The biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years is coming this month

November 4, 2016 by  
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In just a few days, we will be treated to the largest supermoon to grace the night skies since 1948. For many, it will be the biggest they have seen in their lifetime, despite the fact that the supermoon phenomenon is not that uncommon. The next one this size isn’t expected to come along until 2034. Supermoons are not all that rare, but they are quite an incredible sight when they do roll by. The event takes place when the moon is closest to the Earth in its egg-shaped orbit called the perigee. If this happens at the same time the moon aligns itself just right with the Sun, a perigee-syzygy effect takes place and we see the satellite as an enormous presence in the sky. Related: Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong There was a large supermoon event in October, and another is projected for December, however neither are as large as the one taking place on November 14. In fact, the supermoon expected on December 14 will block the Geminid meteor shower – one stunning cosmic event obstructing another. Make plans to witness this month’s supermoon, because you won’t have a chance to see another one this massive for quite some time. Via Independent Images via Wikimedia , Bigtallguy, and Jonny White

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The biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years is coming this month

Spiky URCHIN pavilion is made from hundreds of recyclable plastic chairs

November 4, 2016 by  
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Located on the Cornell University Arts Quad, URCHIN follows the 2016 CCA focus on the “cultural production of empathy.” The spiky, donut-shaped pavilion was designed using 3D-modeling software . The porous structure measures 37.5 feet in width, over 7.5 feet in height, and has a round seven-foot opening in its center. The seats are held together with metal connectors and are carefully positioned to maintain a stable form that can withstand strong gusts of wind. Related: Simple Wheelchairs Made From Reused Plastic Chairs Help Injured People in Rwanda “Due to its aggregation and rotation, the object loses its familiar and functional relationship with the human body, so that its other qualities and implications can come to the fore,” says CODA. “URCHIN plays with the question of usefulness and uselessness by the manipulation of the simple chair, and consequently our perception of the chair and the connection between our bodies, the chair’s components and their orientations. The question of use as a primary perceptual phenomenon is a product of James J. Gibson’s Theory of Affordances in his Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.” None of the chairs were damaged in the making and will be reused after the pavilion is dismantled. The pavilion will be displayed until December 22, 2016. + CODA Images via CODA , Joe Wilensky, John Lai

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Spiky URCHIN pavilion is made from hundreds of recyclable plastic chairs

US vehicle emissions hit record low as fuel economy climbs to record high

November 4, 2016 by  
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The transportation sector accounts for 26 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Recognizing the opportunity to reduce carbon pollution from vehicles to mitigate climate change , in 2012 the Obama Administration mandated 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency standards for the model year 2025. The auto industry is not only responding – it’s outperforming. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds that compared to 2014, the average fuel economy of model year 2015 vehicles increased 0.5 mpg to a record high 24.8 mpg. New vehicle carbon dioxide emissions averaged 358 grams per mile — 7 grams per mile better than required by the 2015 greenhouse gas emissions standard and a 13 gram per mile improvement over the 2014 requirement. “Car buyers can go to the showroom knowing that no matter what kind of vehicle they buy, it will be better for the climate – and their wallets – than ever before,” Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said in a statement . “This report highlights that the industry is providing vehicles that customers want, while reaching new levels of environmental performance.” Related: US sues Volkswagen for up to $90 billion for violating the Clean Air Act The EPA attributes the fourth consecutive year of automakers outperforming GHG standards and the record high fuel economy to new fuel-efficient technologies such as “turbo charging, engine downsizing, more sophisticated transmissions, vehicle weight reduction, aerodynamics and idle stop-start, along with improved accessories and air conditioning systems.” Car manufacturers are increasingly using lighter materials like aluminum and high-strength steel to achieve weight loss and increase fuel economy. 2015 model year vehicles were on average 25 pounds lighter than the previous year. The EPA estimates that the GHG emissions standards have slashed nearly 130 million metric tons of carbon emissions. However, Grundler recently warned that even steeper fuel economy standards will be needed in order for the US to meet climate targets called for in the Paris climate agreement . “What we know is, just from the math, if we’re going to achieve what science tells us we need to achieve by 2050, we’re going to need to see a lot of zero and near-zero emissions technology coming into the fleet,” Grundler told Bloomberg Politics . “Facts are facts.” + EPA fuel economy trends report + EPA manufacturer performance report Via Phys.org Images via Public Domain and Wikimedia

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US vehicle emissions hit record low as fuel economy climbs to record high

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