Making Tires out of Dandelions

Really!

Thanks to an under-appreciated species of dandelion called the “Kazakh dandelion,” Mitas hopes to test the first agriculture tire made from agricultural cultivated crops. The company says it plans to have a prototype of the dandelion tire by 2015.

Rubber extracted from the Taraxacum koksaghyz species will complement rubber tree latex in the compound of this tire, explains Andrew Mabin, Mitas sales and marketing director.

“We are examining different ways to use natural and renewable materials to produce our tires,” he says. “Our research and development department is actively seeking new ways of improving our manufacturing process, which includes researching new raw materials or substitutes.”

Mitas is one of several tire manufacturers researching the benefits of the Kazakh dandelion in producing a more sustainable rubber for their tires. There have been past attempts at producing rubber from the plant, although not for agricultural tires. It was cultivated on a large scale in the Soviet Union between 1931 and 1950. During WWII, several other countries, including the U.S., experimented with the plant as an emergency source of rubber when traditional supplies in Southeast Asia were threatened.

Researchers at The Ohio State University say they can produce as much as 1,500 kg of rubber per acre (just over 3,300 lbs), in small-scale trials. That production is on par with the best Asian tree plantations, but has not been repeatable yet on large-acre trials.

Mitas’ effort is a part of the Drive4EU consortium, which consists of eight industrial partners and five research organizations from six EU countries and Kazakhstan to tap into this dandelion species’ ability to produce both rubber and insulin.

Insulin, too? It’s like a miracle plant! :)

A hip-hop Hanukkah with ‘Dr. Dreidel’

Oy vey!

‘Sup, my Hebrews?

His Beats by Dre headphones may be on a lot of holiday wishlists this year, but we can almost guarantee that Dr. Dre’s truest fans would prefer this one-of-a-kind dreidel inspired by the producer / mogul / rap icon instead.

Designed by American artist Hannah Rothstein, the (perfectly named) “Dr. Dreidel” hit the web this week just in time for Hanukkah 2014.

“This laser-etched, wooden dreidel brings together two unlikely cohorts: the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and rap music,” wrote Rothstein on her website, noting that the product was inspired by “sheer hilarity and the love of puns.”

The artist’s website also explains that Rothstein’s rap-tastic version of the traditional Jewish holiday toy has been etched with four unique illustrations of Dre. Dre — one Dre for each side of the dreidel.

Those illustrations coincide with Hebrew letters that were “carefully chosen to correlate with the ‘aftermath’ of the dreidel’s spin.”

[…]

In an interview with Mashable this week, Rothstein confirmed that the Dr. Dreidel — only one of which has actually been made — is not currently for sale.

That said, if interest in the product is high enough, she may consider producing the product en masse.

Perhaps 2014’s highest paid musician / the keen entrepreneur whose face adorns the dreidel will see fit to invest in the product himself?