The worlds largest artificial tree rises in Dubai’s massive new indoor rainforest

October 4, 2016 by  
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Dubai’s natural climate is arid and desert-like, but that doesn’t stop the posh city from trying on other ecosystems to wow its tourists. To that end, Dubai opened The Green Planet last month, a massive indoor rainforest housed within a 150-foot-tall glass building. The artificial ecosystem is home to more than 3,000 species of plants, insects, and animals, and the centerpiece is the world’s largest artificial tree, – recreating most of the natural elements of a rainforest in the middle of the Arabian desert.

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The worlds largest artificial tree rises in Dubai’s massive new indoor rainforest

NeSpoon adorns urban spaces with oversized doily art

October 4, 2016 by  
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NeSpoon’s creations have recently embellished various walls, streets and public parks around Poland , New Zealand and France. Aesthetically, they draw inspiration from traditional embroidery, yet the different creations are made using ceramic, rope or a stencil, and a spray can. The ‘urban jewelry’ can be imprinted on the wall, can take shape as an  aerial sculpture or as a doily detail on a wall. Related: NeSpoon’s Delicate Doily Art Adorns a Stretch of the Baltic’s Oak Beach Each piece is handmade by the artist herself or with the hand of traditional folk artists with whom she works. NeSpoon explains her passion for lace : “In lace there is an aesthetic code which is deeply embedded in every culture. In every lace we find symmetry, and some kind of order and harmony. Isn’t that what we all seek for instinctively?” + NeSpoon Via This is Colossal

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NeSpoon adorns urban spaces with oversized doily art

Affordable DublDom prefab home pops up in just one week

October 4, 2016 by  
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Completed for a budget of $42,500, this particular DublDom 2.65 model offers 65 square meters of space with enough room for two spacious bedrooms, a veranda, and common areas. Like all of BIO Architects’ modular homes , the EcoPark home was built mostly from wood for a cozy and welcoming feel. Large double-glazed windows let in natural light and frame panoramic views of the outdoors. “Our task was to organically enter the house in the natural surroundings, produce it in a short period time and cause minimum damage to the environment during the installation,” write the architects. “The architecture of the house is as much as possible open to the environment and interact with it. From the large living room you can see the endless fields and small river, two bedrooms behind the house are made for sleep. Layout of the house provides maximum exposure to the nature and to spend time with friends in the living room or on the veranda.” Related: Tiny and Affordable Russian DublDom Home Can Be Assembled in Just One Day The light-filled gabled home is minimally decorated with black metal and unpainted larch that line the exterior and parts of the interior. BIO Architects offers five different configurations of the DublDom 2.65; the Eco-Park client chose DublDom 2.65-01, which includes a spacious front veranda that wraps around the sides of the home and includes a small terrace in the rear; an open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area; a bathroom; and two equal-sized bedrooms. The house is elevated on stilts and was installed on site in seven days. + DublDom Images via DublDom , by Bokaeva Louise and Ivan Ovchinnikov

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Affordable DublDom prefab home pops up in just one week

This new rocket thruster is powered by space junk

October 4, 2016 by  
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What do Australia, space junk, and the journey to Mars have in common? Well, that sort of remains to be seen. Over the next year, the International Space Station will be testing rocket propulsion technology developed by an Australian team that is fueled by space debris and could—someday—help us get to Mars. This new innovation centers on an ion thruster that could replace current chemical-based rocket propulsion technology. Since it is designed to make use of abundant space junk as a fuel source, it is not only efficient but potentially cost effective (with the handy side effect of cleaning up of some of that celestial garbage in the process). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TVipU98g9s Dr Patrick “Paddy” Neumann is a graduate of the University of Sydney and he partnered with two professors from the college to develop an ion thruster (aptly dubbed the Neumann Drive) that aims to give current rocket propulsion technology a run for its money. The invention led to his founding of Neumann Space , a start-up working to further develop and advance the technology. The Neumann Drive uses solid fuel and electricity to produce thrust, in “a ‘wire-triggered pulsed cathodic arc system’ that works kind of like an arc welder,” according to the company’s website. Related: Elon Musk reveals his big plans for colonizing Mars This addresses one of the key issues SpaceX CEO Elon Musk mentioned last week during his detailed unveiling of his Mars plan: the need to refill while in orbit. Chemical-based rockets require enormous amounts of fuel to travel the long distance to Mars, so it isn’t logistically possible for a rocket to carry all its own fuel, which predicates the need to refuel in space. On the contrary, the ion thruster developed by Neumann and his team eliminates the fuel capacity need, since it utilizes space junk as a fuel source. Among the “junk” the Neumann Drive can use for its propulsion are a number of materials common on Earth, as well as in space. The team touts magnesium as their most efficient fuel, best for longer cargo transport journeys. Aluminum, sourced mainly from space junk, is their best recycled fuel. Carbon, derived from recycled human waste, has also been tested. But the material that tops the list is a more unusual one: Molybdenum . It’s a heavy metal with a high melting point that would have to be sourced from Earth, but a small amount of fuel would last a very long time. “Moly,” as it’s known for short, is the fastest fuel tested so far in the Neumann Drive, and it’s the current favorite for fueling a passenger ship to Mars. Via ABC Australia Images via Neumann Space and Wikipedia

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This new rocket thruster is powered by space junk

$20K studio in Virginia demonstrates straw bale can be viable in humid environments

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Straw bale building offers an affordable, sustainable solution to materials like concrete. Sigi Koko of Down to Earth Design demonstrated straw bale building will work even in wet climates with the Zeljo Studio , a 300-square-foot cottage in Arlington, Virginia . Built with reclaimed and scavenged materials, the studio cost less than $20K to build . The Zeljo Studio is comprised of a ” timber frame structure ,” with straw bales providing insulation . Wood siding provides an elegant exterior and the interior is finished with clay plaster locally sourced with soil from the building site. The foundation was already in place. Atop the dormers is a green roof to absorb rainwater and help a loft remain cool in warm summer weather. Due to the straw insulation, the studio stays warm in the winter without needing much heat. Related: Super-efficient straw-bale houses hit the market in the UK – piglets need not apply The owners of the studio found salvaged bathroom fixtures, kitchen cabinets, a kitchen sink, doors, and flooring for the loft. According to Koko, they obtained many of the materials for free. They even found new energy efficient windows that were “misordered” so were sold for a hefty discount. Koko wrote in an article , “By far, the biggest concern with strawbale walls, as with most materials in a wet or humid climate, is moisture.” She designed the straw bale studio in humid Virginia to help show straw bale buildings are still viable in wet climates. By targeting areas where water can sneak in, like at the wall base, windows, or roof eaves, straw bale homes work in places heavily exposed to moisture. Koko wrote an article outlining what steps home owners can take to protect their straw bale homes that can be read in detail here . + Down to Earth Design Images courtesy of Sigi Koko, Down to Earth Design

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$20K studio in Virginia demonstrates straw bale can be viable in humid environments

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