This dreamy boutique hotel in California is made up of 11 refurbished Airstreams

March 7, 2018 by  
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Anyone looking to blend a little Americana nostalgia with California dreaming will feel right at home in this boutique hotel made up of renovated Airstreams in California. Located in the gorgeous Ojai Valley, Caravan Outpost offers guests a choice of 11 iconic trailers surrounded by lush palm trees for a unique glamping experience. Spread out in a circular formation at the outpost, each of the 11 Airstreams has been renovated to create a distinct personality in order to provide a unique glamping experience . There are campers of all sizes, but most come equipped with a double-sized bed, along with mod-con features such as kitchenettes and compact bathrooms. For a more spa-like experience, there are full-size showers and bathrooms in a separate building. Related: Experience the good old days of off-grid living at the El Cosmico vintage trailer park Each Airstream is nestled into its own lot, surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation, which create the ultimate in nature-based privacy. For outdoor enjoyment, each trailer comes with its own private patio and hammock. Located in eastern Ojai, Caravan Outpost is close enough to downtown so that guests can explore the area a bit before coming back to the glamping haven . The hotel can organize various activities from surfing and rock climbing to wine tastings, and even has some beautiful teal cruisers available for a nice bike ride. However, for those that would like to socialize with their neighbors on site, there is a large fire pit in the common area. + Caravan Outpost Via Dwell Images via Caravan Outpost [gallery

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This dreamy boutique hotel in California is made up of 11 refurbished Airstreams

Tesla’s Powerwall faces stiff competition from several other storage products

March 5, 2018 by  
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While Tesla ‘s Powerwall may be the most well-known example of residential solar energy storage systems, it is not the only one and is facing increased competition. Nearly all major residential solar companies are now developing a similar household energy storage system, either independently or in collaboration with another company. Among those companies, SunRun, Vivint Solar and SunPower seem to be the most viable competitors to Tesla’s residential solar operations. The increased competition is good news for consumers as well as the renewable energy sector generally, indicating that the industry is maturing and spreading. SunRun now maintains the largest market share in the American residential solar industry , in part thanks to its ability to work with internal and external installation partners. This means that SunRun is able to more quickly scale up its distribution. The company’s Brightbox system incorporates LG Chem batteries into a control system (designed by SunRun) and is currently available in Arizona, California, Hawaii, New York, and Massachusetts , with more states coming online in 2018. Related: Nova Scotia Power pioneers new energy storage system using Tesla Powerpacks Vivint Solar is collaborating with Mercedes-Benz to develop a 2.5 kW-hr energy storage system that can be expanded up to a 20 kW-hr system for household needs. Mercedes-Benz already has energy storage products available in the more developed European market, which puts it in a good place as the American market grows. Last but not least, SunPower will launch its home energy storage system under its Equinox product line in 2018. Because they are geared towards high-end customers, those with the most funds to invest in new technology, it may see more rapid growth than its competitors. Regardless of the commercial success of any individual company, the flurry of activity in the American residential energy storage is a welcome sign as the United States, like the rest of the world, must move forward towards a clean energy economy. Via The Motley Fool Images via SunRun and SunPower

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Tesla’s Powerwall faces stiff competition from several other storage products

‘Floating’ ski chalet clad in charred wood overlooks China’s Songhua Lake

March 5, 2018 by  
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Beijing-based firm META-Project just unveiled a triangular cabin overlooking Songhua Lake in China’s northeastern Ji Lin province. Located at the top of a steep ski slope, the Stage of Forest lookout – which is clad in Shou-Sugi-Ban wood – peers out over the amazing landscape, and provides a respite for skiers who need a break before swishing down the mountain. The building is located on the edge of a forested hillside overlooking the Songhua Lake Resort – a popular winter destination. Jutting out over the landscape, the wood and concrete structure is a solemn presence against the snow-covered mountains in wintertime and it’s camouflaged by lush vegetation in the summer months. In addition to providing a place to rest on the slopes, the building will also be used year-round for exhibitions, conferences, workshops, and public and private events. Related: ‘Top of Tyrol’ Lookout Platform Offers a Bird’s-Eye View of Austria’s Stubai Glacier The building’s “floating” design minimizes its footprint as much as possible. The compact concrete base occupies minimal square footage, while the larger volume provides a spacious interior to enjoy the stunning views. The building consists of a concrete shell topped with charred cedar shingles, which emit a silvery tone under the sunlight. From the first floor, visitors can climb to an open-air viewing platform clad in untreated red cedar . Oval windows in the ceiling and the floor allow optimal sunlight to enter the structure, while providing a playful peak at what’s “underneath the stage,” as described by the architects. + META-Project Via Archinect Photography by Su Shengliang

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‘Floating’ ski chalet clad in charred wood overlooks China’s Songhua Lake

California’s "Butt Lady picks up 1,000,000 littered cigarette butts in 3.5 years

February 26, 2018 by  
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Cigarette butts account for an estimated 1.69 billion pounds of trash produced worldwide annually, a good number of which never even find their way into proper trash receptacles. Instead, most of them are ingested by aquatic creatures, wildlife, and pets, or simply left to languish in streets everywhere as litter. Sick and tired of seeing her town of Auburn, California marred by the toxic trash , resident Sally Dawly decided that she would make it her aim to pick up every stray butt she encountered—and keep count while at it. Incredibly, after 3.5 years, Dawly has collected over one million thoughtlessly discarded cigarette butts. “I got tired of going on my walks and seeing cigarette butts everywhere,” Dawly told her local news station. “I’m just overwhelmed and shocked that I had to pick up this many. I keep track on a daily basis of how many I pick up and I just keep going.” Related: This startup is training crows to throw away cigarette butt litter To keep count, Dawly uses a clicker. In her tackle, she also carries a broom, a pair of tongs, and a dustpan, all of which are put to good use daily. “I’ve had days where I’ve picked up 3,000 butts, in one day,” she says, “and it’s like, come on people. Don’t throw your butts, better yet, stop smoking.” The anti-littering activist picked up her first butt in October, 2014, and on  Valentine’s Day , she hit her historic milestone of 1 million cigarette butts. But she has no plans on stopping there and has already set a new goal to collect 2 million cigarette butts. Her story has also inspired countless others to join the effort to keep streets butt-free. In Auburn, cigarette receptacles have been installed outside bars and around the city, and locals consider her a bit of a local hero. As she approached 1 million butts, a number came out to cheer her on. They are also the ones who lovingly bestowed the name “Butt Lady” upon her. Via Oddity Central Lead image via Deposit Photos , others screencaps via CBS news

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California’s "Butt Lady picks up 1,000,000 littered cigarette butts in 3.5 years

All-female high school team invents solar-powered tent for homeless

February 19, 2018 by  
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Twelve young women from San Fernando High School in California have created a solar-powered tent to serve the growing homeless population in the San Fernando Valley. Daniela Orozco and her classmates noticed the stunning increase in people living in the city, located 20 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles . They wanted to act. “Because we come from low-income families ourselves, we can’t give them money,” Orozco  told Mashable . With the help of DIY Girls , the young women invented a solar-powered tent, which folds into a backpack, to serve the people struggling with homelessness in their community. Founded in 2012, DIY Girls began its work with 35 girls in an elementary school classroom. In 2016, it served 650 young female students from schools, elementary through high, all over Los Angeles County. Due to high demand made on the small organization, DIY Girls currently has a wait-list for its much-needed services. Only 27 percent of the STEM workforce is female, and only 6 percent of current female scientists are Hispanic or Latina. “When I was getting my [aerospace engineering] master’s degree, I was often the only girl in the class and definitely the only Latina in the class,” DIY Girls executive director Evelyn Gomez told Mashable . “It felt like kind of impostor syndrome.” Familiar with the challenges faced by young women of color, Gomez now serves as a guide for the next generation of female scientists and engineers . Related: Reversible weatherHYDE tent saves lives in extreme weather Despite not having much practical STEM experience, the young women at San Fernando quickly acquired a wide spectrum of skills through their own self-guided learning . If they encountered an issue in a code or circuit, they sought out resources online to solve the problem. “You’re learning new things you’ve never even heard of or even thought of,” Chelly Chavez, who learned the C++ programming language to refine the tent’s functionality, told Mashable. To further develop their work, the young women were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Lemelson-MIT Program. The team hopes that their accomplishments will inspire other young women to seize the scientific spirit. “[There are] only two junior girls in our AP Calculus class, which has way more guys than girls,” Paola Valtierra told Mashable, “But we’re gonna change that.” A post shared by DIY Girls InvenTeam (@diygirls_inventeam) on May 19, 2017 at 8:58pm PDT Via Mashable Images via DIY Girls

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All-female high school team invents solar-powered tent for homeless

Richard Branson signs deal for India’s first super-speedy hyperloop route

February 19, 2018 by  
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Travelers spend around three hours journeying from Mumbai to Pune by train today in India . A hyperloop could revolutionize the trip, slashing it down to a mere 25 minutes. And that’s exactly what Richard Branson -backed Virgin Hyperloop One aims to do. They signed an agreement with the state of Maharashtra, as the state announced their intention to construct what could be India’s first hyperloop route between Pune and Mumbai. Virgin Hyperloop One just signed an historic agreement with the Indian state Maharashtra. They plan to construct a hyperloop between Mumbai and Pune, a corridor 130,000 vehicles travel daily right now. They’ll begin with an operational demonstration track. Branson said in a statement , “I believe Virgin Hyperloop One could have the same impact upon India in the 21st century as trains did in the 20th century.” Related: Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson invests in Musk-inspired high-speed transportation system 26 million people would be connected by the new route, which would link the two cities and Navi Mumbai International Airport. The electric transportation system would cut greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 150,000 tons a year. And a pre-feasibility study conducted by Virgin Hyperloop One revealed over 30 years the route could offer $55 billion in socio-economic benefits, as people save emissions and time. The hyperloop route would support 150 million passenger trips a year, according to Virgin Hyperloop One, saving more than 90 million hours. Devendra Fadnavis, Maharashtra chief minister, said the route would create tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, service, and information technology. What comes after a signing? First, a six-month in-depth feasibility study. The study will scrutinize environmental impact, cost, funding models, regulations, and economic and commercial aspects. A procurement stage would follow to nail down a public-private partnership structure, and then construction would begin, with the demonstration track built in the first phase. According to Virgin Hyperloop One, the demonstration track could be built “in two to three years from the signing of the agreement,” and the second phase could see completion of the full route in five to seven years. + Virgin Hyperloop One + Virgin Images via Virgin Hyperloop One ( 1 , 2 )

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Richard Branson signs deal for India’s first super-speedy hyperloop route

Eight prototypes for Trump’s wall near US-Mexico border pass military tests for impenetrability

February 13, 2018 by  
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Filed under the category of depressing news, eight prototypes for Trump’s border wall have been erected at the US-Mexico border in San Diego’s Otay Mesa area for testing. Over the past few months, the 30-foot wall sections have been assessed for breach-ability by the US Customs and Borders Protection agency, using sledgehammers, pickaxes, saws and various power tools. The result? Totally impenetrable, according to military testing. Muro de oro, sueño americano A post shared by Jill Marie Holslin (@jillholslin) on Oct 24, 2017 at 12:32am PDT The prototypes were submitted by the six companies that were chosen out of 250 by the Department of Homeland Security during the bidding process launched in February of 2017. The winning design may or may not serve to help Donald Trump fulfill his campaign promise of strengthening the border between the US and Mexico . Related: Solar-powered ‘ecotopia’ proposed as alternative to Trump’s border wall All of the eight designs are made from concrete , which was specified in the tender process. Other materials include steel reinforcements, as well as metal and an unspecified transparent material. One solid concrete wall is even topped with steel mesh and spikes. No word yet on whether the winning design will be outfitted with solar panels, as Trump has suggested. Tactical teams have spent the past few months attacking the wall to determine if it can stand up against penetration. Now, the teams have determined that the walls all pass muster. No word on which design Trump favors, but the testers said that the design with see-through steel barriers at the top was particularly “good”. It is likely that the final wall will include the best elements of each design. However, the wall installation is still far from reality. The various proposals for the project’s funding, which has an estimated price tag of $1.6 billion, have been stalled in the Senate for months and the state of California has filed a lawsuit to block its construction. Trump’s recently submitted budget proposal includes funding for the wall, but the budget has to pass congress approval before it would go forward. Via Dezeen and the LA Times Images via Wikipedia and EdmondMeinfelder

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Eight prototypes for Trump’s wall near US-Mexico border pass military tests for impenetrability

Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

February 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California have discovered a new form of ice known as that is thought to exist within the core of gas giant planets. Published in the journal Nature , this study documents the first observed instance of the so-called superionic ice originally predicted 30 years ago. The ice maintains a solid lattice structure of oxygen atoms with energetic, liquid-like hydrogen ions moving within. While it could only be created on Earth under very specific lab conditions, scientists believe it would be stable under the extreme temperature and pressure conditions found in planets such as Uranus and Neptune . Unlike traditional ice, superionic ice actually requires extremely hot temperatures, combined with intense pressure, to form. Using a technique known as shock compression, scientists created laboratory conditions that match those found on gas giants and successfully prompted water to become superionic. The researchers noted the ice melts at near 5000 Kelvin (K) under pressure levels two million times that of Earth’s atmosphere. “Our work provides experimental evidence for superionic ice and shows that these predictions were not due to artifacts in the simulations, but actually captured the extraordinary behavior of water at those conditions,”  said lead author and physicist Marius Millot. Related: Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets While the real-world creation of superionic ice is groundbreaking, so too are the simulations that informed the experiment. “Driven by the increase in computing resources available, I feel we have reached a turning point,” explained co-author and physicist Sebastien Hamel . “We are now at a stage where a large enough number of these simulations can be run to map out large parts of the phase diagram of materials under extreme conditions in sufficient detail to effectively support experimental efforts.” The experiment has major implications for planetary science, painting a picture of gas giant cores composed of a thin layer of fluid surrounded by a thick mantle of superionic ice. The findings are especially poignant as NASA prepares for a potential probe mission to Uranus and/or Neptune. Via Gizmodo Images via  S. Hamel/M. Millot/J.Wickboldt/LLNL/NIF

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Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

February 8, 2018 by  
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British-based architect Asif Khan unveiled a super-black pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that he describes as the “darkest building on earth.” Built for Hyundai Motor, the temporary Pyeongchang Olympic Park pavilion is fully coated in Vantablack VBx2—a material that can absorb 99 percent of the light that hits its surface. As a result, the pavilion looks like a gaping black void even in broad daylight. Standing at 10 meters (33 feet) tall, the 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor pavilion draws inspiration from the automotive company’s technology and offers a unique interactive experience. Khan attached thousands of tiny white lights to the super-black parabolic facades, evoking images of a starry night sky. The steel-framed building measures 35 meters (115 feet) by 35 meters. In contrast to the super-dark facade, the interior is a brightly lit white room housing a multi-sensory interactive water installation. Haptic sensors allow visitors to interact with the hydrophobic installation that emits 25,000 singular water droplets per minute; the water droplets zoom down channels, collide, split, and eventually pool into a drain. “From a distance the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space,” said Khan. “As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Related: Video: Anish Kapoor’s “Decension” is a black vortex in the floor of an old movie theater He continues: “The water installation visitors discover inside is brightly lit in white. As your eyes adjust, you feel for a moment that the tiny water drops are at the scale of the stars. A water droplet is a size every visitor is familiar with. In the project I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.” The 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor Pavilion will open at the Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony on February 9, 2018. + Asif Khan Via WAN Images via Luke Hayes

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Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

Cable railing expand the view in your favorite spaces

January 31, 2018 by  
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When you picture your dream home, what comes to mind? Lots of open, connected spaces, tons of natural light, a gorgeous view from your deck? If so, then you should think about incorporating cable railing into your exterior and interior spaces. Not only is cable railing an excellent sustainable product option – it’s made with eco-friendly stainless steel – but it also has a minimalist vibe that makes any space feel welcoming and more expansive. Seeing Between the Lines Traditional railings can make a room feel closed and separate from adjacent spaces, creating a visual barrier. That’s not the case with cable railings. For outdoor applications, cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. Cable railings use slender horizontal (or vertical) stainless steel cables in place of bulky spindles and pickets for infill to create nearly unimpeded views and a very open, clean-lined aesthetic that preserves the intrinsic beauty of a space. In fact, the cables “trick the eye” and virtually disappear as your field of vision focuses beyond the cable rail toward the view. Natural Connections Because of its sleek, streamlined appearance, cable railing enables spaces to seamlessly flow into one another for a sense of continuity that is difficult to achieve with other types of railing infill. For outdoor applications , cable railing is perfect for framing an eye-catching panoramic view or stunning landscape. It’s a popular choice for decks, terraces and backyard settings because it optimizes the view – especially important for homeowners, since their families and guests are frequently seated on the patio or deck. When used indoors , rather than visually breaking up spaces, cable railing helps to subtly connect them and make them appear larger. And, in the case of stair railings, it beautifully showcases the different levels within a home without calling too much attention to itself. The ultimate effect is a look that is at once understated and modern with just the right touch of elegance. Durable, Low-Maintenance Beauty In addition to being an aesthetically-appealing design option, cable railing has lots of other things going for it. In the case of exterior applications, it’s rugged enough to stand up to corrosive coastal environments and other harsh conditions. Its minimal footprint allows full airflow across a deck or balcony area, minimizing wind exposure and the stress it can inflict on an outdoor railing system, and maintenance requirements are minimal. Only a periodic treatment with a stainless steel cleaner and protectant is recommended along with occasional cable tightening. Unmatched Versatility Compatible with most architectural styles – from rustic to transitional to contemporary, to name just a few – cable railing is easy to install and can be used with existing wood, metal or composite railings to achieve the desired look. In addition to these options, Oakland, California-based cable railing provider Feeney, Inc., offers its CableRail stainless cable rail infill in both standard and low profile options for maximum design flexibility. The brand also offers convenient kits that make it easy to install its CableRail products – even for newly minted weekend warriors and DIYers. Sustainable Style Thanks to its durable steel construction, cable railing can last a lifetime – making it a sustainable option, too. It’s reusable and can be recycled at the end of its useful life, reducing the use of non-renewable resources and helping to limit the waste stream. Companies like Feeney take sustainability one step further, producing their cable railing products out of post- and pre-consumer waste. Feeney also powers its California production facility using a 5,000-square-foot solar array. When it’s time to build or remodel, check out cable railing for its longevity, versatility, sustainability, and ability to open up the view – both indoors and out. No matter what size or style your home is, cable railing has the power to transform your spaces from bland to breathtaking. + Feeney, Inc.

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