These dazzling zodiac lamps let you bring the heavens indoors

November 30, 2017 by  
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Brooklyn-based design laboratory Richard Clarkston Studio created the perfect lamp for star gazers. The firm’s new Constellation lamp series is made up of thin gold rods with LED-lit star nodes arranged into the various zodiac constellations. Thanks to the barely-there cords, the twinkling constellations hang delicately from the ceiling, creating a beautiful starry night scene. The Constellation system is flat packed with all of its components designed for easy assembly. Each light fixture has a specific design according to the zodiac sign ordered. To assemble, the thin rods equipped with the LED-powered star nodes just snap into place. Once assembled, the supports are threaded through a canopy and crimped in place using adjustable crimps. Related: Frederike Top’s geometric LED lamps cast colorful rays of ever-changing light Like most lamps , the system has to be positioned and hardwired into the ceiling. However, the constellation series can operate on batteries with the appropriate hardware. The LED bulbs used in the lamps are estimated to last over 50,000 hours and each star node can be independently replaced. + Richard Clarkston Studio

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These dazzling zodiac lamps let you bring the heavens indoors

Trump administration quietly accepts 2016 climate deal

November 30, 2017 by  
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Will President Donald Trump respect a climate deal finalized while Barack Obama was still president? After pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement , and working to undo many of Obama’s climate regulations , the idea seems unbelievable – but it appears Trump’s administration won’t try to back out of the 2016 Kigali Amendment, under which the government would have to limit climate change -contributing refrigerants and coolants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Last year in Rwanda, delegates struck a deal to mandate countries to phase out the production and use of HFCs. The man-made chemicals “can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change,” according to the United Nations Environment Program . And it appears the Trump administration won’t bow out of the deal. Related: This could be the most important climate action in 2016 Judith Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of State, said last week in Montreal , “The United States believes the Kigali Amendment represents a pragmatic and balanced approach to phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs, and therefore we support the goals and approach of the Amendment.” She noted America was among the first countries that ratified the Montreal Protocol . But there’s no word yet on when the move could occur for this new amendment. Speaking at the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, Garber said, “There are a number of steps in our domestic process that we would need to complete before reaching a final decision on transmittal of the Kigali Amendment to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. There is no timeline currently determined for these steps, but we have initiated the process to consider U.S. ratification of the Amendment.” Scientific American said America has taken around two to four years to ratify amendments in the past. 20 countries have already approved the Kigali Amendment, so it’s already achieved the required threshold of support and will go into effect in January 2019. Via Scientific American Images via Depositphotos ( 1 ,

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Trump administration quietly accepts 2016 climate deal

Prehistoric womens arms were up to 16% stronger than today’s rowing champions

November 30, 2017 by  
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If a group of prehistoric women somehow time-traveled to the present, they could probably lick the rowers of Cambridge University’s boat club in a race. A new study – the first to compare bones of ancient and living women – reveals a hidden history of Central European women performing strenuous manual labor for millennia. The average ancient women had stronger upper arms than today’s female rowing champions. A new study led by Cambridge University’s Alison Macintosh adds more fuel to girl power fire by revealing prehistoric women living during the first 6,000 years of farming possessed physical prowess that would put competitive athletes to shame. These women could have grown strong tilling soil, harvesting crops, or grinding grain for as long as five hours a day. Related: Newly discovered ancient human species in South Africa had a tiny brain The University of Cambridge said bioarchaeological investigations until now compared women’s bones with men’s. But female and male bones react differently to strain, with male bones responding in a more visibly dramatic way, according to the university. Macintosh said in their statement, “By interpreting women’s bones in a female-specific context we can start to see how intensive, variable, and laborious their behaviors were, hinting at a hidden history of women’s work over thousands of years.” The researchers scrutinized Neolithic women from around 7,400 to 7,000 years ago, and found their arm bones were 11 to 16 percent stronger for their size compared against rowers part of the Open and Lightweight squads at the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club – athletes who were victorious in the 2017 Women’s Boat Race. The prehistoric women were also nearly 30 percent stronger than typical Cambridge University students. Study co-author Jay Stock of Cambridge and Canada’s Western University said, “Our findings suggest that for thousands of years, the rigorous manual labor of women was a crucial driver of early farming economies.” The journal Science Advances published the study this week. Ron Pinhasi of the University of Vienna also contributed. Via The University of Cambridge Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Prehistoric womens arms were up to 16% stronger than today’s rowing champions

SpaceX’s upcoming launch of reused rocket marks historic first for NASA

November 30, 2017 by  
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SpaceX will launch a recycled Falcon 9 rocket into space for an upcoming NASA resupply mission to the International Space Station. While the private space travel company founded by Elon Musk has already launched previously used rockets into space and back, this marks the first instance in which the company will reuse a rocket for NASA. “NASA participated in a broad range of SpaceX data assessments and inspections regarding use of a previously flown Falcon 9 first stage booster,” said NASA in a statement made to The Verge , confirming the groundbreaking launch. This institutional support from the agency marks a major accomplishment for SpaceX, which has emphasized the promise of its reusable rockets. A typical SpaceX mission involving a Falcon 9 rocket includes an initial launch into space, where it completes a particular objective such as cargo delivery or placing satellites into orbit, followed by a return into Earth’s atmosphere and a landing onto one of SpaceX’s launching pads. It is possible that these Falcon 9 rockets could be used for three or more launches, though further testing is required. Related: SpaceX is sending two private citizens to the moon next year At the moment, only a few of SpaceX’s customers, such as Luxembourg-based communications company SES and satellite operator Bulgaria Sat , have opted for resuable rockets. However, the numbers are poised to grow, particularly after SpaceX’s upcoming launch with NASA .  Israeli satellite operator Spacecom has decided to launch a new satellite with SpaceX’s reused rockets, despite past challenges involving the destruction of a Spacecom satellite when the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket it was to be launched on exploded. While NASA has voiced optimism about expanding its use of resuable rockets, it has also made clear that it will tread carefully in using this new technology. Meanwhile, the US military has offered some positive words for reused rockets, with General John W. “Jay” Raymond, head of US Air Force Space Command, claiming to Bloomberg that it would be “absolutely foolish” to not explore the option as a cost-saving measure. Via The Verge Images via SpaceX/Flickr   (1)

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Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early

November 30, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk made an audacious bet earlier this year: he said his company would install a 100 megawatt (MW) battery system in 100 days to help South Australia beat blackout woes – or the project would be free. Not only did Tesla deliver on that promise , but the battery system actually started sending stored wind energy to the grid one day ahead of schedule. Tesla’s 100MW/129 megawatt-hour (MWh) Powerpack system, called the Hornsdale Power Reserve , is connected to the French company Neoen -owned Hornsdale Wind Farm, which is South Australia’s biggest renewable generator right now. The battery project can power around 30,000 homes for one hour, and was called upon a day early to help meet peak demand, dispatching around 59 MW of power. Related: New Tesla Powerpack system to offer energy savings of 40-50% The Powerpack project cost roughly around $50 million – and Tesla finished around 40 days before the deadline. It covers about one hectare of land and currently holds the title of the world’s biggest lithium-ion battery farm, but it won’t be long before it’s unseated by The Lyon Group’s $1 billion solar farm with 1.1 million batteries. South Australia announced a $550 million energy plan to help stabilize their grid shortly after Musk made his bet – including contracting for about 100 MW of energy storage. Vox pointed out while excitement for Tesla’s delivery is definitely warranted, another part of South Australia’s plan is incentivizing local natural gas and constructing a 250 MW gas-fired power plant. The state is in a sense “running a real-time competition for which can more quickly and reliably compensate for the loss of coal: renewables and storage, or natural gas,” according to Vox. South Australia’s energy plan website says the plan “will transform our energy network to provide reliable 21st century clean energy .” + Hornsdale Power Reserve Via ABC News and Vox Images via Hornsdale Power Reserve and Tesla on YouTube

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Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early

NREL’s solar-powered window breaks new ground with 11% efficiency

November 30, 2017 by  
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The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has revealed its prototype of a solar-powered “smart window,” which has broken new ground by achieving 11 percent efficiency, enough to potentially provide 80 percent of electricity needs in the United States. The NREL smart window is also able to lower building temperatures and generate electricity by changing the window’s appearance from clear to tinted. Not only does this decrease the amount of sunlight entering a building, thus lowering its heat intake, but also turns the windows into photovoltaic panels. Upon shifting to the darker, hazy view, the smart window then starts its energy production . “There is a fundamental tradeoff between a good window and a good solar cell,” said Lance Wheeler , a scientist at NREL. “This technology bypasses that. We have a good solar cell when there’s lots of sunshine and we have a good window when there’s not.” The smart window’s functionality depends upon advanced materials such as perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral that is able to absorb sunlight and generate electricity, and single-walled carbon nanotubes, microscopic structures with incredible strength. While existing solar windows are typically not responsive to changes in sunlight, thus remaining at one set level of transparency, NREL’s prototype breaks new ground by demonstrating a dynamic ability to react to light conditions. Related: New silicon nanoparticles could finally make solar windows commercially viable The window’s ability to transform is made possible by molecules of methylamine, which move in and out of the window depending on the circumstances. When the sun heats up the window, the molecules are absorbed into it, darkening the window. When the sun is not shining directly on the window, the molecules are expelled, which makes the window transparent. In its solar panel form, the smart window has been able to achieve 11 percent efficiency in capturing solar energy and translating it into electricity. The research team at NREL believes that their smart window design could be used to charge mobile devices and on-board electronics such as fans, rain sensors and motors. While research is ongoing, the team is already focusing on how their design could be commercialized and made available to the public. Via Electrek and NREL Images via Dennis Schroeder/NREL and NREL

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19th-century church converted into gorgeous modern lofts in Brooklyn

November 30, 2017 by  
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This 19th-century church in Brooklyn was converted into a modern residential building that lets the original details of the historic structure shine through. The Bushwick church was gutted and turned into a series of daylit lofts available for rent through Nooklyn . Living units are spread over three stories, and they feature beautiful oak floors, antique arched windows, and gold mosaic ceilings. The Victorian Gothic church from the 1890s is located at 618 Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn. Known as The Saint Marks, the conversion project offers 99 apartments with up to two bedrooms. The units come in different loft -inspired layouts, with large windows and high ceilings , hardwood floors and recessed lighting. Related: A massive London church is transformed into an extraordinary luxury home The developer removed the original spire due to structural instability and zoning rules. They introduced bike storage and onsite parking, central air conditioning in all units. The kitchens feature pale veneer cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Some of the units, like the one shown in the images, have private decks as well. + Nooklyn Via Uncrate

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19th-century church converted into gorgeous modern lofts in Brooklyn

The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

November 30, 2017 by  
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  You don’t have to have a green thumb — or … The post The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The 3 Holiday Plants You Have to Have

‘Geomagnetic spike’ 3,000 years ago could offer insight into Earth’s hidden interior

November 30, 2017 by  
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Earth’s magnetic field shields us from damaging radiation from the sun, but its strength and ability to protect us, is variable. Scientists uncovered details about a geomagnetic spike that happened around 1,000 BC that could alter our understanding of the magnetic field and the planet’s interior – and are exploring how a similar event might impact us if it occurred today. Scientists identified 1,000 BC’s geomagnetic spike after investigating copper from slag heaps in Jordan and Israel. They began to explore what Earth’s magnetic field might have been like way back then, and found something surprising: the copper recorded Earth’s magnetic field strength rising and then falling by more than 100 percent in 30 years. Related: Molten jet stream found hurtling through Earth’s core That research was published in 2010 , but University of Leeds lecturer Christopher Davies, in a piece for The Conversation , highlighted other discoveries since pointing to high field strengths around the same time in Turkey, China, and Georgia. Meanwhile, field strengths in Egypt, India, and Cyprus were normal – so the spike may have been only around 2,000 kilometers, or around 1,243 miles, wide. Davies wrote, “Such a rapid change over such a small area marks out the geomagnetic spike as one of the most extreme variations of Earth’s magnetic field ever recorded.” Researchers aren’t quite sure what caused the spike, but the flow of iron in the core could have played a role. That said, explaining the changes that came with the geomagnetic spike requires flows five to 10 times greater than what we observe today. “The prospect that the iron core could flow faster and change more suddenly than previously thought, together with the possibility that even more extreme spike-like events occurred in the past, is challenging some conventional views on the dynamics of Earth’s core,” Davies said. Spikes must be accompanied by weak spots, which is where geomagnetic storms tend to be prevalent. So if a spike happened today, part of the planet could see power outages or satellite disruption because of a geomagnetic storm. But Davies said it’s hard to say if another spike will happen – until recently, the Jordan spike was the only such event scientists had observed. There’s now some evidence a spike also occurred in Texas around 1,000 BC. Via The Conversation Images via NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr and U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia

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‘Geomagnetic spike’ 3,000 years ago could offer insight into Earth’s hidden interior

Striking green-roofed house cantilevers over a cliff in Japan

November 30, 2017 by  
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This striking concrete house extends from a cliff above a river in Japan , providing spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. The two-floor green-roofed structure, designed by architecture firm Planet Creations , establishes a delicate balance between rugged and warm materials, with raw wood contrasting against stark concrete walls. The villa is located in Tenkawa village, and it cantilevers over the Tenokawa River, 56 feet below. It’s built into flat bedrock, and the layout is split along the length of the structure. A bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom occupy one side, while the master bedroom, living room and deck area occupy the other. Related: Organic Japanese Shell Residence Wraps Around a Centenarian Fir Tree The steep slope dictated the design of the house and constrained the flatland space to only 64 square feet – enough to accommodate two cars and not much else. In order to ensure structural stability, the architect decided to “submerge the building near the rock so as to melt into this surrounding environment.” + Planet Creations Via Ignant Photos by Masato Sekiya

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