World’s first 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip could help end animal testing

October 25, 2016 by  
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When it comes to medical breakthroughs, the most exciting advances tend to involve technology that can lead to better and earlier diagnoses of various health problems , but breakthroughs that save animals are pretty good too. A team of Harvard University researchers has done just that by developing an entirely 3D-printed “heart-on-a-chip” that may some day eliminate animal testing in medical research. The innovation, which makes it possible to monitor heart performance, is the latest in a medical technology trend of building functional, synthetic replicas of living human organs in an effort to better understand how they work, or—more to the point—how they fail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHhMlL9flMY Each organ-on-a-chip (also known as a “microphysiological system”) is constructed from a translucent, flexible polymer. The 3D-printed organs mimic the biological environment of our internal organs, and give scientists an up-close look at how they function. The heart-on-a-chip developed at Harvard can help researchers collect reliable data for short-term and long-term studies. Because the device is 3D-printed , scientists can easily customize its design to meet the specifications of their research, and the chips can be fabricated quickly. Related: See-through microchip organs help scientists test new drugs “This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customize the design of the system by integrating sensing but also drastically simplifies data acquisition,” said Johan Ulrik Lind, lead author and postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Other Harvard research teams have developed microphysiological systems that mimic the microarchitecture and functions of lungs, hearts, tongues, and intestines. These synthetic organs could replace animal testing with a customizable and completely humane alternative that may also lead to more accurate results. Unfortunately, the cost for fabricating these organs-on-a-chip is still quite high, and the process is also time-consuming. Researchers are continuously pushing forward to improve their methods, though, in the hopes of making this a viable and cost-effective alternative toward the cruel practice of animal testing. The results of the team’s research were published this week in the journal Nature Materials. Via Gizmodo Images via Harvard University

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World’s first 3D-printed heart-on-a-chip could help end animal testing

REI announces plan to close all 149 stores on Black Friday

October 25, 2016 by  
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Feeding the frenetic consumerism beast, Black Friday takes a hefty environmental toll each year. To combat the craziness, REI decided to close all 149 branches again this year with their #OptOutside campaign. They’ll pay their 12,287 employees and encourage participants to skip the mall and spend time in nature instead. Want to join in? Share your outdoor adventures on social media with the hashtag #OptOutside. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEVXU4RDUoI With the goal of creating new traditions for the Thanksgiving holiday, REI offers a green alternative through their #OptOutside campaign. To make it even easier for people to forgo shopping and spend time in nature, REI has created an outside activity finder online so people can find state parks or trails close to where ever they are spending Thanksgiving. Explorers can search for places to go hiking, climbing, mountain biking, skiing, or snowboarding. They can also filter for family- or dog-friendly activities. Related: California and Minnesota state parks are free on Black Friday CEO Jerry Stritzke said in a statement, “This year, REI will shut down on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday because fundamentally we believe that being outside makes us our best selves – healthier and happier, physically and mentally. But as a nation we’re still spending over 90 percent of our lives indoors and it’s a trend we need to tackle. I love that there is a community of people in this country who dedicate their lives to that mission, so together, we are asking America, ‘Will you go out with us?'” 275 local and national organizations will join REI to promote the #OptOutside campaign through activities or social media posts, including Subaru, Google, and Meetup. For example, Subaru will offer pet owners in New York City shuttle rides for them and their dogs out of the urban jungle to nature, and will drive shelter dogs to the outdoors to spend time outside of their cages. You can check out the full list of #OptOutside partners here . + REI #OptOutside Images via REI Facebook and REI

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REI announces plan to close all 149 stores on Black Friday

Beautiful organic food facility mimics the shape of traditional Chinese courtyard houses

October 25, 2016 by  
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Located on a 6,000-square-meter site surrounded by village housing and farmland, the Organic Farm processing plant disguises its industrial purpose with a series of fragmented structures arranged around a central courtyard. Most of the buildings are single-story with pitched roofs to complement the surrounding flat farm fields and small-scale architecture. The buildings are separated into four processing areas—Material Storage, the Mill, Oil Pressing Workshop, and Packing Area—each with access to smaller courtyards. Covered walkways link the different blocks. The inner courtyard is the Grain-Sunning Ground. Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure A 60-centimeter-tall cement base protects the glued-timber-framed buildings from ground moisture. Translucent polycarbonate sheets clad the facades to let in copious amounts of natural light ; at night the buildings appear to glow like a lantern. “The space, structure, materials and the multiple layered exterior courtyards together creates a warm, natural, and continuous working atmosphere for this farm,” writes ARCHSTUDIO. + ARCHSTUDIO Via Dezeen Images via ARCHSTUDIO

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Beautiful organic food facility mimics the shape of traditional Chinese courtyard houses

Horse Poop Could Be the Key to Commercial Biofuel Production

April 12, 2013 by  
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Horse photo from Shutterstock Scientists just discovered a key ingredient that could help propel the production of biofuel: horse poop . Converting corn stalks and grass to biofuel requires removing lignin and breaking down cellulose, which is a complicated and expensive process. But thanks to an enzyme that lives in fungi in horse manure, scientists were able to drastically reduce costs, inching biofuel closer to becoming a viable and cost-effective energy source. Read the rest of Horse Poop Could Be the Key to Commercial Biofuel Production Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative energy , biofuels , commercial production of biofuels , eco design , green design , horse manure fuel , horse poop biofuel , Poo Power! , sustainable design        

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Horse Poop Could Be the Key to Commercial Biofuel Production

On Her Majesty’s Eco-Friendly Service: MI6 To Reveal Its Green Credentials

April 12, 2013 by  
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Britain’s MI6—now known as The Secret Intelligence Service —is regarded as one of the world’s leading intelligence agencies, and has a reputation for keeping its operations very much undercover. However, the agency is about to make certain details about its work public; specifically, details of its recycling rates and electricity, gas and water usage, as a provision of the UK’s Regulation 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) . This piece of legislation essentially means that all public bodies have to reveal their environmental footprints, however secretive they may be when it comes to the rest of their operations. Read the rest of On Her Majesty’s Eco-Friendly Service: MI6 To Reveal Its Green Credentials Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco footprint , Electricity , gas , green credentials , James Bond , mi5 , MI6 , Secret Intelligence Service , UK , UK’s Regulation 4 of the Environmental Information Regulations (2004) , water issues        

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On Her Majesty’s Eco-Friendly Service: MI6 To Reveal Its Green Credentials

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