You can relax: A man in China did not just discover the world’s largest mosquito

April 27, 2018 by  
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This week, a scientist in China made news across the internet for claiming to have caught the world’s biggest mosquito with a wingspan of over 10 inches . At first the news gave us nightmares about massive mosquitoes snuffing out our citronella candles with their giant wings (or was that just me?) – but it turns out that the insect Zhoa Li caught isn’t the bloodsucking kind, but a massive crane fly instead. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); A giant mosquito with a wing span of 11.15 centimeters is shown at the Insect Museum of West China in Chengdu, capital… Posted by China Xinhua News on  Tuesday, April 24, 2018 Zhoa Li is famous for discovering the longest insect in the world – a two-foot-long megastick insect. Now he has identified a massive insect in China’s Sichuan province and declared it to be the largest mosquito ever. The specimen Li located could possibly the largest of its type on record, but it isn’t a mosquito. The insect’s scientific name is Holorusia mikado , it originated in Japan and it’s known to be the largest crane fly species in the world. The confusion seems to have arisen because some cultures refer to crane flies as “big mosquitoes.” Related: Recycled tire traps are seven times more effective than traditional mosquito traps Both the mosquito and the crane fly belong to the Nematocera suborder of flies, but from there the insects differ. The insect Li discovered belongs to the crane fly family (Tipulidae). “Different countries have different ways to call and define insects, but from a biological perspective, Holorusia mikado are categorized as mosquitoes,” Li told the Daily Mail . We beg to differ – any “mosquito” that doesn’t draw blood to survive isn’t going to keep us up at night. And entomologists agree . Image via Wikimedia

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You can relax: A man in China did not just discover the world’s largest mosquito

The Earth-like planets orbiting this star could hold 250 times more water than Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Recent research suggests that some of the Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 could carry more water than our own planet. TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool red dwarf discovered in 1999, and its planets were first documented within the past few years. Scientists have measured the density of TRAPPIST-1’s planets and concluded that the mass of some of these planets may be composed of five percent water – roughly 250 times the amount of water found in our planet’s oceans. Stars such as TRAPPIST-1 are of particular interest to astronomers because their size and faintness allows for more in-depth study of orbiting planets. Through the European Union-funded SPECULOOS project, scientists have been able to focus on these planets as they search for life beyond Earth . Researchers have also observed differences based on the planets’ distance from their sun. For example, planets closest to TRAPPIST-1 may contain thick, steamy atmospheres while outer planets may be covered in ice. Perhaps most importantly, astronomers have concluded that the lack of a hydrogen -rich atmosphere on three planets indicates that they are not gaseous and therefore much more likely candidates for harboring extraterrestrial life. Related: Two Trappist-1 planets are highly likely to be habitable The intensive study of the TRAPPIST-1 system is only in its early stages. In 2020, NASA and the European Space Agency will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be capable of detecting possible molecules of biological origin. “In the temperate – and potentially habitable – Earth-size regime, SPECULOOS’s detection potential should be significantly better,” Dr. Michaël Gillon from the University of Liège, Belgium told Science Magazine . “The next years are going to be very exciting!” Gillon plans on expanding the observation of Earth-like planets by searching through 1,000 stars similar to TRAPPIST-1. Via Phys.org Images via NASA (1)

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The Earth-like planets orbiting this star could hold 250 times more water than Earth

EU approves complete ban on bee-killing insecticides

April 27, 2018 by  
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In a monumental decision that has been years in the making , all member nations of the European Union have approved a total ban of neonicotinoids, the most widely used insecticide in the world and a well-documented danger to bees and other pollinators. The ban is expected to go into effect by the end of this year, though use of the insecticide will still be allowed in greenhouses . The rapidly declining population of pollinator species in recent years is in part due to the widespread use of harmful pesticides. The ban should result in a healthier pollinator population, which is essential for global food production. The vote follows recent studies that have confirmed the danger that neonicotinoids pose to pollinators, directly and through water and soil contamination. “The commission had proposed these measures months ago, on the basis of the scientific advice from [the EU ‘s scientific risk assessors],” Vytenis Andriukaitis, European commissioner for Health and Food Safety, told the Guardian . “Bee health remains of paramount importance for me since it concerns biodiversity, food production and the environment.” Related: NASA has a plan to put robot bees on Mars This policy change pleased activists. “Finally, our governments are listening to their citizens, the scientific evidence and farmers who know that bees can’t live with these chemicals, and we can’t live without bees,” Antonia Staats at Avaaz said. Meanwhile, industry representatives disapproved. “European agriculture will suffer as a result of this decision,” Graeme Taylor, of the European Crop Protection Association , said. “Perhaps not today, perhaps not tomorrow, but in time decision makers will see the clear impact of removing a vital tool for farmers.” Research suggests that Taylor’s concerns are unfounded, while the dramatic decline in pollinator populations — which will continue to occur without action — proves disastrous for food production. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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EU approves complete ban on bee-killing insecticides

Sleep inside this giant crane turned into luxury digs in Amsterdam

February 5, 2018 by  
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A new luxury apartment is promising to elevate your next stay in Amsterdam—literally. Dutch firm Yays Concierged Boutique Apartments teamed up with Studio Edward van Vliet to completely renovate and transform a 1957 harbor crane into a three-story luxury apartment while retaining the structure’s historical integrity. Boasting stellar views over the IJ River, this unique rental is located in the crane’s original location in the Eastern Docklands. This cool converted crane isn’t the first of its kind—last year we shared a glimpse inside Arcgency’s renovation of a former coal crane in Copenhagen into a swanky retreat. Unlike its predecessor, The Yays – Crane Apartment is a more colorful affair. Three bright blue shipping containers are stacked together to form the three-story structure. Related: Old coal crane in Denmark converted into swanky hanging retreat and spa Accessed via a staircase from the harbor, the 40-square-meter interior features a living room, dining area, and kitchen on the lowest level. A bedroom with a bathroom (including a bathtub and shower) is on the floor above, while the topmost level contains the second bedroom with stunning panoramic views. Design elements like the exposed steel beams and Critall-style windows pay homage to the site’s industrial history. The Yays – Crane Apartment sleeps up to four and can be booked on AirBnB at just under $900 a night . + The Yays – Crane Apartment Via Dezeen

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Sleep inside this giant crane turned into luxury digs in Amsterdam

Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

February 5, 2018 by  
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What if a home could improve the environment around it? That’s the question architect Michelle Lanker of Lanker Design LLC and her ecologist husband Bill Bloxom put to the test when they designed their new getaway—a floating home docked on Washington’s Lake Union that’s not only net-zero and certified LEED Platinum, but also improves water quality and biodiversity. Dubbed Houseboat H, this stunning sustainable home boasts a bevy of eco-friendly elements from material choices and renewable energy sources to its use of floating islands to create new aquatic habitats. Sustainability and symbiosis are at the heart of Houseboat H. Powered by solar and designed for minimal energy use, this net-zero home floats above a series of floating islands specially designed to improve water quality. Buoyant planters made of recycled plastic house native plants that form root systems to purify the water and encourage fish habitats. The growing aquatic habitats can be observed from a large window in the basement float of the home. In addition to the recycled plastics in the planters, thoughtful material choice can be seen throughout the home, most notably in the old-growth cedar logs used in the interior that were salvaged from Michelle and Bill’s original, century-old houseboat destroyed in a fire. Durable materials were carefully selected, like the plastic laminate for the cabinets and counters as well as the cement fiberboard for exterior cladding. The use of cedar and bamboo in the home lend a sense of warmth to the light-filled interior. Related: Rusting 1950s cargo ship transformed into a stunning modern floating home Natural lighting and beautiful Seattle skyline views are welcomed indoors through large triple-glazed windows that often span floor to ceiling. To minimize energy loss, the walls and roof are filled with spray foam insulation at maximum insulation thicknesses. A small green roof also aids in insulation. A 5.43-kW solar array attached to the standing seam metal roof powers the home’s LED fixtures, low-energy appliances, and water heater (with a 80 gallon storage tank) for the hydronic radiant floor system. A heat exchanger is also installed to collect heat from the lake. + Lanker Design LLC Images via Lanker Design LLC

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Incredible net-zero floating home cleans the water around it

Hybrid robot cranes will help construct Google’s new HQ

May 6, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Hybrid robot cranes will help construct Google’s new HQ Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ATK II , big , Crabots , crane , flexible workspace , Google , google campus , google HQ , hybrid robot and crane , mountain view , prefabricated design , robot , sustainable design , thomas heatherwick

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Hybrid robot cranes will help construct Google’s new HQ

Tiny village kills thousands of dolphins for their teeth in the Solomon Islands

May 6, 2015 by  
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Between 1976 and 2013, a small village in the Solomon Islands killed 15,400 dolphins —for their teeth. Prized for use as jewelry, currency and even as bride price, the teeth fetched about $0.70 apiece in 2013, according to a report published in the journal Royal Society Open Science . Researchers from the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium, Solomon Island’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute traveled to Fanalei in 2013 to investigate reports that the practice of driving and killing dolphins for their teeth had resurfaced despite an arrangement whereby Earth Island Institute would give the villagers cash in return for sparing the dolphins’ lives. In 2013 alone, this one village killed 1,600 dolphins, according to the report. The authors warn that the increasing commercial value of teeth, also used as currency, is likely to accelerate dolphin killing in the future. Via Aquila-Style Image via Shutterstock Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: conservation , dolphin teeth , dolphins , Fanalei , killing dolphins , News , Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute , Royal Society Open Science , Solomon Island’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources , Solomon Islands , South Pacific Whale Research Consortium

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Tiny village kills thousands of dolphins for their teeth in the Solomon Islands

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