Paris has a new underground – a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies

December 8, 2017 by  
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La Caverne is a unique urban farm that grows mushrooms , herbs and greens beneath the streets of Paris. Located in La Chapelle neighborhood in north-central Paris , La Caverne is owned and operated by Cycloponics, a Paris-based indoor farming start-up that has focused on growing sustainable, local food and boosting local economies. “We want to promote a new model of urban agriculture: at the same productive and virtuous,” said Cycloponics in a statement . “We also aim at creating new ways of producing, at restoring the profession of farmer, often poorly understood, at creating local jobs…, and eventually offer to the urban citizens a local and tasty production.” La Caverne, a 37,700-square-foot underground farm, is located in a previously abandoned parking garage below a 300-unit affordable housing complex. The ten-member team works together to maintain hydroponics systems used to grow vegetables, ensure the optimum growth of the farm’s mushroom crop, and sell these products at market. The farm’s oyster, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms are grown on composted manure bricks while the vegetables thrive without soil. The farmers at La Caverne also harvest chicory, a root often used in coffee , which does not need sunlight to grow. The team aims to ultimately produce 54 tons of vegetables and mushrooms per year. Related: Japan’s new mushroom solar farms produce sustainable energy and food La Caverne’s unusual location is a reflection of Cycloponics’ philosophy, which emphasizes reusing and conserving resources. “The idea is to cultivate, within the same space, different species of vegetables that interact in a positive way,” said Cycloponics in a statement. “For instance: the CO2 generated by the mushrooms is used by the microgreens to grow up, the natural materials are composted for our cultivations… Those methods are widely inspired by permaculture !” The company hopes to expand its distribution network through its own fleet electric bicycles and vehicles, for which it is currently in need of funding. As Cycloponics’ grows, it may inspire similar farmers to dig deep, get underground, and grow only the best. Via Business Insider Images via Cycloponics

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Elon Musk wins $50 million bet by installing world’s largest lithium-ion battery in under 100 days

November 24, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk has done it again. In March, the inventor and mastermind behind Tesla , SpaceX and other world-changing ventures made a bet on Twitter with Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes that he could help solve South Australia’s vexing blackouts with a massive Powerpack within 100 days — or provide the $50 million service for free. And he has now officially won. Not only will Tesla receive payment for the 100 megawatt energy storage project , but residents no longer have to sit in the dark during periods of high energy demand. The largest lithium-ion battery in the world, according to Business Insider , Tesla’s 100 megawatt Powerpack supports Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm nearly 150 miles north of Adelaide, the capital of Australia. State premier Jay Weatherill announced on Thursday that testing would begin within days, ahead of the 1 December deadline. Although Musk signed off on the South Australia project in September, the government officially awarded his company the contract in July. Business Insider reports that the massive battery is capable of providing power for 8,000 homes for a 24-hour period, or 30,000 homes for an hour during a blackout. Related: Elon Musk says he’ll fix South Australia’s energy woes in 100 days — or it’s free Last September, all of South Australia lost power when a storm damaged the state’s electricity transmission infrastructure . In response, the government announced a $550 million plan to buttress against future blackouts, which includes the Powerpack and a 250 megawatt gas-fired generator expected to cost $360 million. Weatherill says testing will ensure the plant meets all regulatory requirements, and praised all parties involved with its rapid execution. “It sends the clearest message that South Australia will be a leader in renewable energy with battery storage,” he said. “An enormous amount of work has gone into delivering this project in such a short time, and I look forward to visiting Jamestown next week to personally thank those who have worked on this project.” Via Business Insider Images via Tesla

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Elon Musk wins $50 million bet by installing world’s largest lithium-ion battery in under 100 days

The Monade Capsule is a private hideaway that hangs from city rooftops

November 24, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wished for a hidden oasis where you can go to relax? Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Alice Bleton has created an amazing rooftop hideaway that provides stressed city dwellers with the ultimate place to disconnect. The Monade Capsule is built with an L-shaped cut-out that allows the pod to hang on the edge of any building. Bleton’s Monade Capsule is made from 21 pieces of fiberglass with transparent sections that provide clear views and let natural light into the interior. The load-bearing base anchors it tightly to the rooftop and facade. Whether hanging off a skyscraper or a rugged mountain cliff, the off-grid capsule can support up to five people inside. Related: London Eye capsule transformed into rainforest-inspired tiny home The capsule’s design was inspired by shelters that can withstand extreme conditions – like emergency bunkers, submarines, and mountain huts , “At the top of the mountain, and in the hardest reachable places, people created cabins and refuges to spend the night. These temporary shelters offer minimal comfort to the hikers. It’s a shared space where people gather to protect themselves from the outside climate.” + Alice Bleton Via Dezeen Images via Alice Bleton

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The Monade Capsule is a private hideaway that hangs from city rooftops

All electric UTV from Nikola Motor is a beast with more energy capacity than a Tesla

November 24, 2017 by  
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While Tesla currently leads the EV segment, no one is likely to take their Model S or Model X off-roading. That’s where the Nikola Zero electric UTV comes in. It has room for four passengers and an insane 555 horsepower that’s enough power to tackle even the toughest terrain — and according to electrek , it is surprisingly comfortable. The Nikola Zero is an electric UTV that has some impressive specs. It not only has more horsepower than most sports cars, but it also has an impressive 4,900 lb-ft. of torque. Four independent electric motors power the UTV. The Nikola Zero can reach 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds and has a driving range up to 200 miles. Its battery pack also beats the current Tesla Model S P100D with its 125 kWh of energy capacity. Related: Bollinger Motors unveils new 4-door electric sport utility truck 32-inch tires and beadlock wheels are ready to jump over any rocks in your way, while its electric powertrain is completely waterproof, just in case you decide to cross a river. Inside there’s not only room for four passengers, but a 10-inch infotainment screen that looks like it came straight out of a Model S. Pricing for the Nikola Zero starts at $35,000 and there will be three different battery options to choose from: 75kWh, 100kWh and 125kWh. Production is expected to start in 2018 and you can reserve one now for only $750. + Nikola Motor All images ©Nikola Motor Company

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All electric UTV from Nikola Motor is a beast with more energy capacity than a Tesla

LEGO launches Women of NASA set

October 19, 2017 by  
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Trailblazing women who have been instrumental in NASA’s space program are being honored in a special way: as LEGO toys. The company just displayed the final design , with an official launch date for the 231-piece set that includes four women: Mae Jemison, Sally Ride, Margaret Hamilton, and Nancy Grace Roman. Science writer and LEGO tinkerer Maia Weinstock proposed the idea for Women of NASA on the LEGO Ideas platform last summer – and reached 10,000 supporters in 15 days. LEGO designers Gemma Anderson and Marie Sertillanges got on board to help transform the idea into an official set, which will launch November 1. Related: BIG’s LEGO House officially opens to the public in Denmark Sally Ride was the first American woman in space , while Mae Jemison was the first woman of color in space. Nancy Grace Roman was the first woman to hold an executive role at NASA, and was instrumental in planning the Hubble Telescope . Margaret Hamilton “led the team that developed the building blocks of software engineering – a term that she coined herself,” according to NASA . Weinstock said in a statement, “…when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas. With this project, I wanted to spotlight a fantastic group of women who have made seminal contributions to NASA history. My dream would be to know that the first human on Mars – or an engineer or computer scientist who helped her get there – played with the LEGO Women of NASA as a child and was inspired to pursue a STEM career as a result.” The original proposal included five women, but according to a LEGO statement, “Katherine Johnson chose not to be part of the set.” If you’re in the New York City area, there will be a pre-release event October 28 at the Flatiron District LEGO store on 200 5th Avenue from 10 AM to 2 PM. You can check out details on the Facebook event page here . Via LEGO and LEGO Ideas Blog Images via LEGO

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Amazon is buying Whole Foods for $13.7 billion

June 16, 2017 by  
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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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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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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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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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