Here’s what a sustainable highway looks like

July 14, 2017 by  
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On an 18-mile stretch of highway in the heart of Georgia, the late Ray Anderson’s daughter has created a testbed for sustainable transportation nicknamed “the Ray.”

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Here’s what a sustainable highway looks like

SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration

June 22, 2017 by  
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The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)’s award-winning tradition of historic preservation hit another home run for Preservation Month. SCAD students salvaged a piece of American history that would have otherwise disappeared when they restored of a rare 1911 wooden passenger train car. The students turned the railroad preservation project into an educational opportunity and intentionally left parts of the train car in its found state to teach visitors about the preservation process. Owned by the nonprofit Coastal Heritage Society , the decrepit rare train car was originally brought to the Georgia State Railroad Museum from the city of Augusta. As part of a spring student project, three graduate and eight undergraduate SCAD students carefully restored the 1911 train car to complement the SCAD Museum of Art, an adaptive reuse project that turned an 1853 antebellum railroad depot into a modern museum. The train car is currently displayed alongside the museum. Related: SCAD Students Transform an Atlanta Parking Garage into Ecologically Responsible Micro-Housing Community “SCAD knows well the stories of Georgia’s railways—our award-winning SCAD Museum of Art rises proudly from the ruins of the nation’s oldest surviving antebellum railroad depot,” said SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace. “Now, the nation’s premier preservation design program helps narrate another tale for the appreciation of railfans for generations to come.” Students’ preservation work included replacing the train car’s exterior wood siding, refinishing woodwork, and stripping the original mahogany panels of layers of paint and shellac. + Savannah College of Art and Design Images by Dylan Wilson

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SCAD students save a piece of American history with vintage train car restoration

Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

April 17, 2017 by  
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Over 7 billion people live on Earth, which means feeding our growing population will require us to produce food more efficiently than we are now. Could Robots could help us ramp up food production? Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) scientists believe so. They designed Tarzan, a robot inspired by swinging sloths, that could help future farmers more effectively monitor their crops . Take a look at the video below to see Tarzan in action. Tarzan is a two-armed robot that would hang suspended above a field on a wire, and move back and forth by swinging – like the mammal infamous for being lazy. But robot Tarzan is anything but lazy; it could snap images of plants and send them back to the farmer so either a human or an algorithm could analyze crop growth. Georgia Tech mechanical engineering assistant professor Jonathan Rogers said in a video, “What that’s going to allow people to do is essentially have an automated way to analyze how their crops are doing and what their crops need in real time, and maybe even providing that to their crops without them having to go walk the field themselves.” Related: World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year Georgia Tech researchers will take Tarzan to the field this summer at a four acre test field growing soybeans near Athens, Georgia . Plant geneticists from the University of Georgia used to have to walk the fields taking notes on crop growth there in the hot July sun, but Tarzan could help them analyze the crops more efficiently. According to the university, “With Georgia Tech robots dangling over the field, UGA researchers will be able to get more frequent measurements and to avoid some laborious field work. Someday, they may be able to stay at their laptops miles away, in the air conditioning, scanning a steady stream of images and data sent back from the robots.” As sloths are energy efficient , the team is working on making their robot sloth energy efficient and envision it powered by the sun one day. Via Georgia Tech and Wired Images via Georgia Tech and Eric Kilby on Flickr

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Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

First Wattway solar road pilot in US pops up in rural Georgia

February 7, 2017 by  
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The first Wattway solar road pilot in America has popped up in rural west Georgia . The Ray C. Anderson Foundation , named for sustainable manufacturing pioneer Ray Anderson, is testing renewable technologies along an 18-mile stretch of road, and recently installed 538 square feet of Colas ‘ Wattway solar road system near the border between Georgia and Alabama. Part of Georgia’s Interstate 85 was named for Anderson, but as over five million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted yearly on that road portion alone, Anderson’s family felt placing his name there didn’t honor his legacy, and began to look into renewable technologies to clear the air – so to speak. Thus began The Ray , an 18-mile living laboratory for clean technologies, including not only the solar roads, but also a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station , and WheelRight , a system people can drive over to test their tire pressure, which could lead to improved fuel inefficiency. Related: France officially opens the world’s first solar panel road The first Wattway solar panel pilot is part of The Ray near a Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, Georgia. According to Wattway by Colas, the average expected output for the 538-square-meter pilot is anticipated to be 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which will help power the center. And these technologies are just the beginning. The foundation will also construct bioswales , or shallow drainage ditches filled with native Georgia plants to capture pollutants during rain. In a right-of-way space, they’ll build a one megawatt solar installation . They’re working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to bring such ideas to life along the 18-mile road stretch. Not only will several of their projects beautify the highway, but will generate clean energy and bring in money for investors. And other parts of the state have shown interest in building their own Wattway roads. The Ray executive director Allie Kelly dreams of a day when highways will “serve as a power grid for the future,” but she believes that day is coming sooner than we may think. She told Curbed, “We’re at a tipping point in transportation . In five to ten years, we won’t remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing.” + The Ray + Wattway by Colas Via Curbed Images © Valerie Bennett and via The Ray

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First Wattway solar road pilot in US pops up in rural Georgia

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

Wildfires in the southeast US are so bad they can be seen from space

November 15, 2016 by  
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An outbreak of wildfires across the southern United States is creating plumes of smoke so vast they can be detected by NASA’s orbiting satellites. Spread across seven states, the fires are affecting Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, and the Carolinas. The thickest plumes are rising from the southern Appalachians, but all of the affected regions are visible from orbit. On the ground, the air pollution is so bad that authorities have warned residents in some areas to wear masks when they go outside. Normally, fires in the Southeast are fairly small and don’t produce much smoke, unlike the massive blazes seen in the American West. However, drought conditions have dried out the region’s vegetation, leaving considerably more fuel for the fires. Related: NASA builds more advanced shelters to protect firefighters from wildfires More than 5,000 firefighters and support staff are currently attempting to contain the blazes. In the case of the fires in Georgia, there are concerns the flames are starting to creep “ dangerously close ” to the metro Atlanta area. It’s suspected that the various fires are manmade rather than created by natural causes, although it’s not clear if all of the fires were set intentionally. Kentucky has already made two arson arrests, and Tennessee has followed suit. Unfortunately, drought conditions are expected to continue through January at the very least. We may be seeing more of these fires throughout the fall and winter. Via Discover Images via Nasa Worldview

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Wildfires in the southeast US are so bad they can be seen from space

A visit to a treehouse in the Carpet Capital

November 15, 2016 by  
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When I first agreed to fly to Georgia to witness the opening of Mohawk Industries’ new design center in Dalton, I hadn’t appreciated that the event would take place on Election Day. And when I flew that morning from California, I never imagined that Donald Trump would be our new president — at least, not until the next morning when I woke up in Atlanta.Yes, plenty shocking for me and millions of others.  Obviously, that story is well covered elsewhere.

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A visit to a treehouse in the Carpet Capital

President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

October 7, 2016 by  
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President Obama announced a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew’s arrival in Florida . His declaration includes federal aid and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security ” to coordinate all disaster relief efforts .” Meanwhile, Hurricane Matthew hurtles towards Florida with maximum sustained winds of around 120 miles per hour . Scientists from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) call Matthew ” extremely dangerous ” even as the hurricane diminished to a Category 3 storm during the night. NHC said there could be “potentially disastrous impacts.” Florida has not been hit with many storms that have winds as forceful as Matthew’s. About 1.5 million people have left the Atlantic coast, fleeing inland as the hurricane approaches. Around 300,000 homes in Florida have already lost power. Related: How to Prepare Your Home and Family for a Hurricane or Superstorm White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said according to scientists , Hurricane Matthew could be “largest and most powerful hurricane to hit the United States in a decade” and that it is a storm “people should take seriously.” He said if anyone doubts the severity of the storm, “they need only look at the images that are coming back from Haiti.” According to U.S. National Weather Service , Matthew could be the most forceful storm to hit particularly northeast Florida in 118 years. Florida governor Rick Scott urged residents in potentially affected areas to evacuate at once. In a news conference, he said, “You need to leave now. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate…Your safety, not comfort, is the most important thing.” President Obama’s state of emergency applies to Florida, and according to CNBC in phone calls with state governors he also offered federal resources if necessary to South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. The hurricane center is likely to move “near or over” Florida’s east coast tonight, according to NHC, and could move over South Carolina and Georgia coasts on Saturday. “Maximum sustained winds” could still be 120 miles per hour. Via The New York Times and CNBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and screenshot

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President Obama proclaims state of emergency due to Hurricane Matthew

Green-roofed Colorado home is buried into the earth to save energy

October 7, 2016 by  
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The 2,850-square-foot House in the Mountains comprises two rectilinear steel-framed forms that intersect to form the corner of a swimming pool and an implied courtyard that extends to the existing main house. The primary sloped structure rises from to the south at a 20-degree angle and houses the open-plan living, dining, and kitchen spaces and meets the second east-west wing that contains three bedrooms and the garage. The guesthouse’s placement on the site and grassy roofs renders the building practically invisible from the road. Related: GLUCK+’s Tower House is an Ultra-Modern ‘Treehouse’ for a Family of Architects Continuous clerestory glass wraps around the building for panoramic views and to let in copious amounts of natural light. A thick wall of solar panels on the south elevation of the bedroom wing harvests solar energy that powers the heating for the home and the swimming pool. A white oak rain screen clads the exterior of the bedroom wing, while a sunken courtyard to the west features a fireplace built into the Corten steel retaining walls. Corten steel is also used for the roof fascia and the slanted retaining wall to provide a rich rusty red contrast to the vegetated roof. + Gluck+ Images via Gluck+ , by Steve Mundinger

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Green-roofed Colorado home is buried into the earth to save energy

MIT Media Lab designs synethetic indoor apiaries to keep honeybees safe year-round

October 7, 2016 by  
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http://vimeo.com/185141395 The creation of a controlled space in which bees can thrive directly addresses the plight of the bees from every possible angle. By design, the Synthetic Apiary concept protects the bees from the biggest threats to their survival, including errant pesticides , drastic climate changes, drought, and even flowers losing their scent . Providing a protective environment is the latest in a series of unique attempts to help save pollinators from total extinction. Related: Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time News of the experimental project emerges just days after the US Fish and Wildlife Service added seven species of bees to the Federal Endangered Species list for the first time in history. While it’s clear that honeybee colonies will need external support in order to repopulate and survive, it’s too soon to know whether the Synthetic Apiary is that solution. However, initial results are inspiring. The Mediated Matter video embedded above shows, at 2:33, the first bee birth ever documented in a synthetic environment. Oxman is no stranger to creating designs that address problems of survival. In 2014, the designer teamed up with MIT on another project, resulting in the production of eye-catching 3D-printed suits that could act as “wearable biospheres” to support human life on alien planets. Although that invention may never become a practical reality, the Synthetic Apiary concept has a buzzworthy chance at making a real difference for populations of bees right here on Earth. + Synthetic Apiary Via ArchDaily Images via Mediated Matter/MIT

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MIT Media Lab designs synethetic indoor apiaries to keep honeybees safe year-round

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