Why thousands of snakes are invading Bangkok homes

December 5, 2017 by  
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A plunger won’t help you here—unless you have one hell of a swing. As the Times reports, Bangkok officials received 31,801 calls this year alone from frightened residents seeking help in removing snakes from their homes. The jump in calls is said to be in part due to an extra wet rainy season, but at the heart of the issue is something greater: urban sprawl . Indeed, as the city’s population has grown along the Chao Phraya River Delta, snakes have been forced from their natural habitats into the cozy, dry quarters of humans. Worst still, some (including the eight-foot-long variety)  are using the toilet as their primary point of ingress. Bangkok hosts more than 8.2 million inhabitants. The city is also built on more than 600 square miles of delta. The presence of snakes has always been significant, but as humans claim more land for new development, the snakes have no other choice than to try to take some of it back. In fact, most of the 31,801 calls have come from areas with new construction. “When people build houses in their habitat, of course they will seek a dry spot in people’s houses because they can’t go anywhere else,” Prayul Krongyos, the city’s fire department’s deputy director told the Times. Related: This modular orphanage in Thailand was built using local and recycled materials Indeed, calls have jumped from 29,919 in 2016, and 10,492 in 2012. The paper also points out that these figures don’t even include the brave residents who battle snakes on their own, which they says is likely in the thousands. “There’s no way we could survive if there were more fires than snakes,” said Krongyos. That day, his department fielded 173 calls about snakes and just five for fires. As for what happens to the snakes once caught, the punishment is far more humane than one might venture. Snakes captured by firefighters are brought to a wildlife center and later released in the wild. Other individuals have created snake-saving initiatives, including Nonn Panitvong, a leading expert in biodiversity. He set up “Snake at Home,” a message group that seeks to prevent snakes from being killed when discovered. Snake at Home allows those who find a snake in their home to snap a photo and send it to one of the group’s volunteers who can tell them if the snake they’ve found is venomous. The group has more than 29,000 followers. As the Times shares, “Thailand has more than 200 snake species , including about three dozen that are venomous. But most do not pose a threat to people…The reality, though, is that humans cause snakes much more harm than the other way around.” Snakes also keep rat and other vermin populations in check in the bustling city, and many folks consider crossing paths with one a sign of good luck. Via NYT Images via Pixbay and Wiki Commons

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Why thousands of snakes are invading Bangkok homes

This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

November 28, 2017 by  
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The verdant Villa Jardín in Mexico City uses vegetation to unify its indoor and outdoor spaces. Architecture firm ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo introduced terraces, pergolas and an entire room packed with greenery to this apartment occupying the lower level of a residential building in Mexico City. The result is an exotic home that draws nature inside. The naturally ventilated apartment features a series of outdoor spaces that interact with the indoors through semi-private areas. Two terraces joined by a pergola occupy the northeast side, which features a lush vertical garden made of wooden boxes reclaimed from the shoring system used during the construction process. Related: Apostrophy’s gorgeous Bangkok townhouse boasts a 25-foot vertical garden The second terrace sits on a lower overhang and offers a direct connection to level below. A more private garden located in the southwest part of the home. This green space connects to the bedrooms, TV room and kitchen, and ultimately leads to the Garden Box – a modular space designed for contemplation. + ASP Arquitectura Sergio Portillo Via v2com Photos by Rafael Gamo

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This Mexico City home is built around a gorgeous vertical garden

Scientists warn new "super malaria" in SE Asia poses alarming global threat

September 25, 2017 by  
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If you’re planning a trip to South East Asia , take note. An evolved form of malaria which is resistant to anti-malaria medication is spreading at an “alarming global rate,” according to scientists. The parasite was first documented in Cambodia but quickly migrated to other regions. Researchers predict mass casualties should the “super malaria” spread to Africa , where over 90 percent of cases occur. This “super malaria” is more dangerous than the original malaria parasite , as it cannot be killed with the main anti-malaria drugs. According to the BBC , it was first reported in Cambodia, but quickly spread throughout parts of Thailand , Laos and later, Vietnam. The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there is a real concern the new malaria may be “untreatable.” Professor Arjen Dondorp, who heads the unit, said, “We think it is a serious threat. It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further [and eventually] jump to Africa .” Related: FDA approves genetically modified mosquitos to fight Zika Each year, approximately 212 million people are affected with the parasite that is spread via blood-sucking mosquitos . Malaria is a major killer of children, especially in poverty-stricken locations. When one begins to notice symptoms of the sickness, the first line of treatment is artemisinin in combination with piperaquine. However, artemisinin is becoming less and less effective, as a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases , points out. The “super malaria” is now resistant to piperaquine, as well. The letter notes an “alarming rate of failure” with both treatments. Dondorp said about one-third of the time, the treatment failed in Vietnam . In some areas of Cambodia, the failure rate was closer to 60 percent. In Africa, where 92 percent of malaria cases occur, the “super malaria” is expected to be disastrous. It’s now a race against the clock to prevent the blood-transmitted bug from reaching Africa. Said Dondorp, “We have to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths. If I’m honest, I’m quite worried.” “The spread of this malaria ‘superbug’ strain, resistant to the most effective drug we have, is alarming and has major implications for public health globally,” said Michel Chew, from the Welcome Trust medical research charity. “Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria. If nothing is done, this could increase to millions of people every year by 2050.” Via BBC Images via Pixabay

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Scientists warn new "super malaria" in SE Asia poses alarming global threat

Thailands first LEED Platinum vertical village to rise in Bangkok

April 17, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s wealthiest man, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has teamed up with architecture firm SOM to plan One Bangkok, a $3.5 billion project that will be first in Thailand to target LEED Platinum certification for Neighborhood Development. Located in the heart of the capital next to Lumphini Park, the 16.7-acre mixed-use development is one of the largest private-sector developments in Thailand to date. The “people-centric” project will include luxury amenities, public spaces, and sustainable design technologies to reduce energy use. SOM designed One Bangkok to “foster community and promote well-being in a dense urban environment” using attractive streetscapes, eight acres of public plazas, and a mixed-use program. In addition to public space, the 1.83-million-square-meter project will comprise five Grade-A office towers, five luxury hotels, three luxury residential towers, and retail. An estimated 60,000 people are expected to live and work in the district upon completion in 2025. Related: SOM designs pedestrian-friendly revamp for the heart of Philadelphia To achieve LEED Platinum certification for Neighborhood Development, One Bangkok will centralize energy and water-management systems to maximize efficiency. The landscape optimizes stormwater management efficiency by reducing runoff and retaining rainwater onsite for absorption and return to groundwater. Green spaces are also integrated into the buildings on higher levels, from cascading green terraces to networks of sky gardens. The first stage of One Bangkok is expected to open in 2021. + SOM Renderings via SOM , Diagram via PPtv Thailand

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Thailands first LEED Platinum vertical village to rise in Bangkok

Natural ventilation and light filters through this glittering perforated facade

February 17, 2017 by  
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Photo by W Workspace The natural environment permeates through the faceted,  perforated facade of this shopping center in Bankok. Taiwan-based studio Architectkidd designed the project, named The Street Ratchada, by renovating an existing retail development and combining Thailand’s traditional metalwork techniques with digital design to create an engaging envelope that allows air and light to filter through the porous diamond panels. The building features a semi-outdoor atrium , a variety of programs and public activities that help embed the project into the existing urban tissue of Bangkok . Traditionally planned interior gave way to a more flexible layout. Related: Architectkidd’s Blue Bird Hut saves injured birds in Thailand One of the building’s most prominent features is its facade which creates an inviting glow from within at night. Gradient transparencies of the panels facilitate natural ventilation and ever-changing lighting conditions. The metallic surface has a monumental appearance, while delicately influencing the use of the building by functioning as a porous layer composed of triangulated, uniquely cut slivers. + Architectkidd Lead photo by Luke Yeung

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Beautiful Greenhouse from Bangkok is a miniature garden you can bring inside

November 18, 2016 by  
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“Greenhouse is a product of our stay in Sweden,” Worapong Manupipatpong told Design House Stockholm . “When we were living in Sweden we felt the need to get closer to nature and to make room inside our dwelling for the nature that surrounds us.” Worapong told Inhabitat that the design is related to the studio’s previous work and interests, which straddles the line between art and design. They wanted to create something that people would be required to cherish. Unlike similar indoor gardens, Greenhouse requires a tender touch, a green thumb, and loving care. Related: IKEA’s miniature greenhouse lets anyone create their own garden inside MoMA has exclusive rights to sell the design for the rest of 2016. It can either be placed on a countertop or on custom legs that are sold separately. The frame is comprised of lacquered solid ash timber , and the garden is cultivated inside a galvanized steel tray. Panes of glass protect the entire Greenhouse, which can be accessed from either side with double hatches. Measuring 38h x 24w x 16″d, Greenhouse is small enough for even tiny apartments , but large enough to create some serious botanical magic. It’s not cheap, but bear in mind that two trained artists crafted the design by hand, and they deserve to be fairly compensated for their work. It’s still a bit early to talk about the holidays, but this would make a great gift if you’re looking. Just sayin’. + Atelier 2+ + Design House Stockholm

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This Tower of Biodiversity is designed to spread seeds throughout Paris

November 18, 2016 by  
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Maison Edouard François took a new approach to their tower design. When planning cities, many in France have worried buildings will be too high, according to the firm, but they wanted to demonstrate the potential of tall buildings with a design that disperses seeds to encourage greater biodiversity. The tower is largely able to accomplish the feat due to its 50 meter, or 164 foot, height. Related: Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden In their building description, Maison Edouard François says, “Covered with plants from wild natural areas, our tower is a tool for seeding: it allows the wind to spread class one purebred seeds into the urban environment. Its height is a key element for its capacity to regenerate urban biodiversity.” Titanium cladding also contributes to the unique tower design. The recyclable cladding is green, and is intended to look almost like moss. Maison Edouard François said the distinctive material affords a fluctuating look to the tower through moiré patterns, and “distills a ‘green’ aura to the Parisian cityscape.” Stainless steel netting covers the 16-story tower over the cladding, granting creeping plants an opportunity to thrive all the way up the building sides. When wind sweeps through the area, it will carry seeds from the plants out into Paris . There’s even a garden on the roof. Inside, exposed concrete contrasts with colorful art and lighting. The M6B2 Tower of Biodiversity stands next to smaller structures with zinc and aluminum facades and roof gardens. Maison Edouard François said when pedestrians stroll among the buildings, they’ll feel as if they’ve stepped outside the city into a garden. + Maison Edouard François Via Dezeen Images via Pierre L’Excellent

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This Tower of Biodiversity is designed to spread seeds throughout Paris

Bangkok’s Siam Discovery retail center gets a major redesign from Japanese firm nendo

May 31, 2016 by  
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The previous design of the retail center , with its deep layout and narrow entry, created problems for the traffic flow of pedestrians, which is one thing a shopping center does not want. The architecture and design firm was called in to help, with the new design addressesing the previous issues by extending the circular atriums throughout and creating a canyon-like path stretching nearly 200 feet to the back of the building. Related: Nendo’s Trace collection of cabinets and lights look like drawings come to life Along one side of the atrium, a series of 220 frame-shaped boxes hold video monitors, digital signs, and displays of merchandise, which together create a unique and innovative ‘directory’ of sorts for the five-story department store. The design team at nendo devised a double-skinned facade to protect the interior from the sun, creating a tranquil shopping experience. The patterns on the facade echo the “stacked box” installation in the atrium. The overall theme for the interior design is unusual for a retail center. The designers call it a “Lifestyle Laboratory,” using motifs in 13 locations around the sales floor featuring laboratory equipment such as beakers, flasks, and test tubes, as well as diagrams of molecular structures, nucleotide DNA sequences, microscopes, and amoeba. Despite the sanitized air of the lab schema, the space maintains a relaxing feel which just might inspire visitors to spend a little more money than they intended. + nendo Images via Takumi Ota

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Bangkok’s Siam Discovery retail center gets a major redesign from Japanese firm nendo

New US government study links cell phones to cancer

May 31, 2016 by  
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A new study backed by the U.S. government suggests a new link between cell phone use and cancer . The National Toxicology Program ’s study is still incomplete at this time, yet partial findings reveal a relationship between specific radio frequencies and tumor growth in male laboratory rats. At the very least, we can no longer say there is no risk at all in using cell phones . The way some publications are reporting the news, you would expect to have a grapefruit-sized tumor growing in your skull this very moment, but the preliminary findings are a bit more complicated. The $25 million study , overseen by the National Institutes of Health , found “low incidences” of gliomas in brain glial cells and schwannomas in the hearts of some of the male rats used in the study; female rats did not yield a similar association. Related: World Heath Organization declares that cell phones may cause cancer The radio frequencies emitted from cell phones were reproduced in the rat experiments, raising concern for the same results possibly popping up in humans who use mobile devices. The partial findings warn, according to The Wall Street Journal , “Given the widespread global usage of mobile communications among users of all ages, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to [radio-frequency radiation] could have broad implications for public health.” Labeling cell phones as possibly carcinogenic is not a new thing, as the World Health Organization did so after reviewing similar epidemiological studies which revealed a cancer link. The NTP’s study, however, is the largest and most comprehensive experimental trial concerning cell phones and public health and may influence the Federal Communications Commission to alter their safety guidelines in the near future. The full results are expected to be released in the fall of 2017. Via The Wall Street Journal Images via Pexels ( 1 , 2 )

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The Vivarium is a renovated industrial warehouse in Thailand turned into a terrarium-like restaurant

December 22, 2015 by  
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