Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike

April 6, 2017 by  
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Electric bicycles just keep getting sleeker and slimmer. Propella has just come out with a second generation e-bike that could almost be mistaken for a regular bike. They say their Propella 2.0 rides like a traditional road bike, has a 15 percent smaller battery than its competitor, and it’s said to be eight percent lighter. With a goal to bridge the divide between electric bikes and ordinary bikes, Propella’s 2.0 e-bike features minimalist design that keeps it nice and light. It weighs 34.5 pounds, and according to the company is “classified as the lightest electric vehicle in its class.” Its top speed is 20 miles per hour. Related: Turn any bike into an e-bike with UrbanX’s drop-in wheel You’d be forgiven for mistaking the bike’s battery for a water bottle – it fits snugly against the down tube but boasts Panasonic’s lithium ion technology. The 36 volt battery can be charged in two and a half hours, and offers a range of up to 40 miles. There’s an anti-theft lock on the battery, which can be removed and charged via a standard wall outlet. The bike’s 250 watt geared hub motor fits into the rear wheel, and Propella describes the motor as both quiet and maintenance-free. A LED display on one of the bike’s handles allows riders to choose their pedal assist level. On the company’s Indiegogo campaign page they say concept electric vehicles inspired them to design their bike “so that Propella riders can be guaranteed to own the most beautiful electric bike in the world.” With a month left on their Indiegogo campaign, Propella has reached almost $50,000 of a $60,000 goal. Their super early backer prices are already sold out; now cycling fans can grab a single speed for $999 or a seven-speed for $1,149; both are 33 percent off retail price. The company says their single speed is still “quite capable of climbing most hills.” You can check out the campaign here . + Propella + Propella on Indiegogo Images via Propella

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Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike

Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

October 27, 2016 by  
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An elephant is slaughtered every 14 minutes in Africa , according to a group called Air Shepherd that is utilizing drones to fight this horrifying trend. Their drones can obtain information at night when it’s hard for rangers to work, and monitor large swaths of land to search for animal poachers poisoning watering holes with cyanide. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Air Shepherd is currently raising funds through their Indiegogo campaign to boost the volume of their drone flights. Air Shepherd, which is sponsored by the Lindbergh Foundation , harnesses technology to protect elephants and rhinos that are being poached with unprecedented regularity. Collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund , Air Shepherd flies drones in Zimbabwe ‘s Hwange National Park, covering more ground than rangers can on foot. If they see suspicious activities, they report it to rangers who can then go in on the ground and stop would-be poachers. The drones can fly at night, when poachers sneak in to poison watering holes, but when it’s difficult for rangers to operate effectively. Related: Could printing synthetic GMO rhino horns help save real rhinos from extinction? Air Shepherd’s head of drone operations Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg said in a statement, “Historically, there has been little ability for anti-poaching operations to work at night. You can’t see tracks, it’s difficult to see people, and it’s dangerous because the anti-poaching teams can walk onto elephants, rhinos, or buffaloes. Our night-time operations change the game in favor of the elephants and in the case of Zimbabwe we are in a unique position to help monitor the park during the day to spot poachers who are using cyanide.” Death by cyanide is agonizing for elephants, and often poachers come in to hack off their tusks before they are dead. But it’s easy for poachers to obtain cyanide, which enables them to kill a large quantity of animals in silence. Air Shepherd’s drones work to end the slaughter, and they’re hoping to send out even more teams to accelerate their work. Through money raised in the Indiegogo campaign, Air Shepherd hopes to outfit two new drone teams. Their initial goal was to raise $50,000, and they’ve already raised over $60,000. Their new goal is $200,000; you can back the campaign here . + Air Shepherd + Lindbergh Foundation Images via Air Shepherd Facebook

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Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

October 27, 2016 by  
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Two-thirds of wild animals around the world could be gone in less than five years , according to a new report compiled by researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London. The latest edition of Living Planet Index (LPI), released this week, warns that loss of habitat due to environmental destruction, global warming, hunting, and pollution will result in a sixth mass extinction. Using 1970 animal population data as a baseline, scientists have measured the state of biological diversity and now warn that the world will have lost 67 percent of its animals by 2020 if major conservation efforts are not implemented immediately. The LPI report measures the condition of the world’s biodiversity by evaluating population trends of animals that live on both land and in the sea. The new report recognizes that dangers to animals worldwide are not new. In fact, researchers point to a 58-percent overall drop in global populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish between 1970 and 2012. That translates to an approximate 2-percent loss of species each year. Environmental destruction has continued, both directly at the hands of humans in the form of hunting and deforestation, as well as secondary effects such as rising global temperatures, making the threat even more severe. Related: Vanishing land snail signals the 6th mass extinction is well underway The LPI warns that we are approaching a crucial threshold and, without major conservation efforts, the worldwide decline in animal populations will reach 67 percent by 2020. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report. Of all animals on earth, those dwelling in rivers and lakes have been impacted most severely by human activity. Animal populations in freshwater wetlands are down by 81 percent from 1970 figures, which the LPI report says is attributed to excessive water extraction, pollution, and dams. Global warming, which forces animals to adjust their habits, lifestyles, and even territories, amplifies the negative effects of human action and accelerates the loss of life. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

October 27, 2016 by  
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Data from a period of widespread coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is trickling in and it does not look good. Researchers are finding that the formerly pristine northern section of the reef has been hit especially hard , with up to 80 percent of corals killed as a result of warming waters or subsequent predators and disease. A recent report from researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook Universit y in Queensland shows the most up to date state of the damage. Scientists have taken several surveys since March, when the area was inundated with unseasonably warm waters – each painting a bleaker picture than the last. Estimates in May suggested at least 50 percent of the northern reef had died, a statistic that was bumped up to 80 percent with these recent findings. “The mortality is devastating really,” senior research fellow Andrew Hoey told The Washington Post . “It’s a lot higher than we had hoped.” Related: No, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t dead – but it is damaged If there is any silver lining to this report, it is that the central and southern areas of the reef were not hit as badly as the north. To put things into perspective, a total 22 percent of corals have died cross the entire reef, according to the The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority . Where the damage is most severe, researchers note the influx of climate change-induced warm waters resulted in the first wave of coral die-off. Invasion of predatory snails and disease have since swept in to kill much of the surviving corals. This particular bleaching event is said to be even worse than those of 1998 and 2002 – though more data needs to be gathered. Hoey says it could take one or two decades for the reef to recover from such devastation, assuming another mass bleaching event does not strike again in that time. With climate change doing anything but slowing down, those chances might be slim. Via  The Washington Post Images via  Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit

October 24, 2016 by  
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If you are sick and tired of having your bicycle stolen stolen, then we have just the thing for you. After he and several of his friends lost their bikes to sneaky thieves, inventor Daniel Idzkowski came up with the most bizarre solution. SkunkLock prevents bike theft by releasing a chemical deterrent released when a would-be thief tries to cut through the lock , and it’s noxious enough, nobody would want to stick around. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba1OLoPIBfY Made with hardened medium-carbon steel , the black and white U-Lock contains a hidden pressurized deterrent that the company says actually induces vomiting in most cases. These noxious chemicals are so strong they “elicit an instinctive response to run away immediately,” according to the company’s Indiegogo page. They say it’s possible a bike might smell if the chemicals are released, but not likely, although they include disinfection instructions with their locks. Related: Engineering Students Create the World’s First Unstealable Bike What chemicals do they use? SkunkLock doesn’t quite disclose that information, saying they prefer to keep their formula a secret so thieves can’t figure out a way around it. They do say on their Indiegogo page that capsaicin compounds may be present in the lock, but that SkunkLock isn’t “strictly a pepper spray product.” While some bike owners may be deterred by the idea of noxious chemicals, SkunkLock assures people their bike lock is safe and legal. The company purposely skewed away from electronic and smart locks, saying electronics can fail or be dismantled. Instead their lock fights back, as per the company slogan. Once the chemicals are released, the company says the structural integrity should still be there but the lock won’t deter against thieves in the unique skunk-like fashion any more. There’s no expiration date on the bike lock, but the company plans to keep improving the technology and hopes SkunkLock owners will buy updated versions in the future. SkunkLock is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo . A limited number of people can snag a SkunkLock for $99; from there the price goes up to $109 and then to $119. You can check out the campaign here . + SkunkLock + SkunkLock Indiegogo Campaign Images via SkunkLock Facebook and SkunkLock

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Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit

Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

October 24, 2016 by  
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Geothermal energy plants use the Earth’s own heat as a power source – and now Iceland is taking the technology several steps further by harvesting energy from liquid magma . The nation is drilling deep into the planet to tap temperatures from 400 to 1000 degrees Celsius, which could produce ten times more electricity than typical geothermal sources. Iceland already avoids the use of fossil fuels, but that isn’t stopping their pursuit of innovation. The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is drilling 5 kilometers down into the Earth’s crust using its rig named “Thor.” The site is located on the Reykjanes peninsula near an extension of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where heat oozes between Earth’s tectonic plates. Related: Iceland’s geothermal Blue Lagoon is expanding “People have drilled into hard rock at this depth, but never before into a fluid system like this,” Albert Albertsson, assistant director of an involved Icelandic geothermal-energy company, HS Orka , told to New Scientist . By reaching down into the depths of the heated seawater at this location, the researchers behind IDDP are hoping to find “supercritical steam,” which holds more heat energy than either liquid or gas. A potential 50 megawatts of energy could be generated from this steam, making a typical geothermal well’s 5 MW look measly. That means up to 50,000 homes could be powered by the super-hot hole. The worldwide implications are promising, as supercritical geothermal energy could be produced wherever young volcanoes are found. The IDDP’s current project was launched after the company accidentally hit magma back in 2009, yet shut down after corrosion issues. That well generated 30 MW, compared to the new well’s 50 MW. + Iceland Deep Drilling Project Via New Scientist Images via Iceland Deep Drilling Project , Pexels

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Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

Smart Beeograph beehive aims to monitor global bees and fight colony collapse

July 29, 2016 by  
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A new IndieGoGo campaign is raising funds for Beeograph – a smart, sustainable beehive with built-in sensors that monitor interior conditions to further research on mass bee deaths around the globe. While many theories have been proposed about the cause of colony collapse disorder , this research will help scientists identify the true cause and scope of the problem. Incredibly, this is the first organized, global effort to monitor beehives in this way, despite international concern about the world’s falling bee populations. https://youtu.be/m-VNRdGgZ_4 The crowdfunding campaign allows ordinary people to sponsor a beehive , which will be tended by a professional beekeeper on the donor’s behalf. The device itself will monitor the light, humidity, temperature, and weight of the hive, as well as the sounds and motion of the bees. Each Beeograph hive will be placed in what the team describes as an “environmentally clean” location. Then, the collected data will be transmitted to the donor’s devices, so they can monitor the health and lifespan of their adopted bee family. Donors at larger tiers can even have a camera installed in their hive so they can check in on their bees at any time. Related: 44% of US honeybee colonies died off last year If you choose, you can have the organic honey harvested from your bees delivered directly to your door. (There’s also a vegan option available for those who want to sponsor a beehive but don’t want to take honey from the hive.) Through this project, researchers hope to give ordinary people the opportunity to participate in scientific research and be part of a worldwide sustainability movement. The hives themselves are made of natural and sustainably sourced materials – even the electronic components come directly from companies with certified fair working conditions . All of the data gathered through the project will be kept in a storage center partially powered by renewable energy. + Beeograph on IndieGoGo

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Smart Beeograph beehive aims to monitor global bees and fight colony collapse

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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Climate change video directed by James Cameron heats up the DNC

World’s first urban cargo scooter carries up to 50 lbs on the go

April 8, 2016 by  
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There are plenty of good reasons to go without a car for short errands and trips, including exercise and a reduced carbon footprint . But there’s one big problem that holds a lot of people back: when you’re carrying a heavy load, it can be a struggle to carry it by hand. That’s why Nimble Scooters has created a line of innovative cargo push scooters, allowing everyday people to rely on cars less while doing chores, commuting to work, or shopping. The newest model, the Nimble Urban Scooter, is currently funding on IndieGoGo . Read the rest of World’s first urban cargo scooter carries up to 50 lbs on the go

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World’s first urban cargo scooter carries up to 50 lbs on the go

Envira Pod: Mobile net-zero classroom is powered entirely by solar

December 28, 2015 by  
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Probably one of the most incredible feelings in the world is the realization of an intention. The non-profit Something Good in the World and Enviragen recently completed Envira Pod, an off-grid, mobile classroom with a zero carbon footprint. Funded by a successful Indiegogo campaign, grants, and a local foundation, the eco-friendly educational trailer is located in its farm-based home north of New York City, as part of Something Good in the World’s Children’s Peaceful Garden, where it exists as a demonstration of available technologies for alternative energies and sustainable practices, in an eco-friendly, completely self-contained, off-grid environment. Read the rest of Envira Pod: Mobile net-zero classroom is powered entirely by solar

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