Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv

July 17, 2018 by  
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Israeli architecture firm Geotectura recently completed a striking modern home that can produce more energy than it needs. Located in Tel Aviv , the energy-plus home — called the Eco360 — combines traditional passive design principles with improved energy-efficient systems such as solar photovoltaic panels and a gray water system. The sustainable house also embraces views of the outdoors and offers plenty of natural light. The project brief was for a modern home that could elegantly incorporate sustainable features with minimal maintenance. The client desired a house that would serve as an environmentally-friendly example for other developments. In addition to being equipped with solar panels and a gray water system, the Eco360 house also features durable and recycled materials . Aided by the mild Mediterranean climate, the energy-plus home requires little, if any, heating thanks to its highly efficient insulation and passive solar design . The energy generated from simple household items, like a hair dryer, can be enough to heat the home. Due to the client’s desires to embrace views of the sea to the west, Geotectura doesn’t face south as recommended in traditional passive solar design teachings. As a result, the architects used BIM (Building Information Modeling) to determine the optimal building envelope and positioning to harness passive design features while facing west. Related: Incredible rooftop farm takes over Israel’s oldest mall to grow thousands of organic vegetables “The client’s hope is that the house will inspire others to consider ways in which they can also use these green principles in building and that it will serve as a model of efficiency and environmental sensitivity,” wrote Geotectura in its project statement. “The house reveals and reflects the ideas of sustainability with more than 50 green design features. The hope is to raise awareness about green design challenges and solutions.” + Geotectura Via ArchDaily Images by Lior Avitan

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Energy-plus home is a beacon of sustainability in Tel Aviv

Report Report: Circular, leaders, weather and renewables

July 17, 2018 by  
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2018 Information and Communications Technology Benchmark (KnowTheChain) scores the top 40 companies across the Information and Communications Technology industry based on their actions to mitigate forced labor in the supply chain. The report gave the highest score to Intel, followed by HP Inc., Apple, and HPE.

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Report Report: Circular, leaders, weather and renewables

The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ is transforming northwestern Pakistan

June 27, 2018 by  
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Once arid hillsides have now become wide swaths of lush green woodland in northwestern Pakistan , where hundreds of millions of trees from 42 different species have been planted as part of the provincial government’s “Billion Tree Tsunami” program. “Before, it was completely burnt land. Now, they have green gold in their hands,” forest manager Pervaiz Manan told AFP . The reforestation effort aims to control erosion, combat climate change , reduce flooding, increase the chances of precipitation and provide economic opportunities for locals. “Now our hills are useful, our fields became useful,” local driver Ajbir Shah said . “It is a huge benefit for us.” Much of the land being replanted was decimated between 2006 and 2009, when the Pakistani Taliban controlled much of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province where the project is now underway. In addition to the more than 300 million trees planted in the region under the provincial government, 150 million trees were given to private landowners to plant, while 730 million already-planted trees have been protected to allow for regrowth. The mind-blowing number of trees , over a billion, has been confirmed by independent observers. “We are 100 percent confident that the figure about the billion trees is correct,” World Wildlife Fund Pakistan manager Kamran Hussain said. “Everything is online. Everyone has access to this information.” Related: Pakistan just broke the world record for the hottest April day ever The Billion Tree Tsunami comes at a time when Pakistan’s forest stock has shrunk to a perilous low; only 5.2 percent of the country is covered in forests, well below the 12 percent recommended by the United Nations . Started in 2014, the Billion Tree Tsunami program still needs to implement some safeguard systems, such as fire protection, before its expected completion in 2020. In 2017, the federal government of Pakistan began its own project to plant 100 million trees by 2022. While some are skeptical of the project’s long-term success, with infrastructure historically taking precedent over environmental concerns, the Billion Tree Tsunami offers hope. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ruling party leader Imran Khan said, “Every child in Pakistan should be aware of the environmental issue which, until now, has been a non-issue.” Via Phys.org and AFP Image via Haroon (HBK)

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The ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ is transforming northwestern Pakistan

Passive solar cabin embraces a dramatic Washington landscape

June 27, 2018 by  
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Seattle-based design firm Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects designed the Lot 6 Cabin, a charming retreat with mid-century modern influences in Winthrop, Washington. Set at the base of a dramatic, steep slope and surrounded by a pine forest, the cabin was built for a pair of outdoor enthusiasts who wanted a holiday home that offered a seamless indoor-outdoor living experience. The low-slung dwelling was also designed for energy efficiency and features a super-insulated envelope informed by passive solar strategies. The 1,100-square-foot Lot 6 Cabin consists of two perpendicular “bars.” One volume, which extends toward the slope, contains the kitchen, living area, dining space, utility room and garage . The other volume reaches out toward the meadow and comprises the bedroom, a bathroom and a “flex” room that can be used as a guest room or office. The glass-wall hallway and main entrance connects the two volumes. “Cladding remains consistent from exterior to interior in order to more clearly distinguish the bars as separate volumes, drawn together yet held apart like magnets at the glassed-in void of the hall,” the architects explained. “Each bar has a distinct ‘slope side’ and ‘meadow side’ materiality. At slope-facing walls, a standing seam metal roof appears to bend and continue as a wall; its inner faces are lined with sanded plywood panels. Horizontal shiplap siding clads the exterior side of meadow-facing walls, with simple, painted drywall at the interior.” To blur the line between indoors and out, the architects installed large glazed openings, a spacious deck and a semi-enclosed outdoor room that shares a double-sided fireplace with the interior living room. The home’s low, horizontal mass and use of dark materials help recede the building into the landscape. To reduce energy use, Lot 6 Cabin is equipped with on-demand propane water heating as well as in-floor radiant heat . + Prentiss Balance Wickline Architects Images by Eirik Johnson

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Passive solar cabin embraces a dramatic Washington landscape

Scientists just learned what makes Yellowstone’s supervolcano tick

April 18, 2018 by  
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We all know about the supervolcano boiling underneath Yellowstone – but, until now, we didn’t know what was fueling the cauldron. This week, scientists revealed that they were able to model the behavior of two magma chambers underground by using supercomputer technology. At one point, these two magma lakes almost meet, forming a slab of pressure-trapping rock. That rock could be the powder keg that fuels the volcano. University of Oregon geologist Ilya Bindeman and his team ran simulations based on research from the University of Utah , which had determined that two gigantic magma chambers lay underneath Yellowstone. Bindeman’s simulations showed how those magma chambers formed over the course of 7 million years. ? Using these models, researchers determined that a cooler magma shelf is crushed between the two magma bodies about six miles below the surface. This so-called “gabbro rock” is found in other supervolcanoes around the world. Someday, scientists will be able to use this information to help shed a little light on how and when the Yellowstone volcano might blow, as well as what feeds it. Related: NASA considers puncturing Yellowstone supervolcano to save life on Earth “This is the nursery, a geological and petrological match with eruptive products. We think that this structure is what causes the rhyolite-basalt volcanism throughout the Yellowstone hotspot, including supervolcanic eruptions,” said Bindeman. The study was published this week in Geophysical Research Letters . + Geophysical Research Letters Via Science Alert Images via Deposit Photos and GRL

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Scientists just learned what makes Yellowstone’s supervolcano tick

Scientists just found thousands of black holes at the center of our galaxy

April 5, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, scientists have identified thousands of black holes lurking at the center of our galaxy. Scientists have long suspected that black holes might exist in the middle of the Milky Way, but until now, they haven’t been able to find any evidence. Now, thanks to new research, scientists believe that there are over 10,000 of them swirling together out there. According to a study published in the journal Nature this week, the center of the Milky Way holds 10,000 small black holes that have been previously undetected. Some of these smaller black holes interact with the supermassive black hole known as Sagittarius A* at the core of the galaxy, and give us a peek into how our galaxy formed. Related: Scientists glimpse most distant supermassive black hole in the known universe Using the Chandra X-ray Observatory space telescope, scientists began hunting around for the signature low-level radiation that mark binaries of stars and black holes locked together in space. “When black holes mate with a low mass star, the marriage emits X-ray bursts that are weaker, but consistent and detectable. If we could find black holes that are coupled with low mass stars and we know what fraction of black holes will mate with low mass stars, we could scientifically infer the population of isolated black holes out there,” lead author Chuck Hailey said. By using this method, they located dozens of binaries near Saggitarius A* and, from there, determined that there were thousands more out there. Not only can this information help us understand how the Milky Way originated, but it could help us understand other galaxies as well. Via Mashable Images via Deposit Photos ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists just found thousands of black holes at the center of our galaxy

World’s first autonomous shipping company launched in Norway

April 5, 2018 by  
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Two Norwegian shipping giants, Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg, have joined together to create what they’ve described as the world’s first autonomous shipping company. “As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships,” Wilhelmsen CEO Thomas Wilhelmsen told the Maritime Journal . “Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations.” The corporate collaboration, which brings a combined 360 years of experience to the shipping game, promises affordable prices through automated efficiency. “Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need,” said Wilhelmsen. Kongsberg is set to provide its technological expertise while Wilhelmsen will offer its logistics and ship management operations experience.  The autonomous ships will be monitored and modified at control centers, which will be established on land. Related: Waymo adds 20,000 Jaguar electric SUVs to its self-driving car service Norway has led the way in autonomous ship technology, particularly since the launch of the Yara Birkeland. The electric ship  began its first journey in May 2017 and will become fully autonomous by 2020. In the meantime, it will host an on-board crew, then be remotely operated. The ship cost about $25 million to build, and its first shipping mission cost almost three times as much as a traditional ship; however, it is projected to save up to 90% in annual operating costs of labor and fuel. The Yara Birkeland was created through a collaboration between agricultural firm Yara International and Kongsberg. The companies plan to roll out larger, more robust autonomous ships once regulations are in place. Globally, the job impacts of autonomous ships are expected to be far less extensive than those of autonomous trucks . Via Maritime Journal  and Fortune Images via Kongsberg

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World’s first autonomous shipping company launched in Norway

Rimac creates an electric supercar with almost 2,000 horsepower!

March 7, 2018 by  
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The name Rimac may not be that familiar to you, but that could soon change with the Crotian automaker’s debut of the supercar of all supercars. Unveiled with significant fanfare at the Geneva Motor Show , the Rimac C_Two comes with almost 2,000 horsepower on tap and a suite of other impressive features; it’s basically what all electric carmakers should aspire to create. The Rimac C_Two has four electric motors , two in the front and two in the back that generate a combined 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 lb-ft. of torque. With that much power at your disposal, you’ll reach 60 mph in only 1.85 seconds and a top speed of 258 mph. The C_Two doesn’t just impress with the amount of power it has on tap, since it can also travel up to 404 miles on the NEDC cycle, thanks to its 120-kWh battery pack. Hook it up to a 250-kW fast charger and you’ll be able to charge it up to 80 percent in under 30 minutes. Related: Tesla-powered 1981 Honda Accord accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds Rimac is also looking to the future, since the C_Two will be capable of Level 4 autonomous driving, and it’s packed with the latest autonomous driving tech, including eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and lidar sensors. Even with all that power, Rimac describes the C_Two as a grand tourer. Open the butterfly doors and you’re greeted with a luxurious interior with three digital screens to provide all the information you need or want. There’s room for two and unlike most supercars, there’s even room for your gear. Rimac hasn’t announced the pricing for the C_Two, but only 150 units will be built. +Rimac Images @Rimac

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Rimac creates an electric supercar with almost 2,000 horsepower!

Study finds pollution is more deadly than war, natural disasters, and disease

October 23, 2017 by  
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Environmental pollution isn’t just inconvenient, it’s also deadly. Every year, more people are killed by pollutants — from toxic air to contaminated water — than by all war and violence. Pollution is also responsible for more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. This disturbing revelation was revealed in a new study published in the Lancet medical journal. Scientists determined that one out of every six premature deaths (about 9 million in 2015) results from pollution; and while life is more important than money, these deaths cause $4.6 trillion in annual losses or about 6.2 percent of the world’s economy. Epidemiologist Philip Landrigan, lead author and Dean of global health at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, said, “There’s been a lot of study of pollution, but it’s never received the resources or level of attention as, say, AIDS or climate change. ” Landrigan added that pollution is a “massive problem” few truly comprehend, as what they’re witnessing are “scattered bits of it.” This is the first study of its kind to take into account data on all diseases and death caused by pollution combined. According to the study , developing countries — primarily in Asia and Africa — are putting the most people at risk due to a lack of air and soil pollution monitoring systems. In 2015, one out of four (2.5 million) premature deaths in India and one out of five (1.8 million) premature deaths in China were caused by pollution-related illness. “In the West, we got the lead out of the gasoline, so we thought lead was handled. We got rid of the burning rivers, cleaned up the worst of the toxic sites. And then all of those discussions went into the background,” said Richard Fuller, head of the Pure Earth and one of the 47 scientists who contributed to the report. In Bangladesh , Pakistan, North Korea, South Sudan and Haiti, nearly one-fifth of premature deaths are pollution-related. Based on this information, it should not come as a surprise that the poorest suffer most from pollution-related illness. 92 percent of sickness related to environmental toxicity occurs in low- or middle-income countries. Phys reports, “Environmental regulations in those countries tend to be weaker, and industries lean on outdated technologies and dirtier fuels.” Fuller noted that this safety of the public is being compromised for industrial growth, which has negative repercussions. He said, “What people don’t realize is that pollution does damage to economies . People who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after.” To determine the global impact of pollution , the study’s authors used methods outlined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for assessing field data from soil tests, in addition to air and water pollution data from the Global Burden of Disease. Though 9 million pollution-related deaths is a “conservative” estimate, it is still 15 times the number of people killed in war or other forms of violence, and six times the number killed in road accidents . Ernesto Sanchez-Triana, the lead environmental specialist at the World Bank, said, “The relationship between pollution and poverty is very clear. And controlling pollution would help us address many other problems, from climate change to malnutrition . The linkages can’t be ignored.” + Lancet Via Phys Images via Pixabay

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Study finds pollution is more deadly than war, natural disasters, and disease

FEMA scrubs statistics on Puerto Rico’s lack of water and electricity from website

October 6, 2017 by  
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After Hurricane Maria — a category 4 storm — knocked out power for Puerto Rico ’s 3.5 million citizens, the FEMA website became a major lifeline for Americans to stay informed of recovery efforts. However just yesterday vital details vanished from the agency’s website – including statistics on how many people have access to electricity and clean water . Now, only information that showcases recovery efforts in a positive light is available. As a result, it is difficult to know the true extent of damages in Puerto Rico, and how citizens are coping with the aftermath. On Wednesday, the website clearly stated that 5 percent of Puerto Rican citizens have access to electricity and 50 percent have access to clean water. Later that night, the information was erased. As Gizmodo reports, more “positive” information is now shared, including the percentage of hospitals open (92 percent) and the percentage of grocery stores open (65 percent). There’s no longer any data on water availability – instead, there’s a new section on “Water/Wastewater Impacts,” and the only thing it reveals is that 64 percent of wastewater treatments are functioning. Also, instead of an Infographic detailing recovery efforts, there is now a photo of helicopters delivering relief supplies and another of a soldier hugging Puerto Rican residents. Information on the number of federal staff (14,000) and FEMA personnel (800) on the ground are still available on the website. Information on open airports (100 percent) and miles of roadway cleared in total (20 miles) is forefront and centered on the website, as well. When pressed for question, a FEMA spokesperson told The Washington Post that the information is still available on the Spanish website , which Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló maintains. Reportedly, the FEMA spokesperson had no idea why the federal agency was erasing information from its own site “that made it look bad.” Related: The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power Some suspect President Trump’s recent visit had something to do with the agency deleting valuable statistics. When Trump visited the island earlier this week, he seemed more concerned with his reputation than actually helping the less fortunate. In fact, Trump “jokingly” told the storm-ravaged people that he was spending too much money on them. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack,” Trump said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico .” The President added that Hurricane Maria wasn’t a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. FEMA spokesperson William Booher told The Washington Post: “Our mission is to support the governor and his response priorities through the unified command structure to help Puerto Ricans recover and return to routines. Information on the stats you are specifically looking for are readily available.” + FEMA Via Gizmodo, The Washington Post Images via Hayales De Coama , FEMA , CNN, The Japan Times

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