Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse

October 28, 2019 by  
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Ever wonder how you’ll survive an apocalyptic climate crisis ? You can now get a simulated preview of your survival chances in a newly released, multiplatform video game, The Climate Trail. Developed by William Volk, the game focuses on a group of climate refugees fleeing Atlanta for Canada as the conditions all around them worsen. Wanting to raise awareness about the climate crisis in hopes of dispelling climate change denial and inaction, Volk charged ahead with creating the game despite having to overcome “the challenge of learning a new development system (Ren’Py) and programming language (Python).” Thus, he released The Climate Trail, which combines visual graphic novel storytelling with simulation game elements. Related: Climate change is a public health issue amounting to billions in medical costs According to his developer blog , “I’ve self-funded the project because I want to make people care about the climate issue,” Volk explained. “I wanted to create an emotional impact, weave in science information and make a game that makes a difference. I’ve always believed that games can have social value.” Inspired by the iconic game The Oregon Trail, which was a hallmark of elementary, middle and high schools from the 1970s to the 1990s, Volk’s game is as an educational survival foray, wherein players are pitted against hunger, thirst, extreme weather and other cataclysmic disasters in a dystopian future ravaged by the excesses of climate change. Incorporating scientific information about global warming , greenhouse gas emissions and sea level rise , Volk hopes the game will be introduced to schools as an instructive tool, teaching the value of resourcefulness in unpredictable and risky scenarios. With education as his top priority for the game, Volk made sure to steer away from gun-toting scenes, even humbly apologizing in his blog, “Sorry, no shooting in this one.” Rather, he chose to focus on knowledge and information, saying he paid “a lot more attention to the science of climate change” to make the game convincing, for the purpose of “catching the conscience of the deniers and doubters, to really take climate change seriously.” Volk shared, “The catch-22 about this game is I started it with a much more optimistic attitude than when I finished it. The more I dug into it, the more it seemed things were actually worse than imagined.” There are three levels of difficulty: moderate, significant and extreme. Available free for download and even free of advertisements, the game can be played with Mac, PC Windows and Linux systems. Mobile versions for iPhone, iPad and Android Google Play are available as well. + The Climate Trail Via Gizmodo Images via The Climate Trail

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Newly released video game challenges players to survive the climate apocalypse

Illegal logging possibly contributes to majority of mislabeled wood in US markets

October 28, 2019 by  
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In a first-of-its-kind study , the World Wildlife Fund, World Resources Institute and United States Forest Service collaboratively found that a disconcerting 62 percent of the U.S. wood products studied were mislabeled. Mislabeling often signals wrongful supply chain violations — illegal logging and deforestation — that consequently hamper endeavors to promote sustainable wood According to Amy Smith, the World Wildlife Fund’s forests deputy director, “Wood products are intentionally mislabeled, sometimes to pass off lower-value wood for more expensive varieties, and sometimes to cover up the fact it was illegally sourced. We wanted to know how often this fraud occurs, and our study indicates it could be alarmingly common. The wood you think you are buying is not what you get.” Related: More than half of Europe’s native trees face extinction How does mislabeling occur? Loggers, for instance, could harvest trees from a threatened or ecologically vital forest ecosystem , then mix wood species to cover up the illegal logging activity. Following transport to the lumberyard, species origin of the timber logs and boards are further misrepresented to allow illegal wood in the supply chain. Distortion persists as the wood is misidentified as a different species, continuing onward to the mill’s processing, the factory’s product manufacturing, and eventually reaching the import and retail junctures as an illegally sourced wood product made available for purchase. Mislabeling of wood is of high concern because illegal logging harms fragile forests, placing them at risk of biodiversity loss . Whether purposeful or not, mislabeling breaches the U.S. Lacey Act , first enacted in 1900 to ban trafficking of illegal wildlife , then amended in 2008 to include plants and plant products, like timber. The U.S. Lacey Act’s landmark legislation continues as the world’s first ban on the trade of illegally sourced wood products. To solve the crisis, the U.S. Forest Service strives to increase training in identifying wood species. Doing so pinpoints supply chain gaps that need measures to combat illegal logging, mislabeling and the sale of fraudulent wood products. It is hoped this will cultivate best practices in verifying sources of wood species to confirm they arrive from sustainable, responsibly managed forests. Similarly, consumers are encouraged to make a difference by pledging to purchase products approved by the Forest Stewardship Council as FSC-certified . The FSC is “the most rigorous, credible forest certification system” that ensures products reliably comply with environmental protection standards before gaining access to markets. “ Deforestation and illegal logging are critical threats to our world’s forests,” Smith added. “It’s our responsibility as consumers to demand legally and responsibly sourced forest products. We do that by purchasing FSC-certified wood and paper and letting businesses and policy makers know that enforcement of our import laws — plus investment in technologies to detect fraud — must be a priority.” + PLOS ONE Image via James Schnepf / WWF-US

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Illegal logging possibly contributes to majority of mislabeled wood in US markets

Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

June 13, 2019 by  
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Just months ago, the innovative team at Grouphug revealed the adorable Solar Cat that made the world go “Aww.” Now, the New-York based tech company has just released a very practical Window Solar Charger designed to let apartment dwellers generate their own solar energy in order to power their devices. Recently launched on Kickstarter , the Window Solar Charger was conceived from the idea that everyone should be able to generate their own clean energy. While homeowners have much more control over their power sources, renters and people on the go often have very little options to live a truly sustainable lifestyle. Related: Meet Solar Cat, a cute and creative take on renewable energy After years of being frustrated with how hard it is to adapt solar energy in her own NYC apartment, Grouphug’s founder and lead product designer, Krystal Persaud, decided to invent a personal solar-powered charger geared toward those apartment dwellers who want to be more sustainable. Essentially, the charger is a 13-inch-by-10-inch bamboo frame with four thin solar panels. The charger can be hung in any window to soak up direct sunlight into the battery that is built into the frame. After approximately eight to 10 hours of sunlight, phones and other small devices can be plugged directly into the frame’s USB port. Devices can be charged day or night, and on average, a full battery can charge iPhones two times and Android phones one to one-and-a-half times. + Grouphug + Window Solar Charger Kickstarter Images via Grouphug

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Innovative window solar charger is designed for apartment dwellers

Amazon opens new grocery store sans checkout lines

January 23, 2018 by  
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You’ll never wait in checkout lines at Amazon’s new grocery store, Amazon Go . Shoppers enter the store via an app , grab the food they need, and then simply walk out. The first Amazon Go just opened for business in Seattle . Amazon is opening up their first Amazon Go, an 1,800-square-foot physical grocery store. People scan an app on their smartphones to enter, pick up whatever food they want to buy, and leave without the hassle of waiting in line. Once through the doors, users don’t need the app to shop – Amazon said in a video they drew on “ computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in self-driving cars” to make the concept a reality. The Next Web said cameras on store shelves track what customers grab. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon What can you purchase inside an Amazon Go? Similar to a regular old grocery store of the past, customers can pick up staples like milk and bread, alcohol, and ready-to-eat snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinners to start. The company will also offer Amazon Meal Kits, which include ingredients to cook a meal for two people in around half an hour. #AmazonGo opens on Monday, January 22 in Seattle. Get the app to enter the store. See you soon! https://t.co/jt7quQ4rke pic.twitter.com/shIyrifZyk — Amazon.com (@amazon) January 21, 2018 The New York Times said there are no baskets or shopping carts – customers place the items they want in a bag they walk out with. And while there aren’t cashiers, an Amazon Go store still requires staff – to stock shelves, help shoppers with any technical issues, help them find items, and check identification in the beer and wine section. Amazon unveiled plans for Amazon Go back in late 2016 – but had to delay the launch because of some technical difficulties, according to The Next Web. But it appears they’re ready to go with this first location, which is at 2131 7th Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 9 PM. The app works for Android or iOS. Amazon has not yet said whether they’ll open more Amazon Go stores, or utilize the technology in other ways — like selling it to other retailers. + Amazon Go Via The Next Web and The New York Times Images via Amazon Twitter and Amazon

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Amazon opens new grocery store sans checkout lines

Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

October 13, 2017 by  
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After 10 years as a carbon-neutral company, Google has announced that all of its data centers and offices will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy , mostly from solar and wind sources. The corporate giant made quick progress towards meeting their goal, which was set in 2016 and will be fulfilled by 2018. In its 2017 Environmental Report, Google, self-described as the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, declared that in making its big shift to clean energy, it had pioneered “new energy purchasing models that others can follow” and “helped drive wide-scale global adoption of clean energy.” “We believe Google can build tools to improve people’s lives while reducing our dependence on natural resources and fossil fuels,” said Google executive Urs Hölzle. Google’s rapid shift to clean energy is welcome not only for the influence it may have on other companies but also for its impact on Google’s energy consumption, which was estimated in 2015 to be as large as the city of San Francisco . In line with its sustainability focus, Google has also launched an initiative to add air quality sensors to Google Street View vehicles and plans to change its waste disposal systems to ensure that the company adds nothing to landfills. Half of Google’s 14 data centers have already reached that particular milestone. Related: Alphabet X to beam wireless service to Puerto Rico with a fleet of balloons Most of Google’s renewable energy is purchased from an outside provider. However, they are making important moves to provide some of their own in-house energy, including the company’s recent acquisition of the Tellenes wind farm in Norway. The 12-year deal to provide 100 percent of the energy produced will power Google’s data centers in Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland . Google expects to purchase power as soon as it is available, which is expected in fall 2017. Via Inverse Images via Wikimedia Commons   (1)  and Robbie Shade/Flickr

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Google will be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2018

Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation

October 13, 2017 by  
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A Hyperloop project just got a huge boost from none other than business magnate Richard Branson . Hyperloop One will rebrand as Virgin Hyperloop One, as the Virgin Group invests in the high-speed transportation effort. The investment follows a July full-scale test , which co-founder Shervin Pishevar described as their Kitty Hawk moment. Virgin Hyperloop One seems set to take on the world with help from Branson. He said in a blog post Virgin has always “been known for disruption and investing in innovative companies” and that he visited their test site, DevLoop, near Las Vegas during the summer, and was impressed with the tests. He’s now investing in the effort, and will also sit on the company’s board of directors. Related: Hyperloop One conducts first full-scale test of superfast transportation system Branson said during the second phase of testing, the Hyperloop team achieved a top speed of 192 miles per hour, and the longest test was 10.6 seconds. 436 meters, or around 1,430 feet, is the maximum distance traveled. The DevLoop tube length is 500 meters – around 1,640 feet – long, with a diameter of 3.3 meters, or around 11 feet. Hyperloop One said in their statement on the investment that the partnership “feels like a natural fit.” Their President of Engineering Josh Giegel once worked at Virgin Galactic. Branson said he invests in people, not simply technology . Hyperloop One said they already have projects afoot in the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, Canada, Finland, and the Netherlands, and hope to accelerate commercialization with the help of the Virgin Group. Both Branson’s blog and Hyperloop One’s statement mentioned the importance of clean transportation technology – the Hyperloop mode of transportation will be all- electric and efficient. Even though the Virgin name is now attached to the project, Hyperloop One said Virgin won’t be the sole operator. Around the world, they’ll work with many different operators, chosen by customers. Via Virgin Group and Hyperloop One Images via Greg Rose/Virgin and Hyperloop One

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Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation

Chevrolet reveals 2016 Cruze with lighter, more powerful and more efficient design (PHOTOS)

June 25, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Chevrolet reveals 2016 Cruze with lighter, more powerful and more efficient design (PHOTOS) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2016 Chevy Cruze , Android Auto , Apple CarPlay , chevrolet , Chevy Cruze , compact sedan , Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine , Ecotec engine , gm cars , green cars , green design , green transportation , high-efficiency engine , high-efficiency vehicles , Hydra-Matic 6T35 six-speed automatic transmission , mpg , new Chevy cars for 2016 , OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi

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Chevrolet reveals 2016 Cruze with lighter, more powerful and more efficient design (PHOTOS)

Copenhagen Wheel Hits the Streets

December 5, 2013 by  
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A few years back, the ‘ Copenhagen Wheel ‘ was one of a few innovations in cycling that were being proposed to try to make bicycle commuting easier. While it was just a concept in 2010, it is now a real product, with pre-orders being offered by manufacturer Superpedestrian . The Copenhagen Wheel is a combination battery and motor that is installed on a Single Speed or 9/10 Speed Free Hub bicycle, converting it into an electric bike with a range of up to 50 km (31 mi) and a top speed of 25 mph (in the US; 25 km/h in the EU). It also provides regenerative braking and Bluetooth connectivity and iOS and Android integration. For now, Superpedestrian is only selling the Copenhagen Wheel alone , so you’ll need to provide your own bike to mount it on. However, the company says that they will soon be selling bikes already equipped with the Copenhagen Wheel. The early-bird pricing for the Copenhagen Wheel is $699 (regular price will be $799 according to the website). Also previously on EcoGeek: Rubbee Turns Regular Bicycles into Electric Vehicles

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Copenhagen Wheel Hits the Streets

Motorola’s New Modular Smartphone Could Keep People from Buying New Phones Every Year

October 29, 2013 by  
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Motorola is revolutionizing the smartphone industry with a new modular device that would make it unnecessary to buy a new phone every two years. Putting hardware in the hands of third party developers with their latest venture, Project Ara , the company hopes to draw upon the community nurtured by Phonebloks creator Dave Hakkens to have designers transform the smartphone from a single unit to a modular device. Read the rest of Motorola’s New Modular Smartphone Could Keep People from Buying New Phones Every Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Android , dave hakkens , e-waste , e-waste recycling , endoskeleton , Google , hacker community , make-a-thon , motorola , PhoneBloks , project ara , smartphone modules , third party developers        

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Motorola’s New Modular Smartphone Could Keep People from Buying New Phones Every Year

Samsung’s Android-Powered ‘Galaxy Gear’ Smartwatch Isn’t Your Grandma’s Timepiece

September 8, 2013 by  
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Remember back in the early 2000′s when cell phone companies were racing to see who could create the smallest phone, even though we weren’t really sure why? The electronics industry’s sudden obsession with smartwatches feels strangely reminiscent of that time. Samsung recently became the latest company to announce its entrance into the smartwatch arena, with the debut of the “Galaxy Gear.” Unlike other smartwatch concepts, the Galaxy Gear isn’t meant to replace your phone, but to provide a hands-free extension of it. Equipped with S-Voice, Samsung’s version of Siri, the wrist-gadget can be used to make phone calls, dictating email, and checking the weather–all without lifting a finger. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Android , gadgets , galaxy gear , Google , samsung , Smartwatch , Technology , watches        

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