FBI investigates claims Russia has information compromising Trump

January 11, 2017 by  
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating allegations that Russian agents possess compromising financial and personal information about President-elect Donald Trump , reports CNN . The news organization said memos providing the classified information haven’t been “independently corroborated,” but it appears the FBI was at least aware of such damaging allegations before the United States election. Trump, President Obama , and eight members of Congress reportedly received a two-page summary on the allegations that also included claims Trump surrogates exchanged information with Russian government intermediaries during Trump’s campaign. The two-page summary was compiled mainly from memos prepared by a former British intelligence agent. U.S. intelligence officials believe past work from this agent is credible. The FBI will now delve into the accuracy and credibility of the allegations from the memos, which contain information coming from Russian sources, but CNN notes “many essential details” in the memos have not yet been confirmed. Although Buzzfeed published the memos, CNN did not. Related: Trump calls for more nuclear weapons in alarming new tweet The former British agent, who during the 1990’s was posted to Russia, now operates his own private intelligence firm. CNN reports donors and groups backing Republican opposition to Trump initially funded the former agent’s investigations into the President-elect. After Trump nabbed the Republication nomination, donors and groups backing Hillary Clinton funded further investigations. It appears the FBI knew about the compromising memos during the summer; the former British agent gave memos to an FBI official in August 2016 in Rome, reports CNN. The news organization also said Senator John McCain delivered memos dated from June to December 2016 to FBI Director James Comey on December 9. FBI and Director of National Intelligence spokespersons did not comment. CNN said officials they talked with spoke off the record as the information is classified. Senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Late Night with Seth Meyers that the memos are untrue. And predictably, Trump ranted on Twitter about “fake news.” Via CNN Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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FBI investigates claims Russia has information compromising Trump

Former industrial district in Finland to be transformed into an eco-friendly innovation hub

January 11, 2017 by  
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The Finnish city of Tampere just declared Schauman & Norgren Architects and Mandaworks the winners of an international competition for the redesign of Hiedanranta, a former industrial district. The 250-hectare masterplan, named Hiedanranta Innovation Bay, prescribes carbon neutral development to deal with the rapidly growing population. The design will be sensitive to the site’s industrial heritage and the natural lakeshore environment. Located northwest of the city of Tampere, Hiedanranta Innovation Bay will house 25,000 new residents and 10,000 new jobs created around a circular economy . Schauman & Norgren Architects and Mandaworks organized the area around two urban grids and divided the land into six diverse and productive neighborhoods. The neighborhoods will be connected by two major corridors—a north-south “innovation corridor” and an east-west “recreation corridor”—complemented with a cohesive landscape design integrated with passive stormwater management and habitat cultivation. Major civic buildings as well as manufacturing facilities and the innovation campus will line the innovation corridor, whereas the recreation corridor is defined by water elements such as the harbor and a grand canal. Related: Reykjavik announces plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 Public transportation and non-vehicular transport are prioritized in the masterplan. Two tram lines will crisscross the development, while cycle and pedestrian routes will make it easy for residents to move between neighborhoods. The masterplan will be installed in three phases, from 2025 to 2045. “Embracing the circular economy and creative potential of Tampere, the masterplan catalyses innovation, embraces the future of smart manufacturing and creates a robust platform for public life. Hiedanranta Innovation Bay embraces the site’s industrial character and builds upon its foundation to create an urban district that supports new technologies, emerging business trends and local energy production ,” says Patrick Verhoeven, partner in charge of Mandaworks. + Schauman & Norgren Architects + Mandaworks Images via Schauman & Norgren Architects

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Former industrial district in Finland to be transformed into an eco-friendly innovation hub

New project could see UK electric trains powered by off-grid solar

January 11, 2017 by  
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In what’s being hailed as a “completely unique” idea that could have “wide impact with commercial applications on electrified rail networks all over the world,” a new project in the UK could see electric trains powered by trackside solar panels that work independently from the main power grid. The Guardian reports that Imperial College London has teamed up with climate change charity 10:10 to look into using trackside solar panels to power trains. As part of the project, researchers will investigate connecting solar panels directly to power lines that supply trains, in an effort to bypass the larger power grid and more efficiently manage power demand from trains. Along with the aforementioned worldwide commercial applications, Imperial College said in a statement that if the research is successful, it would “also open up thousands of new sites to small and medium-scale renewable developments by removing the need to connect to the grid. Related: Wind power now runs all electric passenger trains in the Netherlands The Guardian notes that state-owned Network Rail is already investing billions of dollars toward electrifying railways in the UK, in an effort to get rid of polluting trains that run on diesel fuel. According to 10:10, this effort, combined with the growing production of renewable power in the country could add up to significantly less carbon emissions by 2050. As many trains in the country run through rural areas where the electricity grid is tough to access, the plan to power trains with solar panels not connected to the grid could have widespread applications. The project’s first goal is to look at the feasibility of converting “third rail systems” that supply electricity through power lines close to the ground, which are used on about one third of the country’s tracks. “I don’t think you get a better fit for PPA than a train line,” said Leo Murray of 10:10. “A rural train line even more so, the project would open up many investment opportunities across the country and further afield.” Via The Guardian Images via Sunil060902 and Siemens UK

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New project could see UK electric trains powered by off-grid solar

The US Election Cycle is a stationary exercise bike that slaps you in the face

November 9, 2016 by  
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Has this year’s grating, debilitating election left you thirsty for more? Then strap in to the US Election Cycle – a stationary exercise bike that slaps you in the face while you ride it. The bike’s creator, graphic designer Philip Johnson calls it “The world’s first exercise machine to accurately recreate the feeling of an American election year.” It’s hitting the market for the low, low price of just $3,500 – and yes, he’s really selling it. For the rest of us, don’t worry – it will all be over soon. + US Election Cycle + Philip Johnson Via Bored Panda

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The US Election Cycle is a stationary exercise bike that slaps you in the face

China criticizes Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of the Paris climate agreement

November 2, 2016 by  
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The Chinese government, in a break from its public position to not comment on the US election, has called out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ‘s plan to withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement that is expected to enter into force on Friday. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change , rejected the plans by Trump to back out of the global climate deal signed by nearly 200 nations. In a response to reporters on the question of how China would work with a Trump administration on climate change, Xie said that “a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends,” adding that “if they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people, and their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected.” Related: Would a Trump presidency undo the UN climate change agreement? Trump in 2012 famously tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” At an oil and natural gas conference in North Dakota this past May, Trump previewed the pro-fossil fuel industry policies he would implement during his first 100 days in office. He pledged to cancel the American commitment to the Paris climate pact, saying that he would “stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He also committed during his first 100 days in the White House to rolling back environmental regulations put in place by President Obama, including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule that allows the EPA to regulate land use to prevent water contamination. Related: Donald Trump has a yuge vested interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline China and the US — the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters responsible for nearly 38 percent of global emissions — both ratified the Paris climate accord in September. China has pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 while the US has vowed to slash emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. China plans to implement the world’s largest carbon trading market in 2017 to cut emissions. While some experts believe carbon pricing is the best route to achieving emissions reductions, in the absence of legislation in Congress, President Obama and the EPA introduced the Clean Power Plan that sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants. Trump has said he would eliminate the Clean Power Plan if elected. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has praised the Paris climate deal and promised to keep America’s commitment if elected. Accepting her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July, she said that “I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs,” adding later in the address that “I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement — now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia

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China criticizes Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of the Paris climate agreement

Hillary Clinton and Al Gore connect Hurricane Matthew with climate change in Florida

October 12, 2016 by  
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Was Hurricane Matthew worse because of climate change ? Hillary Clinton and Al Gore appear to think so. The two spoke at Miami-Dade College in the swing state of Florida to a crowd of 1,600, and called for America to take a lead in the global battle against climate change. Clinton spoke of her goal to install 500 million solar panels by the end of her first four-year term, and Gore called for America to take a leadership role in the climate change fight by electing Clinton. In her speech, Clinton said Hurricane Matthew “was likely more destructive because of climate change.” Higher sea levels and greater sea temperatures only exacerbated the storm, she said. Gore said, “[Hurricane Matthew] spun up from a tropical storm to a category 5 hurricane in just 36 hours. That’s extremely unusual.” Related: What does Hillary Clinton need to do to win over climate hawk voters? The Washington Post reached out to atmospheric scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University, who said Clinton’s remarks were “absolutely” correct. Clinton reminded voters Trump is a “climate change denier” who “denies science.” Gore spoke of the “stark” decision America now faces, embodied in the choice of whom to elect president, as one candidate promises to continue Obama’s fight against climate change and the other has denied global warming exists and referred to it as an ” expensive hoax .” Gore said, “The world is on the cusp of either building on the progress of solving the climate crisis, or stepping back, washing our hands of America’s traditional role as a leader in the world.” It could be said Gore lost the 2000 presidential election in Florida, where he lost by around 500 votes. Clinton spoke out to the swing state about the daily realities they face as proof of climate change, such as ocean water “bubbling up through the sewer system.” More on her climate change policy proposals can be found on her website . Via The Guardian and The Washington Post Images via screenshot , Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons , and Al Gore Facebook

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Hillary Clinton and Al Gore connect Hurricane Matthew with climate change in Florida

Floating ‘space nation’ Asgardia promises to guard Earth from asteroids

October 12, 2016 by  
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Although this headline sounds as though it’s been ripped from a science fiction film script, we can assure you it’s real. Announced this morning in Paris, a new project will launch a satellite launch later this year, marking the first step toward the establishment of a ‘space nation’ dubbed Asgardia . The outlandish project calls for a floating, independent nation comprised of expat Earthlings who would work together to protect this green planet from asteroids, space junk, solar flares, and other threats floating around in space. Asgardia is now accepting volunteers to be among its first citizens. Asgardia takes its name from Norse mythology, specifically from the land ruled by Odin. Comic book fans will also recognize the project’s name, because it has a long history in Marvel lore . The project’s logo image features a rendering of a spaceship and while there is no telling whether the image represents any actual designs, it does suggest a number of things about the venture. The spaceship sports the Eye of Horus , an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, reinforcing Asgardia’s mission to protect Earth from asteroids and other threats. Related: Elon Musk reveals his big plans for colonizing Mars The project is operating on a first-come, first-served basis, granting citizenship to the first 100,000 people who sign up on the Asgardia website. It’s not clear at this point what that would entail, or when human volunteers would have an opportunity to take up residence on a floating spaceship nation . Who is behind this mysterious and incredibly ambitious project? The effort is an international one, backed by the Aerospace International Research Center and the center’s online space magazine, Room . The team is led by Dr Igor Ashurbeyli, a leading member of the Russian Federal Space Agency, who founded AIRC in Vienna in 2013 and is editor-in-chief of the online magazine. He was recently named chair of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee, and has launched Asgardia amid a swarm of criticism, skepticism, and even laughter. But, yes, in case you’re wondering, I am waiting to find out whether my citizenship request made it in under the wire. Via DailyMail Images via James Vaughn and Asgardia

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Floating ‘space nation’ Asgardia promises to guard Earth from asteroids

Scotland region will be 100% powered by kites within a decade

October 12, 2016 by  
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In parts of Scotland, one response to the need for renewable energy is to go fly a kite. No, really. In just under 10 years, kites will generate power for an entire region of Scotland , thanks to efforts by a British company named Kite Power Solutions. Their “kytoons” (hybrid kite-balloon power systems) look like parachutes, and fly on the jet stream at 20,000 feet elevation, moving up and down in the wind currents to generate hundreds of megawatts of energy for a super low cost.

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Scotland region will be 100% powered by kites within a decade

Modern timber-framed cabin is hidden high among the tree canopy of a Swedish island

October 12, 2016 by  
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Built for a family of five, the gabled cabin is perched on the rugged island of Viggsö off the eastern coast of Sweden. Wooden stilts elevate the structure into the tree canopy, helping to obscure the building from view while allowing for panoramic seaside vistas. A tight budget and the remote location also necessitated a restrained and minimal design with materials that could be transported to the island. Related: Affordable Polycarbonate Cabin is a light-filled vacation home in Chile A pitched white corrugated metal roof with a translucent corrugated plastic extension tops the building, which is built from untreated and exposed light-colored timber. Glazing wraps around the building to let in light and views. The ground floor comprises a 40-square-meter space with a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and a double-height living room that opens up to a 20-square-meter outdoor terrace. A 20-square-meter loft is located on the upper floor. + Arrhov Frick Arkitektkontor Via Dezeen Images by Mikael Olsson

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Modern timber-framed cabin is hidden high among the tree canopy of a Swedish island

Climate change video directed by James Cameron heats up the DNC

July 29, 2016 by  
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Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time – and it should be a hot topic in this year’s presidential election. At the Democratic National Convention, actress Sigourney Weaver introduced a video directed by James Cameron that contrasts the opposing views of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on climate change. Titled “Not Reality TV,” the video reveals how climate change affects everything from hurricanes to agriculture to fires to drought. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wJJk-kVjWg The five and a half minute video includes clips of the forthcoming season of Years of Living Dangerously , a show that will air on the National Geographic Channel. It includes input from celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger , Don Cheadle, Jack Black, and America Ferrera, who spoke with people already impacted by global warming or fighting against global warming. Related: Would a Trump presidency undo the UN climate change agreement? “When we talk about greenhouse gases and warming temperatures, or deadlier droughts, even more destructive storms, what we’re really talking about is people,” Weaver said in her introduction. The video shares brief clips of a Texas rancher whose cows have little to eat, a Kansas farmer whose crops aren’t getting enough rain, and a New York mother who lost her daughter in Hurricane Sandy. “Can Donald Trump look these people in the eye and tell them climate change is a hoax?” asked Weaver. The video appeared to reach across the aisle to conservatives, including a clip of George H. W. Bush who said, “human activities are changing the atmosphere,” and a clip of conservative Christian pastor Andrew Farley who said, “I believe climate change is real.” The video included clips of Donald Trump denying climate change, referring to it as a “hoax,” and saying he’ll cancel the Paris agreement. In contrast, in the video Hillary Clinton states America can become “the world’s clean energy superpower.” Her stance in the video centers around renewable energy ; she speaks of how the “half a billion solar panels across the country in the next four years” together with other forms of renewable energy can power America’s homes. She speaks also of the jobs that will be created by pursuing clean energy. You can find out more about Years of Living Dangerously here . + Years of Living Dangerously Images via screenshots ( 1 , 2 )

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