Nanoleaf’s Terra light wall paints Arctic landscapes with 1,200 color-changing LEDs

July 3, 2017 by  
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Nanoleaf – creators of the first modular smart light – recently unveiled a mesmerizing light wall at Alaska ‘s Anchorage Museum that evokes remote Arctic landscapes. “Terra” is made up of 1,200 Nanoleaf Aurora LED panels, which display beautiful imagery of sunsets and polar bears with over 16 million colors. Terra is Nanoleaf’s largest Aurora installation to date – it’s made from 1,200 triangular panels that can be connected together like LEGO bricks. Related: Add a splash of ‘living paint’ to your walls with Nanoleaf’s new LED light panels Thanks to improvements made by Nanoleaf, Aurora panels now offer voice control with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT integration, and an open API – which was used to create Terra’s moving arctic imagery. “The belief that lighting should be a more joyful experience was largely what inspired the Aurora,” said Nanoleaf CEO & Co-Founder Gimmy Chu. “Even though many people only see light as a function, we know that light is vital in creating the right ambiance. We wanted to give that experience back to the user, and hopefully inspire more creative ways of using light in a space – which is exactly what we’ve seen with ‘Terra’ at the Anchorage Museum. We see the Aurora as the ultimate tool for self-expression.” + Nanoleaf

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Nanoleaf’s Terra light wall paints Arctic landscapes with 1,200 color-changing LEDs

Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

May 29, 2017 by  
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The highest aviation alert was issued on Saturday after a volcano on Alaska’s Bogoslof Island erupted. As a result of the code “red” alert, pilots were instructed to fly at least 35,000 ft., and possibly as high as 45,000 ft, above the volcano to prevent its fiery ash from melting parts of the plane . According to the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), the volcano that erupted is part of the Aleutian Island chain. Not long after a code “red” was issued, it was downgraded to a code “orange.” “We actually went to color code red this afternoon because of numerous lightning detections and increased seismic signals,” said Jeffrey Freymueller of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska. Flights transiting from Asia to North America were most affected. Freymueller added that lightning in the Aleutians is often caused by volcanic plumes. “The combination of lightning and seismic data allowed us to go to red within about half an hour of the start of the eruption,” he said. In total, the eruption lasted for approximately 50 minutes. Related: Iceland’s “Thor” volcano power plant can generate 10X more energy than oil or gas wells Because the eruption is very recent, “Bogoslof volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition,” says a report issued by the Observatory. It went on to say that “additional explosions producing high-altitude volcanic clouds could occur at any time.” This is the eighth documented eruption at Bogoslof , which reportedly began its sequence in December, 2016. The last occurred in 1992. Via CNN Images via Pixabay , Mapbox Screenshot

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Code red aviation alert after Bogoslaf volcano erupts in Alaska

March for Science: What You Need to Know

April 21, 2017 by  
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2017 is shaping up to be the Year of the March, and Earth Day will get an inaugural march to add to its festivities: the March for Science. Millions of people are expected to join in, from places as far apart as Anchorage, Alaska, to Wangdue,…

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March for Science: What You Need to Know

BP oil and gas spill near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge under control

April 18, 2017 by  
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A BP oil and gas well in Alaska blew out late last week, uncontrollably spilling crude oil and gas just around 60 miles away from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge . The well was out of control through the weekend. The Arctic oil spill happened just days before the seven year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Last Friday morning the BP oil and gas well in the Prudhoe Bay area started leaking natural gas from the well while crude oil sprayed out onto the drilling-well pad. On Saturday the oil spray halted, but natural gas continued to spew throughout the weekend. Frigid temperatures made it difficult for teams to shut the well down. Oil service company Boots and Coots finally plugged a damaged pipe and pumped a saltwater solution into the well to kill it – after it had vented natural gas for three days. Related: Alaska gas leak endangering beluga whales won’t be fixed until the ice melts It’s unclear what caused the oil and gas spill. 1.5 acres near Deadhorse were affected, and native communities were notified. No injuries were reported. Natural gas production hasn’t been kind to Alaska recently. Around 210,000 cubic feet of gas per day poured out from a pipeline near Cook Inlet for almost four months; last Friday Hilcorp Alaska said a temporary repair finally halted the leak. And the recent spill doesn’t look good for BP; April 20 will mark the seven year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill which killed 11 people and harmed wildlife. Sierra Club’s Alaska Program Director Dan Ritzman said in a statement, “Oil companies continue to treat Alaska with reckless abandon, threatening its pristine waters, wildlife, and communities. Big Oil has repeatedly proven it can’t drill for fossil fuels safely…It’s past time that Donald Trump and his friends in the fossil fuel industry put Alaska ahead of corporate polluter’s profits which only threaten the state’s beauty and environment .” Via EcoWatch and The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and BP Facebook

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BP oil and gas spill near the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge under control

Snow-free images of Arctic polar bears show the harsh reality of climate change

December 29, 2016 by  
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When Patty Waymire headed to Barter Island, Alaska a few months ago, she expected to take lots of photographs of polar bears frolicking in freshly fallen snow. However, once the photographer arrived at her destination, a stark reality became evident. Not only was there no snow for frolicking, but there was no ice to be seen either. The typically snow-covered island was warm and dry, and the water’s edge was met with sandy beaches rather than icy ground. Waymire took photos anyway, capturing still frames of the ever-unfolding saga that pits climate change against the survival of one of the Earth’s most majestic creatures. One of Waymire ’s images—aptly entitled “No Snow, No Ice” (above)—shows a lone polar bear perched at the edge of a brown, sandy shoal which should have been white with snow at that time of the year. That startling photograph won an honorable mention in the 2016 National Geographic Photographer of the Year contest in the Environmental Issues category. Monica Corcoran, director of the photography contest, noted that the polar bear appears to be “in a meditative Buddha stance” which contributes to the image’s impact. Related: Photo of frail polar bear illuminates the tragedy unfolding in the Arctic Alaska’s Barter Island is situated off the state’s northern coast in the Arctic. The relatively small island has served as a major trading hub and was also home to a large whaling village prior to 1900. All the while, polar bears have roamed the island’s icy shores doing what polar bears do: hunting prey, raising young, and just living. In early October, at the time of Waymire’s visit, the island would normally have been covered in snow, according to locals. However, unusually warm weather all year has ushered in a less-than-impressive autumn and winter, and the resulting scene of fluffy white polar bears cast against drab brown dirt inspired the California-based photographer to show the world what climate change really looks like. In a series of 33 images , Waymire documented several Barter Island polar bears, including some young cubs, both on land and in the water. Without a date stamp, one might think the photographs were captured in the midst of the warmest summer months, because there is not a single snowflake or ice crystal visible in any of the images. But, since we know the photos are from October, we must accept the sad reality that they represent: an ever-changing climate in which even the coldest climes are not exempt from global warming. For now, the Barter Island polar bears are surviving, but with the growing impact of climate change on their habitat and food sources, it’s only a matter of time before they disappear just like the snow. + Patty Waymire Photography Images via Patty Waymire

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Snow-free images of Arctic polar bears show the harsh reality of climate change

Old potato barns come back to life as a pair of modern and stylish homes

December 29, 2016 by  
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An old potato barn doesn’t sound like an appealing place to live, but Eindhoven-based Houben & Van Mierlo Architecten managed to work their magic and transform those spaces into modern and stylish abodes for two families. Located in the rapidly developing Amsterdam Noord neighborhood, the pair of neighboring buildings were gutted and transformed with contemporary materials and furnishings; however, the architects preserved much of the open-plan layout and the industrial character. Although the two transformed potato barns sit side by side, they were built during different times. One barn was built using hybrid construction techniques in the Second World War, while the second barn was constructed in the 1960s using steel construction, wooden floors, and a concrete stone facade. Despite their differences, both homes were gutted, extensions removed, and revamped into airy loft-style living spaces that celebrate the original barn constructions , from the raw steel structures to existing timber boards. Related: Former factory site in rural Amsterdam to be reborn as a modern neighborhood In addition to housing for two families, the renovated barns also include a new in-house photo studio for the famous photography duo Scheltens & Abbenes who helped realize the modern finish of their house and studio interior. “In the arrangement of these spaces, the original constructions of the barns have remained visible,” write the architects. “Together with the new plastered cement screed floor, they define the basic character of these interiors. Furthermore, the finish is simple yet stylishly designed and realized, whereby the characteristics of a robust industrial past go hand in hand with a modernist interior of art and design fittings.” + Houben & Van Mierlo Architecten Via ArchDaily Images via Houben & Van Mierlo Architecten

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Old potato barns come back to life as a pair of modern and stylish homes

Finnish gaming company wraps new circular headquarters in solar panels

December 29, 2016 by  
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Finnish gaming company Paf has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability by wrapping their circular new headquarters in solar panels . The building, designed in collaboration between architecture firm Murman Arkitekter , interior designer Bettina Ingves and Passive House expert Hans Eek, features an interior layout based on research into optimizing positive human interaction. The main aspects of the building, located in Mariehamn, capital of Åland in Finland, are its energy-saving potential and establishing a healthy work environment that encourages collaboration and increased productivity. Solar cells are integrated into the curved facade, minimizing heat loss . Laminated wood dominates the interior and creates a warm atmosphere for Paf’s 200 employees. Related: Brand New Aarhus Office Building Covered In A Wall Of Solar Panels “The building is designed to suit the variety of forms of collaboration that we need in a complex organization like ours,” said Anders Sims, Communications Director at Paf. “In our new office the workspaces are separated by glass walls to increase visibility. Research shows that people who see each other often tend to work better. This communal atmosphere is central to our work, as it is in all our operations and in Paf’s approach to our customers”. + Murman Arkitekter

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Finnish gaming company wraps new circular headquarters in solar panels

Russia investigating men who brutally ran over a bear with heavy trucks

December 29, 2016 by  
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Russia has launched a criminal investigation after a horrifying YouTube video showed men in Siberia driving heavy duty trucks over a brown bear . One man can be heard yelling for the others to crush the poor animal . Many people are outraged over their atrocious treatment of the bear that ultimately led to its death, and Russia’s environment minister is now calling for tough punishment for the “villains.” In the appalling YouTube video, men ran over the bear in off-road trucks typically operated by mining and oil workers. The video, which looked as it it was filmed on a cell phone, showed the men driving trucks over the bear several times in the snow, as one man yelled “Squash him! Squash him!” The words “It’s still alive,” could be heard as the men prodded the animal using a metal rod, while it struggled to escape before it perished. Related: Tigers punched for fun at horrifying “sanctuaries” in China The video has since been taken down, but the crime is too enormous to be forgotten. Russian investigators in Yakutia, a northern region of the country, opened a criminal inquiry. They said the men work for a mineral prospecting company, and they could face up to two years in jail due to sadistic treatment of the animal. Russian media reported on the sickening video, sparking anger from the public. Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergei Donskoi posted on social media, “There should be real jail time for this sort of crime! We’ll make sure these villains get the most serious punishment.” According to The Guardian , people working in the oil and mining industries in Siberia come into conflict more often with animals – including bears, which can be dangerous. People in this area of the world are legally allowed to shoot bears if they don’t go into hibernation and wander near villages or towns. But that can never excuse the way these men cruelly treated the bear. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Arctic town grows fresh produce in shipping container vertical garden

November 4, 2016 by  
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In Kotzebue, Alaska , temperatures can plunge to 60 degrees below zero, making crisp, local produce difficult to obtain. And when vegetables do make it to grocery store shelves from other parts of the world, they’re incredibly expensive even though they may have been picked two or three weeks prior. So Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation (KIC) is trying a fresh approach: hydroponically growing produce in shipping containers . KIC started subsidiary company Arctic Greens to provide fresh produce to Kotzebue residents. Partnering with Anchorage-based Vertical Harvest Hydroponics to create a custom 40 foot container, KIC kicked off the hydroponic farm project this summer. Local grocery store Alaska Commercial (AC) agreed to buy the resulting produce. The first harvest was a success; according to Arctic Greens, local residents noticed an ” extraordinary difference in flavor and quality .” Related: Pop-up shipping container farm puts a full acre of lettuce in your backyard So far KIC aims to grow 21 herbs and vegetables such as kale, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and basil. KIC President Will Anderson said the hydroponic farm could produce as many as 550 pieces of fresh food every week by the time its fully operational. Since Arctic Greens can control temperatures inside the shipping container, the system may just be perfect to provide food in frigid winters. Part of the goal behind Arctic Greens is to empower people to “change some of the shopping patterns,” according to AC Director of Sales and Operations Jeff Cichosz. Supplying green produce at affordable prices, Arctic Greens could enable Alaskan communities to pursue healthier lifestyles. KIC will test Arctic Greens this winter to see what yields are like, and if successful spread the program to other areas of Alaska and even northern Canada. 28 AC stores sprinkled across the rural areas are ready to buy the produce should the project expand. + Arctic Greens Via KTUU Images via Kikiktagruk Inupiat Corporation Facebook

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Arctic town grows fresh produce in shipping container vertical garden

Tiny Alaskan village votes to abandon 400-year-old ancestral home because of climate change

August 18, 2016 by  
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Two days ago the small village of Shishmaref in Alaska faced a vote. Threatened by rising sea levels , they had to decide whether to stay in the village they and some of their ancestors have called home for around 400 years , or relocate. The results are in, and it was a close vote. Around 600 people reside in Shishmaref, and the majority are Inupiat Inuit. Both tribal and non-tribal people were invited to vote. Shishmaref voted to leave in a 89 to 78 vote. Those are the unofficial numbers; city council secretary Donna Burr says the vote has yet to be certified. It appears locals grappled with the decision as they tried to decide what would be best for future generations. Related: Five Pacific Ocean islands have already disappeared because of climate change Resident Tiffany Magby has a son who is three, and she’s afraid away from Shishmaref, he won’t have as much contact with traditional values. She told Grist, “I waited until the last hour to vote. I…am worried about what it means for his upbringing.” She says others also waited until near the end to cast their vote. Because of rising sea levels due to climate change , however, in the next few decades the residents may or may not have a choice. According to NOAA’s Arctic Change website , reduced sea ice stemming from climate change has led to “higher storm surges.” Infrastructure, homes, and even the village water system are at risk. Shishmaref also voted to leave and go to the mainland in 2002, but there wasn’t enough federal funding for them to actually make the move. They’d likely need around $200 million to relocate, but the U.S. Department of the Interior has only offered $8 million for tribes looking to move. Burr said the village would have to work around the limited funds. She told Grist, “It’s not going to happen in our lifetimes. We just want to take the right steps forward for our children.” Via Grist Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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