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Belgrade Hosts First Public Solar-Powered Cell Charging Station

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-like-a-nice-place-to-visit dept.

Cellphones 106

arisvega writes "Dead battery in Belgrade, Serbia? Head to the city's Obrenovac district, where a group of students has developed the world's first public charging station powered entirely by solar energy. Known as the Strawberry Tree, the structure's 16 ports support a variety of handhelds, allowing pedestrians to juice up their handhelds in just ten to 15 minutes, at no charge. Its built-in batteries can also store up to a month's worth of back-up energy, enabling the station to hum along at night, or even during Serbia's less sunny seasons. 'Energy from the sun is free, and it would be unethical to charge people to use the Strawberry Tree...We are trying to inspire young people to think about the source of the energy they use, and behave and act responsibly,' said the inventor Milos Milisavljevic (17 years old when he came up with the idea) and now, at the ripe old age of 22, is looking to plant new stations across other Serbian cities."

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giant (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730640)

meh

Youth is wasted on the young (4, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730680)

'Energy from the sun is free, and it would be unethical to charge people to use the Strawberry Tree...We are trying to inspire young people to think about the source of the energy they use, and behave and act responsibly,' said the inventor Milos Milisavljevic

If the entire Strawberry Tree installation was free to design, free to build, free to maintain, free to fix after being vandalized, and free of any rents or taxes on the land it stands on . . . then the question of fees would never enter the picture, because Strawberry Trees would already be available everywhere.

Until then, very few moral codes are irrational enough to condemn a fee for services rendered.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730716)

RTFS! The inventor is providing the service free to the users!!

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730778)

RTFP!

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (2)

Bazar (778572) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730782)

And his reason for providing it free is because he considers it unethical to charge for power he collected "free".

I'll also add, doesn't surprise me that its a student spouting such idealism. I expect someone else is footing the bill for parts (the student's university springs to mind).

Its a lot harder to provide the service free when it personally costs you $1500+USD with no return other then a feel good vibe.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730800)

If capital setup costs were met by taxpayer funds, and ongoing operational/maintenance costs are free or also met by taxpayer funds, I don't see what the problem is. Unrestricted capitalism has been proven not to work, and funded social services have a long and successful tradition in europe.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (3, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730904)

Unrestricted socialism has been proven not to work as well. While I agree that government should provide for essential services where the private sector is unable or unwilling to offer a cost effective solution(health insurance) or one where the collection of levies would pose undue hardships on the economy(roads, and healthcare again really), the government should NOT be involved in providing luxuries like cell phone charging. Pretty much everyone uses services such as roads, hospitals, fire and police etc. However, only a small portion of the population requires cell phone recharging, so why should everyone be forced to pay for a non-essential item that only a small portion of the population needs? And who in the government gets to decide what luxuries should be funded with tax payer money?

Proponents of unrestricted capitalism have the false belief that unrestricted power in the hands of a few is a good idea, those in favor of unrestricted socialism have the false belief that somehow just because someone works for the government they will automatically be any better than if they were working for themselves. And here is a hint, Hugo Chavez and his ilk are pretty much working for themselves, and only themselves, no matter how much they tell you they aren't. Look at Venezuala's economy ever since Chavez came into power. Despite incredibly high oil prices the economy has actually fallen behind a lot of it's neighbors because Chavez is looting it for his own personal gain. He wants you to think that just because he works for "the people", he actually gives a damn about the people. And with nobody to stand in his way, he can pretty much behave like the capitalists he so decries.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (2)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731110)

Unrestricted socialist government has been proven not to work as well.

There, FTFY

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731182)

Give me an example of an unrestricted socialist economy that has thrived. Go ahead, I can wait.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731214)

Give me an example of an unrestricted socialist economy that has thrived. Go ahead, I can wait.

You missed the point. You cannot say things like "understricted socialism" because socialism is an ideology and not its implementation.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731226)

Give me an example of an unrestricted socialist economy.

No wait .... give me an example of a straw man.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731336)

You totally missed the point of my entire argument. Nice try, please play again.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731432)

You didn't say "Please have a nice debate with me", you said "Give me an example of an unrestricted socialist economy that has thrived".

I pointed out that it was going to be difficult to do this, since there is no such thing as an "unrestricted socialist economy".

Your "entire argument" didn't interest me very much, but pointing out that you had said something stupid and nonsensical (as nagnamer's post confirmd) gave me a fleeting moment of satisfaction.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731390)

Give me an example of an unrestricted socialist economy that has thrived. Go ahead, I can wait.

Well, Germany doesn't restrict the benefits of socialism to just the top dogs as USA does, and is doing far better economically. The Soviet Union practiced (authoritarian) communism, and went from a failed agrarian state to the second-most powerful country in the world in a few decades. China has a semi-command economy, and is on its way to becoming the next hyperpower.

I'm a bit uncertain about what you mean by "unrestricted" socialist economy, so perhaps you could give some examples of countries that have or have had it?

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731588)

While I'm not convinced that China is going anywhere (all economies with any form or extent of socialism or capitalism) are going to see slumps economically. Reviving them is the hard part. You can't say socialism or capitalism has failed just because mostly communist or mostly capitalist countries have done poorly at one point or another. Success is largely dependent on those leading the country to make the right decisions. Both democratic and communist countries go through periods of being well-off and having slumps. This can be for short periods and long periods of time (great depression or Russia's recent conversion to capitalism).

It would appear that cooperative governments with some form of capitalism are superior to strictly socialist ones. However pure capitalist countries don't work as well as those with some socialism.

Counties do have to tax or otherwise generate revenue in order to provide a minimal level essential services like health care services, roads, schools, housing, and similar.

I think an economy with significant socialist tendencies and taxation on profits made from those economies works best. You can't tax profits made elsewhere. You want to attract business after all and ensure all wanting to be employed are employed. You can tax profits of any final product sold in or coming into the country. The one thing you should not do is block, limit, or tax products coming from outside more than those inside assuming the same legal conditions are met (products made comply with child labour, environmental, and other considerations which effect cost and harm societies).

A countries economy does not necessarily mean that the countries people are doing well. All one has to do is look at Saudia Arabia and other similar countries where 90% of the wealth is concentrated in 1% of the population.

Redirecting most of that 90% to the other 99% would spur development and economic growth by creating new more profitable and efficient industries that in turn make the top 1% richer as well.

Henry Ford is a good example of this. It may not be true in this case although the idea is. He paid his workers well and in turn they could afford vehicles and that in turn spurred growth. Society became more efficient. The same is true of those countries who have turned to investing in schooling, transportation, and other projects which make the countries run more efficiently. Countries in Africa are least efficient because they don't have the basic infrastructure like transportation (roads, trains, etc.), communications, and schooling that most other countries do (China, the USA, Europe).

Greedy people may make up the top rich list. The most prosperous are the least greedy though. Prosperous communist countries where things were evenly distributed were not that bad. The failure to keep things in demand though on the shelf so to speak is a problem that should have been resolved. North Korea (food), Russia, and Europe did fail to do that. Although at the same time the country after ww2 with the most financially who got into the war late funded capitalism in those places which did so well after the war. Those which fell to communism were badly managed or did not have the resources (investments) that the capitalistic ones did. Capitalist Germany, Japan, and others prospered because of the money spent by the USA after the war. Despite this Japan, Germany, the US, and other capitalist countries have all seen slumps economically. Just because the form of government has not changed does not mean the country has been more successful. It is the appearance and appeasement of certain people and a minimal level for the masses that effects these things as well as the perception from media.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732192)

Germany also has a thriving capitalist economy which supports their socialist programs. In fact, they're not really any more socialist than the United States. The difference is that their cultural attitudes differ considerably from that of the US and most of Europe.

Germans are generally hard working and motivated. They're efficient. They enforce regulations across the board, the average individual is no more spared from them than a big corporation. The people haven't been conditioned to make unreasonably expectations of their government. Unlike a lot of European nations, and some in the US, there isn't this massive class of citizens employed by the government who's sole responsibility is to enjoy a nice salary and excessively generous benefits. The fact that Germany still does a ton of it's own manufacturing also is an immense help.

There are a ton of reasons why Germany has generally thrived where others have not but being socialist is not one of them. All those other factors have enabled them to successfully apply socialist ideals. And even for them, it's far from being perfect.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732896)

Germany also has a thriving capitalist economy which supports their socialist programs. In fact, they're not really any more socialist than the United States.

Let's examine this claim in detail in the light of your own arguments, shall we?

Germans are generally hard working and motivated. They're efficient. They enforce regulations across the board, the average individual is no more spared from them than a big corporation.

The very existence of regulations, which are government intervention in the free market, is socialist. Pretty much every government considered capitalistic has repeatedly removed regulations, usually with disastrous results.

As for enforcing regulations, it implies that neither the makers or enforcers of law are for sale. This means they're willing to forgo their personal interest of getting more money for the sake of common good. That's not capitalist.

The people haven't been conditioned to make unreasonably expectations of their government. Unlike a lot of European nations, and some in the US, there isn't this massive class of citizens employed by the government who's sole responsibility is to enjoy a nice salary and excessively generous benefits.

Again, not demanding all you can because it would be bad for society is socialistic. Remember, the whole "Invisible Hand" argument capitalism is based on is that greed makes people behave in ways that are good for everyone. Well, a bureaucrat who gets paid for nothing is certainly following his self-interest, but it seems you agree that he's not doing much good to the society.

The fact that Germany still does a ton of it's own manufacturing also is an immense help.

Obviously. Now the question is: Why is Germany doing its own manufacturing, while the US isn't? Could it perhaps be that Germans are taking into account the social effects of offshoring, rather than just the lower labour costs? And guess what that is?

There are a ton of reasons why Germany has generally thrived where others have not but being socialist is not one of them. All those other factors have enabled them to successfully apply socialist ideals.

Your own message claims Germany has thrived because Germans take into account the results of their actions to the whole society, not just personal benefit. That's pretty much the core and central idea of socialism: caring about your society, rather than just yourself.

And even for them, it's far from being perfect.

No country on Earth is perfect, nor can ever be. There's always room for improvement.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731952)

Give me an example of an unrestricted capitalist economy that has thrived. Go ahead, I can wait.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731646)

"only a small portion of the population requires cell phone recharging"

Please remember we are talking about Europe here, were the overwhelming majority of the population has a cell phone, and where many people are out and walking about in densely populated cities. You could argue that it's not the government's job to provide charging, but to base that argument on need is fairly ridiculous. Lots of people would use this kind of service.

As far as what you call unrestricted socialism (hint: it has never been put into practice on a large scale) is concerned, I would think the people of Serbia would know a great deal more about it than most people, having lived under Soviet influence for many years. If they don't see this as some nefarious plot to return their country to communist rule, then it must really not be.

"Hugo Chavez and his ilk are pretty much working for themselves, and only themselves"

For the record, Chavez, Castro, Stalin et al use(d) the pretext of socialism to implement fascist dictatorships. It's not socialism.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733564)

For the record, Chavez, Castro, Stalin et al use(d) the pretext of socialism to implement fascist dictatorships. It's not socialism.

Ah, the old "no true socialist" argument.

Of course, I can think of at least one prominent historical socialist [wikipedia.org] who would agree [wikipedia.org] with [wikipedia.org] you [wikipedia.org] , so socialist idealists seem to consistently go for the "no true socialist" argument (i.e., none of the governmental systems seen so far which self-identifies as "socialist" are, in fact, truly socialist). I guess the question is true socialism is even attainable.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

arisvega (1414195) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733368)

the government should NOT be involved in providing luxuries like cell phone charging

Why not? They are your elected servants, it is within their obligations to elevate quality of living.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

terrox (555131) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731618)

"than" not "then". you just said that you get a feel good vibe after $1500+USD
basically, then means after while than means instead (basically)... Lesson over, let us never see this error again.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731946)

MY city installed several EV charging stations for people to use for free...

Yes they cut police to the point that we do not have police officers patrolling some neighborhoods at night.

I am glad the rich people get to charge their EV's for free! Now I have to go shopping for floodlights because of the asshole teenage boys that like to vandalize.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731542)

yeh but he is bullshitting about it being a no-expense. also, it's not the worlds first. you know what's the biggest expense on public charger stations, some of which have solar cells attached, that you can find in various places around the globe? well, the fucking cords. they break, they get vandalised, they get stolen for the plugs.

No kidding (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730768)

Now I should start by saying if they wish to provide this as a free service, I think that is wonderful. I've no objections to people who wish to provide something too people at no cost. If you are willing to eat the costs, time, money, and otherwise, then by all means. Altruism is great.

However his reasoning is extremely stupid. The sun does not charge for its energy, but then neither does any other source. Uranium charges nothing to release the energy it contains in a nuclear reaction. So why then does it cost money? Well because you have to mine that uranium (and by extension build equipment to mine it), refine it (and of course build a facility to refine it), and then have it operated in a proper reactor to turn it in to useful energy (which again you have to build). That the uranium charges nothing to release its energy has no bearing on there being costs to bring it to a useful state.

Same deal with solar. The sun bombards the Earth with electromagnetic radiation of many frequencies all the time, and does so at no cost. However, to do almost anything useful with that energy, you have to construct something. Even if it is as simple as capturing the IR to heat something you are going to need things like lenses, mirrors, insulation, etc.

In this case, of course, you need a bunch of solar panels, batteries, and associated hardware. That is not cheap to make. Solar panels, particularly efficient ones, take a good bit of work to produce and thus have a good bit of costs associated. Now if he wants to eat those costs and provide the service free, good on him. But let's not pretend those costs don't exist.

Solar power is NOT free. We don't want to go down the road where people think "Oh we don't need to put money towards solar/wind/etc because it is free." Hell no, we need to put money towards it. R&D and deployment isn't cheap. If we want it as one of our energy sources we need to be willing to spend money to make it happen.

Heck, money is the one and only reason I don't have solar on my condo. I live in a very sunny area, my association would let me do it, I like the idea, and so on. So why the hell don't I have panels? I can't afford it, that's why. The up front cost is too high. I am not a rich person I can't afford to bear it, even though it would pay for itself in a couple decades most likely.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730864)

You are comparing a nuclear power plant with a sun-powered phone charger. If your back hurts and you dropped your wallet, I will pick it up and give it back to you. If your back hurts and you need someone to push your car, you're out of luck, buddy.

Re:No kidding (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730876)

Thanks for pointing out the technically flawed notion of "free" solar power. Imagine how expensive gas would be if anyone actually had to make the oil we just pump out of the ground!

Re:No kidding (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731100)

Even if everything about the project would be free, it would not be unethical to ask a fee for providing this service. That's just smart business.

Re:No kidding (2)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731136)

Even if everything about the project would be free, it would not be unethical to ask a fee for providing this service. That's just smart business.

It's been paid for by the people with their tax money. So I think it's ok that it's free for the same people to use for free.

Re:No kidding (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731348)

Too bad most governments don't agree with that logic, when they sends you the bill for the electricity from the power-plants funded with your tax money.

Re:No kidding (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731388)

Too bad most governments don't agree with that logic, when they sends you the bill for the electricity from the power-plants funded with your tax money.

I just said it's ok, never that it was universally the case anywhere. In fact, most research done at Belgrade University rarely end up as a free publicly available product.

Re:No kidding (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731466)

It's a lot easier to persuade for a government to persuade parliament to spend money if it can be sold as an investment rather than a cost.

Re:No kidding (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731882)

Which western governments still build and run power stations with taxpayer money?

Re:No kidding (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731230)

Is there no organization that would provide panels, installation and support for a monthly fee that would be less than paying the local energy company?

Local solar isn't the solution to everything, but it should be able to save you money on your electric bill if there's a bank or other organization out there that can front you the cost.

Re:No kidding (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734866)

The payoff time for a loan to buy solar panels, inverter, etc. today is around 20 years. This is including all of the available subsidies, rebates and tax incentives that pay for about half of a solar installation.

While people in the early part of the 20th century planned to buy a single house and live there all of their lives, most people are somewhat more mobile than that today. While a solar electric system has some benefits for selling a house, you aren't going to recoup 100% of the costs if you sell the house.

So right now, unless you are in a charitable mood, installing a solar electric system will never pay off in reasonable terms in most cases. There are some odd situations where the power company wants to charge you per foot to run electric to some incredibly remote rural location and in that case it may make sense to have a non-grid-tied solar system put in instead.

But for your average suburban home it isn't really practical on a cost basis yet. Maybe in another 10 years or so.

Re:No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731404)

from the article "We are trying to inspire young people to think about the source of the energy they use, and behave and act responsibly". Yes, they're using a wrong model to instil the right idea. And yes, it's an idiotic way considering in a few months it will be full of graffiti broken, and wires hanging loose everywhere which will pretty much blow away the image they're trying to create.

But it's all about putting solar energy out there in front of the regular people, the city dwellers that almost never know or care where their energy comes from.

The only use for this little project would be to have it work on private property, a company park where employees take their lunch breaks, a restaurants terrace, and so on.

Re:No kidding (1)

olau (314197) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731672)

"However his reasoning is extremely stupid."

Even though he built the thing, I'm sure he didn't consider these things you mention. We can only hope he's reading Slashdot so he can learn of them.

Re:No kidding (1)

bames53 (300438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734376)

You're right, he did build it therefore he really should know better than to make such foolish comments. But since he apparently doesn't know better I too hope he's reading Slashdot so he can read the grandparent's correction.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (4, Informative)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730792)

Why everything has to be all about money, money, money?

Yhea, it is very insightful to point the obvious - that the installation cost money. "No free lunch" can always get you some mod points. Please, introduce a mod +1 (conforming and mindlessly parroting the existing paradigm)

But you know what - you are surrounded by people giving things for free. Read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy [wikipedia.org]

Some excerpts to sharpen your appetite:

----There are many examples of how a gift economy works in modern culture within a mixed economy, such as marriage, family, friendship, kinship, and social network structures.

-----Traditional scientific research can be thought of as an information gift economy. Scientists produce research papers and give them away through journals and conferences. Other scientists freely refer to such papers. All scientists can therefore benefit from the increased pool of knowledge. The original scientists receive no direct benefit from others building on their work, except an increase in their reputation. Failure to cite and give credit to original authors (thus depriving them of reputational effects) is considered improper behavior.[27]

-----In his essay "Homesteading the Noosphere", noted computer programmer Eric S. Raymond opined that open-source software developers have created "a 'gift culture' in which participants compete for prestige by giving time, energy, and creativity away".[29] Members of the Linux community often speak of their community as a gift economy.[30]

------Millions of articles are available on Wikipedia, a free on-line encyclopedia, and almost none of its innumerable authors and editors receive any direct material reward.[31][32]

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730888)

Just remember: capitalism never halts innovation. Even when most people are focused on making money and avoiding doing anything unprofitable...

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731246)

What? Of course if does quite frequently. That statement is so far off base that it doesn't even make sense.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731604)

Just remember: capitalism never halts innovation, with of course the exception of software patents.........

FTFY

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

bames53 (300438) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734440)

Software patents, and in fact all patents, are one of those 'fetters' on capitalism, not part of capitalism. Intellectual property, such as it is in unfettered capitalism, is entirely enforced in contracts and keeping secrets secret.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

dokc (1562391) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730962)

mod parent up

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731040)

His point is not that giving things away is a bad idea, it's that the reasoning behind it is flawed. I have released a lot of code as Free Software, because doing so costs me nothing other than opportunity costs, it serves to advertise my skills to prospective clients, and because I benefit from bug reports and patches if my code has more than one user. Those are sane and rational reasons for giving stuff away. If I said I give it away because ones and zeros are free and so it's unethical to do anything else, then I'd expect people to look at me a bit funny. If I said I gave it away because it benefits others and makes me feel good about myself, I'd also expect that to be considered a valid reason; it's the reason most people give gifts - they enjoy the reaction of the recipient.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (2)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731152)

If I said I gave it away because it benefits others and makes me feel good about myself, I'd also expect that to be considered a valid reason; it's the reason most people give gifts - they enjoy the reaction of the recipient.

The reason I don't agree with the reason they quote for releasing this product for free is that it's already been paid for by citizens. It wasn't free. It was paid for. So people who paid for it get to use it for free. I'm also glad they provided it for free, because too many things developed at the Belgrade University never gets into public hands despite being funded by the University (and therefore by taxpayer money).

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731068)

-----Traditional scientific research can be thought of as an information gift economy. Scientists produce research papers and give them away through journals and conferences.

I agree with the ideas you posted. I can't do anything but cry foul that the scientists produce research paper and give them away but the journals charge an arm and a leg for me to access it.
I mean: I would mind charging for accessing an article, but I can't see the difference between the cost of hosting/downloading an MP3 or a PDF with the article. However, I can buy an MP3 with $0.99, but beat me if I could find any article for less than $25-$30 on the publisher's sites.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731158)

I can't do anything but cry foul that the scientists produce research paper and give them away but the journals charge an arm and a leg for me to access it.

You have to be aware that University of Belgrade is government-funded. It's not a private university. I don't see any reason a private university would give their research papers for free, but a government-run university has an obligation to release their research paper because the citizens pay them to do the research to begin with.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731506)

I don't see any reason a private university would give their research papers for free,

Then I don't see any reason why it should be called "university" and thus share in the prestige it had no part in building, nor any intention to do so in the future.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731538)

Then I don't see any reason why it should be called "university" and thus share in the prestige it had no part in building, nor any intention to do so in the future.

I agree.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731138)

Why everything has to be all about money, money, money?

It's a cultural issue. Some cultures worship money, and some don't.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732050)

Why everything has to be all about money, money, money?

Saying that setting up the required infrastructure/equipment to generate power costs money != saying everything is about money

Furthermore, the presence and use of money is not mutually exclusive with the presence and use of gift-giving.

But for the sake of argument... YES, everything is about money, because we live in a world of scarcity. This is not paradise where anything and everything we could possibly want is in infinite supply and is instantaneously available. Money just happens to be the system most of the world uses to deal with this problem.

"Gift economy" is just a different implementation to tackle the same problem. Instead of using "money" to measure and organize ourselves, it uses what is basically good will (in the money system, good will has a price too): reputation, prestige, emotional satisfaction, etc.

Even the most altruistic person will have to deal with this problem, since at the end of the day, they have to eat too, and that food doesn't fall from the sky.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736232)

Why everything has to be all about money, money, money?

Because money is a representation of time and energy, and in a universe ruled by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, everything is about time and energy.

But you know what - you are surrounded by people giving things for free. Read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gift_economy [wikipedia.org]

Nothing in a "gift economy" is free. This is the same sort of reasoning used by proponents of socialism or communism: "oh, I like it when I get fre stuff!". How ignorant do you have to be in order to not realize that this is just another form of payment? A gift economy is based on the belief that if I give you what you want, you or someone else will give me what I want. Payment is implicit in the system - not everyone has to pay, but there have to be enough people paying in order to cover those who don't. It's the same as any financial system, except there's no need for an organized "welfare" or "unemployment" programs - the system inherently handles those issues by "taxing" those who provide the goods and services. And it suffers from the same problem as communism - namely, it encourages stagnation. It's workable on a small scale, within an isolated community (especially an online community) but tends to fall appart as soon as it's applied on a large scale.

TANSTAAFL

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730830)

irrational

According to whose standards?

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734936)

According to his standards, just like how by the inventor's standards it would be "unethical" to charge a fee.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730866)

Or maybe its because if you charged a fee to use the service, you'd have to increase the price to account for the servicing overhead - either an attendant, or an automated ticket system with cut-off timers and all the associated electronics.

Instead its better to charge once via taxes or grants and then allow useage for free. More people will use it and the cost of providing the service will be much reduced.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

crakbone (860662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736184)

Just charge for the advertising at the venue. The advertising revenue pays for the equipment and the free service draws the people in to see the advertising.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731332)

If the entire Strawberry Tree installation was free to design, free to build, free to maintain, free to fix after being vandalized, and free of any rents or taxes on the land it stands on . . . then the question of fees would never enter the picture, because Strawberry Trees would already be available everywhere.

Until then, very few moral codes are irrational enough to condemn a fee for services rendered.

Understanding the people's culture and mentality before pushing your values (money) into their motivation (sharing their creation for fun and usefulness) is invaluable in cases like this.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731534)

you know you free-haters really get on my nerves.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732016)

Until then, very few moral codes are irrational enough to condemn a fee for services rendered.

And even fewer to condemn educational and charitable works for no fee at all.

Re:Youth is wasted on the young (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 3 years ago | (#36737898)

[...] it would be unethical to charge a fee [...]

Until then, very few moral codes are irrational enough to condemn a fee for services rendered.

And even fewer to condemn educational and charitable works for no fee at all.

I offered no judgment of the Strawberry Tree project, or of the inventor's decision to make it free. I only criticized his statement that it would be 'unethical' to charge a fee.

Sorry to ruin your dopamine rush. I know how delicious it is to jump somebody's case via the internet.

!New (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730706)

Um, what? I've seen these at cafes around Hong Kong over 4 years ago. There were mostly a gimmick but they worked.

Re:!New (1)

furytrader (1512517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731736)

That's what I don't understand - why don't more businesses use charging stations as a means of attracting customers? Maybe you would have some logistical issues if the customer wanted to walk around the store or shop while their phone is charging (i.e., making sure that the phone was safe from theft), but don't you have a captive audience while they're waiting for it to charge? I was at a local Verizon kiosk in one of the big train stations in Chicago, and while I was talking to one of the sales reps, 3-4 people who worked nearby dropped off their phones to be charged. It's a very helpful service, one that I'm sure many people would find valuable.

Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, etc (4, Interesting)

olden (772043) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730738)

Saw a similar, amateur setup in the tiny harbor of my hometown, NeuchÃtel, Switzerland, maybe, huh, 10 years ago?
Unfortunately the 8+ different cellphone charging cables provided weren't rugged enough for an outdoor/public setting, and I suspect that frequent damage is what eventually decided the owner to eventually, er, shall I say, pull the plug.

Also, re charging time: common Li-ion takes 2~3h for a full charge, 15 minutes may be a 80-to-90% top-off...

Re:Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731262)

Up to 80% is great, it can probably see you through the rest of the day.

Re:Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732358)

Yea these things pop up every now and again, there was some hitting the news not to long ago... News editors are too dumb to figure out patio table + solar cell = charging station and are constantly impressed by this.

Re:Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, (1)

Dmritard96 (1268918) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734102)

news editors - "omg the sun can be used to make electricity. omg phones need electricity. omg someone put them together. omg why didn't anyone else think of that. omg must be news worthy"

slashdot readers - "omg another stupid story that isn't news worthy. omg this guy has political opinions. omg lets have a flameware"

Re:Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, (1)

locketine (1101453) | more than 3 years ago | (#36737878)

OMSI in Portland Oregon [omsi.edu] in the USA has a public and free solar charging station for any electronic devices (lockers keep the devices safe), cars and even electric bicycles. It's owned by OMSI though so maybe that's why they think the Belgrade station is the "first" public charging station.

Re:Certainly not first, certainly not 15 minutes, (1)

SoftwareArtist (1472499) | more than 3 years ago | (#36738510)

They also had something just like this at Maker Faire. This is definitely not the first.

Bomb Belgrade! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730754)

These commies are giving energy away for FREE!

Bomb them before the idea spreads!

Re:Bomb Belgrade! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731112)

We already did it in 1999.

Baaaaaad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730816)

I'm sure the builder of the strawberry tree is wealthy in order to provide this service for free. And the fool is probably feeling all warm inside, thinking he helps humanity.
But the exact opposite is true. If people give away free energy then it hurts the businesses - where actual innovation takes place - and slows down advances in solar panels, nuclear, etc.
The city should remove the strawberry tree and fine its inventor before he deters a competing business from providing recharge stations ; recharges that are not for free of course, but all over the city and plenty more convenient.

Re:Baaaaaad idea (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731058)

I'm sure electricity companies will go bust because people can charge their phones for free just by standing around outside for 15 minutes.

Or, maybe, cafes will start deploying this kind of system. After all, if you have to wait 15 minutes, you may as well have a cup of coffee at the same time. The energy cost is pretty much nothing. My phone's battery is about 5Wh, which at the price I pay for electricity is a tiny fraction of a penny, and would be lost in the noise for a small business.

Re:Baaaaaad idea (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731114)

At least one of the cafe's at Helsinki airport terminal 1 already does this. They have a charging system installed in a few places throughout the cafe. All you need to do is pick up a charging ring, which is basically an inductive coupler, and place it between your phone and the marked surfaces where the chargers are installed in the tabletops. This is a free service. Yes, sometimes services are given away for free, not everyone is a greedy bastard in this world.

Internet café (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731564)

Some internet cafés already do this. There is an internet connection and a wall socket. And coffee and good company.

Re:Baaaaaad idea (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731184)

I'm sure the builder of the strawberry tree is wealthy in order to provide this service for free. And the fool is probably feeling all warm inside, thinking he helps humanity.

RTFA. It's a government-run University.

Re:Baaaaaad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731566)

But the exact opposite is true. If people give away free energy then it hurts the businesses - where actual innovation takes place - and slows down advances in solar panels, nuclear, etc.

Given the fact that the builder already paid the businesses providing the goods/services, what is your problem.
Are you just attempting some "smart trolling"?

Re:Baaaaaad idea (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735826)

Remember, kids, you've read it here first: anything free is socialism, and socialism is evil! ~

Solar Energy is Free so it would be unethical... (3, Interesting)

physburn (1095481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36730934)

Wow at a last a useful link to put on my free energy page.

A capitalist would I think argue with, cost+financing of the solar cells, payment for the workers installing them, plus profit, before setting the price. But even capitalists offer lose leaders for advertising.

But if a urban council, own the land, then they is a strong case for providing useful services free to the public. How often people need public phone charging I don't know. Since mobile have become popular that the public pay phone is an endangered species, so are free charging points needs. Discuss...

---

Free Energy [feeddistiller.com] Feed @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Solar Energy is Free so it would be unethical.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731500)

Thank you, Borat, for the introduction.

Yes, I see it that. We need more of freedom, more of phone and even more of vibrator, because since: a woman cannot use of a phone, see, so, something else to relieve of their boredom while they walking around. But, if she get carried away, she become easy to lose track of where she go. So, we should just make a tree covered with the vibrators, ehh, and then, all of the women, they will climb the tree and when you get done with the shopping, yes? You will know where to find her. See?

Yeah right... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36730970)

I'm going to connect my smartphone, pda etc to some terminal of unknown origin in the middle of malware-virus central in order to charge it up.

Oh how very nice these people are, sort of like those awesome folks that setup non-descrip FreePublicWiFi at train stations and malls, the problem is my bank's webpage never looks right when I use those services, oh well its probably just the gremlins in the tubes.

Re:Yeah right... (2)

ks9208661 (1862000) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731054)

How will you get a virus by charging your phone?

Re:Yeah right... (2)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731186)

Many recent phones charge via their mini/micro USB sockets, so it is a risk. How do you know that the other end of the cable is connected only to power and not to a PC/laptop, up to no good?

Re:Yeah right... (2)

ks9208661 (1862000) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731444)

I will know if the other end of the cable is connected to a PC/laptop if get this popup window asking whether to just charge my device only, or to do some sort of sharing. Default setting is "charge only". At least this is how my old Symbian-based and my current Android-based smartphone behave. I haven't heard of a case yet where this was circumvented.

Re:Yeah right... (2)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731166)

Troll.

In case you are just being ignorant, it's widely known that the Free Public WiFi access points you see everywhere are actually due to a quirk in Windows XP's wireless networking pre-SP3. Basically, if XP can't connect to any pre-defined access points, it will automatically create an ad-hoc wireless network with the SSID Free Public WiFi. You can't actually connect to it and you can't browse the net with it. You are actually at no risk if you attempt to connect to one of these, although someone could always set up a dummy network using a real AP with the SSID Free Public WiFi to lure you into connecting, and that could be risky if the owner is up to no good. Note that I have never seen this happen though. If you pay attention when you try to connect to one of these, you will even notice it has a computer icon and not an access point icon (when using Windows that is). This "feature" was fixed in SP3 but since many people do not keep their OS up-to-date, it is still widespread.

Solar Energy? Why not. (1)

johnwayneschulz (2367806) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731032)

The world would save on energy if more would step onto the solar energy wagon. It's great to hear people in Serbia are showing the world the way. Proves that the war is truly and well behind. John Wayne Schulz [t35.com]

Riverworld (0)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731056)

Can this technology be applied to food, please? using a 3D printer, maybe.

Re:Riverworld (2)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731190)

Can this technology be applied to food, please? using a 3D printer, maybe.

If you want to eat paper, glue, and some coloring agent, sure.

Re:Riverworld (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731574)

Re:Riverworld (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732382)

chocolate in the sun seems like a pointless endeavor

Why not ask for donations so more can be build? (3, Insightful)

bre_dnd (686663) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731178)

The service is worth something to me, running out of power on your phone while on the go is annoying, so I wouldn't mind paying a small amount for it. Why not add a cashbox to it -- if you like the charging tree and appreciate the service, please leave a donation so we can build more.

There's no problem with it being free -- but this would be a way to make the idea spread. Some of the components will cost money to buy, some of the installation work might need to be done by a qualified installer / builder. If the first one allows you to keep some cash, it can be reinvested -- more can follow and more people would be able to enjoy the service.

Re:Why not ask for donations so more can be build? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36731628)

because he'd get flack that he is a copy cat. not the worlds first - and by the way, just implying for charging for charging with it is a joke. you can charge people for charging only in africa, elsewhere pubs etc have chargers. the biggest problem with public chargers is the plugs that break - and that you need an assortment of them and dedicated maintanence. only in belgrade might a chap think that this stuff is groundbreaking.

at "no charge"! (2, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731222)

Get it, "no charge"! Sorry...

Did he say it was free? (2)

hraponssi (1939850) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731536)

It seems to me that he claims that "'Energy from the sun is free" not that the station is free. Now maybe he just makes it free as he says he wants to inspire people and had some public funding to pay for this piece. Where does the angst against the word "free" come from here? Peace, love and understanding, dude :)

Re:Did he say it was free? (1)

furytrader (1512517) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731756)

I think the angst comes when people suggest that "public funding" is the same as "free", they're forgetting that someone is actually paying for this - the taxpayer - who, in this transaction, is someone who doesn't have a choice whether they want to pay for it because they'll be thrown in jail for not paying taxes.

You guys got it all wrong (1)

starkat2k (2353628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36731962)

The saxophone background music in the video is meant to lull you into submission. At least, that's what happened to me.

"Energy from the sun is free..." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732052)

"...and it would be unethical to charge people to use the Strawberry Tree"

ORLY? Then why don't you build thousands of these reactors over here in the US as well as every other major industrialized nation -- and solve our fuel crisis overnight?

Oh wait? You say it's NOT free? That technically, if you really want to be picky about it, it actually costs money to research and build solar technology? But, that would involve tough decision-making about resource allocation, and doesn't package well into a mindless sound bite! Couldn't you just spout off some wishy-washy bullshit that makes this all sound like effortless magic? Oh. Thanks!

-Legal.Troll (apparently only allowed to post once per hour or more...

"Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment... It's been 54 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment.

This service could be provided for free, why not? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732932)

Take a look at the freely provided services from the IT sector, Google for example. They provide numerous, extremely useful services for no charge. Additionally, there are no taxes incurred for the use or association of these services. Linux is another good example.

Now we ask the question, what covers the cost of fabrication, installation, servicing, and all things associated with the unit's life-cycle? How are the other free services paid for? Many are paid for via advertising. Take for example the possibility that a company of individual installs one of these charging stations, they now have a users presence for 10-15 minutes. What is that user going to do in the mean time? If the owner is smart, they can then market numerous items to the user during his/her wait. For example, bottles of water from a news stand. Look at the profit margin on selling someone beverages.

I have flown through many airports and occasionally you will find a free charging station or internet access point. They are always in use. Yes, maybe not by the entire population flowing through, but people are taking advantage of the service and could then be subject to advertisement beyond a marketing firms wildest dreams.

Makes business sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733714)

Phone companies have invested quite a bit of money in the past to increase volume. Voice mail service, for instance, is often free. Smart phone companies have found out that it pays for itself. People will call back, and that will generate revenue, whereas before a missed call meant no revenue.

Similarly, an empty cell phone means no revenue. If people are investing the time and effort to charge their phone in public, presumably they're doing so with the intent of making a phone call = spending money. For that reason, phone companies would be wise to subsidize the minute amount of energy.

Just plaster a company logo on it, and don't advertise too publicly that it will charge any phone, and you'd still make money off it even if some people used it to charge a competitors' phone. Besides, even those phones might be used to call one of your phones, and then you'd still get termination fees.

No, I certainly can see this work.

http://www.ilove-shopping.org (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734738)

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