Food-starved Syrians are switching meat for mushrooms

August 10, 2017 by  
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Mushrooms are not a common crop in Syria . With government blockades creating food shortages, however, Syrians in embattled rebel strongholds like Douma are increasingly turning to mushrooms as a substitute for meat. As years of drawn-out sieges place meat and other staples of Syrian cuisine beyond most people’s reach, The Adala Foundation, a local nonprofit, began brainstorming alternatives. “We turned to cultivating mushrooms because they’re a food that has high nutritional value, similar to meat, and can be grown inside houses and basements,” Abu Nabil, an engineer who is project director of the group, told AFP . Mushrooms have proven to be a good source of protein and mineral salts, according to Muayad Mohieddin, Adala’s director. In addition, mushroom farming requires neither copious space nor deep pockets. Related: These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms There was just one problem: “This type of cultivation was totally unknown in Ghouta before the war,” said Mohieddin. Growing bags of mushrooms in a climate-controlled room known as the incubator, Adala has managed to distribute 1,300 kilograms (2,866 pounds) of mushrooms a week to 500 people across Douma and other parts of Eastern Ghota at no cost. “The distribution is free for the poorest families, and for those suffering malnutrition or spinal cord injuries that need lots of nutrients,” Abu Nabil said. Many of the project’s recipients were unfamiliar with mushrooms and had never eaten them before. One psychosocial center organized a workshop to teach people how to cook with mushrooms. Others turned to the Internet for tips. “On the first day, I fried them up with some onions, and on the second day I cooked them in a yoghurt sauce,” said Abu Adnan al-Sidawi, who received mushrooms through Adala. “Mushrooms are delicious cooked and we liked them in the yogurt sauce.” Via AFP Photos by Harshal Hirve and Jade Wulfraat on Unsplash

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Food-starved Syrians are switching meat for mushrooms

Brilliant Tesla solar cell roof rotates to naturally cool proposed desert home in Iran

August 10, 2017 by  
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Tesla appears to be taking aim at revolutionizing homeownership and architects are taking note. Hot on the heels of Tesla’s eagerly awaited solar roof, Tehran-based BMDesign Studios created Alavi House, a home in Isfahan, Iran that’s to be finished with Tesla’s new and seemingly invisible solar cells. Optimized for solar, the Alavi House will produce more energy than it needs and feature a smart and operable double-skin to promote natural heating and cooling of the home. Named after its clients, the 550-square-meter Alavi House is proposed for a site at the foothills of the Zagros Mountain range at the edge of a desert . Due to the arid climate, the architects used the prevailing winds from the south and southwest to inform the roof’s sloped shape and direction. “With a roof tilted toward East, we can create effective zones of negative pressure at the climax of the roof helping to ventilate the building naturally through most of the year,” wrote the architects. “Controllable vents, at the climax of the roof have a sucking effect, together with the large openings to the south of the building. Air filters by flowing through a broken line of evergreen trees (Cedrus deodara) and over a pool in the outdoors and then by passing over an indoor garden of Snake Plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) which is known to be a great air purifier (NASA Clean Air Study) and over a pond.” Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof The home is finished in concrete save for the double skin on the sloped roof that would be clad in the nearly imperceptible Tesla solar cells installed 30 centimeters above the roof. The operable double skin roof can rotate open to allow the sun to heat the concrete roof and warm the interior. Alternatively on colder days, the roof rotates close to provide shade from the sun, while simultaneously optimizing conditions for generating solar energy. The 194-square-meter solar roof would feature 104 solar modules capable of meeting a minimum of 29,000 kWh a year, far exceeding the average electricity consumption of an Iranian household. Insulated glazing wraps the building on the south side to let in natural light and frame views of the cherry orchard and mountains. Communal areas are placed on the ground floor and include a tv room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom that are connected to an indoor landscaped area and pool next to the outdoor pool. The upper level contains two master bedrooms and library. + BMDesign Studios Via highsnobiety Images via BMDesign Studios

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Brilliant Tesla solar cell roof rotates to naturally cool proposed desert home in Iran

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