How to make American cities bike-friendly

June 19, 2018 by  
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If you live in a city, riding a bike can be a great option to get you where you need to go. More and more people are opting for bicycles instead of cars, but most American cities are lagging behind when it comes to offering safe roads for bicyclists. Many cities ban cyclists from riding on the sidewalk and expect them to share the road with passing cars. What can we do to encourage American cities to be more bicycle-friendly? America’s best cycling cities Not all cities fall short when it comes to bike-friendly roads — some of the best cycling cities in the world are right here at home. Atlanta took some of its unused urban railways and created “The BeltLine,”  a 22-mile-long loop for pedestrians and bicyclists. City planners are extending it another five miles in the coming year, and more than a million people have used it since its opening. Chicago has dedicated bike routes to help keep cyclists safe and out of the way of passing drivers. Baltimore has an electric-assisted bike-sharing program to make it easier for riders to navigate the sometimes-hilly terrain. Related: San Francisco bike shop lets you trade in car for e-bike Moving away from car dependence Most people don’t think twice about hopping in a car and driving to work, even if work is only a few miles down the road. We need to change our underlying infrastructure to move away from car-dependent transportation. That’s not to say we all need to stop driving our cars — people who commute long distances, carry cargo or transport other passengers will find it difficult or impossible to do these things on a bicycle. Infrastructure changes give cities more control over traffic — both vehicles and bicycles — and allow them to separate or prioritize one or the other, depending on the conditions. Just adding bike lanes to the sides of existing roads isn’t enough — nor is expecting bicyclists to share the road with nothing to separate them from motorized vehicles. Related: 6 cycling accessories every bike commuter needs Separating cars and bikes When it comes down to it, a bicycle is never going to win in a fight with a car. In 2015, more than 800 cyclists were killed in accidents with vehicles. That’s more than two accidents every single day. The easiest way to prevent these collisions is to keep cars and bikes separate. Bike lanes with planters or plastic bollards provide a barrier between cyclists and drivers and may help keep people safe. Cities can install a temporary setup for a reasonable amount of money to study how well it works, and if it turns out to be a good option for the city, city planners and officials can move forward from there. Learn from cycling cities When transitioning American cities to be safer for cyclists, planners can turn to cities around the world for inspiration.  Europe has great ideas when it comes to making cities more cycling-friendly. For the Netherlands recently opened an 11-mile cycling highway that connects the cities of Arnhem and Nijmegen. This is a “fast path” for bicycling commuters between the two cities. There are slower roadside paths as well for intercity travel. It isn’t just the infrastructure that the Netherlands has changed — it’s the “ psychology of the commute .” By giving cyclists a direct and convenient route that keeps them separate from cars, it has allowed more people to ride bikes. The bicycling highway has even encouraged people to reconsider transportation for their regional trips. Cycling is one of the best things we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint , so it’s important to make crowded cities safer for people who choose to leave their cars at home and opt to use bicycles. It’s better for your health and better for the environment, as long as we can keep cyclists safe during their daily commutes. City planners should stop thinking about cars and start focusing on public transportation and cycling as the primary forms of transportation for their citizens. Via  Atlanta ,  Biz Journals ,  Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center ,  Wired  and  CityLab Images via Vishal Banik , Paul Krueger (1 , 2) , Daniel Lobo  and Jonny Kennaugh

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5 Tips to Make Recycling a Part of Your Daily Routine

June 18, 2018 by  
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Like any household (particularly those with a home office), my … The post 5 Tips to Make Recycling a Part of Your Daily Routine appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Top 5 Green Gadgets from CES 2011

March 26, 2018 by  
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Each year the Consumer Electronics Show lights up Las Vegas with an exhilarating showcase of cutting-edge technology . Although the Nevada desert may not be the first place you’d look for energy-efficient tech, this year we spotted an array of green gems that exhibit trends towards more efficient, versatile, and sustainable gadgets. From universal eco chargers to multi-tasking sunglass cameras and kinetic-energy harvesting gizmos, read on for our top 5 green gadgets from CES 2011 ! Lady Gaga’s Polaroid Camera Sunglasses Lady Gaga teamed up with Polaroid to create this pair of high-tech stunner shades that conceal a secret surprise – a 12 megapixel camera that captures the world as you see it. The multi-tasking GL20 Camera Glasses also boast twin 1.5 inch OLED screens that can play back photos and videos for whoever you’re looking at. nPower PEG Kinetic Energy Charger Add a spring to your step and some watts to you walk with the nPower PEG – the world’s first handheld gadget charger that captures and stores your kinetic energy. Simply toss this pint-sized power charger into your backpack or briefcase and it will capture kinetic energy from your daily activities and transform it into electricity to juice your gadgets on the go. eCoupled Wireless Tesla Charger Wireless charging is a hot topic for tech enthusiasts, so we were thrilled to see eCoupled roll out a new system capable of charging a Tesla at this year’s CES! Simply park your EV over the PowerSpot ‘s halo of blue light and it will transmit electricity via an induction pad at distances up to 4″. The technology isn’t quite ready to hit shelves and no charging times were available, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye out for. IDAPT Universal Gadget Charger With today’s prevalence of handheld gadgets it seems everyone has a shoebox filled with bulky wall wart chargers collecting dust. The IDAPT i1 Eco is a universal charger that can power nearly any gadget, and it’s made from recycled materials to boot. Ford Focus Electric Perhaps the biggest news from this year’s CES came from Ford as they unveiled their first all-electric car. The Ford Focus EV is an electrified version of their popular small car that will get a better mile-per-gallon equivalent than the Chevy Volt and will recharge in half the time it takes to juice up a Nissan Leaf .

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Researchers shocked to discover protein that conducts electricity

November 1, 2017 by  
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In a new study from researchers at Arizona State University , scientists have documented that a particular protein known as  alphaVbeta3 has the ability to conduct electricity. Proteins serve as building blocks for cells, but until now, none have been observed conducting electricity. “If it’s true, it’s amazing,” said lead researcher Stuart Lindsay, according to Science Daily . “What this paper is mainly testing out are all the alternative explanations of our data, and ruling out all of the artifacts.” In the past four years since their initial discovery, the team at ASU, whose work was published in the journal  Nano Futures, has been vigilant in checking and rerunning the experiment to determine if there was an alternative explanation. Nonetheless, the most likely conclusion remains that the protein was conducting electricity . The research team first began the work that led to their shocking discovery several years ago when experimenting with DNA and amino acid readers developed by Lindsay, who is a biophysicist and ASU Regents’ Professor. These DNA readers incorporate a technology known as recognition tunneling, which traps individual molecules between electrodes. Curious as to how a whole protein would react to such a process, the team placed the glue-like integrin protein domain alphaVbeta3 and found that it demonstrated “remarkably high electronic conductance.” Through further experimentation and research, the team determined that the protein could become either an electrical conductor or an electrical insulator based on electrical fluctuations. “In our experiments, we were seeing this weird behavior in this huge protein conducting electricity, but it is not static. It’s a dynamic thing,” said Lindsay. “Below a certain bias, it’s just an insulator, but when the fluctuations start kicking in, they are huge.” Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home The electrically conductive protein may open up an entirely new way of understanding proteins, how they may be used in nanotechnology , and how treatment for protein-related diseases might be improved. After years of experiments and questions, the team remains curious but cautious. “I believe the data now, but it’s only one protein so far,” said Lindsay. More work will be required before this phenomenon can be harnessed in the medical field and beyond. + Nano Futures Via Futurism Lead image via Depositphotos , others via  Weisi Song/Biodesign Institute/Arizona State University  and Depositphotos

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Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

October 25, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters—billed the “world’s most sustainable office building”—opened yesterday in London. Designed by Foster + Partners , the 3.2-acre Bloomberg HQ achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating with a 98.5% score that the architects say is the “highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.” The nine-story headquarters is estimated to save 73 percent in water consumption and 35 percent in energy consumption when compared to typical office buildings. Clad in nearly 10,000 tonnes of English sandstone and bronze, the massive Bloomberg HQ mitigates its size by carving out a public pedestrian arcade between its two buildings, while bronze fins give the buildings human scale and also allow for natural ventilation and protection from solar gain. Located between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city block-sized development is also meant to blend in with and respect its historic surroundings. In addition to the pedestrian Bloomberg Arcade, the building features three public plazas and ground-floor restaurants to engage the urban fabric. Site-specific art installations, from artists like Cristina Iglesias and Olafur Eliasson , punctuate the development. Related: Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office “From day one, we talked with Mike Bloomberg about creating an elegant stone building that responds to its historic setting yet is clearly of its own time and which would be a good neighbour in the City of London in every sense of the word,” said Lord Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners. “We wanted the building to have an integrity and continuity of expression both inside and out, creating an inspiring, innovative, dynamic and collaborative workplace for Bloomberg that embodies the core values of the company. Above all, we had a shared belief with Bloomberg that we should provide the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing for its occupants, as well as create major new public spaces at ground level, making a significant contribution to the daily life of the City of London and its inhabitants.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , photos by Neil Young

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How to turn global issues into local concerns

July 3, 2017 by  
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Tips for persuading an audience to truly care about an issue that’s not part of their daily experience.

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This may be the world’s coolest kindergarten

June 9, 2017 by  
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Who knew that the world’s coolest kindergarten is located in Sydney, Australia? Designed by PAL Design , NUBO is a beautiful space strategically designed to give children the ultimate in “pure play” while managing to keep the space pleasantly clutter-free. The 820-square-foot  kindergarten is open and bright, thanks to a wall of large glass windows and plenty of storage space . The interior design focused on creating a fun and flexible space that is stimulating, but clutter-free to provide ample space to encourage creative and energetic play. According to the architects, the area is especially “suited for children in their various stages of learning to safely and explore the entire space, the overall design takes a minimalist approach to remove unnecessary furniture and equipment – with just enough to invent their own games.” Related: This timber kindergarten is embedded into the hills of a small Northern Italian village The interior layout is designed to be ultra kid-friendly with designated activity areas including an extensive children’s library with reading nooks, a building block room, and numerous toys for all ages. The space even has a kitchen area that lets budding chefs concoct a range of healthy dishes. And for those times when you just have to move, there’s an active area that encourages kids to run, slide, climb and hide. + PAL Design Via Arch Daily Photograph by Michelle Young, Amy Piddington

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It’s raining tequila from a cloud in Berlin

March 31, 2017 by  
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Berlin winters see a lot of rain, but this is the first time it’s rained tequila. The Mexico Tourist Board wanted to lure Germans to Mexico by combining one of the things they hate most: rain , with one of the things they love best: tequila. The result is a puffy cloud of happiness that rains tequila any time it rains outside. The Mexico Tourist Board teamed up with Lapiz USA to create a cloud that rains tequila. Lapiz took ultrasonic humidifiers to turn tequila into a mist, which they shot into the air to create a tequila-based cloud. Once that mist condensed, it created droplets of tequila that you can actually collect and drink. It’s an ingenious way to turn the winter blahs in Germany into a party. Related: San Diego brewery unveils beer made from 100% recycled wastewater Unfortunately, tequila clouds won’t be filling the skies anytime soon. The exhibit is being featured in an art space in Berlin called Urban Spree, but if you can’t make it there, you can still grab a glass of tequila next time it rains and dream. Via The Daily Mail Images via Lapiz USA

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Flexible new solar panel is almost 80% lighter than traditional panels

March 22, 2017 by  
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Solar panels just got a lot slimmer. Zhengrong Shi, a.k.a. the Sun King, is now marketing eArche, a super flexible, ultrathin solar panel that could stretch along building facades, atop buses, or on top of carports to charge electric cars. According to Shi, the groundbreaking panel has unlimited potential, and 40 kilowatts (kW) of the new technology has already been installed in three locations throughout Australia . eArche draws on a composite material like that utilized in airplane windows that is almost 80 percent lighter than conventional photovoltaic panels, according to RenewEconomy. Shi is distributing his new products through Australian company Energus and Hong Kong company SunMan , and believes eArche is the biggest innovation in over 10 years in the solar industry . He told RenewEconomy, “Most of the cost reductions we have seen come from manufacturing, growing efficiency, and supply chain. There has been very little innovation on products and applications, so we have decided to focus on the panel itself, which has been very rigid and heavy.” Related: SolarWindow unveils new energy-generating glass that bends Some companies haven’t been able to install solar because panels are too heavy for their buildings’ roofs, but Shi’s technology could remove that issue. Rooftop solar systems typically weigh around eight metric tons for a 100 kW array, according to The Daily Advertiser, but eArche weighs just around two metric tons for 100 kW. Shi said eArche can be custom-shaped for building roofs or walls. He told RenewEconomy, “We think governments should require all new buildings to have solar panels integrated into their structure. With this panel, it is easy to do.” SunMan also envisions the technology on RVs, yachts, vending machines, and more. Time will tell if eArche is as revolutionary as Shi thinks. The technology stands in contrast to Tesla’s proposed solar tiles , which Shi said is “the wrong way of doing it” largely due to expense and weight. Via RenewEconomy and The Daily Advertiser Images via Sunman Energy Facebook

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Dibdo Francis Kr unveils 2017 Serpentine Pavilion with rain-gathering roof

February 21, 2017 by  
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Burkina Faso-born architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has been selected as this year’s designer of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion —making him the first African architect of the annual pavilion. Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based practice Kéré Architecture, unveiled preliminary designs of a pavilion strongly influenced by the rural vernacular of his home country. Designed to mimic the functions and form of a large tree, the temporary pavilion will be topped by a large wooden disc that offers shelter and will help collect rainwater. Now in its 17th iteration, the annual Serpentine Pavilion commissions an international architect to build his or her first structure in London on the lawns of Kensington Gardens . Kéré draws from his experience in socially engaged and ecologically responsible design in his pavilion proposal that aims to connect visitors to nature, to Burkina Faso architecture, and with one another. The steel-framed pavilion is built mostly of wood and will be accessible via four separate entry points that lead to a central open-air courtyard. Related: BIG selected to design the 2016 Serpentine Pavilion Kéré wrote in his architect’s statement: “In Burkina Faso , the tree is a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches. My design for the Serpentine Pavilion has a great over-hanging roof canopy made of steel and a transparent skin covering the structure, which allows sunlight to enter the space while also protecting it from the rain. Wooden shading elements line the underside of the roof to create a dynamic shadow effect on the interior spaces. This combination of features promotes a sense of freedom and community; like the shade of the tree branches, the Pavilion becomes a place where people can gather and share their daily experiences.” The pavilion’s design promotes natural ventilation for cooling in the summer. An oculus funnels collected rainwater from the roof to create a “spectacular waterfall effect” before it drains into a tank for reuse as park irrigation. The 2017 Serpentine Pavilion will be open to the public from June 23 to October 8, 2017. + Serpentine Galleries Images via Serpentine Galleries

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