Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

August 22, 2017 by  
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Donald Trump’s administration appears determined to sweep away federal efforts to address climate change . The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the administration would disband the Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment , a group comprised of academics, officials, and representatives from corporations. Committee chair Richard Moss said the risky move could hurt the economic prospects of the next generation. The charter for the 15-person advisory panel, established in 2015 for the National Climate Assessment , expired over the weekend on Sunday. On Friday, acting administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ben Friedman told the committee chair they wouldn’t be renewing the panel. Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ The National Climate Assessment is supposed to come out every four years in accordance with a 1990 law calling for the assessment, but has only come out three times since. The next assessment is scheduled for 2018. The Washington Post reported the Trump administration has been going over the Climate Science Special Report, which is crucial to the next National Climate Assessment. Scientists from 13 federal agencies said in the special report that human activity likely led to a global temperature increase from 1.1 to 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit between 1951 and 2010. NOAA communications director Julie Roberts told The Washington Post in an email that the move to disband the panel “does not impact the completion of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which remains a key priority.” But the advisory panel’s job was to help translate National Climate Assessment findings into guidance for officials in both the public and private sectors, so the decision could leave state officials with little guidance on how to consider climate change in infrastructure . Seattle mayor Ed Murray said the move is “…an example of the president not leading, and the president stepping away from reality.” Via The Washington Post Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Derek Liang on Unsplash

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Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

How long US residents have to wait until the next solar eclipse

August 22, 2017 by  
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If you find yourself wanting more after yesterday’s highly-anticipated total solar eclipse , don’t fret. In just 2,422 days, or approximately seven years, another “once in a lifetime” event will occur in the United States. The total solar eclipse will take place on April 8, 2024, and its path will include cities like Dallas and Indianapolis. Technically, the next solar eclipse will occur outside of the U.S. on July 2, 2019. Only those in South American countries such as Chile and Argentina will be able to view it, however. For this reason, U.S. citizens should mark their 2024 calendars. On April 8, 2024, according to NASA , the solar eclipse will travel from Mexico to Texas, proceed through Illinois and New York, glance Maine, and then leave land in Newfoundland. Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars Though seven years is not a long stretch of time, a lot is expected to change by 2024. Not only will self-driving cars become more widespread, sophisticated innovations to make viewing eclipses safer and more enjoyable will likely be invented. For now, aspiring astronomers can look forward to July 31, 2018, when Mars makes its closest pass to the Earth in its orbit. NASA reports, “This is very close to Mars ‘opposition’ where the sun, Earth, and Mars line up. This happens once every 26 months and is important because Mars is relatively small and its distance from Earth varies greatly.” On that date, Mars will be 57,590,630 km from Earth. As a result, most backyard telescopes should be able to pick up its southern polar cap and a few surface features. Via NASA , Recode Images via Pixabay, NASA

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How long US residents have to wait until the next solar eclipse

New images show progress on the next world’s tallest building

August 22, 2017 by  
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New images of Santiago Calatrava ‘s Dubai Creek Tower have emerged, showing construction progress on what is expected to become the world’s tallest building. Developer Emaar Properties released site photos and video of the 2.3 square-mile complex, which is designed to eclipse the height of the Burj Khalifa by at least 300 feet. Emaar Properties and Dubai Holdings joined together to build the new complex in Dubai, which will feature a 3,045-foot tower designed by Calatrava as its centerpiece. The tower requires laying record-breaking 236-foot deep foundation piles capped with 1.59 million cubic feet of concrete. Related: The world’s tallest tower just broke ground in Dubai The tower, inspired by the lily flower and mosque minarets, will feature a 68-mile array of supporting cables, a 360-degree observation deck and a Hanging Gardens of Babylon-style floor. It broke ground last year, but the developer still hasn’t confirmed the completion date. According to previous reports, the project is expected to be ready in time for Dubai Expo 2020 . + Santiago Calatrava + Emaar Properties + Dubai Holdings Via Archinect

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New images show progress on the next world’s tallest building

Make Your Own Kokedama String Garden

August 22, 2017 by  
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Kokedama string gardens are a centuries-old art form where a plant’s roots are wrapped in moss and suspended. This gardening method is the perfect way to add a natural decor element to any space — not to mention, it’s a fun do-it-yourself…

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Make Your Own Kokedama String Garden

A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

August 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Once Hawaii publicized its goal to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2045, the state’s options to get there expanded greatly. “We saw a slew of different solutions that can help Hawaii get to its renewables goal,” said Luis Salaveria, director of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT). That includes the renewables mix of hydro, wind and solar, as well as the technology to get power on the grid. 

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A mix of energy sources advance Hawaii’s renewables goal

Elon Musk urges UN to ban artificially intelligent killer robots

August 21, 2017 by  
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The same man who brought you PayPal , Tesla and SpaceX is now urging the UN to ban the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in weaponry. Elon Musk believes that artificially intelligent “killer robots” are “morally wrong” and a potential threat to humanity – and he’s petitioning the UN along with 115 other experts in robotics to prevent “a third revolution in warfare.” In a letter to the United Nations, the experts ask for killer robot technology to be added to the list of weapons banned under the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. ”Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter says. “These can be weapons of terror , weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.” The urgent tone of the letter cannot be missed. The leaders warn, “we do not have long to act” and add, “Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.” The BBC reports that a killer robot is a fully autonomous weapon capable of selecting and engaging targets without human intervention. Developed for the purpose of war, the technology could be a potential threat to humanity. For this reason, the experts in robotics are requesting autonomous “kill functions” be banned. The UN group focusing on autonomous weaponry was scheduled to reconvene this Monday. However, the meeting has now been postponed to November. Related: Elon Musk has a simple plan to power the US entirely on renewable energy This isn’t the first time the faction of the UN has considered a ban on killer robot technology. In 2015, more than 1,000 tech experts, researchers, and scientists wrote a letter warning about the dangers of autonomous weaponry. Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Musk were among the signatories. Via BBC Images via Depositphotos , Pixabay , OnInnovation

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Elon Musk urges UN to ban artificially intelligent killer robots

Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use

August 21, 2017 by  
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Every like and tweet costs energy, which isn’t great for climate change. That’s why the American-Norwegian data company Kolos is building a new data center in northern Norway. Designed to be the largest in the world, it will be powered strictly by renewable energy sources and the cold climate and low humidity will help offset energy demands. Kolos partnered with architecture design firm HDR to finance and design the center, which will make internet use significantly more sustainable. Data centers require huge amounts of power due to their cooling demands, so why not put one in a fjord that sits within the Arctic Circle ? Kolos’ proposal will be a fortress of data, the design of which is inspired by Norway ‘s spectacular landforms, mountains and glaciers. Related: How Sweden plans to heat homes with internet searches Kolos says the new facility will rely mostly on wind and hydroelectricity harvested from the surrounding waterways to meet its energy needs, reducing energy costs by 60 percent. The project will provide a record-breaking 1,000 MW of power and about 2000 to 3000 new jobs. + Kolos + HDR Via New Atlas

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Massive new data center to be built in chilly Norway to offset energy use

NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

August 21, 2017 by  
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Devastating wildfires have blazed through Portugal, Canada, and Siberia this summer – with some people beginning to wonder if climate change will make such destructive fires normal. Maps with data from NASA’s Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) reveal a world filled with red. National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Kevin Trenberth told DW, “A lot of these things are happening locally, but people don’t always connect them to climate change. But there is a real climate change component to this and the risk is going up because of climate change.” NASA’s FIRMS Web Fire Mapper data from the last seven days, from August 14 to August 21, shown in the map above, reveals a world on fire. DW said Europe has experienced three times the average number of wildfires in summer 2017. Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Greece suffered from fire as heatwaves incited dry, hot conditions. Related: This is how hot it will be in your neck of the woods if we don’t slow climate change 894,941 hectares have burned in Canada this season, according to the British Columbia Wildfire Service – in the worst season for fires since we started keeping records. People in Portugal have especially suffered: earlier in the season 64 people perished and around 2,000 people were cut off by a recent blaze surrounding Macao. Hundreds of homes were destroyed by wildfire in Siberia , and even Greenland saw a fire described as unprecedented. Some scientists are connecting these blazes to climate change, saying as temperatures rise , fires could occur more often. Trenberth told DW, “What’s really happening is that there is extra heat available. That heat has to go somewhere and some of it goes into raising temperatures. But the first thing that happens is that it goes into drying – it dries out plants and increases the risk of wildfires.” Via DW Images via FIRMS Web Fire Mapper and NASA Earthdata Facebook

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NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire

Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

August 21, 2017 by  
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Mercedes-Benz decided to go back to the 1930s for its latest concept car, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept. With its imposing grille and long, sensuous curves, this stunning car may be inspired by the art deco movement dating back to France before World War I, but it has a 21st century powertrain with four electric motors. At 20-feet-long, the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet is over five feet longer than the Nissan Leaf . At the front there’s a grille that’s inspired by a pinstripe suit, while as you move back, the extremely long hood and flowing lines are definitive of the art deco era. At the rear, Mercedes-Benz drew inspiration from a luxury yacht for the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet’s round “boat tail.” Related: Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ “The Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet takes modern luxury into the realms of the ultimate in luxury, and is the perfect embodiment of our design strategy,” explains Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. He adds, “Breathtaking proportions combined with a luxurious “haute couture” interior help to create the ultimate experience.” Inside, there’s only room for two passengers, but the yacht theme continues with an open-pore wood floor with inlaid aluminum. The spacious interior features a flowing aesthetic that brings exterior and interior together, a holistic design that highlights a floating, transparent center tunnel visualizing the drive system’s electrical energy flow with blue fiber optics. While the design of the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 cabriolet concept may recall the best of the art deco era, its powertrain looks to the future. The concept is powered by four electric motors that generate a total 750 horsepower. With that much power, it could reach 60 mph in four seconds, and it has a driving range over 200 miles. Images @Mercedes-Benz + Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz unveils stunning art deco-inspired electric car

Oldest ice core ever dated reveals hidden clues to ancient Earth’s atmosphere

August 21, 2017 by  
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Ice cores hold secrets of what our planet was like millions of years ago, in bubbles preserving greenhouse gases from that time. A Princeton University -led team just revealed the date of ice from the oldest ice core we’ve ever dated, and it’s 2.7 million years old. Breaking the previous record by around 1.7 million years, the ice core could potentially help scientists determine what set off the ice ages . The ice core could help scientists understand more about our planet’s atmosphere millions of years ago. University of California, Berkeley geochemist David Shuster, who wasn’t part of the research, told Science Magazine, “This is the only sample of ancient Earth’s atmosphere that we have access to.” And the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the planet’s atmosphere, according to research on the ice core, may surprise some: they didn’t exceed 300 parts per million. Related: Why scientists are transporting ice from a mountain in Bolivia to Antarctica There are models of our planet’s ancient climate which hinted there would need to be low levels of CO2 to trigger ice ages. But according to Science Magazine, proxies that came from the fossils of animals who dwelt in shallow oceans had hinted at higher CO2 levels. The proxies may need to be re-calibrated if the new ice core dating holds up. Researchers unearthed the ice core from what’s called blue ice in East Antarctica. Science Magazine explained that in blue ice areas, glacial flow has allowed some ancient ice to come up to the surface. As a result, scientists don’t need to drill as deep to obtain old ice core samples in blue ice. The Princeton team hopes to extract still more ice cores from there and geochemist Ed Brook of Oregon State University , who was part of the team, said they could potentially find ice that dates back five million years. Princeton University graduate student Yuzhen Yan presented the research at the Goldschmidt Conference in Paris earlier this month. Scientists from institutions in California and Maine also made contributions. Via Science Magazine Images via Yuzhen Yan, Department of Geosciences

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Oldest ice core ever dated reveals hidden clues to ancient Earth’s atmosphere

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