The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

October 10, 2017 by  
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What if the world’s energy problems could be solved with one deep-sea wind farm ? A new study, conducted by the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, California, suggests it could. Scientists determined that if a renewable energy project the size of India were to be constructed in the ocean, enough electricity could be generated to fulfill the energy needs of every nation on earth. In the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doctors Anna Possner and Ken Caldeira wrote: “On an annual mean basis, the wind power available in the North Atlantic could be sufficient to power the world.” The duo noted that wind speeds are on average 70 percent higher over the Earth’s oceans than on land. In order to generate the equivalent of all energy used today, a deep-sea wind farm would need to span three million square kilometers. On land, the concept would never work. This is because when more wind turbines are added to a farm, the combined drag from the turning blades limits the amount of energy that can be obtained. As a result of this effect, electricity generation for large wind farms on land is limited to about 1.5 watts per square meter . In the North Atlantic, however, the limit would be much higher — more than six watts per square meter. Related: The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is being built in the UK The Independent reports that this is possible because more heat pours into the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean. As a result, the problem of “ turbine drag” is essentially overcome. Said Possner, “We found that giant ocean-based wind farms are able to tap into the energy of the winds throughout much of the atmosphere whereas wind farms onshore remain constrained by the near-surface wind resources.” During the summer, the output from the vast North Atlantic wind farm would drop to one-fifth of the annual average. Despite this, enough energy would still be generated to meet the electricity demands of all countries in the European Union . The scientists added that a deep sea wind farm would have to operate in “remote and harsh conditions,” where waves heights often reach more than 3 meters. If these hurdles were overcome, political and economic challenges would need to be tackled next. + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons [1] , Wikimedia Commons [2] , Wikimedia Commons [3] and Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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The entire world could be powered by one deep-sea wind farm

This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

October 10, 2017 by  
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This incredible floating tent is one of those things you never knew you needed. Ohio-based outdoor equipment company SmithFly has designed what they describe as the world’s first floating tent , the Shoal Tent . With it, according to SmithFly, “the world is your waterbed.” SmithFly’s floating tent looks like way too much fun. The base is an inflatable raft, covered by a tent topper. There are no tent poles necessary, according to the company, because the tent structure is inflatable. They also say when it is inflated, it can endure high winds. Naturally, the tent fabric is waterproof . And it seems the Shoal Tent would be a pretty cozy place to spend the night; the “six inch thick drop stitched” floor basically acts as an air mattress. Related: See-through dome lets you immerse yourself in nature and sleep beneath the stars “The tent topper sides all attach and detach using heavy duty hook and loop for the ability to use just the top and get in and out easily through the sides if the need arises suddenly,” the company said in their product description, and the floor inflates to 10 pounds per square inch (psi), while the tubes inflate to three psi. The floating tent is eight feet by eight feet, measured from outside to outside. Inside, a person 6’3″ tall can lay down or stand up in the middle. The tent weighs around 75 pounds, and can fold down to a burrito shape to fit inside a storage bag that’s around 60 by 24 by 18 inches. The company suggests camping on “your favorite farm pond, salt water flat, spring creek, or eddie on your favorite river .” SmithFly launched in 2010, the brainchild of designer and fly fisherman Ethan Smith, who aimed to create a better fly fishing vest pack. The company offers products manufactured in the United States and lists sustainability as one of their top priorities. They aim to make multi-generational products, with the hope customers “only buy one of our vests and that it lasts long enough that your great-grand kids can use it.” The Shoal Tent costs $1,499 and is available to pre-order online; SmithFly says they’re not in stock yet but the first batch will be going out in December or January. The tent kit comes with a storage bag, manual foot pump, and patch kit. + SmithFly Images via SmithFly

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This incredible floating tent is the stuff of camping dreams

Germany plans to slash CO2 emissions up to 95 percent by 2050

November 15, 2016 by  
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Germany’s coalition government just announced plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 80 to 95 percent by the year 2050. The leaders reached the agreement just in time for the COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakech , and the project also includes plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one fifth by 2030. While the agreement does include a clause that the targets will be reviewed again in 2018, it still represents a major breakthrough. The Guardian notes that German environment minister Barbara Hendricks first presented CO2 reduction targets for various industry sectors in 2015, but they were stymied by special ministers from different parties in the coalition government . The finalized agreement does contain some compromises, including: lower reduction targets for power plants, and the loss of a planned minimum price for pollution certificates in the European Union’s carbon trading arrangement. Despite concerns about job losses due to the phasing out of brown coal (which releases the highest amount of CO2 emissions per ton when burned), German economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel believes the plan is “a good and well-balanced solution.” Other countries will only follow in the footsteps of our very ambitious climate policy if we manage to combine the fight against climate change with the protection of industrial jobs, even in energy-intensive sectors,” Gabriel told The Guardian. Related: Here’s how much Arctic sea ice melt you are personally responsible for Despite that, the Association of German Industry did not like what president Ulrich Grillo called “arbitrary and tonne-high reduction targets for individual sectors.” On the other side, Greenpeace International lauded the German government for sticking to sector-specific reduction targets. “By committing to halving emissions in the energy sector, the government’s climate action plans effectively hail the phase-out of the coal industry and the end of the era of the combustion engine, said Greenpeace International climate expert, Karsten Smid. Via The Guardian Images via fahrertuer and freefotouk, Flickr Creative Commons    

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Jaguar’s new I-Pace electric SUV is ready to take on the Tesla Model X

November 15, 2016 by  
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Jaguar is taking aim at the Tesla Model X by unveiling the I-Pace – an all-electric concept car that previews an SUV set to launch in 2018. The I-Pace features a 90 kWh battery, a driving range of around 220 miles, and it generates 394 horsepower and 516 foot-pounds of torque from two electric motors . Jaguar also says the I-Pace will be able to reach 60 mph faster than most sports cars at around four seconds. Jaguar debuted the I-Pace this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show and according to the automaker, the concept is not far off from the production version. Since the I-Pace doesn’t use a conventional engine, designers were able to maximize space for passengers and their stuff. Thanks to its cab-forward design, the I-Pace will have more interior room than many larger SUVs. Once inside, you’re greeted with a large center-mounted 12-inch touchscreen and an additional 5.5-inch touchscreen. The traditional instrument cluster has been replaced by another 12-inch screen with a color head-up display. Related: Jaguar Unveils 850 Horsepower C-X75 Plug-in Hybrid Supercar “This is an uncompromised electric vehicle designed from a clean sheet of paper: we’ve developed a new architecture and selected only the best technology available,” stated Wolfgang Ziebart. + Jaguar All photos @ Jaguar

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Jaguar’s new I-Pace electric SUV is ready to take on the Tesla Model X

Daylit eco-friendly home in London is built around a 100-year-old pear tree

November 15, 2016 by  
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The 425-square-meter Pear Tree House is a self-build project for the firm director Jake Edgley’s own family home. To preserve the 100-year-old pear tree—a remnant of the site’s past as a Victorian fruit orchard—the architects split the house into two volumes that frame the tree in an internal courtyard and are linked by a green-roofed glass walkway. The entire structure is elevated on pile foundations to avoid damage to the tree roots. The walls of the home that face the courtyard are glazed to bring natural light , views, and ventilation into the home and allow the street-facing facade to remain mostly closed for privacy. Related: Edgley Design restores a run-down home with stainless steel cladding The interior of the home is also arranged for optimal solar orientation , from the kitchen in the northeast that takes advantage of morning light to the southwest living areas that are bathed in afternoon light. The interior layout features mostly open-plan spaces that can be easily modified if and when the homeowners’ mobility becomes limited. Board-marked concrete walls on the ground floor give the home texture, while timber surfaces such as the bespoke joinery made from oak veneer lend warmth to the restrained interior palette. + Edgley Design Via Dezeen Images via Edgley Design , by Jack Hobhouse

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Daylit eco-friendly home in London is built around a 100-year-old pear tree

Worlds largest marine park established in Antarcticas Ross Sea

October 28, 2016 by  
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It’s an agreement five years in the making, but a deal has finally been struck to protect more than 1.5 million square kilometers of the Ross Sea surrounding Antarctica . The area, home to most of the planet’s penguins and whales, will become the largest marine park in the world . Fishing of any kind will be prohibited, protecting the most delicate coastal habitats and food supplies for wildlife. A collection of 24 nations and the European Union came to an agreement to designate the area a “general protection zone,” which will expire in 35 years. Not only will the marine park be the largest in the world, but it is also the first established in international waters. “We’ve been working towards this for many years,” US state department representative Evan Bloom told The Guardian . “It’s taken time to get consensus but now we have established the world’s largest marine protected area.” Related: Scientists warn rapidly-melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc The Ross Sea is considered to be one of the last complete ecosystems on the planet, where three quarters of oceans’ water-sustaining nutrients are produced. This draws plenty of researchers, who will conduct studies on krill and toothfish in designated zones in the park. Research in these areas could provide clues for how climate change is affecting vulnerable parts of the world. The negotiations did not come easily, as there were objections from nations who have a stake in Antarctic fishing industries. Russia’s opposition of the 50-year protection proposal threw a wrench in the operation and China’s fishing presence made the final deal difficult to broker. However, there are many, like Andrea Kavanagh, director of Antarctic and Southern Ocean work for the Pew Charitable Trusts , who are confident the protections will be renewed at the end of the expiration period. She said, “I’m positive that in 35 years, the conservation values that come out of the Ross Sea, the protections will be renewed. The world will be a different place in 35 years.” Via The Guardian Images via  Pixabay , Wikipedia

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Worlds largest marine park established in Antarcticas Ross Sea

New hunting ban in Romania protects large carnivores

October 6, 2016 by  
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In a surprise move Tuesday, the Romanian government banned all trophy hunting of brown bears, wolves, lynx, and wild cats – a move that will protect the largest population of carnivores in Europe. This is a massive shift for the country, which has seen hunting quotas grow year by year since its acceptance into the European Union in 2007. This year had the largest hunting quotas yet, with licenses for hunters to shoot shoot 550 bears, 600 wolves and 500 big cats over 12 months. This new rule closes a loophole that hunters from around the globe were using to collect trophies from protected species. Under European law, all large carnivores are supposed to be protected from hunters – unless the animals have been proven to pose a danger to humans. Hunting associations in Romania would submit two numbers to the government each year: one, an estimate of the total population of each carnivore species, and two, the number of predators deemed to be a threat. The second number is the one that would be used by the government to determine hunting quotas. Related: Romania races to save some of the last untouched forests in Europe It should come as no surprise that the hunting industry, which rakes in millions of Euros every year, may not have been accurately reporting either number. Animals rights activists questioned how the number of “threatening” animals could be determined in advance, without any actual damage to people or property. The hunting associations likely also inflated the official count of large predators in the region by counting the same animals multiple times. This means the official statistics could be off by hundreds or even thousands. Though conservationists will cheer the news, not everyone is likely to welcome it. In Romania’s remote countryside, large carnivores are a nuisance to livestock farmers and a threat to villagers. Despite research showing that hunting these predators does nothing to reduce the conflict between humans and large carnivores (and sometimes simply causes more predators to move to the area), many in rural areas believe hunting is the only solution. If the government wants to prevent poaching, it will have to convince residents in these regions that there are better alternatives to keep the carnivore population under control. Related: 7 Animals Recently Driven to Extinction by Humans One method the government plans to use is to simply take dangerous carnivores into its own hands. A special unit will be set up within the country’s paramilitary police force specifically to respond to reports of damages by predators. Instead of authorizing the hunting of potentially dozens of unrelated animals, problem carnivores will be dealt with directly. Via The Guardian Images via Henning Leweke and Photogore

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Futuristic Dutch community features 50 out-of-this world spherical homes

October 6, 2016 by  
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Kreijkamp initially designed the bulbous Bolwoningen in the 1970s, in response to a special Dutch subsidy for experimental housing projects that launched in 1968. The decidedly suburban neighborhood in Maaspoort in the city of Den Bosch (formally known as ‘s-Hertogenbosch) is home to this extraterrestrial cluster of apartment homes. Inside each golf-ball shaped home is a compact apartment dwelling with a uniquely otherworldly feel. The curved walls and round porthole windows give the illusion you’re living in a spaceship, which is a little ironic because Kreijkamp actually intended the globe-like structures to bring people closer to nature , with its vantage points from nearly every angle. Related: 3D-printed micro cabin in Amsterdam welcomes anyone to spend the night Each apartment home contains three floors, with bedrooms on the ground level and a bathroom hidden on the middle floor. The upper floor houses the main living room and compact kitchen, and round windows face outward in nearly every direction, offering unique views of the world outside (including the other globe-shaped apartments, which are positioned somewhat close together). At the top floor, each home has a diameter of just 18 feet (5.5 meters), making for a cozy living space . Across the street, another subdivision is filled with traditional-style homes, highlighting the rarity of the globe-shaped apartment community. Kreijkamp passed away in 2014, but the continued fascination with what his perhaps his greatest contribution to architecture lives on. The Bolwoningen apartment community is still in good condition some 30 years after its completion, and has, as far as we can tell, been continuously occupied from the start and will continue to provide funky dwelling space for years to come. Via Ignant Images via Wikipedia, Steven Vance/Flickr and unknown (aerial shot)

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New mayor wants to create Italy’s first ‘vegetarian city’

July 21, 2016 by  
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What if your entire city adhered to a vegetarian diet? Recently elected Turin mayor Chiara Appendino pledged that promoting vegetarian diets will be a “priority” for her. But there could be backlash, as Piedmont, the Italian region in which Turin is located, is home to famous meat dishes and meat producers. How might Appendino create a “vegetarian city?” We don’t yet know the strategy details, but many expect Turin to focus on school education and teaching children about nutrition . But there are those who would guard a meat-eating lifestyle in Italy. Last year the World Health Organization classified cured meats as carcinogenic , and Italian meat producers called the label “meat terrorism.” Dishes like brasato al Barolo (wine-braised meat) or vitello tonnato (veal in tuna sauce) have been staples of northern Italy’s cuisine for ” centuries .” Related: Danish council proposes red meat tax to combat climate change Environment councilor Stefania Giannuzzi indicated the administration may be willing to work with meat producers. She told Italian publication Corriere della Sera (translated by The Guardian), “I would not want to create a contrast with the meat industry. We do not want to close the small shops or ruin the people who have worked for years to develop the Piedmontese food and wine heritage.” Many within the Five Star Movement (M5S), the party of which Appendino is part, espouse vegetarian or vegan diets. In the past, M5S founder Beppe Grillo praised the documentary Cowspiracy and supported vegetarian childcare centers on his popular blog. Potential party leader Luigi di Maio had a vegan cake for his 30th birthday. A “vegetarian city” may sound like the hallmark of a progressive party, yet The Guardian noted while M5S promotes clean energy and environmentalism, they’re more ambiguous on other issues such as LGBT rights and migration. The Guardian also described M5S as “eurosceptic,” or anti-European Union. Via The Guardian Images via Pexels and Wikimedia Commons

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New mayor wants to create Italy’s first ‘vegetarian city’

Malta green lights the hunt of 5,000 endangered European turtle doves

March 17, 2016 by  
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The archipelago nation of Malta has decided to continue its spring tradition of hunting migratory European turtle doves . The move comes despite the species’ recent addition to the IUCN “red list” of endangered species . Conservationists have expressed outrage at the country’s decision to reduce the allowance for hunted birds from 11,000 to 5,000 instead of ending the practice altogether. Read the rest of Malta green lights the hunt of 5,000 endangered European turtle doves

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