Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

August 22, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei is returning to New York City – and he’s planning to install fences around 300 sites in one of his largest public art projects to date. According to the artist, “Good Fences Make New Neighbors” is a reaction to “a retreat from the essential attitude of openness” in American politics. The exhibition opens on October 12 and it was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization. All in all, the project will comprise 10 major fence-themed installations in addition to scores of smaller works. Said Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, “This is the most ambitious that we’ve undertaken since I’ve been here. Certainly, it’s the most distributed throughout the city.” In the past, the Public Art Fund commissioned major artists like Alexander Calder and Sol LeWitt to produce thought-provoking masterpieces. Related: Miami Artist Smashes $1 Million Vase by Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei “In Protest” Ai Weiwei was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” to build the fences – and they will be located in multiple boroughs, including Manhatten , Queens, and Brooklyn. Some of the sites include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and the Cooper Union building in Manhattan. + Good Fences Make Good Neighbors + Ai Weiwei Via New York Times Images via Ai Weiwei and Public Art Fund

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Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

August 22, 2017 by  
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Looking for ways to spruce up your yard with some nifty DIY outdoor furniture ? This wooden trellis, built by Notcot ‘s Jean Aw and Shawn Sims, is a head-turning project that combines a vine-supporting exterior structure with a cozy wooden bench on the inside. From one side, its a beautiful yard feature that hosts lush greenery, but from the other side, it is the perfect cozy spot for entertaining and relaxing. The trellis doesn’t function only as support for beautiful passion flowers, but also doubles as a private nook with an L-shaped wooden bench . The couple wanted to create a private space for their back yard that’s comfortable to lounge on. They paired it with smaller coffee tables, transforming it into a multifunctional space where they can relax, dine or work. Related: This pallet-based patio proves that even renters can have stylishly-remodeled spaces Passion flower vines growing up the wooden structure acts as camouflage that hides the seating area, turning it into a lush, private oasis. The structure is sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Head on over to Notcot to see how it was done. Via Notcot

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This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

You’ve heard of self-healing concrete and even the potential of a self-healing starship , but what about rubber that repairs itself? The invention now exists, thanks to researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). In a new study published in Advanced Materials , the research team reveals how they developed a hybrid rubber with both covalent and reversible bonds that is capable of repairing itself. While self-healing materials aren’t new (researchers at SEAS created self-healing hydrogens which rely on water to incorporate reversible bonds that promote self-healing), this is the first time engineers have created a self-healing rubber. The task was difficult, as rubber is made of polymers often connected by permanent, covalent bonds. Because the bonds are strong, they never reconnect once broken. The researchers overcame this by making the bonds connecting the polymers reversible, so the material could break and reform. Related: This rubber-jointed LED table lamp can bend in any direction like Gumby To mix covalent and reversible bonds, the researchers developed a molecular rope (called randomly branched polymers) which tied the two types of bonds together. This rope allowed two previously unmixable bonds (“like oil and water,” according to Li-Heng Cai, a corresponding author) to be mixed homogeneously on a molecular scale. It was this step that produced the self-healing rubber. Unlike typical rubber, the self-healing variety redistributes stress so there is no localized point of trauma that results in cracking. When the stress is released, the material “snaps back” to its original form and the cracks repair themselves. Harvard’s Office of Technology Development has already filed a patent for the technology and is seeking commercialization opportunities. This means that in the very near future, objects that utilize rubber are likely to become more durable. Cai, a postdoctoral fellow at SEAS, Jinrong Wu, a visiting professor from Sichuan University, China , and author David A. Weitz, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, developed the hybrid rubber as a team. Their research was supported by the National Science Foundation, Harvard Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) and the National Institute of Health/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “There is still a lot more to do. For materials science , it is not fully understood why this hybrid rubber exhibits crazes when stretched,” Weitz said. “For engineering, the applications of the hybrid rubber that take advantage of its exceptional combination of optical transparency, toughness , and self-healing ability remain to be explored. Moreover, the concept of using molecular design to mix covalent and reversible bonds to create a homogenous hybrid elastomer is quite general and should enable development of tough, self-healing polymers of practical usage.” + Advanced Materials Via GreenCarCongress Images via Pixabay ,  Peter and Ryan Allen/Harvard SEAS

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Harvard researchers just developed self-healing rubber

Trump administration disbands climate change advisory panel

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

The 70,000 people that venture each year to Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada need shelter that will protect them from the elements – and refugees around the world need them even more. Christian Weber, who has been going to the desert festival for over 20 years, decided there had to be a better way than the fragile old hexayurts that were hard to assemble. So he designed foldable Shiftpods that now provide warmth and safety for displaced people all over the world. Weber started by making his shelters for friends headed to Burning Man , not thinking he’d just started what would turn into a multimillion-dollar business. He ended up with 300 orders. So he launched his own company, Advanced Shelter Systems Inc (ASSI), in California, and from the beginning decided to donate one Shiftpod for every 20 sold. Related: Self-shaping shelters that could revolutionize emergency housing Weber designed a shelter that can fold up into one piece. Shiftpods are insulated and tall enough for most people to stand up inside. It also stands up to wind – in a recent test at John Brown University the shelter didn’t blow away until winds from a giant fan placed by the Shiftpod reached 109 miles per hour. ASSI recently started offering their Shiftpod 2.0, which weighs 64 pounds. When it’s popped open, it offers 12.5 feet by 12.5 feet by six feet and ten inches of space. Folded up, it’s 76 by 13 by 13 inches. It costs $1,499.99, but is currently on sale for $1,299. But Weber didn’t stop with festival shelters. He told Fast Company, “There’s 53.4 million forcibly displaced in the world right now because of wars and politics. A lot of them are living in shanty shacks with blue tarps, so we’re trying to create a low-cost, easy-to-ship, easy-to-set-up unit that people can live in for up to five years.” Now Shiftpods have popped up in Nepal, Japan, Ecuador, Haiti, and North Dakota, to name a few countries. ASSI now offers Shelterpods and Responsepods, both targeted for disaster relief . ASSI eventually aims to offer kits that offer more than just shelter. Every year at Burning Man, Weber’s group of campers transport their Shiftpods in a shipping container that then serves as an air-conditioned kitchen with fold-down tables. Weber’s goal “…is to set up kits for individuals to take with them that have a shelter, water filtration, and everything you need for a family of four to survive for 30 days. And to build systems for up to 1,600 people [that can be stored] in one container.” + Advanced Shelter Systems Inc. Via Fast Company Images via ASSI and Shiftpod Facebook

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First designed for Burning Man, foldable Shiftpods now shelter refugees around the world

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

Three glass arms and a sunken visitor center enhance this renovated Dutch park

August 22, 2017 by  
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Some people have a wonderful knack for devising new ways of seeing the world – including Studio Maks and Junya Ishigami + Associates, who designed this sublime park expansion in the Netherlands . The new triangular-shaped visitor center in Park Vijversburg acts as an extension of the adjacent historical villa, while ensuring minimal impact on the parkland. Three sweeping glass corridors extend from the center, providing visitors with a more immediate perspective of the surrounding landscape. The addition to the recently refurbished park aims to accommodate the increasing number of visitors by providing new exhibition and meeting spaces. Studio Maks’ Marieke Kums and Tokyo-based architect Junya Ishigami designed the center as a partially sunken single-floor structure that has minimal impact on the site. Related: New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history of one of Denmark’s oldest towns Its three curved arms are fully glazed and free of columns and other structural elements. This creates an uninterrupted flow and views of the parkland , while giving a floating appearance to the roof. “We wanted to make a most subtle intervention,” Kums said. “Although the pavilion is an architectural project, it was designed and imagined as part of the landscape.” Rotterdam studio LOLA Landscape, Utrecht-based Deltavormgroep, Hummelo-based Piet Oudolf and Frankfurt-based artist Tobias Rehberger designed an additional 15 hectares of new landscape. + Studio Maks + Junya Ishigami + Associates Via Dezeen Photos by Iwan Baan

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Three glass arms and a sunken visitor center enhance this renovated Dutch park

Why Los Angeles has started to paint its streets white

August 22, 2017 by  
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Though it lacks the humidity of East Coast heat, Los Angeles still burns. The City of Angels is one of the only places in the United States where heat-related deaths occur regularly during winter. This public health hazard is only expected to worsen as climate change gains strength over the next decades. Located in a desert valley and dominated by asphalt roads to facilitate its car culture, LA is extremely vulnerable – and, fortunately, innovative. The sprawling cityscape of nearly 4 million people (over 13 million in the metro area) has begun to paint its streets white, in hopes of using the color’s natural heat-reflecting properties to lower the temperature and make LA a healthier place to live. Los Angeles, and many other cities around the world, suffer from what is called the urban heat island effect, in which the dense infrastructure and activity of the city generates and traps heat beyond what might normally be expected based on the region’s climate . To combat this effect, Los Angeles is covering its streets with CoolSeal, a light-colored paint that has already yielded positive outcomes. “We found that on average the area covered in CoolSeal is 10 degrees cooler than black asphalt on the same parking lot,” said Greg Spotts, the assistant director of the Bureau of Street Services for San Fernando Valley, one of the hottest spots in Greater LA. Related: Restorative Healing Gardens take over a concrete garage rooftop in L.A. LA officials hope that cooler streets will result in cooler homes, which in turn keeps energy costs and health risks low. “Not everyone has the resources to use air conditioning, so there’s concern that some low-income families will suffer” if something is not done to counteract the rising heat, said Alan Barreca, an environmental science professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “The [cool-treated] pavement would provide benefits to everyone.” The coating, which costs $40,000 per mile and lasts for seven years, will be applied to streets in a pilot program before it is applied citywide. Its future looks bright. “We’ve done things over and over again that people said couldn’t be done,” Spotts said, “and this time is no different.” Via Washington Post Images via  Giuseppe Milo/Flickr (1)

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Why Los Angeles has started to paint its streets white

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

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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

The commercial building sector is disrupting the lighting industry

August 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Moving beyond energy savings and building codes for the adoption of “human-centric” lighting controls.

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The commercial building sector is disrupting the lighting industry

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