Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Showcasing what could be the future of human transportation, Airbus and Italdesign unveiled their Pop.Up concept vehicle at the Geneva Motor Show yesterday – a modular ground and air transport system. With the goal of tackling rush hour traffic around the world, the companies have essentially created a car paired with a drone that can swoop down, pick it up and transport passengers far above the traffic below. Passengers use a smartphone app to call for the drone, and Airbus says the vehicle might one day be able to pair with future transport systems like Hyperloop . According to Airbus , their modular concept includes a capsule that connects to either a ground or air module, and can be integrated into other means of transportation. Trips in the vehicle are entirely managed by an artificial intelligence platform that offers passengers multiple optimized choices of transport combinations based on where and how they want to travel. Passengers can interact with the computer through their smartphone app, and enjoy the stress-free ride of an autonomous vehicle that travels on both land and air. Related: The world’s first flying car is finally available for pre-order The heart of the vehicle is the capsule, designed to house passengers. It becomes a city car by connecting with a battery-powered chassis ground module made of carbon fiber, to become an electric city car for two people. When traffic becomes too much to bear, the passengers can call on the air module powered by eight counter-rotating motors to come and pick up the capsule – leaving the chassis on the ground. It then essentially becomes a vertical-take-off-and-landing (VTOL), autonomous urban air vehicle . Airbus notes that upon depositing passengers at their destination, both the air and ground modules autonomously return to their respective charging stations to wait for their next customers. While it’s exciting, the project is likely to remain a concept for the time being, as neither Airbus nor Italdesign make any mention about production or launch of their new creation. Airbus technology incubator, A 3 is, however, hard at work on Project Vahana – a futuristic urban transit system that includes single-passenger aircraft. Via Airbus Images via Italdesign

Original post:
Airbus and Italdesign unveil modular urban land and air transport system

Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Sahara Desert we know, with its rolling sand dunes and hot temperatures, used to be a verdant grassland with lakes. Scientists have traditionally attributed the dramatic change to a wobble in Earth’s orbital axis , but now archaeologist David K. Wright of Seoul National University is suggesting actually, humans may have been to blame. A 10,000-year or so wet period called the African Humid Period brought moisture to northern and eastern Africa. But around 8,000 years ago the moisture balance began to change. Today below the sand-dominated landscape can be found signs of rivers and plants, remnants of a greener history. In an article published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science , Wright explained humans used to be thought of as passive agents in the end of the African Humid Period. But he thinks humans might actually have been active agents in the change. Related: The Mediterranean will become a desert unless global warming is limited to 1.5°C Wright said, “In East Asia there are long established theories of how Neolithic populations changed the landscape so profoundly that monsoons sopped penetrating so far inland.” He thinks a similar phenomenon could have happened in the Sahara. People growing crops and raising livestock could have changed the environment , exposing soil, and sunlight bouncing from the soil could have warmed the air, influencing atmospheric conditions enough so there wasn’t as much rainfall, which only added to the desertification of the Sahara. As yet, Wright needs more evidence for other scientists to fully get on board with his ideas. He said, “There were lakes everywhere in the Sahara at this time, and they will have the records of the changing vegetation. We need to drill down into these former lake beds to get the vegetation records, look at the archaeology , and see what people were doing there.” If Wright turns out to be right, his research could yield insights into how we can adapt to large scale climate change . Via Phys.org and ScienceAlert Images via Charly W. Karl on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

Read the rest here:
Archaeologist suggests ancient humans helped catalyze the Sahara’s desertification

Trump team claims funding climate change is "a waste of your money"

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Predictions that the environment wouldn’t fare well under Donald Trump are already coming true. His budget proposal aims to slash Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding by 31 percent, tossing out climate change programs because as White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said, those are “a waste of your money.” Perhaps Trump’s America First budget proposal shouldn’t come as a surprise: it’s highly militaristic and hard on the arts, the sick, the poor, foreign aid, and of course climate change. Under the Trump budget, pollution cleanup efforts and energy efficiency measures would be shoved to the side. Related: Trump to purge climate change from federal government Over 50 EPA programs could be lost under the Trump budget, including large-scale cleanup efforts for the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes and assistance for Alaskan villages hurting because of climate change. States would be left to pick up the pieces. And so much for Trump’s blustering about jobs – around one in five EPA workers would lose theirs under the so-called America First budget. Mulvaney hearkened back to campaign trail language when he said, “This comes back to the president’s business person view of government , which is if you took over this as a CEO, and you look at this on a spreadsheet and go, ‘Why do we have all of these facilities, why do we have seven when we can do the same job with three, won’t that save money,’ and the answer is yes…You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it. So, I guess the first place that comes to mind will be the Environmental Protection Agency.” He also doubled down on Trump’s view of climate change. “We’re not spending money on that anymore,” Mulvaney said. “We consider that to be a waste of your money.” Ultimately Trump’s budget is simply a recommendation; Congress will write and pass a budget. It remains to be seen if they’ll gut the EPA as much as Trump wishes. Via The Guardian Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Eric Vance/USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency on Flickr

See more here: 
Trump team claims funding climate change is "a waste of your money"

Why this city is waging a war on shamrocks

March 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

St. Patrick’s day is here, and with the plastic shamrocks popping up in stores everywhere, it got me thinking about the real plant, which grows everywhere around the world, and is under attack with a vengeance by the city government in San Francisco. Oxalis, Sourgrass , Wood Sorrel , Bermuda Buttercup , Shamrock , and False Shamrock – these are just a few names for a genus of wildly prolific edible plants (aka “weeds”) which grow everywhere around the world. Even if you aren’t familiar with the name of this plant, you’ve likely encountered the clover-like leaves and pretty yellow wildflower of oxalis in a lawn before; it infiltrates grassy areas everywhere, street medians and even sidewalk cracks in cities ranging from New York and Cape Town to Sydney and San Francisco. Children love to eat it and play with it, and most school kids are familiar with “sourgrass”. In January and February, entire hillsides in San Francisco burst in vivid yellow bloom with Oxalis flowers . Whether this is a problem or not depends on who you ask. Many San Francisco residents see the hillsides of bright yellow flowers as a beautiful first sign of spring, whereas others, especially those who espouse a nativist point of view, see this plant as an “invader” that must be stopped at all costs – even when that environmental cost includes dousing entire hillsides in dangerous pesticides such as glyphosate and triclopyr . It’s oxalis season in San Francisco right now, which means that many San Francisco gardeners are waging a war against this prolific little weed in their backyards. It also means it is Garlon season for San Francisco’s Park and Rec Department. Garlon (chemical name Triclopyr ) is a broadleaf pesticide weed killer that is used by San Francisco’s Recreation and Parks department mainly for the purposes of killing oxalis. Very little research has been done on this chemical, but it is known to be toxic to mammals and possibly carcinogenic – specifically correlated with breast tumors in rats . Glyphosate (Monsanto’s Roundup), another popular herbicide for killing oxalis, has been classified by the WHO as a probable carcinogen . In the past few months the city of San Francisco has sprayed Garlon on hillsides in public parks several times to try to eradicate oxalis; below are a few videos of these most recent offensives taped by the San Francisco Forest Alliance: Native plant advocate Jake Sigg (former president of the California Native Plant society and spokesperson for the San Francisco Natural Areas Program) recently spoke at a public hearing on pesticides about how he thinks San Francisco needs to use much more herbicide to try to eradicate oxalis, simply because it is such a challenging task:   “Yellow oxalis is almost unstoppable –you have to kill that corm, that bulb, the only way you can do it is with herbicides. It’s impossible to do it manually. I wished I’d brought pictures of San Bruno Mountain where they sprayed the entire mountainsides of oxalis. That’s the only way they got rid of it there. I hate to hear all this unwarranted fear about herbicides. I was a gardener all my life, and I’ve used herbicides and I’m 88 now. I’ve used a lot of them, and it would seem if they’re really that bad I would have problems by now!”   What Sigg doesn’t mention in this quote is that there are many pollinator species, including honeybees, bumblebees, and other types of butterflies , that forage on oxalis nectar during the winter time of year when no other flowers are blooming, and could be harmed by the herbicides sprayed on these flowers. So, in the interest of trying to protect one butterfly species (the Mission Blue Butterfly ), San Francisco’s Park and Rec department has apparently decided it is an acceptable tradeoff to poison other pollinators that are important to local ecology and human agriculture. In a Bay Nature Magazine article , Doug Johnson, executive director of the California Invasive Plant Council says there is just no point in trying to wage war against oxalis. “It’s not a target for landscape-level eradication because it’s just way too widespread,” he said. photo of a coyote in a field of oxalis in San Francisco, by Janet Kessler   In oxalis’s case, the benefits that would accrue from fighting it on all fronts aren’t quite enough to justify the costs—there’s just not enough time or people to dedicate to the effort. (Not to mention that eliminating oxalis takes a doggedness that even Sigg describes as “fanatic.” He managed to eradicate it from his garden, but it took him five to six years, and he sometimes had to comb through his plants by hand.) Instead, Cal-IPC focuses its efforts on the battles that can be won: new, potentially dangerous weeds that can be stopped, or existing weeds that threaten valuable resources.   I visited some of the areas that had been sprayed with Triclopyr recently and the results were not impressive. The fields of bright yellow flowers were not gone, just missing in little patches here and there. It is easy to see how it will immediately grow back. California native Oxalis Oregana, growing right next to “invasive” yellow oxalis on a San Francisco city street. The question around what is “native” and “non-native” seems like an arbitrary and potentially slippery debate as it often taps into deeply held xenophobic sentiments about what is valuable, and what should be allowed to thrive in a given location. That said, I find the discussion around “native plants” versus “invasive species” to be particularly fascinating and confusing when it comes to oxalis. It is often the claim of native plant advocates in any location, that oxalis is an non-native invader that needs to be eradicated. The truth is that oxalis grows all around the world, and there are many species of oxalis that are native to California, including Oxalis Californica (Yellow Wood Sorrel) , and another forest-dwelling species with whitish lavender flowers called Oxalis Oregana (Redwood Sorrel) . Oxalis has been growing in California for thousands of years, and the original native people of this country – the American Indians – widely ate both its leaves and bulbs . There is a species of oxalis from South Africa (Oxalis Pes Caprae) , which is the invader that native plant advocates will tell you that they are doggedly fighting in San Francisco parks, but to an untrained eye (like mine), this plant looks exactly the same as the native yellow oxalis. When I was living in New York City, we had a yellow flowered oxalis “weed” growing everywhere that looked pretty much the same as both of these other species, but naturalists in that area called it Oxalis Stricta , which is native to North America. Different species of native and non-native oxalis – can you tell the difference? And does it matter? I suppose plant experts can distinguish between these different types of oxalis, but can your average gardener or pesticide applier? And what specifically makes a native plant “a weed”? It seems there is no scientific definition of the word “weed” – it is just a term used to designate prolific plants that reproduce quickly and sprout up in locations where they are not wanted. And in public lands – who determines if a plant is wanted or not? That is the heart of the fierce battle now waging between native-plant advocates and anti-pesticide activists. Oxalis Pes-Caprae (South African Oxalis) reproduces underground with little teardrop shaped bulbs, so just killing one plant doesn’t kill the underground bulb, which just spreads and pops up somewhere else – much to the dismay of gardeners who like to keep their gardens oxalis free . This plant is literally everywhere – including sidewalk cracks and highway medians, so it really is impossible to get rid of. And is that necessarily really a bad thing, I would ask? Wood Sorrel doesn’t just have aesthetic value with its sunny yellow flowers, but is also useful as an edible plant. I first learned about this cute little weed from renowned New York City foraging guide Wildman Steve Brill , and then discovered my kindergartner was picking and eating it every day at school in New York City. “Oh that stuff? We call it sourgrass, mom” he told me. Now that I live out in San Francisco, both of my children are very fond of oxalis and encounter it every day; in our backyard, surrounding sidewalks and parks in our neighborhood, and at their outdoor schools. We see both the native lavender variety (Redwood Sorrel) and the yellow flowers. Both of my kids are in an outdoor forest school in San Francisco’s parks, so they spend their all of their days playing in nature. Kids are naturally drawn to the vivid yellow flower, and I’ve found them making buttercup daisy-chains, using sourgrass as currency in some complicated grade school game, and, of course, chewing on it. I am personally concerned about pesticide use on oxalis, mainly because San Francisco’s “sourgrass” is in my children’s hands and mouths on a daily basis, and I don’t want them ingesting cancer-causing pesticides. As soon as the weather gets warmer than about 70 degrees, which happens by April, the Oxalis withers and dies back until next season. So, what is the point – I would argue – of wasting money, time, and damaging our local ecosystem with poison, in order to wage a futile war against this useful, beautiful and clearly unstoppable plant. What are your thoughts on oxalis? Experience with this plant? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! + Why it’s okay to love oxalis and to stop poisoning it + A history of the little yellow flower that is everywhere

Read more: 
Why this city is waging a war on shamrocks

Self-driving car lane envisioned for commute between Vancouver and Seattle

September 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Self-driving car lane envisioned for commute between Vancouver and Seattle

Self-driving cars could revolutionize the way we commute, but city planners and governments will first need to consider how roads need to be altered to accommodate them . Seattle-based venture capital organization Madrona Venture Group created a report on incorporating driverless cars into the I-5 interstate between Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia. Their report includes details for a lane entirely dedicated to self-driving cars. As companies from Uber to Ford to Google work away on self-driving cars, Madrona Venture Group says driverless cars could be “feasible and safe within the next five to ten years.” They recommend starting the transition to accommodate these vehicles by allowing them to utilize the HOV, or carpool, lane. As more self-driving cars enter roadways, the carpool lane could be dedicated solely to autonomous vehicles. Related: Will driverless cars fuel suburban sprawl? Madrona Venture Group went one step further, writing as self-driving cars mostly replace the cars of today, manually operated cars could even be barred from I-5 except at certain hours when less vehicles are on the road. The entire process could take place over “ten to fifteen years.” It takes about two and a half hours to drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Madrona Venture Group envisions a future, along with other driverless car innovators, where that time is spent relaxing or working instead of driving. “Imagine being able to watch a video or sporting event, prepare for a business meeting, work on your novel, or plan a game with your children. It is difficult to place a dollar value on this but one source has estimated this at more than $1 trillion a year in the U.S.,” they said in their report. They add self-driving cars could reduce traffic, save lives, and cause less accidents. As some cities consider high speed trains , Madrona Venture Group notes self-driving cars could be a cheaper option for improved transportation that could benefit commuters sooner than a high speed train. The organization said their plan will probably be controversial at first, but as people realize the benefits of the new technology, more will embrace self-driving cars. Via Mental Floss and Madrona Venture Group Images via Wikimedia Commons and Madrona Venture Group

See more here:
Self-driving car lane envisioned for commute between Vancouver and Seattle

15 brilliant green lamps for a brighter future

September 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on 15 brilliant green lamps for a brighter future

Origami Lampshade by Foldability We’ve covered Foldability ‘s gorgeous origami lanterns since 2013, so we were thrilled to see designer Kyla McCallum unveil several brand new lamps at the London Design Festival . Her Toby pendant is made from 30 sheets of hand-folded Italian parchment paper, while the Audrey lamp is made from 115 squares of parchment. Fire Ring OLED Chandelier by Blackbody Blackbody ‘s spectacular Fire Ring chandelier is made from hundreds of low-energy OLED lamps. Although Fire Ring is a custom installation, the lighting company has opened a showroom in New York City and it’s prepared to launch its beautiful lights in stores and online. Voronoi LED Bulb by Tala LED Edison bulbs are sweeping the market for good reason – they cast the same lovely glow as their energy-sucking incandescent counterparts, and they last up to 15 times longer. Tala ‘s beautiful Voronoi bulbs are sculpted to resemble the patterns formed by forest canopies, and the company plants 10 trees for every 200 bulbs it sells. Tube Lamp Clock by Lambert Kamps Ok, this is the most elaborate #clock we've ever seen. Lambert Kamps' gigantic art installation displays the time with moving #pneumatic tubes. @designersblock #design #art #time #lighting #lamp #ldf #ldf2016 #londondesignfestival A video posted by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on Sep 22, 2016 at 11:10am PDT Sun Memories Lamp by Olive Lab What if you could capture the light from a spectacular sunset and replay it at home? That’s the idea behind Olive Lab’s Sun Memories Lamp , which allows you to record lighting conditions throughout the day with a portable sensor. When you get home, synch the sensor to the clock and it will replay the color and intensity of light that you captured. Vita On Tour Mobile Showroom Vita is taking its lighting collection on the road – by creating a living room on wheels! The Vita On Tour project transformed an everyday truck into a glazed greenhouse decked out with lamps and modern decor. Pure Mold LED Lamp by BMIX Studio These lovely little desk lamps pair an energy-efficient LED bulb with a sculptural base made from asbestos-free certified cement. Each light is 100% handmade by Korea-based BMIX Studio . The Ribbon OLED Lamp by Min Sang Cho London-based lighting artist Min Sang Cho explores the potential of flexible OLEDs with his mind-bending Ribbon lamp. The hand-crafted light is made from 3D-printed materials, and it’s set in a stunning mirrored enclosure that multiplies its twisting form. Hibiscus Globe by Lamp Kate Colin Glasgow-based Kate Colin was inspired by her mathematician father’s handmade polyhedra models, and she developed an innovative technique for creating hand-scored, folded paper lanterns. Her Hibiscus Globe light is made from FSC-certified, acid-free paper, and it’s available in a range of colors. YB13.5 Lamp by Yellow Broom Yellow Broom strives to use locally-sourced, traceable timber to create zero-waste products. We love the graceful curves of their YB13.5 Lamp , which projects a luminous halo when it’s switched on. Desert Storm Lamp by Nir Meiri Nir Meiri uses natural materials to create exceptional lights and furnishings. His Desert Storm Lamps are made almost entirely from molded sand, and they’re fitted with LED bulbs that cast a warm glow. Paper Origami Lamp by Zhang Qian Paper Origami Lamp by Zhang Qian We've never seen a lamp move like this before. Zhang Qian's beautiful paper lanterns expand and contract while glowing brighter and softer, creating the impression that they're living, breathing things. A video posted by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on Sep 21, 2016 at 5:56am PDT Moka Lamp by Beau Birkett Beau Birkett ‘s Moka Lamp is a bright idea with a shot of caffeine. The clever task light is made from a coffee pot and a vegetable rack found at a secondhand charity shop. Carbon Fiber Lamp by Hypetex Several years ago Hypetex unveiled the world’s first colored carbon fiber chair – and the brand just debuted a sculptural new light made from the same revolutionary material. Manta lamps by Ross Lovegrove Ross Lovegrove’s Manta lamps look like graceful sea creatures flying overhead. The lamps are lit entirely with low-energy LEDs, and they bathe their surroundings in soft, diffused light. + London Design Festival Coverage Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

Here is the original:
15 brilliant green lamps for a brighter future

Casa Xixim is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining resort in Mexico

September 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Casa Xixim is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining resort in Mexico

The 4,800-square-foot Casa Xixim is a four-suite “eco-luxe” villa that boasts stunning views of the pristine Soliman Bay. The net-neutral building features large cutouts in the walls to allow for cooling cross breezes and to maximize views of the site. Visitors—the resort can accommodate up to 12—have access to a private pool, beach, on-site chef, and other luxury amenities. Related: Eco-friendly resort in Australia mimics the surrounding sand dunes Casa Xixim serves as a cool and modern backdrop to its tropical surroundings. Its mostly white walls are complemented by a few light timber surfaces and the interior is minimally decorated to avoid clutter and to keep the focus on the outdoor environment. The grid-tied resort is powered by a photovoltaic array that tops a canopy shading the large rooftop terrace. Rainwater is collected, filtered, and stored for use. Native plant species grow on the roof to provide insulation. + Casa Xixim + Specht Architects Images © Taggart Sorensen

See the original post here:
Casa Xixim is an eco-friendly, self-sustaining resort in Mexico

Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

September 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Uber riders now have a chance of being greeted by a self-driving car . Uber just rolled out a fleet of autonomous cars to test the technology in the real world. They’ll also watch how passengers and other drivers respond to the autonomous vehicles . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmofgf-Y3Mc Uber’s self-driving cars are outfitted with a Lidar unit, which is provides a 360 degree view, and cameras so the cars can respond to the unexpected along the road. While the technology is advanced enough for fully autonomous driving, for now a human driver will ride along, poised to take the wheel if necessary. Related: Uber confirms rumors they are testing a self-driving car Testing how the self-driving cars respond to obstacles and how humans respond to the cars are both important aspects of Uber’s real-world research. Carnegie Mellon University robotics researcher Aaron Steinfeld told TechCrunch, “Autonomy – typically people are a little bit nervous about it. But once they experience it they tend to build up familiarity and become accepting of it.” What about all the drivers who could lose their jobs? While Uber says technology can be ” disrupting ,” they also said self-driving cars could open up new employment opportunities. Self-driving Uber cars ultimately could cruise around cities 24 hours each day, and thus would require more maintenance than the average car which may only be driven for a few hours daily. According to a statement from the company, “Of course, we can’t predict exactly what the future will hold. But we know that self-driving Ubers have enormous potential to further our mission and improve society: reducing the number of traffic accidents, which today kill 1.3 million people a year; freeing up the 20 percent of space in cities currently used to park the world’s billion plus cars ; and cutting congestion, which wastes trillions of hours every year.” + Uber Via TechCrunch Images via Uber

The rest is here:
Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh

INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

August 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles have finally come of age and will revolutionize the way people commute by improving traffic flow, easing road travel hassles and improving road safety. But to achieve these goals, the autonomous vehicle industry will have to overcome a host of legal, ethical and engineering challenges. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s Online Masters in Electrical Engineering degree program. + Ohio University

The rest is here: 
INFOGRAPHIC: The challenges and benefits of autonomous vehicles

The self-driving car didn’t start with Google, or Tesla

April 3, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on The self-driving car didn’t start with Google, or Tesla

Did you think that the self-driving car was a recent invention? Think again. While Google and Tesla have been stealing headlines with their advancement in autonomous automobiles, the concepts and prototypes for the self-driving car actually go back as far as the 1920s. Car Leasing Made Simple created an infographic that explores the fascinating history of the forward-thinking concept. Keep reading to see the full graphic—you may be surprised. Read the rest of The self-driving car didn’t start with Google, or Tesla

Continued here: 
The self-driving car didn’t start with Google, or Tesla

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1034 access attempts in the last 7 days.