Caleb Scharf discusses Earth’s place in the cosmos; Karlheinz Meier describes his quest to simulate the human brain
As I drove the last car load of old kitchen units and various other bits of junk to the tip the other day, I couldn't help wondering where all that waste would actually end up. The local tip is impressive – there's a dump for everything from chipboard to fridges. But, in reality, how much of this will actually be put to good use. Well, if all goes according to plan, bits of my old flat could one day end up as bits of someone else's new flat. Welsh company, Affresol, have just showcased a prototype low-carbon house built using plastic and minerals extracted from recycled rubbish. The recycled waste is processed into a new material called Thermo Poly Rock (TPR), which Affresol claim is seven times stronger than the average breeze block, and is fire resistant and waterproof so doesn't rot. With the Welsh Assembly Government's financial backing, TPR looks set to be used in various housing developments. But, and for me this is a big but, TPR doesn't last forever – Affresol reckon the lifespan of TPR houses will be 60 years. At least we'll be able to recycle all the rubble though.