Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

June 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

Amazon is taking on the organic food market after announcing a $13.7 billion deal to purchase Whole Foods. The retail giant announced today that it was buying Whole Foods for $42 a share, as yet another step for the company to move into physical retail stores. The announcement comes just one day after it was revealed that the company has – ironically – filed a patent that blocks shoppers from checking online competition while shopping in a retail store. Amazon says that it doesn’t aim to fundamentally change Whole Foods. “Millions of people love Whole Foods Market because they offer the best natural and organic foods, and they make it fun to eat healthy,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in this morning’s press release . “Whole Foods Market has been satisfying, delighting and nourishing customers for nearly four decades – they’re doing an amazing job and we want that to continue.” Related: San Jose’s new Whole Foods is one of America’s greenest supermarkets According to Amazon, Whole Foods will continue to operate under its name and will source from its network of trusted vendors. But who knows, maybe someday soon you could be asking Alexa to grab you some organic kale when you run out. Via Business Insider Images via Sounder Bruce and Flickr

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Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years

June 16, 2017 by  
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High-speed trains in France could soon be driverless, if the country’s national railway operator SNCF has anything to say about it. They aim to test what they call drone trains in 2019, with the hope the TGV trains could start running around four years after that. SNCF President Guillaume Pepy said if the project is successful, they will be the world’s first operator to run a high-speed autonomous train. Here’s how high-speed autonomous trains would work: sensors would equip the high-speed drone train, which currently travel at up to 320 kmh (200 mph), to run smoothly across tracks in France. The technology would help the trains detect obstacles and brake automatically. The train could also be piloted remotely, although a conductor would still be present at least initially in case of emergency. The onboard drivers would also manage opening and closing of doors. Related: China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’ SNCF said they’re not working on the technology to reduce their staff. They told French publication FranceInfo there will always be a need for a human onboard. SNCF adjoint director Matthieu Chabanel likened the drone trains to autopilot systems aboard an airplane , telling FranceInfo, “On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you have an automatic steering system.” Through the drone trains, SNCF hopes to ramp up the frequency and speed of TGV trips, especially around Paris . They think automated trains could increase the number of trips between the country’s capital and Lyon by 25 percent. FranceInfo reported a team of ten people is devoted to the project, and they are collaborating with research institutions and other rail companies like Alstom. The first prototype tests would transport goods, with passengers possibly hopping aboard around 2023. Via The Verge and FranceInfo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years

Greenpeace says Apple is world’s most sustainable tech company

January 11, 2017 by  
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Five years ago, Apple , Facebook, and Google were the first companies to commit to powering their businesses 100 percent with renewable energy, according to Greenpeace . Delving into the carbon footprints of those and other leading technology companies, Greenpeace recently released a report titled “Clicking Clean: Who Is Winning the Race to Build A Green Internet?” We bet you can guess a few of the winners. Apparently Apple, Facebook, and Google are living up to their commitments; they received top marks alongside newcomer Switch, beating out the competition on factors like renewable energy use and transparency. Apple “played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple’s corner of the Internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy,” according to the report. Related: Apple’s water-resistant iPhone 7 will fight e-waste due to drowned gadgets Greenpeace gave Apple As in renewable energy commitment, energy transparency, renewable procurement, and energy efficiency and mitigation. The company’s only B was in the advocacy category. Google also received mostly As except for a B in energy transparency, but Apple edges out Google on Greenpeace’s clean energy index to be the top winner. But not everyone in the tech industry is a winner. According to Greenpeace, Netflix streaming accounts for around one third of North America’s Internet traffic, but they gave the company a D because, according to a statement, Netflix “is likely turning to carbon offsets or unbundled renewable energy credits, which do little to increase renewable energy investment.” Similarly, Greenpeace called for increased transparency from Amazon Web Services, calling them “a prime example of a company that talks up its renewable projects, but keeps customers in the dark on its energy performance while expanding into markets served by dirty energy like Virginia.” There’s hope yet for Netflix and Amazon; as recently as 2011 Greenpeace called Apple the “least clean” tech company , but today they lead the way in running a sustainable tech business. Via Greenpeace and Business Insider Images via Michele Ursino on Flickr and Mike Deerkoski on Flickr

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Greenpeace says Apple is world’s most sustainable tech company

Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan

November 8, 2016 by  
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Traffic today is not following normal patterns in the bustling urban center of Fukuoka, Japan after a terrifying sinkhole claimed five lanes of city streets . The sinkhole, which left the surrounding buildings intact, measured 98-feet-long, 88-feet-wide, and nearly 50-feet-deep, exposing underground pipes and electrical infrastructure. No injuries have been reported and local authorities have responded quickly to assess the damage and begin to plan a solution. Fukuoka city officials reported that the sinkhole may be attributed to ongoing construction on the city’s subway lines. A project is underway to expand the subway network beneath the city streets, but it’s safe to say this side effect was not part of the plan. The collapse, which occurred shortly after 5 a.m. local time, caused power outages and kicked off a massive evacuation of the immediate area, in an attempt to keep the public safe from other ramifications, such as additional sinkholes or explosions from gas leaks. No serious injuries were reported, though. Related: Sinkhole releases over 200 million gallons of toxic waste into Florida’s drinking water Fukuoka, located in southern Japan, is the nation’s fifth largest city with 5.6 million residents. As part of the city’s growth, which has been booming in recent years, the local government is in the process of expanding the subway system to better serve its residents and commuting workers. Those plans backfired when construction allegedly kicked off the sinkhole, which began before dawn and grew until it had consumed all five lanes of the city street by mid-morning. Locals report hearing “a loud boom” when the sinkhole opened up directly in front of the main railway station serving the city. Via Business Insider Images via Kinkakuji09/Twitter

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Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan

13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5

October 24, 2016 by  
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The future looks bright thanks to the next generation of scientists. Maanasa Mendu, a 13-year-old girl from Ohio , recently won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge for creating a $5 energy harvesting device. Mendu’s innovative design, called HARVEST, converts sunlight, wind, and rain into renewable energy . Mendu has been named America’s Top Young Scientist and won $25,000.

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13-year-old Maanasa Mendu invents groundbreaking clean energy device that costs just $5

Extraordinary national park gateway in China opens to a sea of bamboo

October 24, 2016 by  
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The park gateway is located in Zhuhai National Park in Guizhou province, South-West China. Hidden among the Bamboo Sea, the gate plays with the elements to create an iconic park entrance. Its support system is made of concrete and bamboo hung from the glass roof that protects the bamboo from rain. Related: Studio Mumbai unveils handmade pavilion crafted from seven kilometers of bamboo In order to mitigate the effects of high humidity and temperature fluctuations on the material, the architects steam-treated the bamboo to take out its natural oil and prevent decay. The team has also built a water pond directly under the gate to facilitate the creation of fog which envelops the structure, giving it an otherworldly appearance. Via  Archdaily Photos by Jingsong Xie, Martina Muratori, Haobo Wei

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Extraordinary national park gateway in China opens to a sea of bamboo

?Cheap, Efficient Organic Flow Battery Materials

January 13, 2014 by  
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The science of power storage has a new variety of options and new materials to investigate thanks to some recent developments in the chemistry of materials used in flow batteries. Until now, flow batteries have largely relied on metallic compounds for the active chemicals they use. But new materials have been found that are cheaper and more effective than the chemicals which have been most used in flow batteries until now. The research undertaken by scientists at Harvard University has identified a range of organic compounds known as quinones , which are have the potential to be especially useful for flow batteries. Initial research indicates they are inexpensive and efficient materials well suited for use in power storage. A recently published paper in the journal Nature discusses the use of 9,10-anthraquinone-2,7-disulphonic acid (AQDS), a compound found in rhubarb, in a flow battery. Large-scale energy storage is an area where flow batteries can excel, because the equipment needed to build a large energy storage system is basic, industrial gear, rather than highly specialized equipment. To increase storage capacity, a flow battery just needs a couple of larger storage tanks. The AQDS materials are naturally abundant and very stable. They are potentially safer than metal-based flow batteries because the materials are “less likely to react violently if they accidentally come in contact with each other.” When used in a flow battery, they show very good cycle efficiency and “[represent] a new and promising direction for realizing massive electrical energy storage at greatly reduced cost.” The chemicals needed to store a kilowatt-hour of energy would cost $27, which is roughly one-third the cost of other systems. via: Business Insider

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And You Think America Has A Real Estate Problem? Look at What’s Happening in China

December 22, 2010 by  
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“It’s a giant new development, which doesn’t even have a name yet.” According to Business Insider, there are 64 million empty houses and apartments in China, enough to accommodate 200 million people.

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And You Think America Has A Real Estate Problem? Look at What’s Happening in China

Planet 100: 5 Skyscrapers Pushing Green to Towering New Heights (Video)

December 22, 2010 by  
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Planet 100: 5 Skyscrapers Pushing Green to Towering New Heights (Video)

An Insider’s Look at the Formation of the NRDC and Birth of the Environmental Movement (Book Review)

December 3, 2010 by  
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Photo credit: NRDC You’d be hard pressed to think of anyone or anything that has done more to protect the American environment over the last 40 years than John Adams and the organization he founded, the NRDC . The Natural Resource Defense Council may not boast a name that rolls off the tongue, but they do boast perhaps the most impressive legacy for using the law to stand up for the environment.

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An Insider’s Look at the Formation of the NRDC and Birth of the Environmental Movement (Book Review)

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