Iceland’s largest volcano is on the verge of eruption

November 2, 2017 by  
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Bardarbunga, the largest volcano in Iceland , is preparing to erupt. And if it does, it could send an enormous ash cloud across Europe, affecting travel, air quality, and agriculture. Encased under the Vatnajokull glacier, the 6,590 foot volcano has been hit by four earthquakes measuring up to 4.7 on the Richter scale within the past week. “The reason for the earthquakes in this place is that the volcano Bardarbunga is inflating, i.e. the pressure of magma in the magma chamber is increasing,” said seismology expert Páll Einarsson to the Daily Star . “It has been doing this since the last eruption ended, in February 2015.” When Bardarbunga last erupted in 2014, it made news as the largest eruption Europe had seen in 240 years. Although the eruption did not affect travel, it did negatively impact air quality throughout Europe. Several years earlier, in 2010, volcanic eruptions at Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland spewed out a massive ash cloud, which caused enormous travel disruptions throughout Europe. During the relatively small eruptions and their aftermath, 20 countries shut down their airspace to commercial flights while 10 million travelers were affected by the disruptions. Related: Climate change and volcanic eruptions could lead to years without summer Although the recent earthquakes are signs of a future volcanic eruption, that does not mean that the eruption is imminent. “The volcano is clearly preparing for its next eruption, that may happen in the next few years,” said Einarsson. “The earthquakes last week are just the symptoms of this process, they do not cause the volcano to erupt.” However, it is better to prepare now than be caught off-guard later, particularly since Bardarbunga’s glacier-bound status may cause a particularly violent eruption. Dr. Thomas Walter of the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences told the Daily Mirror , “In that case, we’d have had a water vapor explosion with a volcanic ash cloud even bigger and longer lasting than the one that followed the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in 2010”. Via International Business Times Images via Peter Hartree/Flickr (1)

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Iceland’s largest volcano is on the verge of eruption

Supersonic car reaches 210mph in 8 seconds

October 30, 2017 by  
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The Bloodhound supersonic car wowed an audience of around 3,500 people at its first public run at England’s Cornwall Airport Newquay recently. In just eight seconds in its successful test, the car hit 210 miles per hour (mph) from a standing start. The team’s ultimate goal is to reach 1,000 mph and shatter the World Land Speed Record . The Bloodhound SSC created by The Bloodhound Project completed two runs on the airport runway, with an acceleration of 1.5G. The public test took place 20 years after driver Andy Green set the World Land Speed Record that still holds today of 763.035 mph. Green said of the successful public run, “The car is already working faster and better than we expected. I cannot wait to go faster!” He also said this is the longest time they’ve run the vehicle at around 21.5 minutes. Related: A 3D Printed Part Will be at the front of Bloodhound’s 1000 MPH Supersonic Car A Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine powered the Bloodhound SSC for the test, producing the combined output of 360 family cars, according to The Bloodhound Project. Runway wheels from an English Electric Lightning fighter helped the car travel rapidly down the runway. Why build a supersonic car? According to The Bloodhound Project’s website , their primary goal is “to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.” They offer education programs, including free online resources, school visits, activities at their Technical Center, and national rocket car championships. They’ve already motivated at least one student; Rolls-Royce engineer Jess Herbert said in the statement on the public test, “I was inspired to take up a career in engineering by the Bloodhound Project after the team visited my school and I then took up an apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce. I was lucky enough to have been at the unveiling of Bloodhound back in 2015…Being a Bloodhound Ambassador has given me the chance to share the story with the engineers of tomorrow and I hope that seeing the car in action will really help to bring the whole thing to life for them too.” + The Bloodhound Project Via The Bloodhound Project Images via Stefan Marjoram/The Bloodhound Project

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Supersonic car reaches 210mph in 8 seconds

Greenery will engulf this pair of metal prefab offices in Madrid

October 30, 2017 by  
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Nature is encouraged to take over this pair of prefabricated metal buildings in a leafy corner of Madrid . Designed by BETA.ø architecture office for a tennis and padel school, these two small buildings use simple pitched-roof geometry to recede into the landscape, so as not to disrupt the existing tree-lined environment. To further blend the architecture into the landscape, a metal mesh is overlaid atop steel cladding to allow vines to surround the building over time. The pair of weathered steel buildings comprises an office, a customer service area, and storage space for sporting equipment. The buildings, prefabricated in an off-site factory, were discreetly placed atop small concrete slabs as foundation to minimize site impact and pressure on tree roots. A metal mesh wraps around the rusty-brown facade, constructed of insulation sandwiched between phenolic panels and sheets of weathered steel. The interior is lined with varnished pine plywood paneling in the office, while waterproof plasterboard and embossed steel is used in the storage unit. Related: Green roof-ready Backyard Room pops up in six short weeks The void between the two steel structures is turned into a new rest space framed by large deciduous trees. The architects write: “Their outward appearance and formal rotundity, together with leisurely contemplation, carry the user’s imagination to the dream of a simple life, in harmony with nature, to the shelter of a solid structure that protects and caresses its occupants, breathing naturalism, balance and peace.” + BETA.ø architecture office Via ArchDaily Images via BETA.ø architecture office

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Greenery will engulf this pair of metal prefab offices in Madrid

"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

October 16, 2017 by  
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When you hear the word ‘ hurricane ,’ you probably don’t think about Ireland . But Tropical Storm Ophelia, which has been downgraded from its status as a hurricane, is on a path towards the country, with warnings of high seas, power outages , and hazardous conditions. Minister for Flood Relief Kevin Moran said at a Dublin press conference, “This is unprecedented.” An Atlantic hurricane has been whirling towards the United Kingdom . Although Ophelia is an ex-hurricane, the Irish Meteorological Service, Met Éireann , is warning of violent and destructive wind gusts that could reach between 120 and 150 kilometers per hour (km/h), or around 75 to 93 miles per hour (mph). They said heavy rain and storm surges in some coastal areas will lead to flooding , posing a danger to human property and lives. Related: How Hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands As many as 100,000 homes and businesses in the country have lost power, as power lines have been knocked down. An Electricity Supply Board spokesperson said earlier today many of the power lines are still live and asked people to stay away. The Met Éireann said at Cork Airport, wind gusts of 124 km/h, or 77 mph, were recorded; at Fastnet Rock wind gusts were 176 km/h, or 109 mph. The United Kingdom Met Office issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, Strathclyde, and Wales. They issued yellow warnings for 11 locations, including western areas in England and Yorkshire. A status red weather warning applies to all cities and counties in Ireland, according to prime minister Leo Varadkar, who told people to stay indoors. Speaking of Debbie, the largest storm recorded in the history of Ireland in the 1960’s, he said, “The last time we had a storm this severe 11 lives were lost so safety is our number one priority.” Via The Guardian Images via NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team and Met Éireann on Twitter

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"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

Northern Europes largest aquarium unveiled for former Oslo airport site

October 16, 2017 by  
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Aquariums are always good fun for families, but the New Aquarium slated for the outskirts of Oslo is sure to bring in architecture and design lovers too. London studio Haptic Architects unveiled renderings for a curvaceous aquarium modeled on local “svaberg” rock formations that hugs the waterfront and offers new public spaces, including an accessible roof. Planned for the former site of the Oslo airport in Bærum, the aquarium backed by developer Selvaag will house 7 million liters of water and be the biggest of its kind in northern Europe. The 10,000-square-meter New Aquarium will form part of a waterfront redevelopment masterplan, designed by Rodeo Architects , that includes boat and surfing clubs, a new urban beach, restaurants and bars, retail, offices, a seaplane terminal, and a new metro link to the city center. The sculptural aquarium is envisioned as two gently sloping rocks that lift up at the waterfront edge to reveal full-height glazing that frames views of the water. Visitors will be able to climb and walk across one of the undulating roofs. Related: South America’s largest aquarium boasts a 650-foot underwater tunnel “I have always loved the Norwegian ‘svaberg’ rocks,” said Haptic Architects’ Tomas Stokke of the local rock formations. “They are beautiful, sculptural objects, that form natural pockets, ponds and seating areas, gently heated by the sun. We wanted to recreate the qualities of this, in creating an aquarium with a distinct Norwegian quality.” Construction on the New Aquarium is expected to begin in 2020 and open in 2023. + Haptic Architects Via Dezeen Images via MIR

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Northern Europes largest aquarium unveiled for former Oslo airport site

A lush indoor jungle purifies air and encourages relaxation at Pudong Airport in Shanghai

October 10, 2016 by  
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At this airport, instead of stress, pollution and rushing, you can relax in a nature-filled lounge while breathing fresh, clean air. The new lounge for the Pudong Airport in Shanghai is a jungle-like environment filled with a mix of trees, bushes and flowers. Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architects, the designers behind “the world’s first vertical forest” , envisioned the space as an air-purifying device and a multi-functional area where passengers can relax and spend time while waiting for their flights. The two-part project, named Sky Jungle and Underground Jungle, will be located in two airport terminals. As a space densely populated with vegetation, the design brings nature to the sleek, technology-dominated architecture of airports. Related: Green Walled Skyscraper Complex Makes Waves in Kazahkistan The design is expected to help mitigate  congestion and regulate the influx of travelers. It will comprise several distinct spaces such as rest areas, several private rooms, and exhibition spaces . We are looking forward to seeing this project built and seeing photos of the first passengers strolling through this lush indoor jungle. + Stefano Boeri Architects

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A lush indoor jungle purifies air and encourages relaxation at Pudong Airport in Shanghai

Worlds largest airport-based solar farm makes creative use of land to generate clean energy

September 21, 2016 by  
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A few other airport-based solar farms exist, but none are as massive as the IND Solar Farm. During three phases, the solar farm sprawled across 183 acres. 87,478 panels generate as much power as 3,650 homes would use. In total, the vast solar farm generates 20 megawatts (MW) AC and 25 MW DC. Compare that with the Denver International Airport Solar Farm, which has the capacity to power around 2,595 homes with 10 MW . Related: USDA Researchers Want Airports To Double as Renewable Energy Farms “The IND Solar Farm goes back to 2009 or 2010,” General Manager Kent Ebbing told Inhabitat. He was the project manager for the innovative solar farm, and continues to ensure the solar farm is maintained to the airport’s standards. “Generally airports put hay fields near runways. Instead of a hay field, we wondered if there was anything we could construct that would be conducive to height restrictions. We realized solar panels could be placed there, would generate more revenue than hay rent, and would be a good use of land.” Phase 1, which comprises 44,128 stationary panels, is the site closest to the runways. The Phase 1 installation appears to undulate, like gentle ocean waves. Rather than flattening the land, the airport authority had the solar panels installed right on top of natural land curves. As I snapped photos from a highway overpass, an airplane flew over the Phase 1 solar panels to land on the runway just beyond. For Phase 2a, the team switched from stationary to tracking panels to “comply with the Optical Study requirements under revised Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations on solar projects constructed on airport property,” according to Ebbing. The 31,100 remotely-controlled tracking panels can be turned 110 degrees, or adjusted just a few inches to best take advantage of the sunshine. Phase 2a is divided by a road and trees to preserve the habitat of the endangered Indiana bat . A river runs through the oak and poplar trees, providing a great place for mosquitoes to live, and the bats eat the mosquitoes. Close by Phase 2a is the third phase, Phase 2b, which at 11,250 tracking panels is the smallest phase. “We have the largest airport-based solar farm in the world. We’re the top of the pinnacle now,” said Ebbing. So who gets the energy from the IND Solar Farm? Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not wired directly to the airport, but to the grid. Local energy companies gather the power and pay the airport rent. The energy companies will be able to lease the solar panels for 30 years to start. The airport never actually spent money on the IND Solar Farm; rather, private sources fully funded it. Another question that commonly pops up is concern the panels will blind pilots. That’s not the case, Ebbing said. He pointed out that solar panels absorb light – they don’t reflect it. While some parts of the solar installation in Phase 1 include aluminum cross-rails, which are more reflective, the panels rest over the aluminum frames so pilots don’t see them. Ebbing said white buildings actually reflect more light than solar panels. “Everybody has been very supportive,” he said. “The airport has always been conscious of sustainability ; it meets standards but really goes a step beyond to do everything they can to protect the environment. The Indianapolis terminal was the first airport terminal to be LEED certified, and the airport authority has done things with storm water treatment. The IND Solar Farm reflects the concept of what the airport authority has been doing for 10 years.” + IND Solar Farm Images via Kent Ebbing and Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat

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Worlds largest airport-based solar farm makes creative use of land to generate clean energy

12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando

June 15, 2016 by  
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After hearing about the Orlando shooting that claimed 49 lives, one ministry of the Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) rounded up a gang of furry, fluffy members to help. The LLC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry sends trained comfort dogs around the country to help with the healing process, and 12 of their canines arrived in Orlando earlier this week. LLC President Tom Hetzner said the ministry tries to respond 24 hours after they are invited. After putting out a call, 12 dogs from seven states across America were dispatched to Orlando. The first 11 arrived on Monday, and the final dog arrived on Tuesday. Related: Shelter Buddies helps kids volunteer to read to shelter dogs Right away the dogs started providing comfort. In the airport, they brought smiles as people paused to see them. The dogs were present at a vigil attended by more than 7,000 people, and LLC estimates they’ve interacted with hundreds of people so far, from first responders to Pulse staff to the victims’ families. Hetzner said the dogs will be there to help the entire community as they work through the ordeal. He said when people interact with the dogs, their blood pressure lowers and they’re able to relax and get to a space where they feel comfortable opening up about their experience. Hetzner told The Dodo , “Some people just want to lay on the ground with them and talk. The dogs are like a bridge for people to talk about what’s bothering them. The dogs are confidential, they’re good listeners, and they’re nonjudgmental. And talking about things is one of the most important ways to heal.” The dogs will stay in Orlando for at least a week, and will stay longer if they need to. If you’d like to help, you can donate to the LLC K-9 Comfort Dog Fund . Via My Modern Met and The Dodo Images via Ruthie Comfort Dog’s Facebook

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12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando

South Korea considers shutting down aging coal-fired power plants

June 15, 2016 by  
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South Korea is considering a plan to shut down aging coal-fired power plants in an attempt to address air pollution and fine dust emissions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is drafting the initiative which could see the oldest and most polluting plants phased out. According to Korea Times, out of 53 coal-fired power plants in the country, 11 are over 30-years-old and three have been in operation for more than 40 years. “The government has decided to close down aged coal-powered power plants accused of air pollution and fine dust emissions,” South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-Hwan said in his keynote speech at the Future Energy Forum in Seoul. He said that natural gas facilities would generate more electricity to avoid any possible electricity shortages. Related: South Korea races to create the world’s first carbon-free island While the South Korean government blames China for up to half of the fine dust floating in the air over the Korean Peninsula, Greenpeace says that 50 to 70 percent of particle-laden smog (PM2.5) comes from South Korea’s coal-fired power plants. South Korea scrapped plans for four new coal-fired power plants as part of its commitment to the Paris climate agreement signed by nearly 200 nations this past December. However, 20 new plants are still planned by 2021. Via Climate Action News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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1,500-year-old village discovered at airport site in Norway

January 6, 2016 by  
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Pre-construction excavation at the site of Norway’s upcoming Ørland Airport expansion has turned up a treasure trove of artifacts dating back to an era before the Vikings ruled the land. Researchers uncovered the post holes and fire pits for three large “longhouses” that would have stood at the center of the village — but what really excited them was the discovery of several large trash pits, called “ middens .” Among the garbage, they found a number of Iron Age artifacts that offered insights into how the locals lived, including jewelry and pieces of glass. Read the rest of 1,500-year-old village discovered at airport site in Norway

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1,500-year-old village discovered at airport site in Norway

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