Three-fourths of sunscreens don’t work as they claim and may contain harmful chemicals

May 23, 2017 by  
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Before heading to the beach, most people make sure to pack a bottle of sunscreen. After all, the ultraviolet rays can be seriously damaging and no one wants to get  skin cancer . But it turns out some ingredients in hundreds of common sunscreens don’t work as well as advertised, according to a new report released by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Additionally, 73 percent of 880 sunscreens that were tested contain “worrisome” ingredients people may not want to slather on their skin. Authors of the report , which was released on Tuesday, examined the SPF protection, chemical ingredients and overall safety and effectiveness of numerous sunscreens , moisturizers, and lip balms. Then, they compiled a list of the best- and worst-rated products to help consumers make the best – and healthiest – choices when preparing to have fun in the sun. Sonya Lunder, a senior analyst with the environmental advocacy group and lead scientist of the 2017 Sunscreens Guide, said of the findings, “Sunscreens are really mismarketed, and as a result, people who depend on them think they are far more powerful than they really are.” According to dermatologist Dr. Dawn Davis, who did not participate in the report and works at the Mayo Clinic, the SPF is a ratio of how long a person without sunscreen can be in the sun without becoming red. In his own words, “if you’re standing on the equator at high noon and it would usually take your skin one minute without sunscreen to become red and irritated, SPF 15 means you can stand in that same sun exposure for 15 minutes.” Related: Hawaii aims to ban coral reef-killing chemical sunscreens Most sunscreen brands offer products with high SPF, sometimes even over 100. Thought to be beneficial, they are actually misleading, says Lunder. “People who buy high-SPF products are more likely to get burned because they assume they’re getting better and longer-lasting protection,” she said. It is for this reason that she supports the American Academy of Dermatology’s recommendation to choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 (which would block 97% of UVB rays) and suggests one reapply it every few hours. SPF protection can also vary, depending on its age, how it has been stored and lab tests find that SPF levels can vary wildly. There is also something to be said about the questionable ingredients in certain sunscreens. While most chemicals in the product create a barrier to prevent damage from UV rays, other chemicals create damaging effects. Two ingredients, in particular, oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, consumers should avoid. According to Lunder, oxybenzone “is a hormone disruptor that mimics body hormones and affects reproductive tract and other hormones.” And Retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been linked to the development of skin tumors under direct UV light. More research needs to be conducted on the latter, but authors of the report advise consumers to avoid sunscreens that contain both ingredients. All in all, the report recommends sunscreen products that are safe and offer adequate sun protection. The EWG says outdoor enthusiasts should look for three things: an SPF between 30 and 50 to protect from UVB rays, zinc oxide and titanium oxide to ward off UVA rays, and no oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. + Environmental Working Group Via CNN Images via  Bella Mecia , Pixabay

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Three-fourths of sunscreens don’t work as they claim and may contain harmful chemicals

Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

May 19, 2017 by  
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This minimalist bath house allows inhabitants of Karlshamn, Sweden, to enjoying the sea all year round. White Arkitekter designed the timber-clad building to age naturally for low-maintenance facilities that straddle both the water and the land. The town’s first bath house was carefully situated to soak up as much sunlight as possible all winter long, while protecting visitors from the chilly winter winds. Local organization Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bath House) worked with local sponsors and the municipality to realize a project which would allow people to enjoy the sea all year round. Kallbadhus is located along a beach promenade, close to the public swimming hall . Sitting at a height of three meters above sea level, the sharply angled timber-clad volume straddles solid land and water while offering views of the sea. Related: Tiny Norwegian Prefab Bathhouse is Clad in Sustainable Kebony Wood Two glulam beams provide structural support for a small bridge that links the building to the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace is flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the by the men’s sauna on the other. The architects designed the saunas to receive optimal amount of sunlight while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior cladding is treated with a grey-pigmented oil which allows the wood to age naturally. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News

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Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

January 17, 2017 by  
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Bates Masi + Architects completed a stunning eco-sensitive home that offers more than just rugged good looks. Located in Amagansett, New York overlooking the ocean from which the home gets its name, the Atlantic is a contemporary beauty that celebrates the maritime, military, and architectural history of the coastal landscape. The house takes design cues from the old military stations that once lined the coast, from the exposed beams used for storage to use of natural weather-resistant materials. The 2,300-square-foot Atlantic house faces the Atlantic Ocean as well as low sand dunes and the historic Life Saving Station. The station, which was built over a century ago, holds historical significance as the place where a guard discovered Nazi invaders coming ashore during World War II. The lifesaving station’s lookout towers and elevated decks provide panoramic views for the crew members, while the use of rugged materials protects the structure from succumbing to the elements. Related: Bates Masi Architects unveil tiny, daylit Beach Hampton House The Atlantic is also built with those same materials, chosen for their ability to withstand the coastal climate. Cedar, bronze, and weathering steel clad the home and will develop beautiful patinas over time: the cedar siding will lighten; bronze bars will turn dark brown then green; and the weathering steel will gradually rust to protect itself from further corrosion. The home was raised above the flood plain to reduce risk and to minimize the building impact on the landscape. Bedrooms are located on the lower levels, while the main living areas are placed atop and overlook stunning elevated views of the ocean. + Bates Masi + Architects Via ArchDaily Images via Bates Masi + Architects

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Contemporary Atlantic house celebrates the history of its coastal landscape

Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

December 7, 2016 by  
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Locals strolling Huntington Beach recently in Southern California came across a weird sight: thousands of gelatinous pink sea creatures had appeared on the sand. People described the creatures as squishy, almost like jellyfish , and bewildered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, according to NBC Los Angeles . The appearance of the unusual creatures sparked social media speculation. Ryan Rustan, a local, posted that the creatures were like little water balloons that popped underfoot. Beachgoer Don Coursey posted on the Huntington Beach Community Forum on Facebook that the creatures burrowed in the sand. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Claude Panis said the creatures might have washed up due to El Niño , and that there were also more stingrays closer to the shore than normal at this point in the year. He told The Orange County Register, “There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange.” Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Eric Dieterman said people had seen the creatures in the past, but there hadn’t been so many before. So, what are they? California State University, Long Beach professor Christopher G. Lowe told KTLA the university’s expert on invertebrates said the creatures are sea cucumbers. University of California, Irvine associate professor Matt Bracken said the creatures are pelagic tunicates, also known as sea salps. He told The Orange County Register, “These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast.” Via the Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register Images via Don Coursey on Facebook and Ryan Rustan on Facebook

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Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

December 7, 2016 by  
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A scientific breakthrough at the University of Surrey could completely change how we charge our devices. Researchers developed a new material that could be used to create supercapacitors 1,000 to 10,000 times more powerful than conventional batteries . The new super batteries would also be safer, faster charging, more efficient, and greener. The breakthrough is made possible by a special type of polymer that is, surprisingly enough, adapted from the principles used to make soft contact lenses. Supercapacitors have long been considered a superior alternative to batteries – able to charge and discharge energy incredibly quickly. However, until now, the materials used for these devices have had a poor energy density that limited their usefulness. This new, denser polymer could change all that. This groundbreaking new technology could allow electric cars to finally become competitive with conventional vehicles. Cars equipped with the new supercapacitors could be charged in minutes, taking no longer than the time it takes to fill a normal vehicle with gasoline. It could also completely transform our household devices and appliances, allowing phones and laptops to charge in mere seconds. Related: MIT’s new carbon-free supercapacitor could revolutionize the way we store power The development seems to confirm what Elon Musk has been predicting for years : that supercapacitors are likely the future of electric transportation. With this new breakthrough, it’s only a matter of time before faster-charging EVs capable of traveling far longer distances hit the market. Via The Daily Mail Images via Myrtle Beach TheDigitel and Pixabay

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New super batteries could charge phones in seconds and electric cars in minutes

Hyperloop One plans an underwater version of supersonic tube transportation

August 9, 2016 by  
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Imagine the Port of Los Angeles moved 10 miles off shore with ships docking at floating stations and cargo containers transported underwater from the coast via supersonic tubes. The coastal areas where the Port of Los Angeles used to take up miles of space has been transformed into parks, residential areas, office complexes and beaches. That is the future envisioned by L.A.-based startup Hyperloop One that is developing the technology to realize Elon Musk’s dream of moving passengers and cargo at supersonic speeds through evacuated steel tubes. “We’ve been talking to a lot of the port authorities around the world about re-engineering their ports in this kind of fashion,” Peter Diamandis, a Hyperloop One board member and CEO of the X-Prize Foundation, told Business Insider . He said clearing the land along the coast could create the conditions for a “huge real estate boom.” Diamandis said that in Long Beach, near where he lives, there is a “beautiful California coastline that is basically covered with ports or cargo containers and ships. Imagine if you could regain all of that coastline for parks and homes and beaches by taking the port and putting the port 10 miles off shore.” Related: Hyperloop One opens the world’s first Hyperloop factory Diamandis also confirmed to Business Insider that Hyperloop One is discussing underwater passenger travel. He said that there have been proposals to transport passengers underwater between Norway and Sweden. Hyperloop One is also involved in a partnership with a Russian company to build a Hyperloop in Moscow and possibly beyond and is exploring the possibility of a route between the Finnish capital, Helsinki, and the Swedish capital, Stockholm. On May 11, Hyperloop One conducted the first live trial of the technology at a test site in the Nevada desert about 10 miles north of Las Vegas. The Propulsion Open Air Test (POAT) involved a sled that was propeled by electromagnets to a top speed of 115 mph (185 km/h) along a track measuring 1,500 feet (457 meters) long. + Hyperloop One Via New Atlas Images via Hyperloop One

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Hyperloop One plans an underwater version of supersonic tube transportation

Here’s your sustainability summer reading list

July 29, 2016 by  
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If green business is your trade, take these books on a train, a plane or to the beach.

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Here’s your sustainability summer reading list

EPA limits on aircraft emissions are ready for takeoff

July 29, 2016 by  
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The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday declared that jet engine exhaust endangers public health by contributing to climate change, a key milestone as it works to develop regulations that will cut carbon emissions from commercial aircraft.Large commercial jets account for 11 percent of all emissions from the global transportation sector. Aircraft emissions are expected to grow by 50 percent by 2050 as demand for air travel increases.

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EPA limits on aircraft emissions are ready for takeoff

How urban consumption lies at the root of deforestation

July 29, 2016 by  
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Increasing urban consumption contributes massively to deforestation, a major source of emissions, despite growing sustainability efforts.

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How urban consumption lies at the root of deforestation

Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

July 18, 2016 by  
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Crowdfunding has become a great way to raise money to launch a new product, expand a small business, and now, New Zealanders have demonstrated another cool application: preserving public access to beaches . Members of the public created a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a 17-acre plot of private beach land, and they managed to raise an impressive $1.7 million in the process. Around 40,000 contributors pitched in, including a $254,000 investment from the local government to seal the deal, to purchase the land known as Awaroa beach on the north coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Awaroa beach was previously owned by Michael Spackman , a private businessman. He bought the land in 2008 for $1.4 million and had allowed the public to use it, including the half-mile of pristine beachfront , since the beginning. Financial need motivated Spackman to put the land on the market earlier this year, though, and members of the public feared that the beach’s new owner might not have the same philosophy about public access. This concern inspired Duane Major to begin a movement to save the beach and, as modern movements go, crowdfunding became the answer. The campaign closed in February , having raised enough funds to buy the property from Spackman. Related: Time really is money in this little New Zealand town Purchasing the beach with crowdsourced funds made it possible for Awaroa beach to become part of Abel Tasman National Park , which means it will be open to the public and protected for years to come. This counts as good news for the indigenous Maoris , who are particularly interested in protecting the land as it contains native burial grounds. Some locals pushed for the beach property to be handed over fully to the Maori people, but ultimately it was agreed that the beach will be open to the general public and that the national parks program will find “ways to involve local Maori youth in the management of the land.” The property is not accessible by vehicle and its remote location and limited access help ensure that it will remain “a remarkable seven-hectare utopia,” as it was described in the real estate listing. Via Fast Company Images via Bayleys

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Crowdfunding campaign bought a private beach in New Zealand and turned it into a National Park

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