VIDEO: On top of the world’s tallest Passive House building

July 8, 2016 by  
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The world’s tallest Passive House building has been rising steadily in New York City, and Inhabitat recently had a chance to check the revolutionary tower out for ourselves. When complete, Cornell Tech’s super energy-efficient residential building is expected to save a whopping 882 tons of CO2 (the equivalent of planting 5,300 new trees) per year thanks to its ultra-tight envelope and on-site geothermal and solar energy systems. Keep scrolling to take your own short video tour and get a glimpse of the breathtaking views from the tower’s top floor.

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VIDEO: On top of the world’s tallest Passive House building

Newly discovered planet with three suns has triple sunsets and sunrises

July 8, 2016 by  
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Somewhere out in the universe is an exoplanet with not one, not two, but three suns. A team led by astronomers from the University of Arizona used the European Southern Observatory (ESO)’s Very Large Telescope to find HD 131399Ab , an exoplanet in what’s called a triple-star system. The cool space discovery could mean there are more planets in multi-star systems than we thought. HD 131399Ab is not the first planet discovered with three suns , but it is one that is more likely to remain in its orbit. Normally when astronomers find planets with three suns, the planet’s orbit is unstable and it’s ” quickly ejected ” from the triple-star system. HD 131399Ab is different: it’s the ” first planet ever found in a wide orbit inside a triple-star system .” The astronomers say this orbit ” can be stable ” but they need to do more research to determine if the orbit will continue to be stable long-term. Related: Astronomers just discovered an alien planet with three suns that shouldn’t exist There are some interesting weather patterns on HD 131399Ab too: it either exists in a state of constant daylight or has triple sunsets and sunrises each day, depending on the season. But if we could stand on the planet, we’d only ever experience one or the other because HD 131399Ab’s seasons are longer than human lifetimes. HD 131399Ab is also one of the youngest exoplanets we’ve ever found at just around 16 million years old, compared to Earth’s estimated 4.5 billion years. It’s around 320 light-years away from us. The astronomers published a paper detailing the discovery recently in Science . Along with astronomers from the European Southern Observatory and the University of Arizona, the team included researchers from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland and the Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble in France. University of Arizona PhD student Kevin Wagner, who is the lead author on the paper, said in an ESO press release , “It is not clear how this planet ended up on its wide orbit in this extreme system, and we can’t say yet what this means for our broader understanding of the types of planetary systems, but it shows that there is more variety out there than many would have deemed possible. What we do know is that planets in multi-star systems…are potentially just as numerous as planets in single-star systems.” + European Southern Observatory Images courtesy of ESO/L. Calçada/M. Kornmesser and ESO

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Newly discovered planet with three suns has triple sunsets and sunrises

11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

July 8, 2016 by  
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1. Straw Bales Rather than relying on new research and technology, straw bale building hearkens back to the days when homes were built from natural, locally-occurring materials. Straw bales are used to create a home’s walls inside of a frame, replacing other building materials such as concrete, wood, gypsum, plaster, fiberglass, or stone. When properly sealed, straw bales naturally provide very high levels of insulation for a hot or cold climate, and are not only affordable but sustainable as straw is a rapidly renewable resource. ®Flickr/Willie Angus 2. Grasscrete As its name might indicate, grasscrete is a method of laying concrete flooring, walkways, sidewalks, and driveways in such a manner that there are open patterns allowing grass or other flora to grow. While this provides the benefit of reducing concrete usage overall, there’s also another important perk — improved stormwater absorption and drainage. 3. Rammed Earth What’s more natural than the dirt under your feet? In fact, walls that have a similar feel to concrete can actually be created with nothing more than dirt tamped down very tightly in wooden forms. Rammed earth is a technology that has been used by human civilization for thousands of years, and can last a very long time. Modern rammed earth buildings can be made safer by use of rebar or bamboo, and mechanical tampers reduce the amount of labor required to create sturdy walls. 4. HempCrete HempCrete is just what it sounds like – a concrete like material created from the woody inner fibers of the hemp plant. The hemp fibers are bound with lime to create concrete-like shapes that are strong and light.  HempCrete blocks are super-lightweight, which can also dramatically reduce the energy used to transport the blocks, and hemp itself is a fast-growing, renewable resource. ®Flickr/Carolina Zuluaga 5. Bamboo Bamboo might seem trendy, but it has actually been a locally-sourced building material in some regions of the world for millennia. What makes bamboo such a promising building material for modern buildings is its combination of tensile strength , light weight, and fast-growing renewable nature. Used for framing buildings and shelters, bamboo can replace expensive and heavy imported materials and provide an alternative to concrete and rebar construction, especially in difficult-to reach areas, post-disaster rebuilding, and low-income areas with access to natural locally-sourced bamboo. 6. Recycled Plastic Instead of mining, extracting, and milling new components, researchers are creating concrete that includes ground up recycled plastics and trash, which not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but reduces weight and provides a new use for landfill-clogging plastic waste. 7. Wood Plain old wood still retains many advantages over more industrial building materials like concrete or steel. Not only do trees absorb CO2 as they grow, they require much less energy-intensive methods to process into construction products. Properly managed forests are also renewable and can ensure a biodiverse habitat. RELATED: Energy efficient timber cabin in Norway 8. Mycelium Mycelium is a crazy futuristic building material that’s actually totally natural – it comprises the root structure of fungi and mushrooms. Mycelium can be encouraged to grow around a composite of other natural materials, like ground up straw, in molds or forms, then air-dried to create lightweight and strong bricks or other shapes. ®Flickr/Zack Detailer 9. Ferrock Ferrock is a new material being researched that uses recycled materials including steel dust from the steel industry to create a concrete-like building material that is even stronger than concrete . What’s more, this unique material actually absorbs and traps carbon dioxide as part of its drying and hardening process – making it not only less CO2 intensive than traditional concrete, but actually carbon neutral. ®Flickr/Alan Stark 10. AshCrete AshCrete is a concrete alternative that uses fly ash instead of traditional cement.  By using fly ash, a by-product of burning coal, 97 percent of traditional components in concrete can be replaced with recycled material. ®Public Domain Pictures 11. Timbercrete Timbercrete is an interesting building material made of sawdust and concrete mixed together. Since it is lighter than concrete, it reduces transportation emissions, and the sawdust both reuses a waste product and replaces some of the energy-intensive components of traditional concrete. Timbercrete can be formed into traditional shapes such as blocks, bricks, and pavers.

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11 green building materials that are way better than concrete

New Hubble images finally reveal what the Crab Nebula hides in its core

July 8, 2016 by  
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Legions of scientists have studied and taken images of the Crab Nebula — in fact, it’s one of the most-studied object in space. But until now, astronomers have never been able to glimpse the object at the heart of the massive gas cloud. Until now. New Hubble images have revealed a fast-moving neutron star at the heart of the nebula. The Crab Nebula , which lies 6500 light years away from Earth, was created by a supernova long ago. A massive star in the Taurus constellation exploded at immense speeds, creating the expanding cloud of gas we see today, called a supernova remnant. Most images of the nebula focus on the intense colors and shapes of the nebula’s outer filaments, but what’s going on in the heart of the cloud may be even more interesting. It turns out that when the original star making up the nebula exploded, it left behind its inner core, a strange and exotic object known as a neutron star . While this star has roughly the same mass as our sun, it only measures a few tens of kilometers across — an incredible density made possible by the compression of the subatomic particles that make up the star. Until now, it’s been almost impossible to capture this star’s movement on camera due to its high speed: it rotates approximately 30 times per second. Related: NASA captures shockwave of a massive supernova for the first time ever To capture the neutron star, astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to take three high-resolution images about 10 years apart each. Those images were combined together to create a sort of time-lapse showing bright “ripples” in the center of the nebula; bands of light are actually caused by the radiation of electrons spiraling through the star’s magnetic field at nearly the speed of light. This isn’t the first time the Crab Nebula has made history . The supernova explosion that created the cloud was one of the first such events in recorded human history.  In the year 1045, astronomers in Japan and China noticed a bright new star in the night sky said to be nearly as bright as the moon. That bright light was caused by the distant explosion, and over the next several years it gradually faded until it was invisible to the naked eye. Luckily, it’s still possible to see with the help of the Hubble . Via Gizmodo Images via ESA/Hubble  

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New Hubble images finally reveal what the Crab Nebula hides in its core

Thousands of origami birds come together in Paris largest urban mural

July 8, 2016 by  
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The massive Lunar Cycles mural was installed on a building slated for demolition at the end of the year to make room for a new housing development. Before beginning her installation , Mademoiselle Maurice applied 500 liters of black paint to the front of the 140-meter-long building to create a sharp contrast for the rainbow-like, geometric patterns created by the origami. The artist spent over 150 hours folding thousands of origami birds, and also added 2,000 “Maurigamis,” a kind of two-dimensional painted origami, as a solution to weeks of rain onsite. Related: Madamoiselle Maurice’s Unique Urban Origami Brightens Up The Streets Of Vietnam and Hong Kong The final design was created with input from the community, including previous inhabitants of the demolition-slated building. The colorful and ephemeral artwork symbolizes the process of change and pays homage the hundreds of residents temporarily uprooted by the building project. “It was a big trauma for a lot of them because they spent their lives there, sometimes even there since they were born,” the artist said in an interview with Wide Walls . “They will come back later into the new building, but waiting for that they can say goodbye to their home with colors and with the evocation of changes.” Lunar Cycles opened to the public late last month and will be taken down late August 2016. + Madamoiselle Maurice Via Wide Walls Images via Mathgoth Gallery

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Thousands of origami birds come together in Paris largest urban mural

INTERVIEW: Inhabitat talks with NYC’s 911 Memorial designer Michael Arad

September 10, 2015 by  
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No other event stands out in America’s recent collective memory as clearly as the attacks on the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001. This one event changed us, and the world, forever. To memorialize such trauma requires a tremendous sensitivity, skill and humility. A healthy dose of courage is necessary too, particularly given how polarizing the 9-11 memorial project has been from the very start. Architect Michael Arad’s design for the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan was chosen out of 5,200 submissions, and officially opened at Ground Zero in downtown New York City, on the 10 year anniversary of that horrific day. We had the great privilege to chat with Michael Arad about his iconic design for the 9-11 Memorial in NYC and his architectural work in general. Read on for an insightful discussion about one of the most important memorials in United States history. Read the rest of INTERVIEW: Inhabitat talks with NYC’s 911 Memorial designer Michael Arad

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INTERVIEW: Inhabitat talks with NYC’s 911 Memorial designer Michael Arad

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