-based environmental scientists from the journal Natural Climate Change. They found that landfills are the third largest man-made source of methane air pollution in the United States. Ars Technica, a technology journal, recently reported on the prevalence of deaths caused by this air pollution. They estimated that back in 2010, up to 3.15 million individuals suffered from strokes (cerebrovascular disease) and heart attacks (ischemic heart disease) as a result of carbon-containing particle pollutants. They based their study on the emissions from multiple sources, including residential and commercial energy use, agriculture, power generation, industry, biomass burning, land traffic, and even natural sources of air pollutants. While this obviously encompasses more than just gas emissions from landfills, dumps are only one small piece of a large web of pollution surrounding the world. Based on currently agreed upon international legislation, the authors estimate that there will be a significant increase in the instances of premature mortality in America. Their hope is that by using their study for differential toxicity, they will be able reevaluate the current understanding of the effects air pollution has on...

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Man Wins the Internet with Elaborate Monopoly-Based Marriage Proposal

A lot of guys take a chance when it comes to proposing, but for one creative California man, the “Chance” he decided to take has raised the bar for boyfriends everywhere. According to KSL.com, Justin Lebon began crafting a custom Monopoly board as a Christmas present for his then-girlfriend, Michal Ott. But what began as a clever gift to put under the tree quickly turned into the perfect opportunity to pop the question. Lebon sought the help of Mark Becker, a friend who has experience in woodworking. Becker designed a special trap door under the “Luxury Tax” space on the game board to hide the engagement ring. For his part, Lebon crafted personalized “Chance” cards on his computer as well as custom board spaces, which included places the couple had lived and vacationed in. According to the Daily Mail, about 275 million Monopoly games have been sold around the world since 1935, the year it first appeared in American stores. One thing is for sure — no Monopoly board has ever looked quite like the one Justin Lebon devised. When Christmas morning finally arrived, Lebon presented the board game as a normal gift and the couple began to play. Unbeknownst to the bride-to-be, Lebon had rigged the dice so she would roll a seven, conveniently landing on the “Chance” square. She drew the card Lebon had placed on top that read: “Will you marry me? If yes, advance to Luxury Tax.” As you may have guessed, she then discovered the engagement ring hidden under the space on the game board. She broke into tears of joy, while Lebon felt mostly relief. “At the end, we were just sitting there laughing,” he said. “She was still in shock and couldn’t believe all the ups and downs.” For their wedding ceremony, about 53% of couples opt for traditional wedding vows. You can bet that the future Mr. and Mrs. Lebon will be getting a little more creative when they say “I do.” The couple posted pictures of the custom-made game board on Hasbro’s Facebook page, and it went viral quicker than you can say “Park Place.” The story was then posted to the popular website Reddit, where it has received over 5,000 upvotes. The couple plans to wed in Maui in 2017, but has said that they will not be involving their favorite board game in the...

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Russian Film Company Set to Launch Chain of Theaters Made of Shipping Containers

If you ever built a fort out of boxes and blankets as a kid, you’re going to be enamored by what one company is doing to reinvent the movie theater experience. According to The Moscow Times, Russia’s Teterin Film company is set to launch a chain of low-price movie theaters. Why the low price, you ask? It’s simple — the theaters are built entirely from cargo shipping containers. About 100 of these unique theaters will be installed all across Russia by September of 2016. The company is aiming to place them in small cities of less than 100,000; the first building will be constructed in Lyudinovo, a tiny city in the Kaluga region southwest of Moscow. The project is intended to support domestic cinema, offering only a limited number of foreign movies. It also aims to bring a big-screen experience to small-town people. Building a five-screen shipping container theater will only cost the company about $295,000 USD, which is drastically less than what existing large cinema chains are spending on their buildings. Because of the low construction price, tickets will only cost between $1.50 and $2.40 USD. As The Atlantic notes, the head honchos at Teterin Film are hardly the first people to realize the many uses for custom containers. The multi-purpose containers have been turned into just about everything you can think of, including compact homes, coffeeshops, and even hospitals. Karen Sweeney, Director of Sales at Integrated Equipment Sales commented, “what a great way to bring entertainment to the less populated hinterland!” The Atlantic also speculates that there may be an ulterior motive to Teterin’s plans on limiting foreign movies in the new theaters. The construction of the theaters is the third “patriotic” project Russia has unveiled in recent months, leading many to believe that Teterin is simply riding a wave of nationalism that has overcome Russia due to worsening relations with the West. “There is a trend in support of patriotic businesses,” said Ian Evtushenko, a Russian journalist. “T-shirts with Putin, national fast-food chains of Mikhalkov, and so on. So this is just a part of the bigger picture.” Regardless of motive, one thing is for sure; shipping containers do a lot more these days than just transport...

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Donald Trump Is Now Concerned With Marco Rubio’s Excessive Sweating

Donald Trump certainly has an interesting way of taking down his fellow Republicans. First there was FOX’s Megyn Kelly, who looked like she had “blood coming out of her… wherever,” followed by Carly Fiorina, who supposedly doesn’t have “the face” of a president. Now the Trump spotlight has turned to Marco Rubio, the Republican Senator from Florida who happens to sweat a lot. On Thursday, Sept. 24, Trump appeared on a segment of CNN’s “Morning Joe” and took aim at Rubio. He first criticized the Senator’s foreign policy work, according to Business Insider and the Washington Post, before calling him a “kid” who just sits at his desk and reads all day. Then the comments got a little personal. “He sweats more than any young person I’ve ever seen in my life. … I’ve never seen a guy down water like he downs water. … They bring it in buckets for this guy,” said Trump. The Washington Post said it best: “The reality is that Rubio DOES sweat a lot. And, it was quite clearly pouring off of him in the last debate. And not only is Rubio a sweat-er, he also tends to get dry-mouth when he’s nervous.” Rubio isn’t exactly leading the polls — especially compared to Trump, according to Politico, who has the most support at 26%, followed by Ben Carson with 18% and Carly Fiorina with 9%. And Rubio’s sweating problem isn’t really something new for the media; back in 2013, his awkward “water bottle lunge” during his televised State of the Union address started a small “water-gate,” Business Insider reported. In fact, Saturday Night Live even wrote a segment mocking the Senator’s “drinking problem.” But let’s be honest here — everyone loves an underdog, especially one who suffers from an embarrassing condition like excessive sweating, since a surprising number of Americans (around eight million) actually have the same problem. When asked about Trump’s comments, Rubio didn’t miss a beat. Instead of stooping to Trump’s level of joke-insults, he simply stated that Trump has been at the center of some public scrutiny lately and that he’s “a very touchy and insecure guy and so that’s how he reacts.” Ouch. Trump might need a glass of water to cool down that...

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