Egyptians discover three 1,000-year-old sunken ships full of treasure

November 27, 2017 by  
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Egyptian officials revealed last week that archaeologists located three sunken ships off the country’s northern coast in Alexandria, Egypt’s Abu Qir Bay. The wrecks, determined to be of Roman origin , were discovered filled with ancient artifacts dating back at least 1,000 years. Included in the excavated bounty were gold coins issued during the reign of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus Caesar Octavian (Julius Caesar was his great-uncle), as well as pottery, and a “royal head of crystal.” As MSN writes, the Ministry of Antiquities’ Underwater Archaeology Department and the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology have been working since September to locate and disentomb the ship’s contents from the sunken city of Heraclion. Heraclion sits beneath the bay and is believed to be one of the world’s most archaeologically rich sites. In fact, the team of archaeologists is in the process of locating a fourth sunken ship in the bay. Related: Scientists just discovered evidence of a hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza The finds are a boon for Egypt, which has been in a state of political unrest since the uprisings of 2011. Looters have used mass protests as a cover to both steal and defile artifacts, including those housed in the Egyptian Museum near Tahrir Square. As such, Egypt’s antiquity authorities are sharing their new finds with gusto across global channels, including Facebook. Via MSN Images via the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities Facebook page

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Saudi Arabia announces plan for $500B megacity powered by renewables

October 25, 2017 by  
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Saudi Arabia just announced plans for a futuristic megacity that will span 10,000 square miles and three countries near the Red Sea. NEOM will be an independent economic zone owned by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia – and the nation is calling out to innovators, scientists, and dreamers to form an aspirational society to pioneer next-gen technologies. The future of food , energy , and biotechnology , to name a few, will be explored in this global community to be backed by over $500 billion. NEOM will be the world’s first independent economic zone – supported by Saudi Arabia’s investment, but the country said it will be developed independently of their current governmental framework. They want to transform NEOM into a global hub to pursue innovation in nine investment sectors: advanced manufacturing, food, biotech, mobility, media, technological and digital sciences, entertainment, energy and water , and livability. Related: The world’s first “Tesla Town” with solar roofs and Powerwalls is coming to Australia Saudi Arabia crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said, “Future technologies form the cornerstone for NEOM’s development: disruptive solutions for transportation from automated driving to passenger drones, new ways of growing and processing food, healthcare centered around the patient for their holistic well-being, wireless high-speed Internet as a free good called digital air, free world-class continuous online education, full-scale e-governance putting city services at your fingertips, building codes that make net-zero carbon houses the standard, a city layout that encourages walking and bicycling , and all solely powered by renewable energy .” NEOM will be located in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, in a region with mountains, beaches, and coral reefs. As Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify away from oil , solar and wind energy will help power NEOM. Saudi Arabia has already started communicating with potential partners and investors, and the frequently asked questions document for NEOM said its first phase will be finished in 2025. + NEOM Via the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and NEOM ( 1 , 2 , 3 ) Images via NEOM

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Saudi Arabia announces plan for $500B megacity powered by renewables

Chinese scientists created a type of rice that can grow in saltwater

October 25, 2017 by  
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For the first time, rice grown in diluted saltwater has yielded a crop sufficient enough to be commercially viable, according to a new study by Chinese scientists . The research team led by agricultural scientist Yuan Longping, also known as China’s “father of hybrid rice,” planted 200 types of rice in spring in the coastal city of Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong Province and then subsequently tested their resilience to saline-alkali soil and diluted saltwater; four types of rice showed particular promise. If successful on a large scale, these salt-resistant rice varieties could turn previously non-arable space into productive agricultural land. In order to test the rice’s resilience in saline-alkali environments, the scientists pumped in saltwater from the Yellow Sea, on which Qingdao is located. The seawater was first diluted to achieve a salinity level of .3 percent, then gradually increased to .6 percent. Although researchers expected only an output of around 4.5 tons per hectare, “the test results greatly exceeded our expectations,” according to Liu Shiping, a professor of agriculture at Yangzhou University. The four mentioned rice varieties ultimately produced yields of 6.5 to 9.3 tons per hectare. While some wild varieties of rice are known to survive in salty environments, they typically only yield 1.125 to 2.25 tons per hectare. Related: 7 plants that could save the world Increased yield from salt-resilient varieties of rice could have significant economic benefits. “If a farmer tries to grow some types of saline-tolerant rice now, they most likely will get 1,500 kilograms per hectare. That is just not profitable and not even worth the effort,” said Yuan. “Farmers will have an incentive to grow the rice if we can double the yield.” The current 100 million hectares of saline-alkali soil in China, one-fifth of which could be cultivated with the right crop, also may experience significant change as farmers move onto previously unusable land. Salt-resilient rice would prove to be an asset for South and Southeast Asia as well, regions where millions of hectare are left unused due to high salinity. The team plans to refine its rice varieties and growing techniques, so that salt-resilient rice may soon become a supplemental extension of the region’s staple crop. Via Xinhua / South China Morning Post Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Chinese scientists created a type of rice that can grow in saltwater

Ancient papyrus scroll offers insight into Great Pyramid of Giza mystery

September 27, 2017 by  
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Ancient Egyptians moved more than 170,000 tons of limestone to construct the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Archaeologists have long puzzled over just how they accomplished that feat, but papyrus rolls found by a French-Egyptian team offers some insight. In 2013 , researcher Pierre Tallet came across papyrus written by men who helped with the Great Pyramid of Giza’s construction. The papyrus was found in a set of caves used for boat storage in Wadi-al-Jarf, in a remote desert area. Tallet said in the Channel 4 documentary Egypt’s Great Pyramid: The New Evidence , aired this month, “Since the very day of the discovery it was quite evident that we have the oldest papyrus ever found in the world.” Related: Newly discovered Kazakhstan pyramid may be older than certain Egyptian pyramids Among the documents was the journal of an official never heard of before, named Merer. Tallet has spent the past four years deciphering Merer’s words, including his claim that stone was brought to the pyramids via boat – which adds up, since archaeologists found boat remains near the pyramids. Boats transported limestone to the building site via canals dug for that purpose along the Nile River. Then, according to IFLScience, the stone blocks were rolled on special tracks to arrive at the site. The limestone came from Tora, around eight miles away from Giza, and granite used in the great pyramid came from even farther: more than 500 miles south in Aswan. According to IFLScience, the same kind of boats that brought the limestone to the site could have been used to bring granite from Aswan. The Great Pyramid, Pharaoh Khufu’s tomb, was constructed more than 4,000 years ago, and is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that remains intact. Via The Independent , IFLScience , and Smithsonian.com Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Archaeologists discover ancient lost city in Egypt

November 25, 2016 by  
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Archaeologists have unearthed an Egyptian city dating all the way back to the first dynasty. The discovery was made across the Nile river from the city of Luxor in the province of Sohag. Hope for a revival in the country’s waning tourism industry has grown since uncovering the area rife with ancient huts, tools, and even a cemetery for royalty. The city’s remains were discovered a mere 400 meters from the temple of Seti I, according to The Guardian . It may also provide clues into the operations of Abydos, one of the most ancient cities in all of Egypt . So far, huts, tools made of iron, pottery shards, and large graves have been uncovered. These findings lead officials to believe the spot once housed high-ranking dignitaries and grave builders. Related: Secret tunnel sealed 1,800 years ago offers clues to mysterious ancient city in Mexico “The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the first dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history,” the antiquities ministry said. Since 2010, the country’s tourism has been steadily declining from its 14.7 million annual visitors. In the first quarter of this year, only 1.2 million tourists circulated through, down from last year’s 2.2 million. The discovery could mean a renewed interest in sightseeing for Egypt, especially as more information is learned about the site and its history. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Egyptian researchers discover a way to grow forests in the desert with sewage

August 25, 2016 by  
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Desertification is a major issue throughout Africa, but there’s a simple way to stop the spread of deserts into fertile land: planting forests. The problem is that in the regions hardest hit by the phenomenon, there simply isn’t enough clean water to properly nurture the trees and keep them healthy. But an innovative project in Egypt proves that it can be done using repurposed wastewater instead of tapping into the sparse fresh water supply. The trees grown in the forest are thriving, and in fact, the eucalyptus trees have been found to produce wood at four times the rate of pine plantations in Germany. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOSFKGay5Hg Located about two hours from Cairo, the Serapium forest is part of a program initiated by the Egyptian government in the 90s. The 200-hectare plantation is home to a variety of native and non-native trees, including commercially valuable species like eucalyptus and mahogany. Though the soil in this area would normally be too devoid of nutrients to support new tree growth, researchers have found that by watering the trees with sewage effluent , the plants are able to flourish. The wastewater provides so many nutrients that additional fertilizer isn’t even necessary. Related: The Great Green Wall of Africa could fight desertification and poverty The sewage used to water these trees is at stage two in the treatment process . In the first stage, mechanical filters are used to remove dirt and garbage from the water. In the second stage, oxygen and microbes are added to decompose the organic material in the water. This leaves a fluid rich in phosphates and nitrogen, a mixture similar to that found in commercial fertilizers . Normally, this wouldn’t be used to water crops – the amount of fertilizers in the water would be excessive for some plants, and the bacteria in the water could potentially contaminate fruits and vegetables. However, in areas where nothing is grown for human consumption, it’s perfectly safe to use. In as few as 15 years, the trees in the plantation are ready to harvest with a production of 350 cubic meters of wood per hectare. By contrast, German pines would take around 60 years to reach the same level of production. So not only are the plantations helping Egypt retain its fertile land, but they’re also producing a valuable natural resource which would otherwise need to be imported from other nations. Related: South African insurance company backs tree-planting effort to reduce effects of drought It’s estimated that a whopping 650,000 hectares of the Egyptian desert could be converted to wood production if the country were to use 80% of its effluent for the cause. Right now, however, Egypt isn’t even close – and that’s primarily due to a lack of funding. However, it’s possible the nation might be able to use money from the UN’s Green Climate Fund or through private forestry companies. Via Deutsche Welle Images via Deutsche Welle/Oliver Ristau

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Egyptian researchers discover a way to grow forests in the desert with sewage

Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

August 25, 2016 by  
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With roughly 80 percent of California’s already-scarce water supply going to agriculture, it’s crucial for the state to embrace new technologies that shrink the amount of water required to grow food. Alexandru Predonu has designed an elegant solution that uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops – including algae. A finalist of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition , a site-specific biennial design competition that has inspired world-renowned designs like The Pipe and Energy Duck , Ring Garden is capable of churning out 16 million gallons of clean water, 40,000 pounds of aeroponic crops, and 11,000 pounds of spirulina biomass for livestock feed. A desalination plant , rotating aeroponics farm, and algae bioreactor in one, Ring Garden is designed to “harvest seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water,” according to Predonu’s design brief. The plant is powered by photovoltaic panels that produce 440 MWh each year. 100 percent of that energy is used to power the desalination process and rotate the garden. “Seawater enters the desalination plant through special screens that protect fish and local wildlife,” he said. “Solar panels power a high-pressure pump to pressurize seawater above the osmotic pressure and through a semi permeable membrane.” Clean water resulting from this process is then divvied up – 60 percent irrigates the rotating plants, 30 percent is sent to the city grid, while the remaining brine water, which would be potentially toxic to marine life, is fed through the bioreactor to cultivate spirulina for biomass . Related: Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California “The aeroponics system uses 98% less water than conventional farming and yields on average 30% more crops without the need for pesticides or fertilizers,” says Predonu. “Ring Garden demonstrates that the main elements a plant needs in order to grow—water, sun, nutrients, and CO2— are on site and don’t need to be transported. On a footprint of about 1,000 m2 (10,764 square feet) the farm can produce vegetables that would otherwise take 26,000 m2 (279,862 square feet) of land and 340 million gallons of fresh water per year.” If built, Ring Garden would consume just nine million gallons of water annually, according to Predonu, and redirect 331 million gallons that would otherwise evaporate to 2,300 California households. Every good LAGI design is expected to have a compelling public art and educational component, and Ring Garden delivers. Not only is the design slightly tilted so that the sun will shine right through the middle of the wheel on Earth Day (April 22), but visitors are welcome to visit the facility by boat, and pick vegetables and plant new ones at an outdoor aeroponics garden. There would also be a Eco Awareness Center designed to inform the public about the benefits and necessity of sustainable innovations that promise a more hopeful future. The winners of LAGI 2016: Santa Monica will be announced at Greenbuild in October . + LAGI 2016: Santa Monica + Alexandru Predonu

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Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

Archaeologists uncover 3,400-year-old Egyptian necropolis

April 1, 2016 by  
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Swedish archaeologists have uncovered a previously unknown Egyptian necropolis containing dozens of tombs and ancient artifacts near Gebel el Silsila on the Nile’s west bank. The team, from Lund University , has dated the tombs back to the New Kingdom , 3,400 years ago. Unfortunately, the researchers found that the site has been looted multiple times and damaged from erosion, however, there is still much valuable information to be gathered from the find. Read the rest of Archaeologists uncover 3,400-year-old Egyptian necropolis

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eL Seed’s latest calligraffiti covers 50 buildings in Cairo’s “Garbage City”

March 31, 2016 by  
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1,000-year-old sphinx statue unearthed in northern China

December 22, 2015 by  
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A sphinx statue believed to be 1,000-years-old has been found in a tomb in northwest China . The statue, about 14 inches tall, has a human face and a lion’s body and is delicately carved from white marble, a rare material for that part of the world. The tomb is located along the Silk Road trade route. Read the rest of 1,000-year-old sphinx statue unearthed in northern China

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