Minimalist living meets luxury in the Sturgis Tiny Home

February 22, 2018 by  
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Designing small yet sophisticated spaces is quite a challenge – but Cubist Engineering proves it can be done with the Sturgis tiny home . The compact 21.5′ x 8.5′ space packs a big punch when it comes to beautiful design. Built with highly-insulated CLT timber, the serene, light-filled home on wheels can be installed virtually anywhere. The Sturgis tiny home was built to be a serene retreat, free of clutter and flooded with natural light . To that end, an abundance of windows fills the interior with light and storage areas help keep everything organized. The living room has enough space for a full-size sofa and a small office. The kitchen is adjacent to the living room and comes with a stove top, fridge, deep sink, and plenty of storage. Related: Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels In order to create optimal space without feeling cramped, the designers came up with a few tricks such as hiding the queen-sized bed in the ceiling above the sofa. With just the push of a button, it rises and lowers on thin railings in the walls . This tiny home on wheels is much more than just aesthetically pleasing. Working with CLT timber provider, SmartLam, the makers of the Sturgis used SFO-certified wood to create a resilient shell for the home. Prefabricated to reduce construction times, the wood frame is incredibly strong and highly-insulated. The Sturgis’ compact size and strong materials mean that the home can be installed quickly virtually anywhere, in any climate, and can always be moved, leaving little to no carbon footprint. + Cubist Engineering + SmartLam

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Minimalist living meets luxury in the Sturgis Tiny Home

Incredible new "super wood" is as strong as steel

February 9, 2018 by  
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It’s a twig, it’s a branch, it’s… Super Wood! Researchers at the University of Maryland have created a so-called “super wood” that is stronger than many titanium alloys. The research team used a two-step process to drastically increase the density of the wood , thus reinforcing its strength to 10 times that of traditional wood. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter,” research team co-leader  Teng Li told ScienceDaily . “It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.” To create the super material, the research team first boiled wood in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite. With lignin and hemicellulose partially removed, the wood is then hot-pressed to crush cell walls and forge strong nanofibers. The resulting density provides its super strength. “This kind of wood could be used in cars , airplanes, buildings — any application where steel is used,” research team co-leader Liangbing Hu Hu told ScienceDaily . Related: Milan’s striking wooden UniCredit building is powered by the sun Another of super wood’s special powers is its ability to be sourced sustainably . “Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings ,”said Hu. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination,” said professor of mechanics and materials at Harvard University Zhigang Suo, who was not involved in the study. The team at University of Maryland has also created a kind of transparent wood, which could be used to replace glass and plastic with more sustainably sourced, stronger alternatives. Via ScienceDaily and New Atlas Images via University of Maryland and Depositphotos

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Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

November 20, 2017 by  
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NASA has performed the first test of its supersonic parachute as part of its Mars 2020 mission. This essential component will allow the Mars-bound spacecraft to slow down as its enters the planet’s atmosphere whilst traveling at speeds of over 12,000 MPH. “It is quite a ride,” said Ian Clark, the test’s technical lead from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The imagery of our first parachute inflation is almost as breathtaking to behold as it is scientifically significant. For the first time, we get to see what it would look like to be in a spacecraft hurtling towards the Red Planet , unfurling its parachute.” Take a look at the video after the jump. The first test of this parachute was conducted with the Black Brant IX sounding rocket, which launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 4, 2017. After the rocket reached 26 miles in altitude and a speed 1.8 times that of sound, its parachute was deployed successfully. The rocket landed off the coast of Virginia shortly after. “Everything went according to plan or better than planned,” said Clark. “We not only proved that we could get our payload to the correct altitude and velocity conditions to best mimic a parachute deployment in the Martian atmosphere, but as an added bonus, we got to see our parachute in action as well.” Related: The world’s first space nation is now officially in orbit The Mars 2020 mission aims to search for signs of life on Mars by investigating evidence on location through the use of a remote rover and by gathering drilled rock samples to be studied upon their return to Earth. As indicated by its name, the mission aims to launch in 2020 and will require new technology , such as the supersonic parachute, to complete the ambitious undertaking. Although this marked the first parachute test for the Mars 2020 mission, the parachute itself has been used before for Mars exploration. In 2012, a parachute with the same design was used to land NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory on the planet itself. Future tests will incorporate a strengthened parachute, which may be used in the Mars 2020 mission. Via NASA / NBC News Images via NASA

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Video: NASA tests its supersonic parachute for the first time

Whale mother can’t let go of dead calf likely poisoned by plastic

November 20, 2017 by  
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The impact of humanity’s pollution on nature became all too real in a heartbreaking clip from Blue Planet II . A mother pilot whale grieved her dead baby, carrying it around with her. The calf may have died because of industrial chemicals – and our plastic littering the oceans . A preview for episode four of BBC One’s Blue Planet II revealed a tragic scene: a mother pilot whale who seemingly couldn’t let go of her dead calf. The calf might have been poisoned by the mother’s milk, contaminated with pollutants of ours which enter the oceans. Narrator David Attenborough said she’d been carrying the baby for several days. “In top predators like these, industrial chemicals can build up to lethal levels. And plastic could be part of the problem. As plastic breaks down, it combines with these other pollutants that are consumed by vast numbers of marine creatures,” Attenborough said in the video. Related: Plankton Pundit video shows exact moment plastic enters the food chain Pilot whales possess large brains, Attenborough explained in the video, and have the capacity to feel emotions. He said the adults’ behavior following the death of the calf reveals its loss impacted the whole family. “Unless the flow of plastics and industrial pollution into the world’s oceans is reduced, marine life will be poisoned by them for many centuries to come,” he said. Around eight million metric tons of plastic enters Earth’s oceans every single year, according to the Blue Planet II website, and can kill ocean creatures. They offered several suggestions for how concerned viewers can get involved with ocean conservation , such as picking up trash or downloading the Beat the Microbead app, which tells users if a cosmetic or household product contains microbeads so they can avoid purchasing it (click the links to download for Android or iOS ). + Blue Planet II Images via BBC on YouTube

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World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

November 20, 2017 by  
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Solar power set to be generated in Mexico will be the world’s cheapest — with prices as low as 1.77¢/kWh, according to data from Mexico’s  Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (Cenace) . Mexico’s Department of Energy recently announced the companies selected to complete new renewable power projects and the rates for which this electricity will be sold. The lowest price for solar in Mexico has been set just below that of Saudi Arabia at 1.77¢/kWh, and is expected to continue to decrease to 1¢/kWh in 2019 or sooner. In this most recent bidding round, 15 bids from eight solar and wind energy companies, including Canadian Solar, ENEL Green Power, and Mitsui, were approved in a sign that Mexico’s renewable surge is not slowing down. The clean energy projects recently approved by Mexico will be online and selling power by 2020. These projects and others are important steps towards meeting Mexico’s goals under the Paris agreement as well as regional goals established by Mexico, the United States, and Canada . In 2016, all three countries pledged to source 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Canada is on track to meet this goal while Mexico continues to build up its renewable portfolio. As it was when the regional pledge was made, the United States still lags behind in its transition to clean energy. Related: World’s largest solar plant in a refugee camp opens in Jordan Mexico’s achievement of cheap solar energy exceeds the expectations of skeptics who believed that such a price in a country like Mexico, rather than one like wealthy Saudi Arabia , would be highly unlikely. Despite its economic challenges, Mexico is proving that affordable renewable energy is possible around the world, brightening the prospects of the Paris agreement even as the United States refuses to participate. If current trends continue, the world may soon be faced with the prospect of plentiful, clean, affordable energy, the possibilities for which are endless. Via Electrek Images via Presidencia de la República Mexicana/Flickr   (2)   (3)

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World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

April 24, 2017 by  
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A team of researchers at UC Riverside developed a low-cost way of turning disgarded glass bottles into lithium-ion batteries that store almost four times more energy and can last much longer than conventional batteries. This could mean significantly fewer charges for laptops, cell phones and electric cars, not to mention reducing waste. The team, led by Cengiz Ozkan, professor of mechanical engineering, and Mihri Ozkan, professor of electrical engineering at UC Riverside, asked themselves whether silicon dioxide found in waste beverage bottles would be able to provide high purity silicon nanoparticles that can be subsequently used for lithium-ion batteries. The three-step process of producing the anodes starts by crushing and grounding glass bottles into fine white powder, silicon dioxide is then converted into nanostructured silicon, followed by coating the silicon nanoparticles with carbon. Related: 94-year-old inventor of lithium-ion cells develops new battery that can store 3 times more energy According to lab test, coin cell batteries that were made using the glass bottle-based silicon anodes considerably outperformed conventional batteries and demonstrated excellent electrochemical performance. The team expect these high-performance batteries to not only extend the range of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles, but also provide extra power with fewer charges to laptops, cell phones, and other gadgets. Photos via University of California, Riverside

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Lithium-ion batteries made from recycled glass bottles store almost 4x more energy

INFOGRAPHIC: The exciting future of sustainability

July 18, 2016 by  
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Modern civilization has been relying on non-sustainable energy sources that pollute the earth. Once we learned the depth of the problem, people from around the globe started coming together to come create solutions for greener energy.  Thanks to these thinkers, we now have some incredible new technologies like smarter batteries  and salt power, and things are only getting more exciting as time goes on. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management program. + Ohio University’s online Master of Engineering Management program.

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INFOGRAPHIC: The exciting future of sustainability

This amazing living sculpture is covered in over 3,000 plants

July 18, 2016 by  
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The Infinite Green is based on the designer’s previous project The Green Wall- a system which dynamically interacts with the environment and uses changes in temperature and morning dew as an additional source of water for the plants. The new sculpture follows a similar principle. Related: Nikolay Polissky’s Selpo Pavilion envelops a dilapidated Soviet building with wood scraps The steel and wood structure forms a green-roofed infinity loop of shelves which house over 3,000 plants that blossom at different times of the year. The diversity of perennials, succulents and other plant types create an evergreen environment which visitors can access and observe from the inside. Kalinowski’s work is focused on “nature untouched by human hand, not idyllic landscape petrified by human values and sense of handiness but ancient nature being changed only by natural processes of passing time in incredible long cycles.” The Infinite Green continues in the same vein and could be considered an inspirational work of art for architects. + Adam Kalinowski Photos by Adam Kalinowski

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This amazing living sculpture is covered in over 3,000 plants

How to make your home more energy efficient

July 18, 2016 by  
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Whether you’re looking to save the environment or save on your utility bills, making your home more energy efficient is always a smart move. Senator Windows put together an infographic with some energy saving tips and tricks for all the major rooms of the house. From advice on new appliances to buy to easy suggestions on how to cut back on energy use, the infographic explores many ways for making your home more energy efficient. + Senator Windows

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How to make your home more energy efficient

Dominique Perrault plants 8 giant metal trees in the heart of Naples, Italy

March 16, 2016 by  
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