Heroes

See the surfboard that reads the ocean in a way many scientists haven't been able to.

You don't need a background in science to contribute to science. But in this case, you may want to know how to surf.

See the surfboard that reads the ocean in a way many scientists haven't been able to.

This surfboard is so smart, it may change what we know about the ocean.

This may look like an ordinary surfboard but nope — it's the future. Image via Smartfin.


It's called a Smartfin (formerly known as Smartphin), and it's mixing technology with surfing to answer questions about the hardest-to-reach part of the ocean: the area closest to us.

Scientists have a heck of a time figuring out what's going on in the ocean waters nearest to the shore.

It turns out that the part of the ocean that's most accessible for swimming, surfing, and having fun is also the hardest area to collect data from. Who would have thought?

As described in Wired, the effects of constant waves crashing on the shore make it difficult to use equipment that'll last and properly track the waters. Sounds rough.

The water is so mysterious. Image via Thinkstock.

That's where Dr. Andrew Stern and Benjamin Thompson come in.

Stern, an environmental filmmaker and former professor, and Thompson, a surfboard engineer, have developed what they call the Smartfin: a surfboard fin that's embedded with a data-collecting chip that can track crucial data on nearshore waters. According to Wired, it can determine a surfer's location and then measure the temperature, salinity, and acidity of the water.

That sounds like a pretty cool development in itself, but two little words remind you that the effect might be much bigger: climate change.

Nearshore waters can tell us a lot about the kind of effect climate change is having on our oceans.

From a feature in Outside:

"Oceans have absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide we've emitted since the dawn of the industrial age, making them around 25 percent more acidic than they were then. That lower pH (higher acidity) impedes the growth of calcium carbonate and is already harming shellfish fisheries and coral reefs."

The Smartfin produces data the science community can use to understand what's happening to our nearshore waters, which tells us about the impact of climate change over periods of time. It can also tell surfers where to find the best waves. A double win!

You may be able to buy one soon. Image via Smartfin.

Smartfin is coming soon to California.

Smartfin plans to pilot its device with 150 participants in San Diego starting in November 2015, says Design Indaba. After a two-month testing period, it should be available for people to buy. So stay tuned!

Surfers and scientists working together on one of the biggest issues of our time? Yes, yes, and yes. A+ teamwork.

Just makes you wonder: What will the next big idea be?

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Sikh hikers tied their turbans together to make a rope.

One of the primary tenets of the Sikh faith is "sewa," or selfless service. We have seen sewa in action in Sikh communities organizing to feed the hungry and rallying to help stranded truck drivers, but sometimes opportunities to practice selfless service pop up in unexpected places.

According to Maple Ridge News, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue received a call at around 6:00 p.m. on October 11 alerting them that two hikers were in trouble just above the Lower Falls at Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia. The manager of the search and rescue, Rick Laing, told the news outlet that one of the men had fallen into the pool above the falls and was struggling to get out.

But before the rescue team got there, a group of five male hikers were alerted to the stranded men and took the matter into their own hands—and heads. The hikers were Sikhs and were wearing the traditional dastaar (turban)—a piece of cotton cloth up to six yards long wrapped around the head.

"We were trying to think how we could get them out, but we didn't know how to," Kuljinder Kinda, one of the hikers, told NBC News. "So we walked for about 10 minutes to find help and then came up with the idea to tie our turbans together."

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."