Fukushima in Japan is surrendering to nature

August 10, 2017 by  
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Nature has come for Fukushima . Six years after a nuclear meltdown resulted in a mass exodus of neighboring residents, the Fukushima prefecture is slowly being engulfed by a sea of green. Access to the Fukushima Exclusion Zone is still tightly regulated, but a photographer from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun recently braved the so-called “difficult-to-return zones” this past July, taking pictures with a drone and a helicopter. Returning to a place he lived as a child, Tetsuro Takehana experienced a haunting homecoming. “It was as if time had stopped,” he said. “And yet the grass and trees continue to grow.” Related: Hundreds of radioactive wild boars run amok in Fukushima, Japan The parking lot of a busy shopping mall is now overwhelmed by weeds breaking through the asphalt. Football goalposts, smothered in grass, are all that remain visible of an elementary school playground. Cars are being swallowed up by grass. Time—and life—marches on, with or without us. + Asahi Shimbun Images via YouTube screengrabs

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Fukushima in Japan is surrendering to nature

Dutch scientists zero in on pothole cure

May 5, 2017 by  
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Potholes plague roads around the world. These pits are annoying for drivers, but even worse, those that haven’t been well maintained may cause as much as a third of all deaths on highways. So scientists in the Netherlands are investigating materials able to repair themselves, and have zeroed in on asphalt and concrete . Many roads are laid with asphalt. The material is porous, which is both a blessing and a curse: the pores absorb noise but also lead to cracks and potholes. Materials scientist Erik Schlangen , chair of Experimental MicroMechanics at Delft University of Technology , is working on self-healing asphalt. He mixed steel fibers with asphalt to make the material conductive, and then when a large induction machine is run over the asphalt, heat helps close any cracks. The Verge pointed out since the machine is necessary, the asphalt isn’t entirely self-healing, but it does allow for easier repairs. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: America’s Failing Infrastructure and the Need to Improve Self-healing asphalt is undergoing testing on 12 roads in the Netherlands; one has been open since 2010 and all are in excellent condition. Regular asphalt roads tend to stay in good condition for seven to 10 years, however, so Schlangen said in upcoming years the difference will be clearer. He said self-healing asphalt could be 25 percent more expensive than typical asphalt, but could last twice as long. One estimate put the Netherlands’ savings with the self-healing asphalt roads at 90 million Euros every single year. And asphalt isn’t the only material with which scientists are innovating. Schlangen’s team is also looking at adding bacteria to concrete to make it self-healing as well. Bacteria produce calcium carbonate to fill in cracks. Schlangen said these bacteria can live for over 200 years in nature, so they’ll last for the lifetime of concrete. They also don’t harm humans. The scientists have applied the material to some structures and are working to improve it. Via The Verge Images via Pixabay and Alan Stanton on Flickr

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Dutch scientists zero in on pothole cure

Giant sequoia skyscrapers designed to keep rotted trees standing

May 5, 2017 by  
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Modernization has harmed giant sequoias: not only have they been cut down in groves, but climate change has diminished their lifespan. Four designers in South Korea want to help preserve the trees’ legacy with a skyscraper called Tribute: The Monument of Giant , that could be tucked inside hollowed-out trunks, helping to keep trees with rotted heartwood from crashing down. The skyscraper would allow a visitor to feel small inside the vastness of a giant sequoia, while also offering education about the natural wonders. Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhyung, and Choi Sunwoong believe in the past, human desires and development clashed with the natural world. They said nature’s response is the natural disasters that wreak havoc throughout the world. They pointed to deforestation as both a cause of such disasters and “one of the worst crimes on nature .” Earning an honorable mention in the 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition , they offered up an answer. Their skyscraper is enveloped inside a dying tree in a bid to help keep it standing. Related: Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world Although giant sequoias can be over 300 feet tall, with diameters between 20 and 26 feet, their roots often aren’t deep, so when their heartwood – what the designers described as a structural backbone – starts to rot, the weight of the trees can cause them to topple over. A skyscraper nestled inside could prevent this ending. “This project attempts to show a new architectural approach to human coexistence with nature,” the architects said in their design statement. They said their skyscraper, inside the empty void of a giant sequoia, wouldn’t hinder the breathtaking beauty of the tree. The building would then become “active as an artificial organ to replace the trunks rotten away.” Platforms inside the tree would offer opportunities for laboratories, exhibitions, education, and photo opportunities on observation decks. A lattice-like cage would comprise an outer casing that appears to blend in with the tree. Via eVolo and Dezeen Images via eVolo

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Giant sequoia skyscrapers designed to keep rotted trees standing

Germany opens the first 3 miles of a 60-mile bicycle superhighway

December 30, 2015 by  
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Move over, bike lanes. Move wayyyy over. Germany put its pedals where its mouth is and opened its first bicycle-only highway , a three-mile stretch of protected roadway that is closed to cars and other motor vehicles. Unlike a traditional bike lane, which is separated only by paint on the asphalt, a bicycle highway is an entirely separate roadway where cyclists can zoom along on their merry way without worrying about car traffic at all. Read the rest of Germany opens the first 3 miles of a 60-mile bicycle superhighway

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Germany opens the first 3 miles of a 60-mile bicycle superhighway

The Solar Powered Plane – It Lives!

November 24, 2009 by  
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Mad scientists don’t usually hang around in Switzerland, tinkering around with their crazy ideas and running after them down the asphalt. Thankfully Bertrand Piccard, who flew the Breitling Orbiter hot air balloon around the world in 1999, isn’t mad.  In fact, this idea may just fly.

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The Solar Powered Plane – It Lives!

Cyber Monday ECO-Sale at Nimli – $1 Silk Scarves

November 24, 2009 by  
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Cyber Monday is the new big thing in retail bargain shopping and a day you don’t want to miss.  In participation with this post-Black-Friday event, Nimli is practically giving away silk scarves just to earn you as a new customer.  Don’t worry, just because they’re only $1 doesn’t mean they are unethical.  The scarves are actually Fair Trade and made with genuine silk…but Nimli is eating the cost of them in an attempt to win you over as a new eco-customer.  Who can pass a deal like that up? Visit Nimli on Monday, November 30th to snatch up your $1 scarves and any other eco-holiday gifts you happen to fall in love with. SNEAK PEAK at Nimli SCARVES About the Author Katherine is owner/designer for Green Diva, an ethical jewelry boutique offering eco-conscious bridal jewelry and fashion jewelry using recycled metals, Fair Trade gems and pearls and organic elements

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Cyber Monday ECO-Sale at Nimli – $1 Silk Scarves

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