GM is selling an electric car in China that costs just $5,300

August 9, 2017 by  
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Good news for Chinese consumers. This week, General Motors will start selling a tiny electric car which, after national and local electric vehicle incentives, costs just $5,300. From front to end, the Baojun E100 measures just 63 inches. And, when unleashed and fully charged, the two-seater can reach speeds of 62 miles per hour and travel about 96 miles on a single charge. The E100, which has been outfitted with a 39-horsepower electric motor, is Baojun’s first electric car. Prices for the vehicle begin at RMB 93,900, or approximately $14,000 before incentives. Amenities include an entertainment system with a 7-inch screen and built-in WiFi . For safety measures, all versions of the car have parking sensors and pedestrian alert systems. Those who invest in high-end models can also lock and unlock the car using a touchpad. According to data from LMC Automotive, Baojun — a mass-market car brand from General Motors’ SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture — is China’s eighth most popular car brand. It ranks just below Volkswagen , Toyota, Honda, and Buick. Considering China presently accounts for 40 percent of all electric vehicles sold worldwide, it’s clear there is a demand for non-polluting vehicles. As a result, Baojun’s ranking may very well increase. Related: The world’s first all-electric sport utility truck is finally here – and it looks incredible So far, more than 5,000 people have registered to purchase the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 will be made available later this week. Reportedly, buyers will be chosen on a first-come-first-serve basis. A GM spokesperson revealed that the first sales will initially be limited to the Guanxi region of southern China. As the car becomes more popular, GM plans to sell the cars more widely in China . + Baojun E100 Via CNN Images via General Motors

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GM is selling an electric car in China that costs just $5,300

Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

August 9, 2017 by  
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NALU boutique hotel in Costa Rica is a sustainable jungle retreat for exercise and relaxation. Merging sustainability with local craftsmanship, architecture firm Studio Saxe designed a series of pavilions scattered amongst the trees, offering each occupant an extra sense of privacy. The hotel is located in Nosara, a burgeoning tourist destination for health, wellness and surfing. The owners, Nomel and Mariya Libid, wanted the design of the new building to reflect this attitude by offering several tranquil spaces for various types of recreation and exercise. Dense jungle completely surrounds the individual pavilion homes. The architects determined optimal positions for each of the structures by conducting extensive analyses of wind and sun patterns. Related: 8 gorgeous green hotels to add to your bucket list The timber roofs made of recycled Teak planks protrude over each pavilion to create shade from the intense equatorial sun. Corridors lit from the pergola roofs frame views of the lush surroundings and connect separate rooms. “Our project Nalu represents the power of simple, low-key, modern tropical architecture ,” says architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. “It has quickly become a town favorite, which shows that there is a real desire to occupy spaces that bring people closer to nature, while addressing the needs of contemporary life,” he adds. + Studio Saxe Photos by Andres Garcia Lachner

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Costa Rica eco-resort combines jungle yoga with sustainable design

Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth

August 9, 2017 by  
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A beautiful beach-front home by renowned architect, William Morgan just hit the market for $1.75 million – and while that is a huge chunk of change, you get quite a lot for your money. Designed to be the architect’s family residence, the wooden, three-story house takes the form of a slanted triangle , and it’s strategically designed to give unreal views over the Atlantic Beach coastline in Jacksonville, Florida. Morgan built the stunning 1,800-square-foot home in 1972 for his family. The house volume is comprised of two back-to-back triangular masses , with one side facing the street entry and the other overlooking the grassy incline that leads to the beach. According to scholar Robert McCarter, the unique design was “inspired by the stepped structure of the ancient Roman seaside town of Herculaneum.” Related: Architect Leo Qvarsebo’s triangular summer home doubles as a climbing wall More than just a quirky architectural whim, the stepped design also created an amazingly open living space on the home’s interior. The space is clad in honey-toned cedar wood panels throughout, with ultra-high slanted ceilings and plenty of windows and glass doors that lead to the home’s four open-air terraces. As a bonus, the new homeowners of this remarkable home will be living next door to another William Morgan work, the earth-rammed , two-bedroom Dune House that the architect built into the adjacent sand dune to protect the “ecological character” of the landscape. + William Morgan Architecture + Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Via Dwell

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Triangular beachfront home is a dreamy retreat buried in the earth

We have just 3 years to ward off climate change – new report

June 29, 2017 by  
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The year 2020 could be a huge turning point for our planet. According to a new report, if we don’t limit carbon emissions by that date, we won’t meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement . That leaves just three years – but six leaders and scientists laid out a six-point plan for meeting the most pressing deadline in human history – regardless of who’s in the White House. Christiana Figueres, convener of Mission 2020 and Executive Secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change between 2010 and 2016, led the group who wrote a piece for Nature outlining their vision for how we can lower emissions and meet the Paris goals. They targeted six sectors: energy , finance, land, infrastructure , transport, and industry. They said their goals may be “idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst” but they feel setting high goals will inspire people to innovate to meet them. Related: How former NYC mayor Bloomberg is filling Trump’s climate change vacuum For example, the authors said at least 30 percent of global power supply needs to be sourced from renewable energy . It’s not impossible, considering we obtained 23.7 percent of electricity from renewables in 2015. They highlight low carbon practices for the other sectors too, like reducing deforestation and increasing use of clean vehicles . The authors also laid out three steps to avoid delaying. First, base policies and action plans on science . Second, scale up existing solutions quickly. And third, be optimistic. “There will always be those who hide their heads in the sand and ignore the global risks of climate change ,” said the authors. “But there are many more of us committed to overcoming this inertia. Let us stay optimistic and act boldly together.” Numerous scientists, politicians, business leaders, analysts, and faith leaders co-signed the Nature article, such as California governor Jerry Brown and climate scientist Michael Mann . + Mission 2020 Via Nature Images via Wikimedia Commons and David Nuescheler on Unsplash

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We have just 3 years to ward off climate change – new report

Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

June 22, 2017 by  
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Sweden just took a huge step towards becoming even greener than they already are. A new law passed by the country’s parliament will slash carbon emissions all the way down to zero by 2045. The move makes Sweden the first country to upgrade its carbon goals since the 2015 Paris Agreement . A cross-party committee prepared the law, which then passed with an overwhelming majority, bringing the goal to become carbon neutral from 2050 down to 2045, and puting in place an independent Climate Policy Council. The law calls for an action plan that will be updated every four years. Related: Norway moves up zero emissions target to 2030 According to New Scientist, Sweden already obtains 83 percent of its electricity from hydropower and nuclear energy . They met a goal to obtain 50 percent of energy from renewables eight years before their target. They’ll work to meet this new carbon neutral objective in part by focusing on transportation , such as through increasing use of vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels . Sweden aims to slash domestic emissions by a minimum of 85 percent. And they’ll offset any other emissions by planting trees or investing in sustainable projects in other countries. Femke de Jong, European Union Policy Director at Carbon Market Watch , said Sweden has a high chance of success, and other countries in Europe could follow suit. “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris Agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world,” de Jong said. Public resistance can be an obstacle to cutting emissions, but according to New Scientist in Sweden there’s an unusually high amount of support for environmentally friendly policies. But de Jong warned the country must also show leadership in forests, not simply emissions. They were recently accused along with France, Finland, and Austria of attempting to weaken rules to obscure emissions from burning wood and deforestation . Via New Scientist Images via Håkan Dahlström on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Sweden passes law to become carbon neutral by 2045

Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

June 22, 2017 by  
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We humans have done a pretty good job of trashing the Earth all by ourselves, but we don’t often stop to consider external threats – like asteroids . A 1908 asteroid explosion over Tunguska, Siberia ravaged 800 square miles, and Queen’s University Belfast astrophysicist Alan Fitzsimmons said another asteroid collision is simply a matter of time, which could have devastating consequences if we remain unprepared. He said most of us don’t think about asteroids as a threat to our existence. We now remember the day of the 1908 asteroid strike as Asteroid Day . It’s June 30, and Fitzsimmons is joining other experts like physicist Brian Cox and International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott to call attention to the threat. Fitzsimmons says it’s not a matter of if an asteroid will impact the Earth, but when. He said a strike like the Tunguska one today could demolish a mayor city – and a larger asteroid strike could be even more devastating. Related: NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors Fitzsimmons said in a statement, “Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them.” He said experts have gotten much better about detecting Near-Earth Asteroids, and have found more than 1,800 objects that could be potentially hazardous. But there are more out there – and we need to be prepared. Fitzsimmons is part of a European Research Council-funded project, NEOshield-2, whose mission is to figure out how to deflect the hazardous asteroids. Asteroid Day events will be live streamed here . There will be conversations with space agencies like NASA and a Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated video series on scientists laboring to protect Earth from asteroids, to name a few. The organization says it will be the first 24-hour live broadcast about space ever. Via Queen’s University Belfast Images via Asteroid Day

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Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

June 15, 2017 by  
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U.S. President Donald Trump may believe coal is the future , but newly-released statistics by BP Statistical Review of Energy state otherwise. According to the data, global coal production fell by an astonishing 6.2 percent last year — the largest annual decline on record. Additionally, consumption decreased for the second year in a row, dropping 1.7 percent. In wake of these findings, it should come as no surprise that once again, renewables were the fastest growing energy source, growing by a whopping 12 percent — a statistic which represents the largest annual incremental increase in output on record. The report , entitled “Energy markets in transition: BP Statistical Review shows long-term shifts underway,” concluded that the oil market is declining because fast-growing markets are shifting “towards lower carbon fuels as renewable energy continues to grow strongly and coal use falls.” The report also showed that the shift from coal is widespread. The UK, for instance, consumed 52.5 percent less in 2016, the U.S. experienced an 8.8 percent dip in consumption and China’s reliance dropped by 1.6 percent. Evidence to support these conclusions abound. For instance, the UK recently experienced its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution. India also intends to halt all coal plant production in the near future, as renewable technologies have become more affordable. Related: U.S. coal production dips to lowest point in 35 years due to rise of renewable energy sources Bob Dudley, BP Group Chief Executive, said, “Global energy markets are in transition. The longer-term trends we can see in this data are changing the patterns of demand and the mix of supply as the world works to meet the challenge of supplying the energy it needs while also reducing carbon emissions . At the same time markets are responding to shorter-run run factors, most notably the oversupply that has weighed on oil prices for the past three years.” As was previously mentioned, renewable energy was the fastest growing of all energy sources, increasing by 12 percent. Though solar, wind and other renewable energy sources provide only 4 percent of the world’s total energy, the increase represents almost one-third of the total growth in energy demand in 2016. Despite certain leaders’ opposition to renewable energy investments, it seems clear the future is green and that consumers will continue to invest in energy sources that are beneficial for the environment, wildlife, and future generations – and their bottom line. + BP Statistical Review of Energy Images via Pixabay

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Global coal production falls 6.2% in the biggest decline in history

Former NASA chief scientist says Americans ‘under siege’ from fake climate news

June 12, 2017 by  
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The science is in on climate change – it’s real and hurting Earth right now. But not all Americans are aware of the threat, according to former NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan. She said the country’s citizens are “under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by people who have a profit motive.” Stofan said the science on climate change is unequivocal. Nevertheless there are still deniers of the phenomenon in the United States – some holding top government positions. Stofan said disinformation and half-truths designed to confuse people have been spread about climate change, and now many people in the country are unaware of the pressing consequences of carbon emissions continuing as is. Related: Americans don’t trust climate change science because of fossil fuel industry’s disinformation She said oil and coal companies have been behind the disinformation, telling The Guardian, “Fake news is so harmful because once people take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it.” Stofan said she saw “an erosion of people’s ability to scrutinize information” across the political spectrum, not just on the left or the right. “All of us have a responsibility. There’s this attitude of ‘I read it on the Internet therefore it must be true,” she said. Stofan said the American science community has been realizing the threat of climate change fake news during the past six months, and are working to communicate more with the public and share information with the press. During her career Stofan pointed to planetary science as important for understanding the environment here on Earth. She said planetary science has offered proof that atmospheric carbon dioxide results in a warmer climate . She finds similarities between Earth’s carbon emissions and the runaway greenhouse effect on the planet Venus . Venus once had oceans but now the volcano and lava plain-strewn planet has temperatures nearing 500 degrees Celsius – Space.com described the planet as “our solar system’s analog to hell.” Stofan told The Guardian, “We won’t go all the way to Venus, but the consequences of putting more and more CO2 into the atmosphere are really dire. There are models that suggest if we burn off all our fossil fuels , the Earth would become uninhabitable for humans.” She said our first job should be to keep Earth habitable. Via The Guardian Images via Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

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Former NASA chief scientist says Americans ‘under siege’ from fake climate news

Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

June 12, 2017 by  
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The mineral perovskite has been touted as the next big thing for renewable energy , potentially giving solar cells a 31 percent maximum efficiency – but water-soluble and perovskite solar cells typically don’t last long in the real world. 11 scientists at institutions in Switzerland and Italy may have finally achieved what researchers have been working towards since around 2009: a stable perovskite solar cell. Their solar cells stayed stable in real world conditions for longer than a year. Perovskite solar cells have already been built with an efficiency of more than 22 percent, but that’s in a laboratory. Oxygen and moisture go to work on the cells once they’re outside. But this team led by scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne drew on a new type of structure in the solar cell to create one the university says is ultra-stable. Related: Austrian scientists create a cheap, flexible solar cell just 3 micrometers thick They designed a hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cell. According to ScienceAlert, the 2D perovskite serves as a protective window to guard against moisture, so the 3D perovskite can generate electricity . The solar cells were built up layer by layer – like a sandwich, according to ScienceAlert – by putting different ingredients atop one another. The team built 10 by 10 centimeters squared solar panels , with what the university described as a fully printable industrial-scale process. The hybrid 2D/3D perovskite solar cells are resistant to oxygen and water, while still able to transport electrical charges. They absorb light from the whole visible spectrum, according to the university. The efficiency isn’t great yet – just 11.2 percent. But the university noted that efficiency was constant for over 10,000 hours, with zero loss in performance. Project leader Mohammad Khaja Nazeeruddin told ScienceAlert, “The important finding in this manuscript is identifying the presence of multi-dimensional 2D/3D interface. We believe [this] will trigger many further studies…widening the prospects for perovskite photovoltaics .” The journal Nature Communications published the advance online the beginning of this month. Via ScienceAlert and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Images via PublicDomainPictures.net and Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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Scientists unveil first printable, stable perovskite solar cell good for 10K hours

Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

June 12, 2017 by  
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A swarm of gigantic, glowing sea urchins recently appeared on Singapore’s waterfront for the iLight Marina Bay Festival. Choi+Shine Architects constructed the larger-than-life creatures as “lacy rooms” that invite visitors to walk inside and enjoy their intricate structure and visual effects. The structures are inspired by sea urchin shells, which are elnclosed yet lightweight and porous. The architects recreated the intricate patterns of urchins using white double-braided polyester chord woven in 20 segments and attached to a metal frame. It took 50 people to assemble the structures by hand over a period of two months. Related: Robots helped build and sew together this amazing sea urchin-inspired pavilion Each sea urchin measures 56 feet in size and weighs around 220 pounds. The lacy pavilions are illuminated by white spot lights, creating the illusion that they glow in the dark. The calming effect and simplicity of the installation visually contrasts Singapore’s skyscrapers and celebrates the city’s cultural diversity. + Choi+Shine Architects Photos © 2016, 2017 Choi+Shine Architects

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Gargantuan lace sea urchins light up the night along Singapore’s marina

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