Some troubling new math on carbon reductions

July 12, 2017 by  
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It’s official: 100 companies officially have declared their intention to move entirely to renewable energy. But real reductions will require bolder action from the fossil fuels sector.

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Some troubling new math on carbon reductions

90-million-year-old embryo from ‘exceedingly rare’ Gigantoraptor discovered

May 10, 2017 by  
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Twenty-five years ago, a mysterious egg was discovered. For a good portion of that time, the unknown specimen that failed to hatch has been studied by paleontologists of the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. Finally, the dinosaur embryo has been identified and given a scientific name, and researchers say the discovery is more profound than they once thought. The study, published on May 9 in the journal Nature Communications , was co-led by researcher Darla Zelenitsky, an assistant professor of paleontology. She told Live Science in an email, “This is the first embryo known for a giant oviraptorosaur, dinosaurs that are exceedingly rare.” Additionally, it is the second known giant oviraptorosaur (B. sinensis) on record. 15 inches in length (38 centimeters), the embryo would have developed into a gigantic bird-like dinosaur with a toothless beak and a crest on top of its head. Another name for the dinosaur is Gigantoraptor, as it was a beast that stood as tall as 16 ft (5 meters). Reportedly, the two-legged dinosaurs look like modern-day cassowaries – large, flightless birds that live in Australia. Researchers believe B. sinensis measured up to 26 feet long from its snout to the end of its tail and weighed up to 6,600 lbs (3,000 kg) by the age of 11. This means it would have been 9 lbs by the time it hatched. The fossilized embryo was discovered by a Chinese farmer in Henan Province in 1992. One year later, it was exported to the U.S. by The Stone Co., a Colorado firm that sells fossils and rocks. After word spread that the embryo had been discovered, National Geographic featured it on a magazine cover in 1996. Related: World’s largest dinosaur footprint found in Australia’s “Jurassic Park” Enthralled by the discovery, people began calling the dinosaur embryo “Baby Louie.” The embryo representing a new species was eventually repatriated to China (2013) and put on display at the Henan Geological Museum. There, researchers flocked to study the intriguing discovery. After years of speculation and research, the 90-million-year-old embryo has finally been identified. + Nature Communications Via Live Science

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90-million-year-old embryo from ‘exceedingly rare’ Gigantoraptor discovered

Arckit building blocks let you design and build the city of your dreams

May 10, 2017 by  
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Move over LEGO , a new set of building blocks wants to unleash our inner urban planner. Arckit , the makers of award winning architectural building blocks, have scaled up to create a modeling kit for cities. The firm just launched its first ever Kickstarter campaign today to bring its new city building kits to life. Founded by architect Damien Murtagh, Arckit took the architecture world by storm with the debut of their architecture building kits in 2014 . The reusable building blocks share similarities to LEGO with their interchangeable components, however, are better tailored for constructing scale models. Arckit’s new city modeling kits replicate the flexibility of their predecessors and give anyone, enthusiasts and professional urban planners alike, the chance to rapidly experiment with simple and complex urban layouts in a virtually unlimited fashion. Arckit introduced twelve new modeling kits in their Kickstarter campaign in the categories of ArcKit Cityscape and Arckit Masterplan. The kits are developed for all ages, however, the Cityscape XL, Cityscape XXL, Masterplan, and Masterplan Pro are geared for professional-level models. Each kit includes unique components inspired by iconic world architecture and the components are available in white or color. Related: Arckit’s architectural building blocks make LEGOs look like child’s play “From developing suburban neighbourhoods to downtown skyscrapers , city parks to piazzas, now designers of all ages can experience what it’s like to be a real architect or city planner,” writes the firm. “Arckit allows you to create your very own miniature model worlds complete with subtle colours and graphics – then stand back to marvel at a true 3D perspective of your masterpiece.” The ArcKit Kickstarter campaign is targeting a €30,000 goal. + Arckit + Kickstarter campaign

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Arckit building blocks let you design and build the city of your dreams

First dinosaur brain tissue discovered in 130-million-year-old fossil

October 31, 2016 by  
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In 2004, Jamie Hiscocks found a strange fossil in Sussex, England . This wasn’t your typical fossil – researchers from the University of Oxford , University of Cambridge , and other international institutions now say the fossil is the first example of dinosaur brain tissue ever found. This extremely rare find comes from a dinosaur likely related to the herbivorous Iguanodon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T5_NlRs-5o Hiscocks discovered the fossil, which is around 130 million years old, in a brown pebble unearthed from a beach rock pool. According to the University of Cambridge, the dinosaur’s meninges, cortical tissues, and capillaries were ” preserved as mineral ‘ghosts’ .” Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) imaging and computed tomography (CT) scanning helped the researchers to see the tissues. The specimen unfortunately doesn’t provide many clues into the size of the dinosaur’s brain, but its tissues do resemble those of modern-day birds and crocodiles. Related: Antarctic fossil hunters hit a 71-million-year-old jackpot According to the researchers, conditions must have been just right for the fossil to be preserved as it was, but they hope for similar discoveries in the future. Paper co-author David Norman of the University of Cambridge said in a statement, “What we think happened is that this particular dinosaur died in or near a body of water, and its head ended up partially buried in the sediment at the bottom. Since the water had little oxygen and was very acidic, the soft issues of the brain were likely preserved and cast before the rest of its body was buried in the sediment.” The Geological Society of London released a special publication detailing the find. + Geological Society of London Via The Guardian and University of Cambridge Images via Jamie Hiscocks and screenshot

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First dinosaur brain tissue discovered in 130-million-year-old fossil

Prefab Glass House lets you bring home the spirit of Philip Johnsons masterpiece

October 31, 2016 by  
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Alan Ritchie’s reinterpretation of the Glass House follows the design principles of Johnson’s original with its entirely glazed facade that blurs the line between indoors and outdoors. “I think doing it in a prefabricated version is a whole different approach,” said Ritchie. “But we can still maintain the spirit of the original Glass House.” Although this prefabricated version similarly immerses owners in nature, Ritchie had to consider new challenges including how the different modules would connect together and weatherproofing the structure for a variety of climates. Related: Ron Arad designs the modular Armadillo Tea Pavilion for indoor and outdoor use The home, which is not a direct replica, is available in different sizes from a one-bedroom 80.5-square-meter home to a four-bedroom 172.1-square-meter home. The structure would be constructed off-site in a factory and then shipped and installed on-site, thus minimizing construction waste . Interested buyers of this limited edition house can submit an inquiry on Revolution’s website. + Modular Glass House Images via Revolution Precrafted

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Prefab Glass House lets you bring home the spirit of Philip Johnsons masterpiece

Worldwide fossil fuel consumption set a new record in 2015

June 10, 2016 by  
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Two global energy records were broken in 2015. On one hand, the amount of renewable energy produced worldwide has never been higher than it was last year. But, one step forward is met with two steps back as reports show we also consumed more fossil fuels in 2015 than ever before. The Renewables 2016 Global Status Report reflected a big step in the right direction, as renewable forms of energy continue to grow. BP’s Statistical Review , however, revealed an ugly truth about our fossil fuel consumption, which grew 0.6 percent since last year. While coal production went down one percent, petroleum and natural gas production went up. The seemingly small percentage increase is actually a big one when considering it amounts to 127 million metric tons of fossil fuels. Related: San Diego to become largest U.S. city to run on 100% renewable energy Carbon dioxide emissions, naturally, have also increased 36 million metric tons between 2014 and 2015. Sadly, this counts as the sixth year in a row these numbers have increased. A closer look shows the increases have been a bit smaller over the last few years, but an increase is an increase, nonetheless. U.S. oil production accounts for much of the rise worldwide, steadily growing for the third straight year, according to Forbes . Oil production has apparently not been this high since 2008. In fact, the U.S. can enjoy its spot at the top of the list of crude oil producers worldwide, with Saudi Arabia coming in second place. Via Forbes Images via Pixabay , Flickr

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Worldwide fossil fuel consumption set a new record in 2015

Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter

June 10, 2016 by  
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In lieu of community charrettes, Bing Thom Architects launched an online “Ideabook” that welcomed everyone to submit ideas, photographs, and texts of what they wanted the library to look like. Of the library’s Facebook fans, the largest percentage was under 25 and the second largest group was women between the ages of 35 and 44. The librarians also aided those who were digitally challenged. Requests ranged from a prayer room for the Muslim population to computer training facilities to drawing areas in the children’s section. Related: South Vancouver’s Soaring Sunset Community Center Connects With Nature The architects distilled the ideas into the final people-centered library design that sports a tapered ship-like appearance and curvaceous, ultra-modern lines. “With advances in easily available electronic information, the role of libraries is changing and the book collection is no longer the central focus,” said the architects. “The building design evolved out of the need to provide a space for reading, studying, and above all, gathering as a community.” Large windows, an upward winding central atrium, and skylights bring in copious amounts of natural light, while the outward sloped walls mitigate solar gain. + Bing Thom Architects Images via Bing Thom Architects

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Gorgeous LEED Gold library was designed with the help of Facebook and Twitter

New ‘Hobbit’ fossils provide a glimpse into human relative

June 9, 2016 by  
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With the discovery of a tooth here or a bone fragment there, archaeologists piece together the history of humanity – and a recent discovery on the Indonesian island of Flores provides new insight into human evolution . The teeth and mandible belong to a tiny 3-foot-tall hominin species many have nicknamed ‘Hobbits.’ Archaeologists first discovered these Hobbits, or Homo floresiensis , back in 2004 in the Liang Bua cave on western Flores. At that time the fossils created more questions than answers. Did they evolve from Homo erectus , or from other smaller hominins such as Homo habilis or Australopithecus ? They appear to have been small, with small brains, leading some to think they didn’t evolve from Homo erectus at all. Related: Did scientists just discover a new kind of ancient human? In 2014, archaeologists discovered new Hobbit fossils at Mata Menge, about 30 miles east of Liang Bua on Flores in an older layer of rock. This month, the journal Nature published their findings . The six teeth from at least three individuals and one mandible fragment they found reveals the Hobbits likely did evolve from Homo erectus . If that is the case, then the Hobbits’ bodies and brains shrunk. The archaeologists say it would have been an ” evolutionary reversal .” The Hobbits had small brains about the size of a chimpanzee’s, according to Gerrit van den Bergh, lead author on the recently published paper. However, they showed signs of sophistication and walked upright. As one explanation, the archaeologists speculate that since they lived on an island, perhaps they didn’t require large brains. In a video for Nature, Van den Bergh said, “Maybe they didn’t need such a big brain, because a brain is a very expensive organ, and maybe a smaller brain might work as well here in an island setting. But what is clear is that they made stone tools so they were not stupid.” The fossils uncovered date to about 700,000 years ago and were older than the Liang Bua fossils. Via ABC News Images via screenshot

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New ‘Hobbit’ fossils provide a glimpse into human relative

Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived together 55,000 years ago

February 2, 2015 by  
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Amateur speleologists stumbled upon an ancient partial skull  that indicates Homo sapiens were living alongside Neanderthals in the Middle East. The 55,000-year-old incomplete cranium was found deep in a cave in Israel . This find fills a missing part of the story about how Homo sapiens evolved and traveled from Africa to Europe. Read the rest of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived together 55,000 years ago Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ancient , archaeologists , archaeology , artifact , bones , cave , cranium , early man , fossil , homo sapiens , human , interbreeding , Israel , neanderthals , skull

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Homo sapiens and Neanderthals lived together 55,000 years ago

TransCanada Stops Pipeline Terminal Construction After Belugas Declared Endangered

December 3, 2014 by  
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Finally some good news on the pipeline beat. Phys.org reports that Canadian energy infrastructure company TransCanada recently decided to suspend construction of a major pipeline terminal on the St. Lawrence River in Eastern Canada after Canadian authorities deemed a nearby population of beluga whales “endangered.” The belugas live near Cacouna, Quebec, the planned location of the terminal, and were given the status of “threatened” when the last formal study of their population was done 10 years ago. Read the rest of TransCanada Stops Pipeline Terminal Construction After Belugas Declared Endangered Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beluga , endangered , fossil , fuels , oil , pipeline , suspended , terminal , threatened , transcanada , whales

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