90% of bottled water contains microplastics, according to a new study

March 15, 2018 by  
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If you thought you were safe drinking bottled water, think again. The Guardian reports that a new study commissioned by Orb Media has found microplastics in 90 percent of 259 bottles of water tested. Surveying several brands in nine different countries, scientists from the State University of New York in Fredonia told the paper some of the bottles contained twice as many plastic particles as tap water they had previously studied . To highlight the particles in any given sample, the scientists used Nile red dye that sticks to plastic, though The Guardian makes a point of noting that the study has not been published in a peer reviewed journal. That said, the technique’s developer, University of East Anglia scientist Dr Andrew Mayes, told the paper that he was satisfied the study had been conducted carefully, in the way he would have done in his own lab. Here is a list of all the brands Orb Media said were tested in the study: Aqua (Danone), Aquafina (PepsiCo), Bisleri (Bisleri International), Dasani (Coca-Cola), Epura (PepsiCo), Evian (Danone), Gerolsteiner (Gerolsteiner Brunnen), Minalba (Grupo Edson Queiroz), Nestle? Pure Life (Nestle?), San Pellegrino (Nestle?) and Wahaha (Hangzhou Wahaha Group). Of the 259 bottles of water tested, only 17 were plastic-free. The rest contained bits of polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Related: Plastic fibers found in 80 percent of tap water samples from five continents Nestle? was not satisfied with the method used to test the water, telling CBC News using Nile red dye could “generate false positives”. How ingesting plastics affects humans is still not 100 percent certain as this is an emergent field of study, according to the National Institutes of Health. Still, they note in a 2017 report , “If inhaled or ingested, microplastics may accumulate and exert localized particle toxicity by inducing or enhancing an immune response. Chemical toxicity could occur due to the localized leaching of component monomers, endogenous additives, and adsorbed environmental pollutants. Chronic exposure is anticipated to be of greater concern due to the accumulative effect that could occur.” + Orb Media Report Via The Guardian , CBC News Images via DepositPhotos 1 , 2

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90% of bottled water contains microplastics, according to a new study

Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

March 9, 2018 by  
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Friends Mike Thompson and Arne Hendriks have created a floating island made of fat, a “ Fatberg ” as they call it. With a current weight of over a metric ton, the car-sized Fatberg began as one drop of fat in a glass of water in 2014. Today, the Amsterdam sight is one to behold, and Thompson and Hendriks hope to someday pull it to the North Pole. Why? The Fatberg is part art-project, part political-statement, part ridiculous-human-experiment. “Basically we’re doing this because fat is a very interesting material—it’s probably the most iconic material of time,” Hendriks told Gizmodo . “It’s organic, but it speaks about energy. It speaks about health. It speaks about over-consumption. It speaks about beauty.” The Fatberg in Amsterdam is not related to the fatberg discovered clogging the sewers beneath the streets of London in 2013. London’s fatberg was a product of improper waste disposal, with fat and grease congealing in the underworld. Amsterdam’s Fatberg is a deliberate creation, composed of various animal and plant-based fats. Its creators hope to someday add human fat, sourced from post-liposuction donations, though this remains an artist’s dream at the moment. Related: Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat To create the Fatberg, Thompson and Hendriks cut their collected solid fat, boil it into a sludge, then pour it on their creation, which floats at its own dock. Although it is not yet strong enough to carry a human, it does seem to have provided a habitat and food source for seagulls. To this end, Thompson sees the Fatberg as serving a practical purpose. “We’re talking about a floating energy reserve,” Thompson said. “We can maybe replace these melting icebergs with this floating energy reserve that allows us to store energy for times ahead. Because who knows what the future holds.” Via Gizmodo Images via Fatberg

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Two men build a floating "Fatberg" in Amsterdam

Soaring wooden watchtower hovers over 17th century Dutch fortress

March 9, 2018 by  
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Dutch firm RO&AD Architecten recently built a massive timber tower that looks out from the historic Fort De Roovere in Halsteren, Netherlands. The Pompejus watchtower and open-air theater rises 100 feet off the ground, providing beautiful views of up to 13 miles in any direction. Named after the first commander of the fortress, Pompejus de Roovere, the tower hovers over the West Brabant Water Defense Line. The area has a lot of significance in local history. The West Brabantes Water Defense Line, which was built in 1627, was an important shipping routes that faced attacks from Spanish and French forces. Fort de Roovere was one of the very first fortifications that used flooding as a defense strategy. Since the area’s battle days, the community has restored the forts and canals and introduced fresh green space . Related: Sunken Pedestrian Bridge in the Netherlands Parts Moat Waters Like Moses! Today, the area is a very popular recreation area. The tower will be used by locals and tourists as a viewing platform and open-air theater , as well as an information point on the history of the fortress. Pompejus stands on the edge of the fortress, towering over the moat and slanted in to direction of the “enemy”. The tower itself stands over 80 feet, but because the fortress landscape is 30 feet off the ground, the wooden landmark rises over 100 feet and provides expansive views. The tower’s leaning frame is made out of steel, but its facade is comprised of a series of asymmetrical timber panels interspersed with various openings. The large cutouts allow natural ventilation and light to enter the wide wooden stairwell that leads to the top of the tower. Interestingly, Pompejus was a social project developed with lots of community participation. Crowdfunding allowed locals to sponsor the tower’s construction and many local companies funded parts of the construction process such as materials and transportation. Interns from local schools and volunteers from the surrounding community were brought on to assist with the project. + RO&AD Architecten Via Archdaily Photography by Katja Effting

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Soaring wooden watchtower hovers over 17th century Dutch fortress

Artist uses materials found in nature to create elaborate cairns and mandalas

February 28, 2018 by  
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Strolling through his hometown of Yorkshire, artist James Brunt finds artistic inspiration through almost any natural materials he can get his hands on. Whether walking along the beach or taking a forest stroll, Brunt creates intricate mandala-inspired designs out of fallen leaves, twigs or sea rocks. The determined artist will spend entire days on his land art, only to see it disappear under the rising tide waters or blown away in the wind. Brunt lets nature feed his inspiration, often wandering through dense woodlands to find the perfect place to create intricate pieces of land art. Located in Yorkshire, England, he explores nearby forests, parks, and beaches to find just the right spot and materials. When the inspiration hits him, he uses natural materials like twigs, fallen leaves, and rocks to create beautifully intricate mandala-like spirals and concentric circles.  Related: Artist turns golden leaves of Sacramento Gingko tree into inspiring works of art The artist is very considerate of the environment and takes none of the materials outside of their natural habitat. He’s also very careful not to trample natural flora or landscape. In fact, most of his land art only last a few hours, often being washed or blown away by the surrounding forces like tides or winds. You can find Brunt’s beautiful artwork on his Twitter and Facebook , where he sometimes invites people to join him in his artistic ventures. He also sells prints of his photographed artworks on his website . + James Brunt Via Bored Panda Images via James Brunt Website

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Artist uses materials found in nature to create elaborate cairns and mandalas

Artist creates intricate shadowboxes out of laser cut wood pieces

February 19, 2018 by  
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Inspired by the wildlife and nature found in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon-based artist Jason Pancoast of Shadowfox Design  handcrafts intricate images out of laser-cut pieces of oak wood. The whimsical shadowboxes are made by layering thin pieces of dark oak wood over the vibrant images, which are painted with acrylic paint. Nature and wildlife are the major inspirations for the artist, who tries to show how we are all connected to nature through his wood art . One of Pancoast’s most beautiful pieces is titled The Call . The background is made out of multiple layers of blues, greys and whites that, when glued together, create an image of a moon-lit forest landscape with a wolf walking among the trees. The image is framed by multiple layers of dark oak wood, forming a larger wolf. Other pieces include a soothing image of a Birch Forest and and a dynamic forest scene called Unto the Path . Related: Gabriel Schama creates intricate wooden sculptures with laser-cutting technology Pancoast not only creates his shadowboxes out of the carefully cut wooden layers , but he also works with paper art as well. First sketching nature-inspired scenes on matte paper in pencil, he then digitally adjust each sheet. He then creates beautiful scenes by layering the sheets, which are then carefully arranged into oak frames. + Shadowfox Design Via My Modern Met Images via Shadowfox Design

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Artist creates intricate shadowboxes out of laser cut wood pieces

Two photographers are sailing through Europe in amazing handbuilt houseboats

February 5, 2018 by  
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Collaborative artists Claudius Schulze and Maciej Markowicz are sailing through Europe in two self-built tiny homes. The 2BOATS (Übermut) will serve as traveling studios for the artists while they sail from Hamburg to Paris. Schulze’s houseboat is a wooden pontoon-style vessel, complete with an outdoor disco ball and hammock. Markowicz’s sleek floating studio pulls double duty as a fully functioning camera obscura, capturing the photographers’ journey in real time. Schulze’s houseboat is a wooden platform with an amazing covered deck and rooftop seating area, big enough to enjoy the stunning scenery as they sail through Europe’s waterways. The floating home and studio were made with reclaimed wood panels and a variety of old windows, which flood the homey interior with plenty of natural light. Related: How this photographer escaped the grid with her tiny Teardrop Trailer Markowic’s boat is a more modern vessel, and one that is used for pure photography purposes. Doubling as a camera obscura , the innovative vessel is capturing the photographer’s amazing journey. Once at port, the photographer invites guests on board to experience a real-time projection or see the photographic record of the artists’ journey. Schulze and Markowicz created the floating photography studios to make their way from Hamburg to Amsterdam’s Unseen Photo Fair and Paris Photo event, ending their journey at the Hamburg Triennale of Photography in June. Both artists are posting from their man-made ships. Schulze’s explorations can be found on his Instagram page and Markowicz can be found at ObscuraBus . + Claudius Schulze + Maciej Markowicz + 2BOATS Via This is Colossal Photography by Kevin McElvaney courtesy of Übermut Project

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Two photographers are sailing through Europe in amazing handbuilt houseboats

Human-size spider web made of tape invites visitors to crawl inside

January 25, 2018 by  
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Tape may seem like an odd art medium to some, but one exhibition is changing minds by turning people into scurrying arthropods. Visitors to the Des Moines Art Center are getting lost inside this giant human-scale spider web made out of thousands of rolls of clear packing tape. The Tape art installation was created by art collective Numen/For Use and invites visitors to explore inside of the unusual suspended labyrinth. Tape is part of the museums’ Drawing in Space exhibit, which features four artists who work with the medium of tape. Art collective, Numan/For Use, is well-known for their creative work with tape , and in this case, used over 1,000 rolls and countless man hours to construct the translucent web. Located in the museum’s upper I.M.Pei gallery, visitors can explore inside the giant maze provided they wear socks and walk in a clockwise direction through the suspended labyrinth. Related: Human-Scale Spider Web Made from 700 Rolls of Clear Packing Tape The art collective has created similar tape structures in the past, but this time, the museum’s brutalist backdrop is certainly part of the allure of the installation. By hanging the massive web in the wide open concrete space, the installation take on a genuine aspect of a real life web created over time by one very industrious arthropod. + Numen/For Use + Des Moines Art Center Via This is Colossal Images via Numen/For Use

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Human-size spider web made of tape invites visitors to crawl inside

Scientists in China have successfully cloned monkeys

January 25, 2018 by  
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In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience in Shanghai have successfully cloned long-tailed macaque monkeys . This is the first instance in which scientists have cloned primates and may open the door to cloning humans in the future. “Humans are primates. So (for) the cloning of primate species, including humans, the technical barrier is now broken,” cloning program supervisor Muming Poo told reporters . However, Poo insisted that the cloning of primates was intended to serve research purposes, particularly for medicine and human health. The famous primate clones , two identical long-tailed macaques that were born two weeks apart, have been named Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua. At less than two months old, the young monkeys are growing normally and are expected to be soon joined by additional macaque clones born within months. Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were created through a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), in which the nucleus of a cell, with its contained genetic information, is transferred into an egg from which the nucleus has been removed. This technique has been used to successfully clone over 20 species of animals, including dogs, cows, and pigs. Perhaps the most famously cloned species is the sheep, which became the first mammal species to be cloned from an adult somatic cell in 1996 when Dolly the sheep was born in Scotland . Related: China to break ground on world’s largest animal cloning factory next year Previous attempts to use SCNT to clone primates had failed. Even the recent success was the result of repeated failure; 127 eggs were used to produce the two live macaque births. “It remains a very inefficient and hazardous procedure,” Robin Lovell-Badge, a cloning expert at the Francis Crick Institute in London and unaffiliated with the primate cloning in China , told Reuters . “The work in this paper is not a stepping-stone to establishing methods for obtaining live born human clones. This clearly remains a very foolish thing to attempt.” Via Reuters Images via Chinese Academy of Sciences/Reuters and Depositphotos

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Scientists in China have successfully cloned monkeys

Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the worlds longest peace-themed mural

December 29, 2017 by  
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As the Trump administration pushes forward with plans to build a border wall , American and Mexican artists are working to paint a mile-long mural on the border fence celebrating peace and unity. Mexican-born, American-educated artist Enrique Chiu is leading a bi-national effort to turn the fence into a work of art which spreads a message of hope to those crossing the border. This December, Chiu launched The Mural of Brotherhood, enlisting over than 2,600 volunteers to paint uplifting messages on the Mexico-facing side of the U.S.-owned fence. The entire mural is expected to stretch more than a mile in Tijuana and shorter spans in Tecate, Mexicali, Ciudad Juarez, Naco and Reynosa. The goal is to set the Guinness World Record for the longest mural and create an artistic riposte to Trump ’s nationalist and anti-immigrant politics. Related: Ai Weiwei installs huge fences in New York City to challenge Trump’s border control measures The artist himself crossed the border with his mother when he was eight and lived in LA for a year without a legal status. After moving to Tijuana about ten years Chiu joined the city’s burgeoning artistic scene. He dedicates this project “to all those people who are looking for a better life. Who take enormous risks. Or those have been deported and are separated from their families.” + Enrique Chiu

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Artists are turning the U.S.-Mexico border fence into the worlds longest peace-themed mural

This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

December 29, 2017 by  
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Perched on a rocky cliff at 10,000 feet, this pair of solar-powered cabins offer unique views of Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains, the Collegiate Peaks, and the South Platte River. Renée del Gaudio Architecture designed Big Cabin | Little Cabin to capture the essence of traditional cabin vernacular with a modern twist. The site is bordered to the north by a thick forest that provides the cabins with a sense of privacy and protection. Gabled roofs and rustic materials echo the area’s vernacular architecture, while the exterior cedar siding helps the cabins blend into their wooded surroundings. A similar material palette dominates the open-plan interior of the project, with plywood interior walls and ceilings lending a rustic quality. Related: 7 new micro-cabins in Colorado provide superior insulation in extreme weather High-efficiency electric appliances and LED lighting keep energy consumption to a minimum, while closed and open cell foam insulation, double and triple pane windows with low-e glass , and rolling barn door shutters keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The project also features a 96% efficient boiler, radiant floor tubing set in a concrete slab, and a high efficiency wood-burning stove . The project is wired for a 3kw photovoltaic array , which is expected to fully meet the cabins’ energy needs. + Renée del Gaudio Architecture Via Dwell Photos by David Lauer

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This solar-powered cabin is a dreamy green getaway in the Colorado Mountains

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