Toke It Easy

Snap out of it, 4/20 revelers: Florida legislators want to stomp on your buzz.

Not quite, says University of Southern California chemistry professor Stephen E. Bradforth, an expert on molecular dynamics and water chemistry.

"People have known about electrolysis producing hydrogen for 200 years," Bradforth says in a phone interview. "What they've done is kind of novel in terms of burning just the hydrogen, but the chemistry back-end of this is nothing new."

In other words, if there were an efficient way to run a motor using electrolysis, "we would all already be driving water cars," says Bradforth. "It sounds like they've created a garage version of a chemistry class demonstration."

Mike Gorman

Cope admits "this technology has been out there for a while," but he blames conspiracy, not inefficiency, for its failure to catch on: "[The oil industry] has done whatever it could to stop the progress and silence the people who know about it."


Conscientious Couture

A young Fort Lauderdale fashionista foresees an eco-trendy future.

By Thomas Francis

Kyra Jachode is no fool. She can see past South Florida's SUV-clogged freeways, hulking landfills, and pollution-degraded Everglades. Someday, she thinks, even the clotheshorses who gallop between Aventura Mall and South Beach will be inspecting labels not for trendy names but for trendy — and eco-friendly — fabrics.

Okay, so that future might be a long way off. Fortunately Jachode is only 21 years old. She recently won a berth in the South Florida Student Designer Competition, becoming one of six invited to show original designs to the international audience that gathered for last Wednesday's opening night of Miami Fashion Week.

Jachode chose a babydoll dress and matching vest, both made of hemp, bamboo, and silk, with wooden buttons in back sewn on with Egyptian cotton. None of those oil-based synthetic fabrics like polyester. And no materials from Indonesian sweatshops.

"When I started researching eco-friendly materials, it led me to bamboo and hemp, and that led to learning about fair trade and environmentally conscious manufacturing," the young Fort Lauderdale designer says.

This keep-it-real sensibility led her to name the ready-to-wear line Ergostalio: Organic.

There's a booming international market for clothing with eco-snob appeal, though it's yet to wash ashore in the Sunshine State.

"Florida is behind in being environmentally conscious," says Jachode. "There are a couple of boutiques which specialize in [eco-friendly attire], but they have to sell through the Internet to international customers."

After Jachode graduates next month from the Art Institute, she'll prepare a debut collection for the Scarlet Affair in Fort Lauderdale, followed by a ribbon-cutting for her own online boutique. Then it'll just be a matter of waiting. As the polar icecaps melt and the Atlantic Ocean begins swallowing the mainland, sales are bound to improve.

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