Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

October 24, 2017 by  
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A new Apple Store has just opened in downtown Chicago—and it’s an architectural beauty. Designed by Foster + Partners , Apple Michigan Avenue follows the tech giant’s new ( and controversial ) “Town Square” store concept in which stores are meant to serve as community hubs rather than simply commercial spaces. Naming aside, the new Apple flagship is a stunner with wraparound glazing and an ultra-thin carbon fiber roof in the recognizable shape of a Macbook cover. Located along the Chicago riverfront on North Michigan Avenue’s ‘Magnificent Mile,’ Apple Michigan Avenue was envisioned as a bridge between the city and the river. Granite staircases that flank the store step down to the waterfront from the historic Pioneer Court urban plaza. Massive curved glass walls wrap around the building on all sides, while four slender columns support an extremely thin floating roof. Related: First Apple Store in Southeast Asia is 100% powered by renewable energy “We fundamentally believe in great urban life, creating new gathering places, and connecting people in an analog way within an increasingly digital world,” said Stefan Behling, Head of Studio, Foster + Partners. “The design of Apple Michigan Avenue embodies this in its structure and materiality with a glass wall that dissolves into the background, revealing the only visible element of the building – its floating carbon fiber roof.” Interior stairs double as seating for Apple Michigan Avenue’s “forum,” the events space for talks about photography and coding, and hub of Today at Apple. + Foster + Partners Images by Neil Young

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Ultra-thin Macbook-shaped roof tops new Apple Store in Chicago

New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

September 8, 2017 by  
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Good riddance “lunch shaming” — the practice of holding children accountable for school lunch bills. Starting this school year in New York City, all 1.1 million students who attend public schools will receive their lunches for free. The move has been long sought after by food policy advocates, as 75 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. Now an additional 200,000 kids will benefit, saving their families approximately $300 per year. According to city officials, the program will not cost the city additional money since New York state changed how it tracks families that are eligible for benefits and matched them with schools their children attend. The city was then able to identify more students whose families receive those benefits. It made officials realize the whole city qualifies for a federal program that dishes out free lunches at schools. According to Carmen Fariña, the school’s chancellor, “This is about equity. All communities matter.” Fariña is one of many who thinks the practice of lunch shaming needs to stop. When a student’s account is in overdraft, oftentimes their food is thrown away in front of them and they are given a simple sandwich on white bread as a replacement. The practice is so embarrassing, many kids choose to go hungry rather than subject themselves to the humiliation. Related: 8 Organic School Lunches That Can Be Prepared The Night Before New York isn’t the first city to offer free lunch to all students. Other major cities that do the same include Boston , Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. However, New York has far more children to feed than any of those cities, which is why this initiative is particularly applaudable. While breakfasts were already free to students at the city’s public schools, this latest development will ensure all students receive most of their daily recommended food intake. This is vital, considering 13 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. Via New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons , Pixnio

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New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

The Hatchery announces new $30M food incubator for ‘global culinary capital’

July 11, 2017 by  
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A food incubator planned for Chicago’s East Garfield Park could provide much-needed economic growth for a struggling community. Nearly 40 percent of households there live below the poverty level, according to the Chicago Tribune . But the $30 million facility, being built by The Hatchery , could create 150 jobs in its first year, and in five years offer 900 jobs. The organization expects to break ground on the facility later this year. The Hatchery is a non-profit food business incubator started by three Chicago organizations: Accion Chicago , IFF , and Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago . They offer financing, production space, and other resources for startup food businesses, and the new $30 million facility could help them assist even more people in the community. Related: Rooftop wheat fields elevate Chicago’s urban farming scene to exciting new heights 75 to 100 entrepreneurs will be able to start their businesses in The Hatchery’s planned space, which will be around 65,000 square feet. The City of Chicago is providing around $8 million for the venture, largely through tax increment financing, and large food companies like Kellogg Company and Conagra Foods have also pitched in undisclosed amounts. Shared kitchen spaces will help businesses get on their feet, and as they grow they’ll be able to rent one of the 56 private production spaces. Event spaces, meeting rooms, and food storage will also be found inside The Hatchery, where entrepreneurs will be able to receive coaching and training. Accion Chicago will relocate their headquarters to the new facility. Locals will be able to obtain job training or go to food classes there. The space will also host a neighborhood market. Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the project in a press release, saying, “Chicago is the global culinary capital and The Hatchery will give our local entrepreneurs access to food and beverage companies that operate across the world.” Construction is slated to begin in October or November of this year, and the space could open in 2018. + The Hatchery Chicago Via the Chicago Tribune Images via The Hatchery Chicago Twitter and The Hatchery Chicago Facebook

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The Hatchery announces new $30M food incubator for ‘global culinary capital’

Germany generated 35% of its electricity with renewables in first half of 2017

July 11, 2017 by  
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Good news! In the first half of 2017, Germany derived 35.1 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources , according to the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE). In a press release , the country’s trade body announced that Germany has successfully met its 2020 target for “share of gross electricity consumption.” It helped that from April 30 to May 1, the country generated 85 percent of its energy needs using renewable wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectric power. Germany has steadily increased its production of clean electricity over the past few years. In the first half of 2015, for instance, the country generated 32.7 percent of its energy needs from renewables , and 32.7 percent in the first half of 2016. Though the new record is positive news , progress in other sectors has been slow, specifically in the transportation and heating sectors. Said Haraold Uphoff, the acting director of BEE, “The power generation in Germany is progressing far too slowly.” Fortunately, the country is well on its way to producing 45 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2040, and 60 percent by 2050. The report details a jump in offshore wind energy in the first half of 2017. As Clean Technica reports, onshore wind energy grew “from 34.08 TWh in the first half of 2015, to 34.71 TWh a year later, but jumping to 39.75 TWh in the first half of this year. Offshore wind also jumped, from only 2.15 TWh in the first half of 2015 to 8.48 TWh this year.” Solar PV, as well, has seen incremental increases in growth. In 2015, output has increased from 19.50 Two in 2015 to 21.74 in the first half of 2017. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade Time and again, Germany has proven its commitment to bettering the environment by taking action to meet goals outlined at the Paris Climate Change Conference . Their most recent effort includes signing a joint statement on climate cooperation with California earlier this month. The agreement was a “reaffirmation of joint ties” between the two to continue working on the persistent issue of global warming. Via Clean Technica Images via Pixabay

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Germany generated 35% of its electricity with renewables in first half of 2017

Houston superbug problem has been lurking for years, say researchers

May 18, 2017 by  
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Houston has a superbug problem, and it’s been lurking for years. A particularly virulent strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae , a bacteria that’s resistant to a broad spectrum of antibiotics, has a firm foothold on the Texan city, according to new research published in mBio , an online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology . Using genome sequencing, scientists from the Houston Methodist Research Institute found clone type 307 was responsible for more than one-third of resistant K. pneumoniae infections in their system. “Finding the otherwise uncommon strain in our city was a very surprising discovery,” James M. Musser, senior author of the study and chair of the Department of Pathology and Genomic Medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and Houston Methodist Hospital, said in a statement. “Because K. pneumoniae is a common and important cause of human infections, we urgently need to identify potential vaccine targets or other new treatments, and develop new and rapid diagnostic techniques.” K. pneumoniae usually resides in the human intestines, where it doesn’t cause disease. When it migrates to other parts of the body, however, the bacteria can trigger infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, or blood septicity. Related: Student discovers a way to destroy superbug bacteria without antibiotics Musser’s team worked with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and University of Chicago to analyze the genomes of 1,777 K. pneumoniae strains that caused infections in patients at Houston Methodist between September 2011 and May 2015. Clone type 307 emerged as the most abundant strain. But although the organism has been documented in regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, the study marks the first time it’s been singled out for causing such a broad number of infections in one city. Why this strain is so common in Houston is still a mystery, Musser said. “The faster we can successfully identify which antibiotics this strain is sensitive to, the faster a treating physician can target the appropriate therapy to these ill patients,” said S. Wesley Long, primary author of the study and associate director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory at Houston Methodist Hospital. “Our discoveries also give us the tools to begin to understand how the germ is spreading throughout the Houston area.” Earlier this year, an elderly woman in Nevada died from a K. pneumoniae infection after failing to respond to all 26 antibiotics used in the United States. There’s no approved vaccine for the superbug, but scientists are working on it. “Fortunately, the strain 307 identified in our study remains susceptible to certain antibiotics that can be used to successfully treat infected patients,” said Long. + American Society for Microbiology Via CBS News Photos by Unsplash

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Houston superbug problem has been lurking for years, say researchers

The Obamas just revealed a first look at the new Presidential Center in Chicago

May 3, 2017 by  
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Former president and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama just revealed plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. The park-like campus will feature three buildings including a museum, a forum and a library. The highlight of the design is the museum, which is clad in light-colored stone and stands as a sort of “lantern” for the campus. Designers are focusing on merging the best of the outdoors with the best of the indoors by including plenty of green spaces, green roofs , and public gardens. The campus, located in the neighborhood Jackson Park, will host exhibition space, education rooms, a restaurant, public gardens, and the Presidential library, which will house documents, photos and artifacts from Obama’s time in office. Related: Obama’s presidential library will be set in Chicago’s Jackson Park Pathways will criss-cross the campus, allowing visitors to walk from green spaces on the ground level to the green roofs of the two lower buildings. An outdoor plaza will connect everything together. The design was created by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and will cost approximately $500 million to construct. Once completed, the buildings will comprise 200 – 225,000 square feet. Via The Chicago Tribune images via The Obama Foundation

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The Obamas just revealed a first look at the new Presidential Center in Chicago

Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

May 3, 2017 by  
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Cadillac is pushing a new green car strategy they hope will make a bigger impact than their ELR plug-in hybrid – a low-performing vehicle in terms of sales success. Rather than produce a standalone plug-in hybrid , like the ELR, Cadillac will release plug-in hybrid versions of its regular lineup, starting with the new 2017 CT6 Plug-in Hybrid. The 2017 CT6 plug-in hybrid is just now reaching showrooms, giving Cadillac a rival to other luxury sedan plug-ins, like the Mercedes-Benz S 550e, BMW 740e and Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can travel up to 31 miles in electric mode, which is better than the embarrassing 12 mile EV range that the S550e manages to squeeze out of its battery. If you open the hood, you won’t see a V6 or large V8 engine, like many Cadillac loyalists are used to. Instead, the CT6 plug-in hybrid is powered by a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine and two-motor electric variable transmission. A large lithium-ion battery powers the electric part of the system from behind the backseat and takes up to 4.5 hours to fully recharge on a 240-volt outlet. Related: Honda steps up with new green car strategy In total, the system generates 335 horsepower and 432 lb-ft. of torque, which puts it directly in the middle of the CT6 lineup, with only the twin-turbocharged 3.0L V6 beating it. The CT6 plug-in hybrid can reach 60 mph in 5.2 seconds and has a 62 combined MPGe rating. Plus the 31-mile driving range is longer than almost every other plug-in hybrid on the market, with the exception of the Chevy Volt and BMW i3, but neither of those models are as luxurious or comfortable. On the road the CT6 tries to find the perfect balance between performance and efficiency. You can select between three driving modes: Tour, Sport and Hold. Tour is the standard setting, but if you want a more exciting driving experience, there’s the Sport mode with its more aggressive pedal mapping and steering response. The Hold mode allows the driver to save the EV range for later use, maybe in a city center, for example. There are also four selectable battery regen modes to recuperate as much energy as you want. The strongest setting almost allows for one pedal driving, which is something that makes the i3 so great to drive in traffic. What’s it like to drive the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid? Driving around Los Angeles in the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid, it’s easy to forget you’re driving an electrified Cadillac. The instantaneous torque makes acceleration a breeze and the 31-mile EV range is enough for short errands around town. With a 0-60 mph time of only 5.2 seconds, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid can speed past many sports cars. Although it is fast, it’s still not a true sports sedan. If you’re looking for a sportier driving experience, you’ll probably want to check out the Panamera instead, but if you’re in the market for a large, luxurious sedan, without the fuel economy penalty, the CT6 Plug-in Hybrid is hard to beat. Pricing for the 2017 Cadillac CT6 Plug-in hybrid starts at $75,095. It only comes in one trim with standard features like, a head-up display, panoramic sunroof, rear seat infotainment system and the Enhanced Vision package. Images @Inhabitat and Cadillac + Cadillac

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Cadillac unveils their new CT6 Plug-in Hybrid – a large, green luxury sedan

EPA workers openly fight against potential Pruitt confirmation

February 17, 2017 by  
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With Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt ‘s installation as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head seeming more likely, current EPA employees have taken to their phones and the streets to resist his potential confirmation. They’ve contacted their senators and protested; one expert said he “can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this.” EPA scientists, policy experts, and environmental lawyers are openly opposing the confirmation of a man who’s sued the EPA 14 times – sometimes working with large fossil fuel companies – and can’t come up with even one EPA regulation he supports. The EPA’s union has sent emails and posted on social media exhorting members to take action. EPA employees in Chicago protested on the streets. Related: Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of TechCrunch reported yesterday the EPA posted a snapshot of what their website looked like the day before Donald Trump’s inauguration after receiving numerous requests for the information. Two Democrat senators, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III and North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp , said they’ll vote for Pruitt, and only one Republican, Maine’s Susan Collins , said she’ll oppose him. EPA lawyer Nicole Cantello, who’s also the Chicago area union leader, told The New York Times, “It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what EPA has done. I don’t know if there’s any other agency that’s been so reviled. So it’s in our interests to do this.” Should Pruitt be confirmed, it would be difficult to fire those workers who opposed him due to Civil Service protections, meaning there could be a lot of internal dissension against actions Pruitt aims to take, like dismantling the Clean Power Plan . Former EPA employee Judith Enck told The New York Times, “EPA staff are pretty careful. They’re risk-averse. If people are saying and doing things like this, it’s because they’re really concerned.” Via The New York Times Images via Lorie Shaull on Flickr and Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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EPA workers openly fight against potential Pruitt confirmation

Warming Huts 2017 winning designs are inspired by beaches, lanterns, and open borders

December 7, 2016 by  
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Warming Huts , an ” Art + Architecture Competition ” whose entrants design huts fit for the cold Winnipeg winters, have revealed their 2017 winners. Three winning teams designed the 2017 huts, which include a lantern-like hut, an ice block cabin and an “open border” hut. This year’s five winning huts are creative out-of-the-box designs that were inspired by history, tropical beaches and even  politics . Warming Huts invited Anish Kapoor to design a hut this year, and he envisioned “Stackhouse,” a geometric hut to be made wholly of ice blocks. They also selected the design of Nelson McIntyre Collegiate student Sean Kohli “On The Rails,” which was inspired by local history of rail transportation. Related: ROPE Pavilion by KNE Studio Is An Elegant Woven Warming Shelter In Canada Warming Huts also selected three winners. Team 888 of Chicago designed the winning “Greetings From Bubble Beach,” a geodesic dome retreat reminiscent of “an inverse snow globe,” according to the project description . Set on a wooden base, the dome will create a warm respite allowing visitors to step into summer. Team 888 plans to equip the dome with deck chairs, a palm tree, and a “sand-like ground layer.” The hut “Ice Lantern” is another winner. Designed by Lisa Tondino, Alexandra Bolen, Mathew Rodrigues, and Drew Klassen of Novia Scotia, Canada, designers say Ice Lantern is based on primitive hut archetypes. The lantern portion will hover over the snow, held in place by an “iglu snow-mound structure.” That structure will include wooden bench seating, offering warmth through natural insulation from the snow. The third winning design is “Open Border” from Joyce de Grauw and Paul van den Berg of the Netherlands. The two designers created a hut that looks like a red wall crossing an ice skating trail in the area. But skaters can shelter in the wall and cross through it at any point along the installation. In January 2017, the winners will travel to Winnipeg, Canada to construct the huts they designed. + Warming Huts Via Bustler Images via Warming Huts

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Warming Huts 2017 winning designs are inspired by beaches, lanterns, and open borders

Astronomers just calculated when a day on Earth will be 25 hours long

December 7, 2016 by  
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Many jokes are made about creating just one more hour in the day, but that will eventually become a reality. After a review of celestial data spanning 27 centuries, a team of astronomers has determined that Earth’s orbit slows almost two milliseconds every 100 years . If the slowdown continues—and it’s expected to—Earth will eventually experience an extra hour each day. Some careful math helped researchers estimate how long it might take for the orbit to slow enough to create a whole new hour. Collecting ancient documentation of celestial events , such as eclipses, was no small task. Researchers at Durham University and the UK’s Nautical Almanac Office collated data on events from 720BC to 2015, a span of 2,735 years. The oldest records came from Babylonian clay tablets written in cuneiform, with more added from ancient Greek texts, and scripts from China, medieval Europe, and the Arab region. Related: Newly discovered ‘ghost galaxy’ full of dark matter is as big as the Milky Way Leslie Morrison is an astronomer and co-author of the study, which was just published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. Morrison and his team evaluated nearly 3,000 celestial records in order to arrive at the estimated orbital slowing rate of 2ms per century. Although it’s been long known that the Earth’s orbit is gradually slowing, this is the first study to produce an estimated rate of that change. The study results also discuss some of the factors in the Earth’s orbital slowdown, including the tidal braking effect caused by the moon’s gravity, changes in the world’s sea levels, and the electromagnetic forces between Earth’s core and its rocky mantle. Don’t start making plans for how to spend your extra hour. According to the study results, it will be another two million centuries before Earth’s day lengthens to 25 hours. Via The Guardian Images via NASA ( 1 , 2 )

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Astronomers just calculated when a day on Earth will be 25 hours long

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