Planting wildflower strips across crop fields could slash pesticide use

February 2, 2018 by  
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Could wildflowers help us cut our use of pesticides ? The Guardian reported that colorful strips of the flowers have been planted through 15 large arable fields in England – instead of just around them – as part of a Center for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) trial. The wildflowers could boost natural pest predators, potentially helping us reduce our reliance on environmentally damaging pesticides. Concern has mounted over how pesticides are harming our environment , even as we struggle to feed all 7.4 billion humans on the planet. Scientists in the UK are seeking sustainable ways to grow food, and wildflowers could help. The flower strips on 15 farms were planted last fall, where researchers will monitor them over the next five years. Related: How one Bay Area couple plans to save the bees by planting one billion wildflowers Stripes of wildflowers across farm fields could cut pesticide spraying https://t.co/L2l1tQJxdm by me @CEHScienceNews pic.twitter.com/kV4KavIjN5 — Damian Carrington (@dpcarrington) January 31, 2018 The Guardian pointed to research showing that use of wildflower margins to boost bugs like hoverflies, ground beetles, and parasitic wasps has cut pest numbers and even increased yields. But in the past, wildflowers were largely planted around fields instead of through them, making it harder for natural predators to get to the middle of large fields. GPS -guided harvesters now allow for crops to be reaped precisely, avoiding wildflower strips. Initial tests revealed planting stripes around 100 meters, or around 328 feet, apart, allowed predators to attack pests like aphids throughout a field. In the field trials, strips are around 20-feet-wide, and take up two percent of the total field area, The Guardian reports. Oxeye daisy, wild carrot, common knapweed, and red clover are among the flowers planted. Scientists will be watching to see if drawing insects into the middle of fields “does more harm than good.” CEH scientist Richard Pywell told The Guardian the ideal is that natural predators keep pests in check over the years so farmers would never have to spray pesticides. The Guardian said similar tests are happening in Switzerland, with flowers like dill, cornflowers, poppy, coriander, and buckwheat. Via The Guardian Images via Henry Be on Unsplash and Wikimedia Commons

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Planting wildflower strips across crop fields could slash pesticide use

3D-printed Valentine heart in Times Square is the world’s largest lens

February 2, 2018 by  
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If you stop by Times Square this month, you are in for a treat. New York City is celebrating love this year with the world’s largest lens, which allows users to see the city, and their special somebody, through a totally different perspective. The 12-foot lens is made up of 3D-printed resin shaped into a giant heart that focuses and reshapes Times Square’s incredible light and energy. For the 10th anniversary of the New York City Times Square Valentine Heart Design Competition, designers pulled out all the stops. The winning design, by ArandaLasch + Marcelo Coelho is a 12-foot Fresnal lens realized by 3D-printing manufacturer Formlabs . When you view the lense from afar, it beds the light in Times Square, focusing it – and your attention – on a heart-shaped window in the center. Up close, users peer through the center, viewing their Valentine in a new way through the window. Related: Times Square Valentine’s Heart celebrates diversity and immigration in NYC Formlabs 3D-printed the giant lens – actually, multiple pieces – using resin instead of glass. Just as the manufacturing process is completely reimagined, the design encourages people to consider the world through a different lens. “Times Square is a symbol for how we experience our world,” said ArandaLasch + Marcelo Coelho. “It is a physical manifestation of our culture, one dispersed and absorbed through cameras and screens. And in this culture, to fall in love you must first fall through a lens.” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, added, “On the 10th anniversary of the Times Square Valentine Heart competition, what better place to host the world’s largest lens than the Crossroads of the World – one of the most photographed places in the world and a hub for innovative technology and design” + Times Square Alliance + Marcelo Coelho + ArandaLasch + Formlabs

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3D-printed Valentine heart in Times Square is the world’s largest lens

Hong Kong votes to end its massive ivory trade by 2021

February 2, 2018 by  
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In an historic vote, the Legislative Council of Hong Kong voted 49-4 to ban the trade of ivory by 2021. The conclusion of a campaign waged by organizations such as Avaaz and WildAid Hong Kong , the ban could save tens of thousands of African elephants from poaching each year. The vote comes two years after Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying pledged to end the ivory trade and over a year since the government submitted its plan to end the world’s largest ivory trade. To force action in the Legislative Council, US-based global actvist group Avaaz gathered one million signatures in support of ending the Hong Kong ivory trade. “It was a huge boost to be able to deliver a million voices into the debate before we voted for the ivory ban,” Hong Kong legislator Hon Elizabeth Quat told Avaaz . “The world stood with us, and it made a difference.” After Avaaz activists applied additional pressure, including a social media campaign featuring Hong Kong superstar Li Bing Bing, a traditional media campaign, and in-person protests, the ban was called up for a vote and passed overwhelmingly. Related: Hippos could be threatened with extinction due to demand for their teeth While the vote is a positive step forward, it leaves much to be desired. “Every positive step to us concerning elephants is good news,” Philip Muruthi, vice president of species protection for the Nairobi-based African Wildlife Foundation, told National Geographic. “But the urgency of the issue as it pertains to elephants hasn’t been taken seriously here.” In the past decade, the African elephant population has dropped from 490,000 to 350,000, primarily due to poaching . Mainland China banned its legal ivory trade last year, but there are concerns that a black market may take hold. “With the later implementation of the Hong Kong ban, those with ivory in mainland China might perceive a potential back door for unloading their stock,” Richard Thomas, spokesman for TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring organization, told National Geographic . “It will be critical to closely monitor and document ivory stockpiles and secure borders to ensure this door remains firmly shut.” Under the new Hong Kong law, smugglers could face up to 10 years in prison and a $1.3 million fine for illegal ivory trading. Via Avaaz and National Geographic Images via Avaaz (email)

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California’s super bloom is so gigantic you can see it from space

April 14, 2017 by  
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Poppies, dune evening primrose, lupine, and other wildflowers are blanketing California in a super bloom so immense you can see it from space. After an especially wet winter, most of the state is finally drought-free – and it’s flourishing with a colorful floral array that spans miles and miles. California received above-average rainfall this year, and the state is being rewarded with several distinct super blooms. Los Padres National Forest, Carrizo Plain National Monument, and Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge are all exhibiting spectacular super blooms that can be glimpsed from space thanks to Planet Labs , a company offering stunning satellite images of Earth . Related: Death Valley springs to life with millions of flowers in rare ‘super bloom’ March saw the height of the bloom, but in some snow-covered areas like Lassen Volcanic National Park and the High Sierra, wildflowers might not arrive until June or July – so there’s still time to see the natural beauty. If you’re hoping to glimpse California’s super bloom in person, Visit California put together a list of where and when to see spring wildflowers. The California Department of Parks and Recreation also has a site with information on where and when you can see the blooms, along with phone numbers to check if the landscape is in bloom and which types of flowers are showing. Planet Labs was launched by a team of former NASA scientists, and they debuted a Planet Explorer Beta tool in March that allows the public to see satellite images for 85 percent of Earth’s terrain. In February they acquired Terra Bella , thesatellite business behind Google Earth – and they now control the world’s biggest fleet of satellites imaging the Earth. You can check out other satellite images around the world thanks to Planet Lab’s gallery , which highlights images ranging from illegal mining in Peru to sugarcane deforestation in Bolivia to the Disneyland parking lot in California. + Planet Labs Via EcoWatch and KQED Science Images courtesy of Planet Labs and KQED

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California’s super bloom is so gigantic you can see it from space

Elegant planter lamp brings light and nature into any space

September 12, 2016 by  
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The main body of the Milo lamp is ” mouthblown glass ,” and there are holes in the sides to allow easy access for watering. Milo comes with a wooden bowl that fits right onto the bottom of the planter, which itself is designed to keep the plants stable. The lamp can either rest on a desktop or hang from the ceiling. There are three colors: white, natural, and oak. Lightovo suggests planting either flowers, succulents, or herbs in the Milo. There’s even a smaller version, the Milo Baby , that comes in metal or white. Related: These lamps let you grow plants anywhere – even in windowless rooms But the true stars of these planter lamps are the 5.5 watt LED lights that illumine the plant without withering it. The lights have a 4000K color temperature and they’re not too hot for the plants. The lights are meant to imitate sunshine so plants can thrive in the darker days of fall and winter. According to Core77, a plant owner could even leave water in the planter’s bottom to create humidity for plants that prosper in wetter conditions. Janukanis and Krauze write on their website, “Nature is our endless inspiration where we find remedy for everything. We deeply believe that closeness with nature can truly make humans happy and set them free.” The Milo baby lamp runs between 179 and 189 Euros, which is around $200 to $212. The little lamps can be purchased on Lightovo’s website . Those interested in a Milo lamp can enter their email address on the Lightovo website to ask for one. + Lightovo Via Core77 Images via Lightovo Facebook

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Worlds first Rose Museum in Beijing is wrapped in a beautiful perforated facade

July 13, 2016 by  
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? Set on a 100-hectare rose park that exhibited over 2,000 species of roses for the convention, the Beijing Rose Museum was designed to engage and overlook its stunning surrounding views. The museum is a modern take on the historical Chinese courtyard house that embraces and encloses open spaces, as a nod to traditional Chinese architecture. To showcase the history and culture of rose cultivation in China, which dates back to at least the 11th century B.C., NEXT architects wrapped the building in a 300-meter-wide, 17-meter-tall soft, stainless steel facade perforated with rose-shaped patterns. The detached facade creates a series of walled-off courtyards. Related: Bat bridge provides shelter for our winged friends in the Dutch town of Monster “The main challenge with the Rose Museum was to find a modern Chinese identity for a building which significance is so deeply rooted into Chinese culture,” said John van de Water, partner at NEXT Architects. The semi-transparent stainless steel walls blur the boundaries between the indoor and outdoor landscape. At night, the museum lights up from within for a beautiful glowing appearance that can be enjoyed from across a lake. + NEXT Architects Images via NEXT Architects , by Xiao Kaixiong

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Worlds first Rose Museum in Beijing is wrapped in a beautiful perforated facade

Mesmerizing levitating plants blend technology and nature

June 3, 2016 by  
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Bialek told Inhabitat, “We are two students who share the same passions: technology and nature, especially the art of bonsai. We take care of our own little bonsai garden . We wanted to combine those seemingly separate worlds to find a perfect balance between them.” Related: Floating Air Bonsai elevates an ancient art form to a whole new level Air Flowers levitate via magnets. The system is housed in a ceramic base which comes in five different colors. Above the base, users can choose to levitate either kokedama – living Japanese moss balls – or little pots (also offered in multiple colors) in which they can plant whatever they like. Air Flower offers two different bonsai tree options. “Each piece is unique and handcrafted by a dedicated artist using traditional methods and natural materials,” Bialek said. “You can choose between sets with real bonsai trees, cactus, or you can create your own composition that weighs up to 300 grams, so our design is the strongest on the market.” The team is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter . For 120 Euro, or about $133 dollars, backers can obtain a complete kokedama set. For 130 Euro, or around $145, backers receive a levitating ceramic pot set in which they can plant their own plant. Backers can pay more for sets that come with cactus or bonsai trees. “Air Flower brings nature to people’s homes in a completely new way. Now everybody can own their own little zen garden in which technology and nature enrich each other in harmony,” said Bialek. “Flying and levitation have always been a desire of mankind, and now everyone can master it with Air Flower and enjoy perfect zen on their office desk or at home.” + Air Flower Kickstarter Images courtesy of Thomas Bialek, Air Flower

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Mesmerizing levitating plants blend technology and nature

30,000 hanging flowers greet spring in Berlin

April 6, 2016 by  
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Woman crafts gorgeous floral arrangements out of paper

March 22, 2016 by  
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American consumers spend billions of dollars on flowers every year, an industry which has proven to be environmentally destructive in more ways than not. Floral arrangements may look beautiful for a day or two, but they last for so little time that it hardly seems worth it. Erica Worrall is one NYC woman who’s setting out to change this, however, by crafting the most beautifully delicate floral arrangements out of paper alone. The gorgeous bouquets, garlands and floral crowns found on her website Little Paper Flowers are handcrafted for weddings, special occasions, and home decor, and unlike their more wasteful counterparts, are made to last forever. Their remarkably lifelike quality makes them an apt substitute for botanical arrangements. We certainly hope this trend catches on. The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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New tropical flower species found amazingly well-preserved in ancient amber

February 16, 2016 by  
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A botanist at the Oregon State University stumbled upon an unlikely sort of ancient artifact early last year: two delicate tropical blossoms almost perfectly preserved in amber . It wasn’t until this week that the flowers were identified as a new species, Strychnos electri , which is a distant relative of the plant that produces the poison strychnine. The flowers are believed to be more than 15 million years old and perhaps as much as 45 million years old. Read the rest of New tropical flower species found amazingly well-preserved in ancient amber

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