Steve Jurvetson on Deep Learning

August 31, 2016 by  
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At VERGE 15, Steve Jurvetson talks about being an early VC investor in Tesla and how the pattern recognition and optimization capabilities of “deep learning” software will help us humans adapt to a world that is becoming increasingly unpredictable due to climate change. “Instead of programming something to do something, you generate a computer program that is itself, like our brain, capable of learning anything,”said Jurvetson.

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Steve Jurvetson on Deep Learning

Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

August 31, 2016 by  
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Australian state Victoria  is taking an unprecedented step after they announced this week that they would protect farmers by banning “onshore unconventional gas,” including fracking . Outcry from local farmers helped push the government to make the historical ban. Victoria is the first Australian state to ban such gas exploration and development. A 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into Onshore Unconventional Gas in Victoria obtained 1,600 submissions. They found most respondents were against fracking, fearing such practices endangered the agriculture sector in Victoria, public health, and the environment. Dairy farmer Julie Boulton told The Guardian, “It has been so heart-wrenching at times, when we thought the drill rigs were coming and there was nothing we could do. But we pulled together as a community and decided to fight this threat to our farmland, water, and health.” Related: Germany just banned fracking for all practical purposes 190,000 people work in the Victorian agriculture sector. While the gas industry had claimed there would be economic benefits to fracking, research from think tank The Australia Institute appeared to indicate otherwise. They found that when ten gas jobs were created, 18 jobs were lost in agriculture. Many farmers felt fracking would threaten Victoria’s reputation for ” clean, green ” food. The Australia Institute Principal Adviser Mark Ogge said any benefits have nearly all gone to ” overseas owners of global oil and gas companies .” He said the ban is “sound economic and energy policy .” A ” permanent legislative ban ” will be introduced later in 2016 to Parliament, but a “current moratorium” will ensure unconventional gas development and exploration doesn’t occur for now. The ban includes ” exploration and development ” of Victoria unconventional gas, from fracking to coal seam gas. The ban does not cover offshore gas exploration. There are also exemptions for “carbon storage research” and gas storage. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement, “Victorians have made it clear that they don’t support fracking and that the health and environmental risks involved outweigh any potential benefits.” Via The Guardian Images via Lock the Gate Alliance Facebook

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Australian state announces the country’s first permanent ban on fracking

Six principles to drive cleaner data centers

August 31, 2016 by  
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A new set of six principles are providing momentum to achieving cleaner data centers.

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Six principles to drive cleaner data centers

Bollywood star spent seven years buying up land in India to save wild tigers

August 31, 2016 by  
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Although tiger populations in many parts of the world are on the rebound after years of being endangered, they still need help. In the foothills of the Himalayas, where the largest population of wild tigers in the world live, one man is using the private purchase of forest land to ensure the big cats’ safety for years to come.  Abhishek Ray has made his living as a Bollywood singer, musician, and composer, and he decided to use his earnings to buy forest land adjacent to Jim Corbett National Park in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand to create a nature reserve for tigers and other wildlife. The Bollywood composer learned more than 10 years ago how human activity can devastate the natural habitat of tigers and other wild creatures. Village life, unsustainable agriculture, and poaching all threaten the wildlife in India, leading Ray to the conclusion that purchasing land for a wildlife reserve was the only way to make a real difference for local wildlife. Over the course of seven years, Ray bought land from native families and worked to eradicate a dangerous parasite, created a year-round water source for animals to drink from, planted 400 trees, and worked to grow grass on stretches of land where none had been, thereby increasing usable habitat for many plants and animals. Related: Tiger populations have increased for the first time in 100 years The Sitabani Wildlife Reserve is home to at least 35 royal Bengal tigers, according to a recent count, as well as other animals that need protection: the Asiatic Black Bear, the leopard, the Goral (mountain goat-antelope), the elusive Serow, the yellow throated Pine Marten, and more. Over 650 species of birds also live on the reserve. Ray’s motivation to turn his private estate into a wildlife reserve is the culmination of a lifetime of environmental protection work. He began supporting environmental protections as a child, and feels a close connection with nature. Ray even says his musical compositions are inspired by the natural world, including the composition he wrote and sang that became India’s national anthem for tiger conservation. “The forest has its own sounds and those are the best that I have heard,” he told reporters. “I inhale nature and exhale music.” + Sitabani Wildlife Reserve Via Lifegate Images via Wikicommons and Abhishek Ray/Sitabani Wildlife Reserve

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Bollywood star spent seven years buying up land in India to save wild tigers

Vernacular-inspired Delaware home built with recycled barn wood

August 31, 2016 by  
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The house, called Rural Loft, is located in an area of Delaware dominated by agriculture . It channels the local vernacular and references the form and materiality of barns. In fact, its exterior cladding was made using wood reclaimed from an agricultural structure planned to be demolished. Related: Old Belgian barn is transformed into a gorgeous contemporary home The interior spaces are organized around a central core with bathrooms, storage spaces and utilities. Sliding doors open onto two exterior decks and blur the line between inside and outside. A rain screen made from reclaimed barn wood siding facilitates air circulation and keeps the house well ventilated. + DIGSAU Via Dezeen Photos by Todd Mason

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Vernacular-inspired Delaware home built with recycled barn wood

Biodesign Architecture Competition Extends Deadline to Sept 6th

August 31, 2016 by  
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Calling all future-forward architects and designers! How can we create buildings that heal themselves, ourselves, and the natural environment? Advances in synthetic biology, bio-printing, and material engineering have opened up a whole new field of Biodesign – and we’re giving away $1000 to the best project that integrates the natural world into the built environment. The winner of our Biodesign Competition will also be showcased to the X-Prize foundation as well as millions of Inhabitat readers around the world – and we’ve extended the deadline until September 6th , so enter today! The Fab Tree Hab living tree house concept by Mitchell Joachim, Javier Arbona and Lara Greden ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE > The X-Prize Foundation is a prestigious innovation engine that awards forward-thinking ideations for a better world. The winner of our Biodesign competition will get to display their work in front of the exemplary X-Prize board, including Larry Page, James Cameron, and Ariana Huffington. The winning Biodesign will be considered for entry in the new regenerative building X-Prize launching in April 2017. A combination of solar and wind power make Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut ‘s Dragonfly concept 100% self sufficient. We’re looking for applicants with “ bold and innovative visions for the future of construction at the intersection of the physical, the digital, and the biological. ” Will buildings be grown instead of assembled ? What would our buildings be like if they could grow to accommodate changes in their inhabitants or environment? What emerging material has the most potential for a biodesigned future? Mushroom Tower at MoMA PS1 museum in New York City – grown entirely form fungus Visions for the following categories will be considered: A. Spaces for living – Single family home in the suburbs – Multi-family apartment in the city – Informal settlement or slums in the context of an emerging economy – In situ revitalization of abandoned buildings in the context of cities with declining population B. Spaces for learning or healing DEADLINE We will be accepting entries through our online entry form , here , until 11:59 PST on September 6, 2016. *Entrants need to submit their designs in JPEG format (under 1MB) through the user upload form, but please note that all finalists will be asked to provide high-res 11X17 PDFs. Any entrant who wants to be considered for this prize should save all work as high resolution, vector files. ENTER THE COMPETITION HERE >

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Biodesign Architecture Competition Extends Deadline to Sept 6th

Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

August 31, 2016 by  
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Tiffany had been planning to eventually overhaul her outdated kitchen anyway, but unexpected flooding caused by burst pipes fast-forwarded the need for renovation. She recruited actor Kat Tingum, a friend and fellow recycling aficionado, to come along on her green makeover adventure. “My job as Chief Design Junkie at TerraCycle fully supports this mentality of reuse and upcycling,” Tiffany told us. “And while my day job (and a lot of my hobbies, too) involve building furniture and accessories, neither Kat nor I had ever done anything involving plumbing, hanging cabinets, or installing large appliances. This was definitely new territory and we both learned a ton!” RELATED: How Kitchen Design Has Evolved Over the Last Century Tiffany says she tackled her kitchen reno with the same mindset she does for all of her projects, carefully considering how to use as many salvaged materials as possible in an attractive and appealing way. “That’s where pennies, red wagons, old wallpaper, a few buckets of cement, and bucket lids all come into play,” she said. “All of these materials became the building supplies for my new kitchen.” The shimmering new backsplash is clad in $30 worth of pennies while old bucket lids and scrap fabric were whipped into new cushions for Tiffany’s wooden stools. Three red wagons were transformed into a playful new minibar. Tiffany and Kat used a cement overlay combined with a natural coffee stain and food safe finish to refurbish her dated countertops. New appliances were sourced from a scratch and dent store, saving Tiffany 30-40% off of retail, and the old cabinets and old but still working appliances were sold through Craigslist. “I am loving my new kitchen and am proud of the fact that it was created from loads of love, sweat, and salvaged materials!” says Tiffany. Don’t forget to check out our full photo gallery for more of the fun details that can be found in Tiffany’s new kitchen. + Tiffany Threadgould + Kat Tingum

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Friends give their kitchen a green makeover filled with fun upcycled touches

Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

August 31, 2016 by  
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Honeywell’s Lyric Wifi Thermostat is a smartphone-connected device that allows you to regulate the temperature of your home while you’re there or on-the-go. Because you can control it via the Lyric app , it gives you the flexibility to start cooling your place down as you leave the office on a hot day, or to shut the system down from 30,000 feet in the air if you forget to switch it off before leaving to catch your plane. Like other programmable thermostats, it can be set up on a schedule so that it maintains a comfortable temperature during the times you’re usually at home while switching the system off during times you’re not. There’s also a handy geofencing feature that allows you to map off a radius around your home so that the system can detect that you’re nearby using your phone’s GPS system and start heating or cooling your home to your preferred temperature. A thermostat that knows when you’re almost home? That’s pretty cool! RELATED: VIDEO: How to save money and energy with a programmable thermostat Design-wise, the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat is one of the most visually pleasing models on the market, although you have to admit that its round form factor does look pretty similar to the Nest’s (a competitor that rings in at about $50 more at $249). On the other hand, it should be noted that Honeywell came up with the first round thermostat way back in 1953, so maybe they’re just getting back to their roots. With a pristine white face wrapped in a sliver of silver, the unit is almost like an artpiece or accessory for your wall. The minimal touchscreen buttons light up in a cool blue, giving it an even more soothing appearance. In the box: The unit itself, a battery, two screws and anchors for mounting, instructions and an optional wall plate. Setting the device up was a breeze, although I should note that since I live in an apartment with no existing in-unit thermostat system, I was unable to actually install the thermostat as you would if you were actually going to use it to control your heater and air conditioner. Instead, I simulated the installation process using a wall adapter, so this part of my review is based solely on the ease of setup, rather than how the device actually regulated the temperature in my home. The first steps are downloading the Lyric app and connecting to your WiFi, and after that, your phone guides you through the entire setup and installation process. Although I wasn’t fiddling with any wiring or anything like that, I was still able to appreciate the step-by-step instructions that popped up right on my phone to guide me through the installation process if I was. It even asks you questions along the way so that you can tailor the experience to your particular system, taking the hassle out of fumbling with an instruction manual and leafing through the parts that may or may not apply to you. The whole thing took me about 5 minutes to complete (though you would probably need to spend at least 20 if you were actually following the steps). One thing I did find was that the touchscreen buttons were not quite as responsive as I wanted them to be and I had to press down harder than I’m used to doing on my smartphone. Luckily, there’s not much need to use the buttons on the unit itself after setup since you can just use your phone to make any changes, or simply rotate the face of the unit clockwise or counterclockwise to turn your temps up or down. The Lyric app itself is intuitive, easy-to-use and starts up in a matter of moments. The Lyric WiFi Thermostat is also fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo and other home ecosystems. In terms of energy and cost savings, Honeywell’s energy savings calculator estimates that I stand to save about $142 per year on my energy bill (based on my zip code) using the Lyric WiFi Thermostat. That means that in addition to keeping my home comfortable and reducing my power usage, I could also make back the $199 spent on the Lyric Thermostat in a little over a year. To learn more about how the Lyric Wifi Thermostat can help you slash your energy bills, check out the video above or visit Honeywell’s Lyric Connected Home website here . + Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat Editor’s note: The Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat was supplied to this writer free-of-charge by Honeywell in exchange for an unbiased review. Photos: Honeywell and Yuka Yoneda

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Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead

August 31, 2016 by  
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Typhoon Lionrock slammed Japan’s northeastern shores on Tuesday , leading to flooding that killed at least 10 people. The town of Iwaizumi in Iwate Prefecture on the eastern coast of Japan ‘s main island suffered the most flooding. There, more than 1,100 people evacuated their homes, and the town’s prefecture disaster prevention office reports that at least 400 people have been rescued after being stranded by the rising water. Rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing. The storm began as a tropical depression more than 10 days ago miles off the southeastern coast of Japan, building strength over time as it traveled northwest toward land. While over the ocean, the storm reached maximum wind speeds of 135 miles per hour, classifying it for a time as a Category 4 Hurricane, but Lionrock lost some of its power before making landfall. Lionrock crossed Japan late Tuesday night and its winds dropped to 35 miles per hour, turning it into a low pressure system. Related: Japan’s Hanazono Kindergarten was designed to keep kids safe during typhoons Nine of the flood victims were found in the Ran Ran retirement home in Iwaizumi after the nearby Omoto river flooded the single-story structure. Another man’s body was found elsewhere in the prefecture, bringing the current death toll to 10. A second home for the elderly, the Friendly Iwaizumi, was also flooded, but caregivers were able to move residents to the building’s second floor to avoid the rising water, saving their lives. Four people are missing and some 700 still stranded, according to local officials. The storm system continues to produce heavy rains as it continues on its path, and some parts of northeastern China have already felt the effects. However, with the storm once again so close to land, it is not expected to regain its former hurricane force winds. Still, as many as 26,000 Japanese residents are recommended to evacuate their homes, as further flooding is still possible. Via CNN Images via NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team , NASA/NRL and Weather Underground

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Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead

Amazing Hoop Dance Gathering Place celebrates Canada’s indigenous cultures

August 31, 2016 by  
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The project, located in a large courtyard on the Mohawk College campus, was developed in collaboration between Brook McIlroy Architects, Mohawk College, Aboriginal students of the College, and Elders and members of the several prominent indigenous communities and organizations. Related: Atelier Vecteur’s Timber Pavilion for the Festival of Lively Architecture is Not as Simple as it Looks The Hoop comprises four elements- an open air pavilion , a fire circle, a water garden and a traditional garden. It has two radiating and intersecting circles joined by a raised seating platform, which reference traditional construction techniques used in the Longhouse typology typical of northern Iroquoian communities. It will function as a space “that could be used to really infuse indigenous pedagogy into a western ways of teaching,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who recently unveiled the structure. + Brook McIlroy Photos via Brook McIlroy and Mohawk College

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Amazing Hoop Dance Gathering Place celebrates Canada’s indigenous cultures

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