Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

August 3, 2017 by  
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For eighteen months, scientists and concerned citizens waited for a giant iceberg to break off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. On July 12, the highly-anticipated event finally occurred . Because the iceberg, named A68, was predominantly submerged in the water before it detached, the event did not dramatically raise sea levels — phenomena which would propel natural disasters. While this is fortunate, it turns out the iceberg saga isn’t over: cracks are spreading towards a location that is paramount to the stability of the remaining ice shelf . For months, satellites have been capturing footage of the region to track the effects of climate change . After A68 broke off the shelf, satellites continued to track its movements. According to new data published by the University of Leeds, the structure has drifted approximately 3.1 miles (5km) away from its initial location. When the event finally took place, Larsen C lost about 10 perfect of its area; at least 11 smaller icebergs — some up to 8 miles (12 km) long — were also formed. NewAtlas reports that as the network of cracks continues to sweep across Larsen C, the number of icebergs will keep increasing. Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Said Anna Hogg, a researcher at the University of Leeds: “The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf. If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilization. It looks like the Larsen C story might not be over yet.” As Inhabitat previously reported, A68 is not a direct result of climate change . In fact, the process happens quite naturally during the life cycle of ice shelves. However, it is possible that it is breaking away progressed faster than normal due to changing environmental conditions . “Although floating ice shelves have only a modest impact on of sea-level rise, ice from Antarctica’s interior can discharge into the ocean when they collapse,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher from the British Antarctic Survey. “Consequently we will see increase in the ice-sheet contribution to global sea-level rise. With this large calving event, and the availability of satellite technology, we have a fantastic opportunity to watch this natural experiment unfolding before our eyes. We can expect to learn a lot about how ice shelves break up and how the loss of a section of an ice shelf affects the flow of the remaining parts.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change . + University of Leeds Via NewAtlas Images via Pixabay

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Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

August 3, 2017 by  
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A top senior official at the EPA resigned this week with a scathing letter  aimed at Trump and his anti-environmental agenda. Elizabeth Southerland has been with the EPA for over 30 years, and in that time she has battled cancer-causing water contaminants, toxic pollution and a host of other threats to our natural resources. But working under climate deniers Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt is a bridge too far. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” she said in her letter. Southerland isn’t the first scientist to quit to protest the administration’s policies, which has also seen key scientists demoted in an attempt to drive them out of their roles. Southerland is particularly critical of Trump’s oversimplified policy of cutting two regulations for every new one. “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” Related: Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule Southerland was the director in the Office of Science and Technology. Already eligible for retirement, she cites the need to focus on family as a key decision to quit, in addition to her outrage at the hostile policies pushed by Trump. “[T]he President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA , while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes,” she says in her letter. She also comments on a speech given by the Administrator in which he admonished the EPA for running roughshod over state’s rights. “In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions.” Via Huffington Post Images via Flickr  and Wikimedia

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Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

March 29, 2017 by  
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New York City’s obsession with building ultra-tall, skinny skyscrapers should come as a surprise to no one. For decades, architects and developers have worked to “out-phallic” each other to seize prestige and obscene amounts of cash. New York-based Oiio Studio has had enough of the taller-is-better trend – and they’re now aiming to create the “longest skyscraper in the world” – aptly dubbed “The Big Bend” – to draw attention to the city’s absurd real estate situation. The proposed Big Bend aims to be the longest skyscraper on the globe – topping out even Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – by folding the tower in half in an inverted U-shape. Big Bend is a 4,000-foot-tall paperclip-shaped skyscraper that would loom over the towers along New York City’s Billionaire’s Row . The plans evoke an ultra-modern atmosphere with images of top-hatted rich men taking center stage in the renderings. According to the architects, the “bendy” design responds to the city’s uber-tall skyscrapers , which have been criticized for “bending” building codes and using their height to command exorbitant prices. Related: World’s tallest timber skyscraper proposed for London The building proposal for the Big Bend reads, “We usually learn about the latest tallest building and we are always impressed by its price per square foot. It seems that a property’s height operates as a license for it to be expensive. New York City’s zoning laws have created a peculiar set of tricks trough which developers try to maximize their property’s height in order to infuse it with the prestige of a high rise structure. But what if we substituted height with length? What if our buildings were long instead of tall? If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan.” In an interview with Quartz , Oiio’s Ioannis Oikonomou explains that the project aims “to raise awareness on the extreme law-bending that the emergence of such structures requires by proposing an even more extreme, yet achievable, scenario.” The fact that the design is feasible is what makes the Big Bend design even more intriguing. With current high-tech engineering and elevators that can move horizontally as well as vertically, the U-shaped tower could potentially be built – and it even complies with current NYC zoning laws. “There is nothing particularly demanding that has not been already tested within existing high-rise structures,” Oikonomou says. If fact, if the skyscraper design came to fruition, its size would overtake Dubai’s Burj Khalifa , which at 2,722 feet, is the world’s tallest (and longest) building. + Oiio Studio Via CNN Imags via Oiio Studio

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Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

February 21, 2017 by  
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The modern world is full of unique, eye-catching buildings – but an upcoming Dubai skyscraper is about to put a new spin on the field of architecture. We’ve reported before on Israeli-Italian architect David Fisher ‘s crazy rotating Dynamic Tower – and now it looks like the 1,375-foot-tall high-rise is finally becoming a reality. Solar panels will be installed on the roof, and 48 individual wind turbines will be hidden in between the floors to provide power. According to the architect, the building will generate up to 10 times more energy than it will use. Proposed by Fisher almost a full decade ago, the project was supposed to break ground in 2010, but was put on hold due to planning obstructions and design changes. Now, seven year later, it looks like the project has finally been given the green light. https://youtu.be/jEYZ-ylelbg The Dynamic Tower will have 80 floors that are capable of rotating a full 360 degrees, letting tenants and hotel guests select their own personal views via voice command. However, even more impressive than the unique twisting feature is the project’s sustainability profile – the entire building will be powered by sun and wind energy. The apartments will offer the ultimate in luxury living – at a staggering price tag of 30 million dollars. The “beyond star rating” building will offer swimming pools, garden space, a fitness center, and even a car lift that transports cars outside individual residences. + David Fisher Via Mirror Images via David Fisher/Dynamic Architecture

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Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built

Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month

January 20, 2017 by  
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Work on the world’s largest solar park is set to move forward this month. Phase 3 of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai will add 800 megawatts (MW) of clean energy to the enormous solar park. The project could be a big win for the environment, expected as it is to displace 6.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year when it is completed. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and energy company Masdar are ready to commence Phase 3 of the groundbreaking solar park now that the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract has been awarded. Phase 3 will be 16 square kilometers, or a little over six square miles, when its three stages – adding 200 MW, 300 MW and 300 MW at a time – are complete, maybe in 2020 in time for the 2020 Dubai World Expo , according to New Civil Engineer. Related: Record-breaking solar prices in Dubai prove cheaper than coal Domingo Vegas Fernández, President of Spanish firm Gransolar , which received the EPC along with Spanish infrastructure company Acciona and Italian construction firm Ghella , said in a statement, “Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park project marks a new global milestone in the development of renewable energy in the Middle East and the world.” When the solar park is totally finished – probably sometime in 2030 – it will generate up to 1,000 MW. Phase 3 follows a publicized bidding war in mid 2016, where one record-breaking bid for Phase 3 was a cheap 2.99 cents per kilowatt-hour , allowing solar power in Dubai to be even cheaper than coal. Dubai ruler and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, for whom the solar park is named, recently presented the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which calls for 50 percent of energy sourced from renewables. Dubai aims to boost their share of renewables by “seven percent by 2020, 25 percent by 2030, and 75 percent by 2050,” according to Masdar . Via New Civil Engineer and Masdar Images via Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – DEWA Facebook and (????)?*:??? on Flickr

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Phase 3 of world’s largest solar park slated to begin this month

Global subway map shows the potential of a hyperloop-connected world

January 19, 2017 by  
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Imagine being transported across the country in a tube, at speeds of over 700 miles per hour, and you have stepped into the minds of Hyperloop One ’s Global Challenge finalists. The LA-based company has selected 35 teams to present plans for local hyperloop train systems, which could one day become connected to a massive, global transportation system . Over the next five years, three regional routes will be planned for construction as the first steps. In 2003, Mark Ovenden designed the World Metro Map, which showed what the globe might look like if major cities were connected through underground railways. Hyperloop One ’s vision could end up looking a lot like this design, except people and cargo would be transported through the high-speed, vacuum-sealed hyperloop system. The company made waves last fall when its partner Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) announced its plans to connect Abu Dhabi with Dubai via capsule transport. Related: BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai “It’s more than just a train, or a pod in a tube,” Josh Giegel, the president of engineering at Hyperloop One, told Inverse . “We’re taking it to a level of connectivity and really being the high-speed backbone of the future transportation network.” The vision of a worldwide hyperloop network is closer to becoming reality, thanks to the company’s Global Challenge . Successful regional systems will pave the way for future projects and possibly, one day, an interconnected network that could completely revolutionize travel and cargo transport. + Hyperloop One Via  Inverse Images via  Flickr , Wikimedia

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Global subway map shows the potential of a hyperloop-connected world

Villa in Alps mimics the mountains with glimmering arches that provide strategically shifting shade

November 15, 2016 by  
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Villa in Alps is a conceptual design inspired by its namesake snowcapped mountains. Rozhko envisions the architecture project constructed from gleaming aluminum , echoing the icy origins of its inspiration. The arched structure mimics a pavilion of sorts, with spindly supports touching down in various points, using a very small footprint to hold up the undulating canopy of peaks and valleys. Related: Tiny alpine cabin rewards mountaineers who reach its stunning yet wild heights The design is meant to create moving spaces of shade and sun in an outdoor setting, such as a backyard or poolside, adjacent to a central residence. “(Villa in Alps) can make shadow and keep sunny areas for the whole day,” Rozhko said in his design statement, “and each zone is replaced by the previous, during the day when the sun changes its position.” With its smooth, arcing walls and large overall footprint, the mountain-like canopy offers outdoor shade without interfering with the ability to grow sun-loving greenery, evidenced by a lush living green wall included in the renderings. Meanwhile, views from the interior show how the Villa in Alps would offer unique mountain vistas, framed by its own sprawling arches. + Andrii Rozhko Via Yanko Design Images via Andrii Rozhko

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Villa in Alps mimics the mountains with glimmering arches that provide strategically shifting shade

BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai

October 24, 2016 by  
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Dutch architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has released a teaser video showing off its design of a Hyperloop project that promises to link Abu Dhabi and Dubai . The ultra high-speed capsule transport aims to turn the 93-mile trip between the two busy cities into a minutes-long commute, offering an efficient means of moving both people and cargo. Jakob Lange, a partner and head of BIG Ideas (the design firm’s tech division), leads the video sneak peek ahead of the Hyperloop design’s November 7 unveiling. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypab90bc1Yw BIG ’s design is the result of a partnership with Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies), which is one of the two companies racing to build the first working Hyperloop track in the United States. Hyperloop One recently tapped BIG to aid in the design of its Hyperloop plans for the United Arab Emirates, with architecture and engineering firms AECOM and Arup on board to translate the technology into actual infrastructure. Related: Hyperloop One raises $50M and hires former Uber CFO as an advisor “We are in a new time now where you can develop a new transportation system in very few years and change the world,” said Lange in the video. “We’re not waiting for new technology like carbon nanofibers or anything in order to do this. We have everything we need to do it.” BIG’s design involves Y-shaped supports that elevate the Hyperloop itself, a track that carries high-speed passenger pods from one stop to the next at speeds over 700 miles per hour. The technology behind Hyperloop One’s UAE project may not be that different from tests of its propulsion system in the Nevada desert, where the proof-of-concept prototype reached 116mph in a staggering 1.1 seconds this past May. Still, there is a lot we don’t know about how the UAE track will be built, when construction might begin or end, and how much the project will cost. BIG’s teaser video offers an early peek at the design, with more coming on November 7, but even that could change in response to the demands of the still-emerging technology. Via Dezeen Images via BIG

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BIG releases video sneak peek of Hyperloop designed to connect Abu Dhabi & Dubai

Surprising sustainability lessons from Africa and the Middle East

October 18, 2016 by  
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Takeaways for business can come from surprising places, such as a 1920s-style Kenyan safari or the glossy towers of Dubai.

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Surprising sustainability lessons from Africa and the Middle East

The world’s tallest tower just broke ground in Dubai

October 12, 2016 by  
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Dubai just broke ground on what will be the world’s tallest tower . Developer Emaar Properties says The Tower at Dubai Creek Harbor will stand 928 meters tall, dwarfing the Burj Khalifa ‘s 829.8 meters. Designed by architect Santiago Calatrava , the energy-efficient tower will feature observation decks and elements reminiscent of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

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