New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

September 25, 2017 by  
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Surf’s up! Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Japan are working to create special turbines that harvest the renewable energy of waves while simultaneously protecting coastlines from erosion. To accomplish this, turbines would be anchored to the sea floor with mooring cables and placed nearby tetrapods, star-shaped concrete structures designed to reduce erosion, or natural barriers such as coral reefs. These structures have enormous potential to work together to both dampen the impact of powerful waves on shorelines and capture the seemingly endless oceanic energy. The wave turbine’s pairing with a solid, anchored structure could take advantage of preexisting infrastructure in Japan. “Surprisingly, 30% of the seashore in mainland Japan is covered with tetrapods and wave breakers,” said Professor Tsumoru Shintake, the lead researcher on the project. “Using just 1% of the seashore of mainland Japan can [generate] about 10 gigawats [of energy], which is equivalent to 10 nuclear power plants. That’s huge.” Each turbine would feature spinning blades attached to a permanent magnet electric generator, protected by a ceramic layer to keep seawater out. The energy captured from the waves would then be sent through a cable down the structure and back to shore for grid usage. Related: This carbon nanotube yarn generates power when pulled The turbines are designed with safety in mind. In order to avoid harming wildlife , the speed of the blades is calibrated so that any animal caught into them are able to harm. Similarly, the blades are flexible, like dolphin fins, to avoid cracking under powerful storms and swells. The support structure is also bendable. Each turbine is estimated to last for ten years before needing to be replaced, but its creators are thinking even further into the future. “I’m imagining the planet two hundred years later,” said Shintake. “I hope these [turbines] will be working hard quietly, and nicely, on each beach on which they have been installed.” Via New Atlas Images via  OIST

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New Japanese turbines harvest wave energy and protect coastlines from erosion

Brand new island sprouts off the North Carolina coast

June 28, 2017 by  
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In an age of rising sea levels and shore erosion , the sudden appearance of new coastal land can encourage and inspire. Along North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a brand new island has emerged from the sea like a plant sprouting from a seed. The sandbar, which has been called Shelley Island by some locals for its abundance of sea shells, is attracting adventurous visitors, who choose to brave the elements and the occasional discarded fish hook so that they may see the shoreline’s newest addition. Shelley Island is located near Cape Point, a globally-renowned surf-fishing location, and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse on North Carolina ‘s Outer Banks. To reach Shelley Island, visitors must pass near powerful currents that could easily pull a person out to sea. “We’re worried about shark bites, but we’re more worried about drownings,” said Bill Smith, president of the North Carolina Beach Buggy Association. Rays and sharks patrol the waters and the discarded hooks from many fish tales could be embedded in the sand, threatening barefoot revelers. Related: Discreet new home in North Carolina acts like a gateway to the surrounding wilderness It is entirely possible that Shelley Island may disappear within a year, or it may expand even further into the ocean. Cape Point is constantly shifting. Admirers of the wild seashore have been fortunate with a particularly accessible season, the better through which to enjoy the scenery. Those who visit should count themselves fortunate, as future generations may not be able to experience this unique and fragile ecosystem . The coastline of North Carolina is among the most vulnerable parts of the Eastern United States to the effects of climate change . The barrier islands, which have served to protect the inland areas from devastating storms, may be overwhelmed and submerged by the end of the century. Via CNN / The Virginian Pilot Images via Claude Betancort and  Nicolas Marchildon

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Brand new island sprouts off the North Carolina coast

South African insurance company backs tree-planting effort to reduce effects of drought

December 23, 2015 by  
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Insurance companies are typically a fairly passive partner in disaster, showing up only when things have gone horribly wrong. The largest agricultural insurer in South Africa has broken the mold by backing a massive effort to slow the effects of drought , which threatens farmlands in the small country. Planting millions of trees has helped to reduce land degradation and ward off desertification, and the initiative could even lead to increased water supplies in communities that have lived under water restrictions for nearly a decade. Read the rest of South African insurance company backs tree-planting effort to reduce effects of drought

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South African insurance company backs tree-planting effort to reduce effects of drought

Tranquil timber cabins and a bamboo grove surround a hot spring hotel near Beijing

December 23, 2015 by  
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Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

December 23, 2015 by  
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When actor Nicolas Cage bought a 70 million year old Tyrannosaurus bataar skull at auction for $276,000 in 2007, he had no way of knowing that it had actually been smuggled illegally into the United States. Cage purchased the fossil anonymously from the I.M. Chait gallery in Beverly Hills, but in July, 2014 he learned the skull was the subject of a homeland security investigation when law enforcement contacted his agent about the case. Read the rest of Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

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Nicholas Cage pledges to return Mongolia’s stolen dinosaur skull

We’ve lost a third of the world’s farmlands in the last 40 years

December 3, 2015 by  
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A new study found that the world has lost a third of its food-producing land in the last four decades. Erosion and pollution are two of the biggest reasons that we’re losing fertile soil , and it’s happening at a rate far faster than the natural processes that replace diminished soil. Researchers are taking this message to world leaders this week in Paris , in an effort to command environmental policies that call for agricultural practices that would slow the land loss. Read the rest of We’ve lost a third of the world’s farmlands in the last 40 years

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We’ve lost a third of the world’s farmlands in the last 40 years

Contemporary timber homes rise above Lithuania’s historic ammunition vaults

December 3, 2015 by  
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GREEN BUILDING 101: Sustainable Sites—How to Live in Harmony with the Natural Environment

May 15, 2014 by  
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Welcome back to Green Building 101. In our last post, we touched upon how to select an environmentally responsible location for your new abode, and in this piece, we’ll begin to discuss ways you can improve upon any home site. The “Sustainable Sites” section of USGBC ‘s LEED for Homes program outlines various “green” opportunities for reducing the negative impact your home has on the environment. Most of these principles can be implemented at any time, whether you’re still in the design process or if you’ve been in your home for years. Here are a few measures you can take to create a more sustainable site : Read the rest of GREEN BUILDING 101: Sustainable Sites—How to Live in Harmony with the Natural Environment Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “leed” , “sustainable architecture” , erosion , green architecture , Green Building 101 , green roof , green roofs , GreenBuilding 101 , indigenous plants , landscape design , LEED for Homes. USGBC , LEED-H , native environment , native flora , native vegetation , pergola , rainwater , shade , Sustainable Sites , Trees , water issues , water runoff , water table

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GREEN BUILDING 101: Sustainable Sites—How to Live in Harmony with the Natural Environment

MAD Architects Break Ground on Mountainous Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing

April 29, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of MAD Architects Break Ground on Mountainous Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Beijing , chaoyang park , chaoyang park plaza , chinese classical landscape paintings , chinese landscape paintings , chinese landscapes , erosion , LEED gold , MAD architects , mad architects beijing , mountain shaped building , urban jungle

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MAD Architects Break Ground on Mountainous Chaoyang Park Plaza in Beijing

Unexplained Holes Capable of Swallowing a Human Appear at National Park Sand Dunes

April 29, 2014 by  
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The Park Service has to close down portions of parks all the time for wide range of reasons, but this is the first time we have heard of one being shut down because it can swallow a person whole. Officials have announced the indefinite closure of a large sand dune near Lake Michigan known as Mount Baldy after mysterious quicksand-like holes began opening up in dune. Last summer one of the holes swallowed a 6-year old boy as he crossed the sand, and though rescuers were luckily able to recover the boy  at this point no one is sure why the holes have appeared or what can be done to stop them. Read the rest of Unexplained Holes Capable of Swallowing a Human Appear at National Park Sand Dunes Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Erin Argyilan , erosion , erosion Mount Baldy , Lake Michigan erosion , Lake Michigan national parks , Lake Michigan sand dune holes , manmade soil erosion , Mount Baldy , Mount Baldy closed , Mount Baldy dune , Mount Baldy holes , Mount Baldy Indiana Dunes , Mount Baldy Lake Michigan , Mount Baldy mysterious holes , Mount Baldy park , Mount Baldy quicksand , Mount Baldy sinkholes , National Park Service , sand dunes , soil erosion

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