4.4 billion years ago Earth had no mountains and was covered with water, say scientists

May 10, 2017 by  
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Tiny zircon crystals have allowed scientists at Australian National University (ANU) to paint a portrait of what Earth looked like over four billion years ago. Their scrutiny of the mineral grains – the oldest fragments of the planet we’ve ever uncovered – led them to think our world was a much different place back then. They say the planet, which was barren, had no mountains, and probably only a few islands poked up above the water blanketing the rest of the planet. Zircon crystals preserved inside sandstone rocks in the Jack Hills of Western Australia provided clues to our planet’s history – billions of years before humans ever showed up. Lead researcher Antony Burnham said the zircon samples were collected over multiple decades, and his team also drew on chemical analyses from an ANU research group two decades ago. He likened zircon grains to skin cells at a crime scene. Related: World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s “Jurassic Park” “The history of the Earth is like a book with its first chapter ripped out with no surviving rocks from the very early period, but we’ve used these trace elements of zircon to build a profile of the world at that time,” he said in a statement. “Our research indicates there were no mountains and continental collisions during the Earth’s first 700 million years or more of existence – it was a much more quiet and dull place.” The zircon formed from melting older igneous rocks, instead of sediment melting, which is typical in continental collisions. And it appears it took a long time for the planet to change from the flat landscape into the Earth we inhabit now. “Our findings also showed that there are strong similarities with zircon from the types of rocks that predominated for the following 1.5 billion years, suggesting that it took the Earth a long time to evolve into the planet that we know today,” Burnham said. The journal Nature Geoscience published the research online yesterday. Via Australian National University Images via Stuart Hay, ANU

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4.4 billion years ago Earth had no mountains and was covered with water, say scientists

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring a massive 11-acre green roof to Los Angeles

May 10, 2017 by  
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Much like the beloved Star Wars movies, the design process for the George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is turning out to be quite the saga. The museum is at long last set to be built in L.A.’s Exposition Park, and MAD Architects just unveiled updated plans for the futuristic building – including a massive 11-acre green roof! According to Urbanize LA , the design for the $1 billion project will soon be presented to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission for approval. The latest renderings by the architecture firm, led by Ma Yansong, depict a few changes from the initial designs unveiled last year. The most notable differences are the massive green roof and the elongated sinewy shape of the 300,000 square feet complex. Related: George Lucas selects Los Angeles to host $1 billion art museum The museum will hold two theaters, archives, offices, classrooms, and a library spread over two wings, but the bulk of the exhibition space will be housed on the fourth floor, where the two wings connect. Additional exhibition space and a restaurant will be located on the top floor. A large underground parking garage with capacity for 2,400 cars adjacent to the museum will be hidden under 11 acres of expansive green space . According to the project description, the Lucas Museum will house one-of-a kind collections divided into three categories: narrative art, the art of cinema, and digital art. Visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of art genres from fine art and modern art, illustrations and comics. Of course, there will also be a large collection of props and storyboards from Lucas’ long career in the film industry. + Lucas Museum + MAD Architects Via Archinect Images via LADCP

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The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring a massive 11-acre green roof to Los Angeles

Light-powered device can purify air and generate clean energy

May 10, 2017 by  
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5.5 million people died prematurely because of air pollution back in 2013 – and half of those people lived in India or China. Air pollution continues to plague people around the world today, but now researchers from KU Leuven and the University of Antwerp have found a way to transform that dirty air into energy . They designed an air purifying device able to fit in a person’s hand that only needs light to work. The groundbreaking device houses two small chambers divided by a membrane. In one chamber air is purified; in the other hydrogen gas is generated. Nanomaterials in the device act as catalysts to both break down pollution and produce the gas. Scientist Sammy Verbruggen of both institutions, who’s lead author on a study published recently about the device in ChemSusChem , said the hydrogen gas can be stored and used as fuel in the future. Related: 9-year-old girl sues Indian government for climate change inaction According to KU Leuven, the processes underlying the device are akin to the workings of solar panels: “The difference here is that electricity is not generated directly, but rather that air is purified while the generated power is stored as hydrogen gas.” The higher the concentration of pollutants in the air, the stronger the electrical currents, according to the researchers, which means cities like Los Angeles, Beijing, and Delhi could really benefit from the technology . Verbruggen emphasized to Mic their device is just first proof of the concept, but could open up options in the future. Verbruggen told Mic, “There’s still a lot of work to do to make this applicable to daily life. It’s not like we discovered the holy grail yet. But this is a new field of opportunities.” The scientists are working to scale up their device and improve their materials to draw on sunlight more efficiently to set off the reactions. Via Mic and KU Leuven Images © UAntwerpen and KU Leuven and via Pixabay

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Light-powered device can purify air and generate clean energy

Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

May 10, 2017 by  
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Working under the motto of “Minimal, Mobile, Modern,” Julie and Andrew Puckett shunned their landlord’s attempt at raising their apartment rent and opted to convert a 1990 Blue Bird school bus into a sweet little home on wheels they’ve named House Bus . Currently parked in a green pine forest in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the couple’s beloved bus has all of the comforts of home. Once the couple decided to make the leap into tiny home living , they drove six hours to check out an old bus that was to become their future home. Working within a tight budget and even tighter time frame of just four months, the adventurous duo began to gut the interior. Thankfully, the bus had previously been used as a camper and already had updated plumbing and electric, as well as a basic living layout. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel To convert the interior into a comfy living space, the couple gave the bus a sophisticated nomadic feel, complete with nautical touches. Of course, along with building out the living and sleeping spaces, the renovation included tons of creative storage solutions and multi-functional elements throughout the home to avoid clutter. Although the couple only had a short four months to restore the bus into their dream home, there were a number of additional challenges along the way, namely downsizing. Julie told Apartment Therapy that the biggest obstacle was “paring down our belongings to just the essentials and our most beloved items. We lived in a 1,000 square foot apartment before, so we had a lot of room to accumulate extraneous stuff. The hard work has been worth it, though. I no longer feel stifled by piles of clutter, and that’s made a tremendous impact on my creative process.” + House Bus Via Apartment Therapy Photography by Selena Kirchhoff and Julie and Andrew Puckett

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Georgia couple convert old Blue Bird school bus into a cozy home on wheels

Scientists will attempt to be the first to drill into Earth’s mantle

April 21, 2017 by  
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Scientists want to plumb the Earth for one of its last secrets. An international group of researchers led by  Japan’s Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology say they plan to be the first to successfully drill into the mantle, that is, the region sandwiched between the planet’s outer crust and its inner core. Although the mantel makes up about 80 percent of the Earth’s mass, much of it remains a geological enigma. “We don’t know the exact [composition] of the mantle yet,” researcher Natsue Abe told CNN . To access the mantel, JAMSTEC will deploy the Chikyu, one of its biggest and most sophisticated drilling vessels, to penetrate 2.5 miles of ocean, then another 3.7 miles of sea floor (a.k.a the crust). The Japanese government is backing the expedition in the hopes that the data gleaned will help scientists better predict earthquakes. Related: Geologists find seventh continent hiding in plain sight “In Japan we have some volcanoes, earthquakes and such kind of natural hazards,” Abe said. “People [want to create] some monitoring or analysis equipment but we don’t know … what kind of factor to use. So we need to know the natural system more clearly or precisely … we have to observe the Earth more precisely.” All three drilling sites currently under consideration are located in the Pacific Ocean. The first is off Hawaii, the second off Costa Rica, and the third is off Mexico. “We already drilled and have taken some samples from the ocean floor but [only] from the top,” Abe said. “[We want] to dig from the ocean floor to the deep pristine mantle.” Via CNN Earth image via Wikimedia  and Flickr

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Why scientists will march in over 400 cities on Earth Day

April 21, 2017 by  
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Even if the president of the United States rejects science , scientists plan to make their voices heard. Tomorrow they’ll march on Washington, D.C. and over 400 locations around the world in the March for Science . While organizers say the march was inspired by the success of the January 21 Women’s March, they also emphasize their event is nonpartisan. Their march will celebrate science and highlight “the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.” Tens of thousands of people are expected to show up for the March for Science in Washington, D.C. tomorrow. People will gather at the Washington Monument starting at 8:00 AM, and will participate in teach-ins and a rally program until the march at 2:00 PM. Speakers include Bill Nye and pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha who helped expose Flint , Michigan lead poisoning. Related: Trump inspires 400 scientists to run for office Trump isn’t the only reason for the March for Science. Scientists and academics have been concerned for years now over public distrust of science. The event’s mission page says, “People who value science have remained silent for far too long in the face of policies that ignore scientific evidence and endanger both human life and the future of our world. New policies threaten to further restrict scientists’ ability to research and communicate their findings. We face a possible future where people not only ignore scientific evidence, but seek to eliminate it entirely…We must take science out of the labs and journals and share it with the world.” The American Association for the Advancement of Science , the American Chemical Society , and the American Geophysical Union all support the march. Satellite marches will take place on six different continents. You can register for the march in Washington, D.C. or find a march near you here . If you can’t attend the Earth Day science march, you can march for climate science in the People’s Climate Mobilization on DC on April 29. + March for Science Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and March for Science

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Why scientists will march in over 400 cities on Earth Day

The original Brexit: ancient Britain’s geological split from Europe

April 5, 2017 by  
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Brexit – or Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – remains controversial even as Prime Minister Theresa May begins the process of leaving. But it turns out this process may not have been the first Brexit ever. Research led by Imperial College London scientists found evidence of an ancient geological Brexit – “the Brexit nobody voted for” – in the Dover Strait. According to their research a land bridge once existed between England and France . Ancient Britain, regardless of the lack of cities and people, might have been almost unrecognizable according to geophysical and seafloor data. In this Britain, which could have existed 450,000 years ago during an ice age, the whole English Channel would have been a frozen tundra crossed only by small rivers. Britain may have been physically connected to Europe by a chalk rock ridge spanning the Dover Strait that held back a proglacial lake , or lake in front of an ice sheet according to Imperial College London, in what is today the North Sea. Giant waterfalls from the lake could have contributed to erosion that breached the ridge. Related: UK’s Brexit vote could reverse environmental protections and contribute to climate change The data shows a valley system and huge holes on the seafloor. In France, there are around seven of these holes, or plunge pools, around 328 feet deep in a solid rock line between Dover and Calais. The straight line backs up the idea the holes were created by waterfalls cascading over a ridge about 328 feet high and around 20 miles long – the land bridge – to hit the ground below and erode rock. Catastrophic flooding is thought to have finished the ancient Brexit. The researchers found evidence of megaflood processes, which could have carved the valleys. Imperial College London professor Sanjeev Gupta, co-author on a paper published online yesterday in Nature Communications , said in a statement, “The breaching of this land bridge between Dover and Calais was undeniably one of the most important events in British history, helping to shape our island nation’s identity even today. When the ice age ended and sea levels rose, flooding the valley floor for good, Britain lost its physical connection to the mainland. Without this dramatic breaching Britain would still be part of Europe. This is Brexit 1.0 – the Brexit nobody voted for.” Via Imperial College London Images courtesy Imperial College London and Wikimedia Commons

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Trump plans to strip NASAs earth science division, promote mission to Mars

March 22, 2017 by  
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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed into law a new plan for NASA’s future . The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 calls for a $19.5 billion annual budget for the agency – not a major change from the agency’s $19.3 billion budget in 2016 – but the document seems to leave out the agency’s earth science division entirely. Trump claims this is simply a way of reaffirming the agency’s “core mission” of human space exploration, space science, and technology, but given how aggressively the new administration has gone after any agencies involved in atmospheric research, climate change denial is likely the underlying motive for the shift. Under the new act, Congressional Republicans have outlined a new roadmap for the agency’s future. The law calls on NASA to create a plan for humans to reach the surface of Mars by the 2030s, and to continue developing its Orion space capsule and its Space Launch System. The administration has also expressed a desire for NASA to return to the moon in the 2020s. Related: NASA releases startling new images showing 30 years of change on Earth What’s unclear is exactly how the new law will affect NASA’s earth science research. Trump’s proposed budget , however, may offer some clues. He hopes to cut the earth science budget by $102 million, potentially terminating a number of programs, including the   Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem  (PACE),  Orbital Carbon Observatory-3  (OCO-3),  Deep Space Climate Observatory  (DISCOVR), and  CLARREO Pathfinder missions. These four satellites help scientists monitor the Earth’s climate, weather, and oceans. While Trump may claim climate change is outside of the scope of NASA’s original research mission, that’s simply untrue. When NASA was formed in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Act explicitly called on the new agency to contribute to the “expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere.” The loss of these resources would be devastating to the larger scientific world, which often relies on NASA data for research. Related: Gov. Jerry Brown pledges to launch California’s “own damn satellite” if Trump blocks climate research It’s still far too early to know what might happen: the funding requested would be for the 2018 fiscal year, so any cuts wouldn’t be felt immediately. The proposed budget also has to be reviewed and approved by Congress before anything is set in stone. Hopefully, lawmakers will see the value in maintaining some of these programs, even if Trump doesn’t. Via Business Insider Images via   NASA

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Trump plans to strip NASAs earth science division, promote mission to Mars

INFOGRAPHIC: Journey to the Center of the Earth

October 6, 2014 by  
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Life on earth’s surface is pretty great – but have you ever wondered what’s lurking in the ground beneath your feet? There’s an entire world down there – from high speed train tunnels and flaming gas craters to Beliz’s great blue hole. The environmental engineering geologists at Geocon recently launched a new infographic that takes you on a journey to the center of the earth – check it out after the jump! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Journey to the Center of the Earth Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: earth , earth science , geology , geothermal wells , green design , green energy , infographic , journey to the center of the earth , planet earth , sustainable design

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INFOGRAPHIC: Journey to the Center of the Earth

The DIY Pet House is an Animal Shelter Made From Recycled Bottles

October 6, 2014 by  
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Pet House is a conceptual sustainable DIY kit designed by Dr. Hakan Gürsu  that transforms  waste water bottles into a shelter for animals. Thanks to its easy assembly, anyone can build it for their pets, for strays, or even for wild animals to nest in. The set includes a base and a top made of chipboard, and interior grooved plastic elements for bottle placement. The bottles s erve as the walls of the shelter, and are filled with perlite for better heat insulation and stability. If desired, a larger plastic bottle can be attached on top of the structure to allow light in. Since the shelters blend in with their natural surroundings, burrowing animals can move into them, especially if the animal homes  are covered with soil and vegetation. The Pet House can be suspended in trees to provide shelter to wild birds, can be stacked to create a cat condo, and can even be used as a carrying cage. + The Pet House Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment Missing Attachment The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: animal carrier , animal home , animal shelter , animal shelters , Animals , birds , DIY , DIY animal home , DIY shelter , dr hakan gursu , feral animals , feral cats , Hakan Gürsu , perlite , PET , pet bottles , pet home , pet house , pet shelter , pet shelters , pigeons , Plastic bottles , rabbits , recycled bottles , stray cats , strays , upcycled bottles , water bottles

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The DIY Pet House is an Animal Shelter Made From Recycled Bottles

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