Turn any bike into an e-bike with UrbanX’s drop-in wheel

March 20, 2017 by  
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Are you intrigued by electric bicycles but already own a regular bike? UrbanX created a drop-in wheel that can turn almost any old bicycle into a cool e-bike. The wheel only takes around one minute to install and boasts an impressive range of 30 miles on a single charge. The UrbanX bike wheel simplifies e-bikes: add their wheel and you’re good to go. The product adds an additional 15 pounds to a bike, which isn’t as heavy or clunky as some electric bikes can be. The company behind the product offers the wheel in six sizes; they say it will fit 99 percent of bikes. Their compact battery charges in an hour and a half. Related: Juicer electric bikes bridge dorky environmentalism and cool-guy style https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/934648866/urbanx-convert-any-bike-to-an-electric-bike-in-60/description The company offers a 240 watt motor and a 350 watt motor. The 240W motor’s top speed is 15 miles per hour (mph) while the 350W motor’s top speed is 20mph. Bikers can also pedal as normal; UrbanX includes a three level pedal assist system that can be switched via an app. UrbanX says their product “works smarter, not harder by using an algorithm to ensure 100 percent of motor output is utilized to power your ride.” They came up with their patent-pending Sinus Algorithm Controlling System to boost the battery and motor’s efficiency. UrbanX isn’t the first company to come out with such a product; GeoOrbital also recently unveiled a bike wheel that converts bicycles into e-bikes within 60 seconds. The look of the two wheels are quite different, and UrbanX’s 240W motor wheel is much less expensive than GeoOrbital’s wheel. To help bring their product to market, UrbanX also turned to crowdfunding . With over 30 days to go, they’ve raised more than double their initial goal of $50,000 on Kickstarter . The limited early bird prices for the tires start at $299. UrbanX ambitiously says they’ll be delivering the wheels this summer. Via TreeHugger Images via UrbanX Electric Wheel Facebook

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Turn any bike into an e-bike with UrbanX’s drop-in wheel

Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

March 20, 2017 by  
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Park and ride buildings aren’t often beautiful, but this recently completed facility in Zutphen is a stunning exception. MoederscheimMoonen Architects created the stylish P+R facility near a railway station in the Netherlands’ Noorderhaven district. Built to reference the town’s industrial past, the contemporary building accommodates 375 parking spaces and has spots for over 600 bicycles . Located next to the town’s train station, the unique park and ride structure pays homage to the town’s historic warehouses and traditional industries through its design and choice of materials. One side of the building features a large gabled facade with wooden shutters to mimic the appearance of a factory warehouse. On the other side of the building are two helix-shaped ramps that hide the car’s vertical transport with a sculptural design. In a nod to the nearby steel bridge over the River IJssel, the structure is mounted on a series of “playfully positioned” galvanized columns. Related: Corridor-free high school in the Netherlands bathes students in natural light Ample natural light and ventilation passes through the building due to the slatted facade. The wooden slats were installed at different angles and combined with strips of red steel to create a playful and dynamic appearance. Vertical LED strips illuminate the building at night. + MoederscheimMoonen Architects Images by Harry Noback (HN) and Bart van Hoek (BvH)

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Beautiful P+R building can house hundreds of bicycles in the Netherlands

From now on all Smart cars in North America will be electric

February 14, 2017 by  
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Soon when you see Smart cars zipping by on the streets of North America, there’s a good chance they’ll be powered by electricity . Automotive company Daimler said in a letter they’ll stop selling gas-powered Smart cars in the United States and Canada, and instead will sell only electric versions of their micro cars in those countries. German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung broke the news based on a letter they obtained, reviewed by Reuters. Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dietmar Exler wrote the letter to car dealerships in North America informing them the car company will cease selling combustion engine Smart cars in the fall when the 2017 model year is finished. Related: Daimler Goes Smaller Than the Smart Car with Its Smart E-Bike The fortwo, fortwo cabrio, and forfour will all be offered as electric vehicles. A 17.6 kilowatt-hour battery will power the cars, which all have around 100 miles of range and a top speed of 80 miles per hour, according to the car company. The German prices for the cars are between $25,000 and $28,000, according to Electrek, although they note prices could vary slightly in the United States. Depending on the final prices, when electric vehicle incentives are accounted for, the sharp little electric cars could end up being quite affordable. Exler writes, “Developments within the micro-car segment present some challenges for the current smart product portfolio. A dedicated focus on the electric drive in the U.S. and Canada provides a logical step to support a sustainable, zero emissions future.” Markets outside of America and Canada will still have access to gas-powered cars. Mercedes-Benz USA sold just 6,211 Smart cars in 2016, while global sales totaled 144,479. Reuters points to Exler’s recent letter as the latest signal showing the small car market is struggling in America. Via Electrek and Reuters Images via Daimler and smart Facebook

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From now on all Smart cars in North America will be electric

Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan donate $3.6 million to stem SF housing crisis

February 9, 2017 by  
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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook , and his wife, pediatrician Priscilla Chan, are donating millions of dollars to help to help mitigate the effects of San Francisco’s so-called “housing crisis.” The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative , the limited liability vehicle the duo established in 2015 for their philanthropic endeavors, is giving $3.1 million to the Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto , a nonprofit legal-aid group that works with evicted and displaced individuals and families of limited means. Another $500,000 will benefit the University of California, Berkley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation , which works to solve housing challenges through research and policy. “In the Bay Area, few challenges are greater than the need for affordable housing,” David Plouffe, president of policy and advocacy for the initiative, said in a statement. “[The grants] will support those working to help families in immediate crisis while supporting research into new ideas to find a long-term solution—a two-step strategy that will guide much of our policy and advocacy work moving forward.” CLSPEA says it will portion some of its grant, which will be doled out over three years, to grassroots partners such as Faith in Action-Bay Area and Youth United for Community Action . The money will help the organization serve an additional 2,500 residents, according to Daniel Saver, senior staff attorney for CLSEPA’s housing program. Most of them live in in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks, and many either risk displacement or live in unsafe conditions. Related: Mark Zuckerberg announces he will give 99% of his Facebook shares to charity “Housing is on the tip of everyone’s tongue in the Bay Area,” Saver told the Mercury News . “The crisis affects people all across the gamut: middle class and working class, teachers, nurses, service workers … and especially people of color are being written out of our communities by rising rents and unjust evictions. It’s not just a housing crisis that we have; we have a displacement disaster on our hands. We’re bleeding people out of our communities every single day.” Carol J. Galante, faculty director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation, said Chan and Zuckerberg’s largesse will help her group “figure out how the Bay Area can get out of the difficult situation it’s in relative to such high costs of housing.” She is, at the moment, editing a paper about off-site construction and how the construction industry “ramp that up” in a way that not only lowers costs by 20 percent but also curtails building time by 40 percent. “A portion of the apartment that you’re building is prebuilt in a factory,” she explained. “Think of it as bringing in Legos and stacking them together on top of the foundation.” Via Mercury News Photos from Facebook

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Mark Zuckerberg, Priscilla Chan donate $3.6 million to stem SF housing crisis

Ireland votes to be world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

January 26, 2017 by  
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In a historic move, Ireland may become the world’s first country to fully divest from all fossil fuels , according to 350.org’s Fossil Free Europe . The country’s parliament just passed “first-of-its-kind fossil fuel divestment legislation” with a majority vote. The historic bill could enable Ireland to fully divest their sovereign wealth fund, which is worth more than 8 billion Euros or around $8.5 billion, from oil, gas, and coal. Fossil Free Europe and Trócaire reported today that the bill passed in the Irish parliament’s lower house, the Dáil. Fossil Free Europe described the event as “an important moment in the history of the divestment movement.” Related: Sydney plans to divest $500 million from fossil fuels Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said in a statement, “The Irish political system is now finally acknowledging what the overwhelming majority of people already know: that to have a fighting chance to combat catastrophic climate change we must phase out fossil fuels and stop the growth of the industry that is driving this crisis.” The bill is now headed for the committee stage, according to Trócaire and Fossil Free Europe, who noted last week all major political parties support it, except the Fine Gael political party.. Meehan thinks the move could send a powerful message to the rest of the world, as a climate change denier takes control of the White House, and said, “The support of a majority in the Dáil for this bill is an incredibly important moment for the climate justice movement in Ireland and will inspire other countries to follow our lead.” A few years ago Norway’s sovereign wealth fund also made a move to divest from some fossil fuel companies, but not all; according to EcoWatch they still had billions in other fossil fuel companies. Via Fossil Free Europe and Trócaire Images via Justin Pickard on Flickr and Fossil Free Facebook

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Ireland votes to be world’s first country to fully divest from fossil fuels

Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

January 23, 2017 by  
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Tesla just made electric vehicle (EV) history, but you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know. With nary an announcement or social media post, the company surreptitiously introduced the Model S 100D, which boasts an impressive, record-breaking EPA-estimated range of 335 miles. Like the S 90D, the S 100D has a top speed of 155 miles per hour, and can reach 60 miles per hour from zero in a mere 2.4 seconds. If you’re looking for an EV that can prowl the roads for a long time on a single charge, the Tesla Model S 100D is now the car to beat. Compared against the Model S P100D, the S 100D can drive 20 miles further on one charge, and while it takes longer to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour (the S P100D can accomplish the feat in 2.5 seconds), the S 100D costs around $30,000 less than the P100D and includes the same 100 kWh battery pack . Related: Check out this adorable $500 electric Tesla Model S just for kids (sorry adults) Surprisingly, Tesla rolled out the exciting new option with little pomp, instead quietly adding an update to their online design studio . The new S 100D starts at $95,000, which is only about $3,000 more than the 90D. Given its extra range of 41 miles more than the 90D, some people may think an extra $3,000 is quite a bargain. Aside from the different battery packs – the 90D has the 90 kWh battery pack – both cars have identical standard equipment. As of December 2016, such equipment includes “collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking,” according to the design studio website. Electrek points out the carmaker has never before offered as many options as they provide now. With the affordable new S 100D, Tesla could see a boost in sales, as many new buyers may opt for the longest range they can get. Via Autoblog and Electrek Images via Tesla and Tesla Facebook

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Tesla just introduced the world’s longest range electric car

Australian minister says coal power can help reduce CO2 emissions

January 17, 2017 by  
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Don’t throw out your climate science books just yet, folks. Australian resources minister Matt Canavan recently said burning a certain kind of coal could help the country slash its overall carbon emissions . He commissioned a study conducted by the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science that reportedly claimed the country could reduce emissions by 27 percent if they replaced current coal power stations with “ultra-supercritical” coal technology . But experts slammed the findings, saying such technology wouldn’t reduce emissions nearly as much as was claimed. Australia’s goal is to reduce emissions by 28 percent beneath 2005 levels by 2030, so a reduction of 27 percent with the help of new coal technology seemed almost too good to be true. But that’s the figure The Australian reported this week, although now it appears those statistics were inaccurate or misreported. The coal technology would actually only reduce emissions by around 12 percent, according to The Guardian, which also reported electricity sector emissions would need to be cut down to near zero to meet the 2030 target. Related: Sydney plans to divest $500 million from fossil fuels Canavan said in a statement that the coal “has an important role to play as Australia, and the rest of the world, reduce carbon dioxide emissions.” He also attacked “people who oppose the coal industry for ideological reasons,” and some of those people quickly fired back. Australia Institute economist Rod Campbell said if Australia were to replace old coal stations with ones boasting the new technology, electricity prices would go up, even higher than if renewable energy replaced coal. Member of Parliament Mark Butler said, “The latest intervention by Minister Canavan trumpeting coal isn’t about securing a reliable and affordable energy future; at its core it is just the latest ideological attack on renewables by a government desperate to draw attention away from the fact it has no plan on energy and climate.” Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and Senator Matthew Canavan Facebook

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Australian minister says coal power can help reduce CO2 emissions

Streaming services slow down tech’s clean energy rankings

January 11, 2017 by  
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Apple, Facebook and Google all secure “A grades” following high-profile renewables investments, but the campaign group warns the industry as a whole is not doing enough to mobilize investment in clean energy infrastructure.

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Streaming services slow down tech’s clean energy rankings

Dogs raised for meat in South Korea to get forever homes in the US

January 10, 2017 by  
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A group of dogs raised for meat in South Korea are getting a new lease on life. Humane Society International (HSI) has rescued 10 dogs from a dog meat farm located about 55 miles away from Seoul. The dogs, which were raised in filthy, rusty cages for eventual consumption by humans, will be placed in forever homes throughout the US. HSI says it will take time and money to move all 200 animals off the farm, and you can help. Six months of vaccinations, medical examinations, and negotiations later, HSI has finally been able to start removing dogs from the horrifying meat factory farm. It will take a few weeks for them to ship out all the animals, as airlines will only take so many dogs per flight. Dogs like Demi, a labrador mix puppy, will journey to United States shelters and be offered for adoption. Related: Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia HSI campaign manager Andrew Plumbly told Reuters, “As soon as they’re ready for adoption, we find that there are line-ups of people – literally people would line up at shelters – in the U.S. to adopt these dogs because people are so engaged by their sad and compelling stories.” The dogs lived in harsh, disgusting conditions. They were only fed once per day and waste collected under their rusty cages. This dog meat farm is the sixth HSI has worked to shutter in the country since 2015, but they estimate there are around 17,000 such farms left in South Korea, even as Reuters reports dog consumption is declining in the country. Up to two million dogs are still killed and consumed in South Korea each year, according to HSI. If you’d like to help them in their goal of shutting down the dog meat industry – including finding better livelihoods for dog meat farmers and caring for rescued animals – you can donate here . + Humane Society International Via Reuters Images via Humane Society International Facebook

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Dogs raised for meat in South Korea to get forever homes in the US

Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

December 7, 2016 by  
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Locals strolling Huntington Beach recently in Southern California came across a weird sight: thousands of gelatinous pink sea creatures had appeared on the sand. People described the creatures as squishy, almost like jellyfish , and bewildered National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, according to NBC Los Angeles . The appearance of the unusual creatures sparked social media speculation. Ryan Rustan, a local, posted that the creatures were like little water balloons that popped underfoot. Beachgoer Don Coursey posted on the Huntington Beach Community Forum on Facebook that the creatures burrowed in the sand. Related: Octopuses are taking over the oceans, and no one knows why Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Claude Panis said the creatures might have washed up due to El Niño , and that there were also more stingrays closer to the shore than normal at this point in the year. He told The Orange County Register, “There’s all kinds of weird things happening. It’s just strange.” Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lieutenant Eric Dieterman said people had seen the creatures in the past, but there hadn’t been so many before. So, what are they? California State University, Long Beach professor Christopher G. Lowe told KTLA the university’s expert on invertebrates said the creatures are sea cucumbers. University of California, Irvine associate professor Matt Bracken said the creatures are pelagic tunicates, also known as sea salps. He told The Orange County Register, “These marine invertebrates look sort of like jellyfish, but they are actually more closely related to vertebrates (e.g., humans) than to other invertebrates. They occasionally bloom off the California coast.” Via the Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register Images via Don Coursey on Facebook and Ryan Rustan on Facebook

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Thousands of mysterious gelatinous creatures washed up in California

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