What to know about Hulu’s Greta Thunberg documentary

February 28, 2020 by  
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Hopeful, passionate and completely fearless, Greta Thunberg is quickly becoming the face of climate change awareness. The teenage climate activist became a household name after a school-wide strike ignited an international sensation, inspiring millions of young people to stand up to the environmental crisis plaguing the planet we all share. Since those first days of solitary protests outside of the Swedish Parliament, Thunberg has continued to be an example for climate activism. From taking a zero-emissions sailboat for two weeks to attend the United Nations Climate Action Summit to publicly putting the world’s leading politicians on blast, it appears that the 16-year-old is just getting started. Now, her inspirational efforts will be explored in a new Greta Thunberg documentary by Hulu. Hulu recently announced that the original documentary on 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg will be released sometime in 2020. Directed by Nathan Grossman and tentatively titled Greta , the documentary will follow the young activist beginning in August 2018, when she single-handedly started a climate-focused strike in her school in Stockholm, Sweden at the age of 15. The strike and its passion-fueled message made headlines around the world; seemingly overnight, the young girl was catapulted into the spotlight at the center of the climate crisis stage. Related: 16 must-see environmental documentaries Thunberg is the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg and a distant relative of Svante Arrhenius, a scientist who came up with a model of the greenhouse effect and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903. Thunberg’s passion for the environment was clear from an early age (she even convinced her parents to become vegan ), and she said that she first learned about climate change at the age of eight . She told Time that after finding out what exactly climate change was, she thought, “That can’t be happening, because if that were happening, then the politicians would be taking care of it.” In May 2018, just three months after winning a local newspaper contest with an essay on climate change, she began protesting weekly in front of the Swedish parliament building with a sign simply reading “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (Swedish for “ school strike for climate ”). Her mission was to convince the government to meet the carbon emissions goal that had been set out by the Paris Climate Agreement , requiring governments to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise. By December, there were more than 20,000 students following suit using the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, with millions more from 150 countries around the world joining in shortly after. Thunberg quickly graduated to internationally covered protests, touring North America while attending rallies, meeting with world leaders and, most famously, speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit (which went viral soon after) and the COP25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Part of her impassioned message during the Climate Action Summit addressed her frustration at politicians for ignoring the signs of climate change and placing the burden on young people. “How dare you. I shouldn’t be up here,” she said. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. We will be watching you.” The teenager took almost all of the 2019 school year off in order to attend the UN summit in New York as well as the annual Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Thunberg made history again when she became nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize by two lawmakers in her home country of Sweden. She was named 2019’s Person of the Year by Time , the youngest person with the honor in the 92-year history of the award. After fearlessly going to bat with the likes of President Trump and Vladimir Putin, she has received an outpouring of support from fans including Michelle Obama and Leonardo DiCaprio . The famously public Twitter feud between the President and Thunberg escalated when President Trump suggested she “chill,” “work on her anger management problem” and go to “a good old fashioned movie with a friend,” leading the 16-year-old to quickly update her Twitter bio to say she was “a teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.” The spat even was featured in a “Saturday Night Live” cold open shortly after, with Kate McKinnon playing Thunberg. The team responsible for the documentary has been following Thunberg from her initial school strikes in Sweden through her more recent evolution into a world-famous face of climate change . So, you can expect to see a deeper dive into all of the above events in the Greta Thunberg documentary. Produced by Cecilia Nessen and Frederik Heinig of B-Reel Films, the production of the film is unsurprisingly an international affair. The documentary is co-produced by WDR of Germany, France Télévisions of France, BBC of the U.K., SVT of Sweden, DR of Denmark, YLE of Finland, NRK of Norway and Hulu of the U.S. Greta will also be sold internationally by distributor Dogwoof, which recently boarded the documentary. “ Greta goes well beyond the subject of climate change,” Anne Godas, CEO of Dogwoof, told Variety . “It’s about young people accepting themselves as they are, believing they can change the world, and celebrating being different from the rest. As a mother of two young girls, I can’t think of a better inspiration for them.” Images via Lev Radin, Per Grunditz and Roland Marconi / Shutterstock

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What to know about Hulu’s Greta Thunberg documentary

Swedens tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2

February 28, 2020 by  
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Scandinavian-based architecture firm C.F. Møller Architects has raised the bar for sustainable architecture with the recent completion of the Kajstaden Tower, Sweden’s tallest timber building. Located in Västerås, about an hour outside of Stockholm, the landmark building rises 8.5 stories in height and was built almost entirely from cross-laminated timber. The architects estimate that the use of solid timber instead of concrete for construction translates to 550 tons of carbon dioxide savings over the building’s lifetime.  Commissioned by Slättö Förvaltning, the Kajstaden Tower was constructed as part of a new central residential neighborhood near the waterfront of Öster Mälarstrand. Along with the record-breaking, solid-timber landmark, the new sustainably minded neighborhood includes an electric boat sharing system in the marina. Related: C.F. Møller’s Storkeengen tackles climate challenges in a Danish town In addition to reducing the building’s carbon footprint, the use of CNC-milled solid timber and glulam for all parts of the building — including the walls, joists, balconies, lift and stairwell shafts — results in an airtight and energy-efficient building envelope without added insulation. The timber frame was also fast to raise; each floor, which contains four apartments, took four craftsmen an average of three days to put together. Mechanical joints and screws were used so that the building can be later taken apart, and the materials can be reused.  “The building in Kajstaden constitutes a new chapter in the history of construction, as it is currently Sweden’s tallest solid-timber building,” said Ola Jonsson, associate partner at C.F. Møller Architects, which is also part of the Nordic Network for Tall Wood Buildings. “Through research projects and our other timber projects, we have focused on innovation and contributed toward developing ways of realizing high-rise buildings made of timber. Industrial timber technology also provides architects with better tools for designing beautiful houses that boast a high degree of detail.” + C.F. Møller Architects Photography by Nikolaj Jakobsen via C.F. Møller Architects

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Swedens tallest timber building could save 550 tons of CO2

This lamp is a work of art that cleans the air

February 28, 2020 by  
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The Guilin Lamp-scape by SUGO uses photocatalysis technology to clean and circulate the air you breathe, eliminating 99.9% of all bacteria, such as salmonella and E. Coli, as well as impurities including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde, mold and odor particles. This lamp-meets-air purifier also gives off an artsy, ambient glow that can be altered to the user’s preferences. To top it all off, the Guilin Lamp-scape is made from recyclable materials. Low-voltage LED light shines through the rectangular, structural steel base of the lamp, bouncing off acrylic mountains made from 40% recycled plastic. The mountains are fashioned out of 5mm thick, glass fiber-reinforced photocatalytic panels placed inside three slots in the base. Switch the light on, and the acrylic mountains will absorb the illumination into laser-engraved lines. While it is designed to last, the entire lamp is 100% recyclable, and the paint covering the base is VOC-free . Related: This lovely lampshade is made from cabbage Consumers can shift the mountains to create unique landscapes that reflect their personal styles. More mountains can also be added to create different brightening effects, making the lamp both functional and customizable. The company suggests placing the “lamp-scape” on a reflective surface, so it resembles the feeling of looking at a mountain range behind a glossy lake. In addition to the classic Guilin, the company has also unveiled an upgraded model called the Guilin Dawn, which uses Italian nano-tech material to transition the lamp from a lit sunset palette to near-transparency when it is turned off. SUGO founders Kevin Chu and Giulia DiBonaventura got the idea for the lamp on a trip to the Guilin Mountains in northeastern China, where they became mesmerized by the scenery and felt compelled to pay tribute to the experience in some way. Their products are exclusively made in factories with low quantity production that follow international environmental regulation and worker’s rights unions. The Guilin Lamp-scape recently moved to INDIEGOGO In-Demand crowdfunding as well as a Shopify store for its remaining items and future purchases. + Guilin Lamp-scape Via Yanko Design Images via SUGO

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This lamp is a work of art that cleans the air

Could plastics actually help fight climate change?

December 7, 2018 by  
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The answer is in the chemistry.

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Could plastics actually help fight climate change?

Breakthrough polymer could lead to ‘infinitely’ recyclable plastics

April 27, 2018 by  
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Even though we’re aware of the environmentally damaging effects of plastic , many people still use the material because it’s long-lasting, convenient, and inexpensive – but plastic can only be recycled a few times. Four Colorado State University chemists just made a breakthrough that could allow for a plastic-like material that’s completely recyclable . They discovered a new polymer that could be infinitely recycled without intensive procedures in a laboratory or using toxic chemicals. The infinitely recyclable polymer is strong, heat-resistant, durable, and lightweight. Its discovery marks a major step towards materials that are sustainable and waste-free, according to Colorado State University — and could compete with polluting plastic in the future. Related: Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that chomps plastic for lunch Polymers are characterized by chains of chemically bonded molecules called monomers. The university said in this new research, which builds on a chemically recyclable polymer demonstrated by the laboratory of chemistry professor Eugene Chen in 2015, a monomer can be polymerized in environmentally friendly conditions: “solvent-free, at room temperature, with just a few minutes of reaction time and only a trace amount of catalyst.” The material created in this process possesses mechanical properties “that perform very much like a plastic.” The polymer can be recycled to its original state in what the university described as mild laboratory conditions, with a catalyst. With this breakthrough, published this week in the journal Science , the scientists envision a future with green plastics that can be “simply placed in a reactor and, in chemical parlance, de-polymerized to recover their value — not possible for today’s petroleum plastics.” This would bring the material back to its chemical starting point, so it could be utilized again and again and again. Chen said in the statement, “The polymers can be chemically recycled and reused, in principle, infinitely.” What’s next for the team? Chen emphasized this polymer technology has solely been demonstrated at the academic laboratory scale, and more research is necessary to polish the patent-pending processes of monomer and polymer production. The chemists do have a seed grant from CSU Ventures , and Chen said, “It would be our dream to see this chemically recyclable polymer technology materialize in the marketplace.” + Colorado State University + Science Images via Colorado State University and Depositphotos

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Breakthrough polymer could lead to ‘infinitely’ recyclable plastics

Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Start-up EarthNow is aiming to bring us real-time video taken from space  of any point on our planet. Backed by such high-profile supporters as Bill Gates and Airbus, EarthNow promises to boldly go where no one has gone before through a proposed “constellation” of satellites that will offer clients their pick of locations and angles from which to capture real-time video of Earth. EarthNow promises the delivery of video with only a one-second delay, without the need to wait for any satellite to be in range due to a comprehensive network that covers the entire planet at any given time. According to EarthNow, the system will one day let us “instantly create “living” 3D models of a town or city, even in remote locations,” observe conflict zones and react in real time, and catch forest fires the minute they start. In its very early stage at the moment, EarthNow intends to initially focus on “high-value enterprise and government customers,” offering services such as weather monitoring, tracking illegal fishing or poaching, or surveillance of conflict zones. Although there is no defined timeline for creating a prototype and testing the system, EarthNow is nonetheless making moves to bring its vision into reality. Thanks to its collaboration with  OneWeb founder Greg Wyler, EarthNow will be able to build its system using a significantly improved version of OneWeb’s satellite network. “Each satellite is equipped with an unprecedented amount of onboard processing power, including more CPU cores than all other commercial satellites combined,” said EarthNow in a press release . Related: Airbus wants to harpoon a satellite and bring it back to Earth Though EarthNow is targeting larger clients to start, its objective is ultimately to share the Earth with all of its inhabitants.  “EarthNow is ambitious and unprecedented, but our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time,” said EarthNow CEO and founder Russell Hannigan in a statement . “We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.” Via Tech Crunch Images via Earth Now

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Bill Gates-backed startup will give you real-time video of nearly anywhere on Earth

World’s fastest electric car charger offers 120-mile range in 8 minutes

April 27, 2018 by  
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Electric vehicle (EV) charging equipment is surging forward — maybe faster than the cars it’s supposed to fill up. ABB recently launched their Terra High Power (HP) charger , which provides a stunning 120 miles in eight minutes, but New Atlas pointed out many EVs can’t yet handle the 350 kilowatts at which this fast charger operates. The Terra HP DC charger can fill cars up at a rate nearly three times that of Tesla Superchargers . ABB said the charger is “the first 350 kW product on the market,” and that gas stations or highway rest stops are ideal for the fast charger. CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer said in a statement , “This high-power fast charger provides electric vehicles with up to seven times more range in the same charging time than previous models.” Related: Germany unveils plans for the world’s largest EV charging station Sounds impressive, but is ABB ahead of its time? New Atlas said there is nothing on the market able to handle 350 kW. Many vehicles are limited to 50 kW; preserving battery life is the reason. Charging batteries up super fast can be damaging to battery life. There are cars that can handle more; the 2018 Nissan Leaf is one such example, able to handle 100 kW. But enabling batteries to handle such rapid charging is just one more task on the list of things battery researchers need to tackle, New Atlas said, alongside thermal stability, energy density, and more. Of course, to compete with gasoline-fueled cars at long ranges better, EVs will need to be able to handle super fast charging. Filling up a fossil fuel car at the gas station usually takes just a few minutes right now. New Atlas said the Terra HP units will probably only get close to their charging capability when several cars are plugged in simultaneously — at least for now. + ABB ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Via New Atlas Images via ABB ( 1 , 2 )

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ESA launches world’s first mission to explore the "atmospheres of hundreds of planets"

March 23, 2018 by  
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Behold a brand new era of space exploration. The European Space Agency (ESA) just selected the Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey (ARIEL) mission from three candidates to launch what Nature describes as the “world’s first space telescope dedicated to studying the atmospheres of exoplanets.” The four-year, $552 million will launch on the Ariane 6 rocket in 2028. The agency said we’ve found thousands of exoplanets with a massive range of sizes, masses, and orbits, but we haven’t uncovered a pattern connecting such characteristics to the parent star’s nature. “In particular, there is a gap in our knowledge of how the planet’s chemistry is linked to the environment where it formed, or whether the type of host star drives the physics and chemistry of the planet’s evolution,” according to ESA. Related: Kepler data reveals 20 potential habitable worlds ESA plans to zero in on hot and warm planets, “ranging from super-Earths to gas giants orbiting close to their parent stars.” Nature said a spectograph will scrutinize light filtering through an exoplanet’s atmosphere while it passes by its host star, “revealing chemical fingerprints of gases that shroud the body.” ARIEL could detect signs of water vapor, methane, and carbon dioxide, and also measure exotic metallic compounds. ESA says such findings could help place an exoplanet in context of a host star’s chemical environment. ESA Director of Science Günther Hasinger said in the statement, “ARIEL is a logical next step in exoplanet science, allowing us to progress on key science questions regarding their formation and evolution, while also helping us to understand Earth’s place in the universe .” + ESA’s Next Space Mission to Focus on Nature of Exoplanets Via Nature Images via ESA/ATG medialab, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO and NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech

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ESA launches world’s first mission to explore the "atmospheres of hundreds of planets"

"Like a fly in amber:" two meteorites with ingredients for life

January 12, 2018 by  
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Two meteorites crashed to our planet in 1998 after billions of years in the asteroid belt. And they had something in common besides reaching Earth the same year: they were the first meteorites we’ve found to have both complex organic compounds like amino acids and hydrocarbons, and liquid water . They may have come from the asteroid Hebe and the dwarf planet Ceres. Around 20 years after the two meteorites – Zag and Monahans – plummeted to Earth, landing in Texas and Morocco, laboratory equipment is powerful enough to scrutinize blue salt crystals on the meteorites, according to The Open University . The 4.5-billion-year-old meteorites contained what the university described as the building blocks for life: liquid water and complex organic compounds together. Scientist David Kilcoyne at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) compared the discovery to a fly in amber for the encapsulation of rich chemistry, according to the laboratory . Related: New NASA discovery hints at water elsewhere in the solar system The salt crystals have been preserved at NASA’s Johnson Space Center , with experiments performed in what Queenie Chan of the center and The Open University described in a statement as the cleanest laboratories on Earth. Avoiding contamination was crucial so scientists could determine what compounds originated from space . The crystals were around two millimeters in size and contained organic solids and water traces a mere fraction of the width of human hair. The salt crystals could have come from Ceres, based on space observations and their organic chemistry – seeded by water- or ice-spewing volcanic activity, per the laboratory. Yokohama National University associate professor Yoko Kebukawa said, “Combined with other evidence, the results support the idea that the organic matter originated from a water-rich, or previously water-rich parent body – an ocean world in the early solar system , possibly Ceres.” Chan said, “Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere.” The journal Science Advances published the research this week. 13 scientists from institutions in the United States and Japan contributed. Via Berkeley Lab and The Open University Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech and Queenie Chan/The Open University, U.K.

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"Like a fly in amber:" two meteorites with ingredients for life

18-year-old invents cheaper CO2 capture tech to fight climate change

December 8, 2017 by  
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Even with quick-paced developments in renewable energy , the world still produces the vast majority of its power via fossil fuels : over 80 percent . 18-year-old Ethan Novek is working on technology that could allow us to burn fossil fuels without climate change-inducing emissions , giving us time to install more renewable energy. His carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technology stands out from the rest because it could capture CO2 at about $10 per metric ton – around 85 percent less than the industry standard. Novek made the discovery that would lead to his potentially game-changing technology in his high school chemistry laboratory. CO2 capture technology has traditionally drawn on a substance such as amine that selectively reacts with just CO2 as other gases escape. The substance is then heated to break the chemical bond for a release of the greenhouse gas that can be converted into products. But the amines used are expensive, and it takes a lot of heat to break that bond. Novek’s discovery could overcome these issues. Related: World’s first commercial carbon-sucking plant goes live in Zurich In his high school laboratory, Novek was hoping to utilize a technique known as salting out to cheaply produce urea, a nitrogen-based fertilizer. He realized he could actually use the process to separate out and capture CO2 after fossil fuels are burned. Here’s how it could work: at a fossil fuel plant, exhaust gases could be piped into a mix of water and ammonia. Inert gases like oxygen would escape as ammonia reacted with CO2, forming a salt. A solvent could break the salt back into CO2 and ammonia. Distillation could separate the ammonia and solvent mix so each component could be recycled. And the CO2 could be transformed into chemicals like acetic acid or synthetic gas. The CO2 capture process needs 75 percent less energy than others. Novek attracted the attention of Yale University professor Menachem Elimelech, and with other Yale researchers they wrote a study published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters . Novek started a company, Innovator Energy , and is working on a pilot plant that could use waste gas from a chemical factory or power plant to capture 1,000 kilograms of carbon emissions per day. + Innovator Energy Via Quartz Images via Carbon XPRIZE and Depositphotos

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18-year-old invents cheaper CO2 capture tech to fight climate change

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