Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

September 14, 2017 by  
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A 1924 barge in London has been transformed into an amazing floating home . The historic Humber Keel cargo boat now functions as a comfortable two-bedroom home with two baths, open living space and terrace views. The restored houseboat maintains the original woodwork and custom midcentury furnishings. The barge, originally used for transporting steel and coal and working in shallow waters, sits in the Poplar Dock Marina of London . It offers 812 square feet of living space which includes two bedrooms, a large open-plan reception/dining area, modern galley kitchen, and a desk area. Related: Solar-Powered Bauhaus Barge Offers Luxurious Living with a Low Carbon Footprint Much of the original woodwork has been retained throughout the house, including the original Goodin wood burner in the living room. Some of the additions to the interior include a dipped terra cotta pendant light by Hand and Eye Studio London, a Saikai Kaico Japanese enamel kettle, hand-thrown dishes by David Green Ceramics, and the 1960s Greaves and Thomas Egg chair. The house is currently for sale through The Modern House. + The Modern House Via Dwell

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Coal barge in London converted into a sophisticated floating home

Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

August 2, 2017 by  
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Acclaimed architect Kengo Kuma has crafted a stunning cross-cultural home that combines the best of American modern amenities with traditional Japanese design principles. Located in Oregon’s NW Natural Street of Dreams in Portland, the sustainably built SUTEKI home promotes healthy living with its strong connection to the outdoors in both its use of natural materials and garden surroundings. The master-built home is the first of its kind constructed by Japanese homebuilder, Suteki, in the United States. As with many of Kuma’s architectural projects, nature is a big theme in the SUTEKI home. A natural materials palette used throughout the home shows off sustainably harvested wood , from the soaring Olympia wall built of timber to the regional Alaskan yellow cedar in the louvre walls. Natural stone and tile are also prominently featured. A high level of detail and craftsmanship is seen around the home, especially in the origami-inspired ceiling that creates a feeling of fluidity and movement. To deepen the connection with the outdoors and create a restorative living experience, Kuma incorporated seamless indoor and outdoor living spaces built around nature. Large openings frame views of the outdoors and every view is optimized inside and out. Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the garden and used “borrowed scenery” principles to incorporate the surrounding landscape—a giant oak and sequoia tree, and a stream that runs along the property. Related: Kengo Kuma unveils nature-filled Eco-Luxury Hotel for Paris “My collaboration with Suteki is owed to our shared view of the sublimity of nature,” said Kuma. “Embracing the surroundings, insisting on natural materials, sustainability and transparency creates a space where people can experience nature more completely and intimately.” The placement and orientation of the home contributes to its energy efficiency . The Suteki company plans to build more sustainably built homes in the Portland market in the near future. + Street of Dreams Images by Justin Krug Photography

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Kengo Kuma unveils stunning SUTEKI house for Oregons Street of Dreams

The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

July 27, 2017 by  
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The presence of earthquakes in China has resulted in timber-framing practices that put European design to shame. As early as 500BC, builders in China developed disaster-resistant structures with interlocking flower-shaped brackets called dougong that reduce the impact of earthquakes on buildings. These joints are so effective, they have helped the Forbidden City in Beijing withstand 200 earthquakes in 600 years. Specialist carpenters decided to find out how the Forbidden City has survived so many earthquakes, including the 20th century’s deadliest quake. They constructed a scale model of a structure atop a shake table. To strive for accuracy, they drew on traditional techniques and tools. They then put the structure, a fifth of the size of buildings in the Forbidden City, through simulated earthquakes. The largest earthquake we’ve ever recorded in history had a 9.5 magnitude. But the scale model withstood not only that but a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake – and in a video showing the quake, didn’t fall down. Related: Japanese Levitating House System Could Protect Homes From Earthquakes (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Secrets of China's Forbidden City This will rock your world. Posted by Channel 4 on Thursday, July 20, 2017 Dougong are often found nestled beneath the eaves and roof, and in case of a quake, they transfer roof weight to the supporting columns found on these old buildings. They don’t need nails or glue to hold together. The brackets don’t shake apart easily, but also aren’t so stiff they’ll shatter under pressure. Multiple joints help them remain stable. One of the more mind-boggling aspects of the test was that the columns of the building designed like those in the Forbidden City were freestanding, and weren’t sunken into foundations. They wobbled in a 10.1 magnitude simulated earthquake, but didn’t collapse in the video. Dougong can be glimpsed on palaces and temples , for example, and according to People’s Daily Online was utilized widely during the Spring and Autumn Period in Chinese history, which spans from around 770 to 476 BC. Via Channel 4 and Core77 Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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The 2,500-year-old bracket that protects China’s Forbidden City against earthquakes

This robotic "eel" hunts down the source of water pollution

July 27, 2017 by  
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Lake Geneva’s latest resident—all four feet of it—is neither man nor beast. Dubbed the Envirobot , the critter is a biomimetic robot designed by Swiss researchers to pinpoint the source of pollution in tainted waters. Bereft of fins or propellers, Envirobot slithers through water like an eel, leaving mud and aquatic life undisturbed. Just as stealthily, it uses sensors to gather data from various locations, which it transmits to a remote computer in near-instantaneous fashion. Even for an automaton, Envirobot is uncommonly clever. Besides its capacity to follow a preprogrammed path, it can also make its own decisions, independently sniffing out the origin of the contamination. Related: Fukushima robot finds lava-like deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel “There are many advantages to using swimming robots,” said Auke Ijspeert, head of biorobotics at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne , in a statement . “They can take measurements and send us data in real-time—much faster than if we had measurement stations set up around the lake.” The serpentine design, which is supported by a series of small electric motors, has several advantages, as well. “Compared with conventional propeller-driven underwater robots, they are less likely to get stuck in algae or branches as they move around,” Ijspeert said. “What’s more, they produce less of a wake, so they don’t disperse pollutants as much.” Funded through a grant from Switzerland’s Nano-Tera program, Envirobot comprises several modules. Some of these contain conductivity and temperature sensors; others have miniaturized biological sensors that harbor bacteria, small crustacean, or fish cells that respond to water toxicity in different ways. The modular tack also makes it easy for engineers to change Envirobot’s composition or vary its length when the occasion calls for it. “The robot can be easily taken apart, transported to a remote water reservoir, for example, and put back together to begin testing,” said Behzad Bayat, another biorobotics scientist at EPFL. Already, Envirobot has taken several dips in Lake Geneva. It recently underwent a test that simulated water pollution by diffusing salt into a tiny area just off the shore, changing the water’s conductivity. The ersatz eel, researchers said, performed swimmingly. Although the ultimate goal is for Envirobot to pick up heavy metals and other pollutants, field tests for the “eel’s” biological components are trickier to carry out. “We obviously can’t contaminate a lake like we do the test water in our lab,” said Jan Roelof van der Meer, project coordinator and head of the department of fundamental microbiology at the University of Lausanne . “For now, we will continue using salt as the contaminant until the robot can easily find the source of the contamination. Then we will add biological sensors to the robot and carry out tests with toxic compounds.” + École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [Via Techcrunch ]

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This robotic "eel" hunts down the source of water pollution

China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

May 19, 2017 by  
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China has claimed a major energy breakthrough, but its eco credentials are dubious at best. Researchers say they managed to extract gas from flammable ice in the South China Sea. A frozen mix of natural gas and water known as methane hydrates, the ‘breakthrough’ is expected to revolutionize the future of energy . We’re not sure that’s a good idea. Flammable ice could be our planet’s final great source of carbon-based fuel , according to the BBC. Vast deposits can be found under essentially every ocean. But it’s incredibly difficult to extract gas from flammable ice – in part because it catches fire so easily – a lighter held up next to the ice will do the trick. Related: Japan Successfully Taps ‘Flammable Ice’ as an Energy Source for the First Time Japan so far has led the way in working to mine the potential energy source, but China’s latest efforts could mark a milestone on the path to extracting gas from methane hydrates. Chinese media said the country had succeeded in extracting an average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas per day in the South China Sea. Scientist Praveen Linga of the National University of Singapore told the BBC, “Compared with the results we have seen from Japanese research, the Chinese scientists have managed to extract much more gas in their efforts. So in that sense it is indeed a major step towards making gas extraction from methane hydrates viable.” But Linga warns extraction must be done carefully. Methane could escape from the methane hydrates during extraction, which could harm the planet as methane holds greater potential to affect climate change than carbon dioxide, according to the BBC. It’s hard to tell if flammable ice extraction will fall into the pitfalls of the oil and gas industry, with greed taking precedence over our planet. The BBC also described flammable ice as a very energy intensive source of fuel. Linga says there’s still a long way to go, and he said realistic commercial options might be ready in 2025 at the earliest. Via the BBC Images via William Winters, USGS and U.S. Geological Survey on Flickr

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China claims major energy breakthrough with ‘flammable ice’

Scientists may have found evidence for a parallel universe

May 19, 2017 by  
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A parallel universe may not just be a quirk of science fiction anymore; scientists think they may have found evidence for the idea of a universe other than our own. It all has to do with a strange Cold Spot, which researchers haven’t had an easy time explaining; some even suggest it could actually be an optical illusion. But new research reveals something far more bizarre may be going on. NASA first discovered the baffling Cold Spot in 2004. The Cold Spot is 1.8 billion light years across and, as you may have guessed, colder than what surrounds it in the universe. Scientists thought perhaps it was colder because it had 10,000 less galaxies than other regions of similar size. They even thought perhaps the Cold Spot was just a trick of the light. Related: ‘Largest-ever’ new map of universe shows 1.2 million galaxies But now an international team of researchers think perhaps the Cold Spot could actually offer evidence for the concept of a multiverse. The Guardian explains an infinite number of universes make up a multiverse; each having its own reality different from ours. These scientists say they’ve ruled out the last-ditch optical illusion idea. Instead, they think our universe may have collided with another in what News.com.au described as something like a car crash; the impact could have pushed energy away from an area of space to result in the Cold Spot. Physicist Tom Shanks of the University of Durham said in a statement , “We can’t entirely rule out that the Spot is caused by an unlikely fluctuation explained by the standard model. But if that isn’t the answer, then there are more exotic explanations. Perhaps the most exciting of these is that the Cold Spot was caused by a collision between our universe and another bubble universe.” If more research backs up this new idea, “…then the Cold Spot might be taken as the first evidence for the multiverse – and billions of other universes may exist like our own.” Eight scientists from institutions in the United Kingdom, Chile, Spain, and the United States collaborated on a study recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . Via The Independent , News.com.au , and The Guardian Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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Scientists may have found evidence for a parallel universe

Japanese food artist carves fruits into incredible masterpieces using just an X-Acto knife

May 15, 2017 by  
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Playing with your food is generally frowned upon, but Japanese artist Gaku elevates humble fruits and veggies into art with his skilled and gorgeous carvings . With a simple X-Acto knife, he expertly embellishes radishes, papaya, apples, taro root and more. Honoring and exploring the Japanese and Thai traditions of food carving, Gaku makes precise cuts into his chosen fruit or vegetable. His designs often take on traditional Japanese floral and wave patterns and are amazingly detailed and intricate, especially considering the ephemeral nature of his creations . Some of his elaborate works incorporate real and fantastical animals , such as a crab design carved into an apple or dragons carved into eggplant or a banana. As bananas are cheap and readily available, Gaku says they are an good option for practicing food carving. Gaku’s attention to detail and careful cuts are truly impressive. This self-taught food artist began food carving as a hobby, and he is also a chef. Related| Extraordinary banana art etchings are inspiring and edible One of the most amazing elements of these designs is how quickly Gaku must work. As any foodie knows, bananas, apples, and avocados are fickle, turning brown and less visually attractive within mere minutes. Gaku’s pristine photos, which he chronicles on Instagram , barely show any sign of the dreaded oxidation . Almost 60,000 followers anxiously await his next mukimono-style food carving. In addition to apples and lemons, Gaku has carved pumpkins, carrots, zucchini, and some type of leaf or stalk, which he transformed into grasshoppers. One of the ideas behind these food carvings is to appreciate the beauty of simple fruits and vegetables, and we love how the stunning images instantly expand viewer’s artistic imaginations. We also love Gaku’s not-so-precious approach to his creations when they are done: he eats them. You can watch some of Gaku’s process here in this mesmerizing Instavideo. + Gaku on Instagram Via Booooooom and This is Colossal

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Japanese food artist carves fruits into incredible masterpieces using just an X-Acto knife

This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

May 12, 2017 by  
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This beautiful prefab house by Antony Gibbon Designs is made up of six modules that can be configured in an endless number of ways. Each unit has one or more open sides that can be attached together, providing the opportunity to build an incredible variety of layouts. The closed sides of each module are clad in charred wood siding for an elegant, low-maintenance facade. Called the Moduu House, it is comprised of six different variations of a single staggered form. Each module measures 2.5 x 2.5 meters with one or more sides ‘open’ to allow each unit to be connected onto another increasing the interior space. The structures can be connected in a wide variety of spatial sequences to create the house you want. Related: These gorgeous glass homes can pop up in 8 hours for under $50k Traditional Japanese charred wood cladding known as Shou Sugi Ban cover the exterior of the house, giving it a natural appearance. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow ample natural light into each structure, with the option of adding sliding doors for direct access to the terraces, also available as modules. + Antony Gibbon Designs

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This charred wood cabin can be rearranged in an infinite number of ways

Hundreds of radioactive wild boars run amok in Fukushima, Japan

March 18, 2017 by  
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Packs of radioactive wild boars are running loose in northern Japan, where the meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011 forced entire towns and villages to abandon ship. Six years later, the beasts pose more than a minor nuisance to displaced residents, a number of whom are eager to return to their homes as the Japanese government begins to lift evacuation orders in certain areas. Besides their obvious toxicity—tests by officials show that some animals possess levels of cesium-137 300 times higher than what is considered safe—the boars are also known to attack humans. Swaths of farmland, now gone to seed, have become prime real estate for foraging varmints. According to Yomiuri , a local newspaper, boars have caused more than $854,000 in agricultural damage in Fukushima prefecture. Local authorities in the affected towns have hired teams of hunters to shoot the boars with air rifles, or trap them in cages using rice flour as bait. Related: Fukushima radiation levels at highest since 2011 disaster “After people left, they began coming down from the mountains and now they are not going back,” Shoichiro Sakamoto, who leads a group of 13 hunters in the town of Tomioka, told Reuters . “They found a place that was comfortable. There was plenty of food and no one to come after them.” A recent government survey found than half the 21,500 former residents of the town of Namie, one of the towns included in the proposed evacuation-order lift, have decided against returning, citing fears over the safety of the nuclear plant, which will take decades to dismantle. Several have also raised concerns about the bands of marauding boars. “I’m sure officials at all levels are giving some thought to this,” said Hidezo Sato, a former seed merchant in Namie. “Something must be done.” Via Reuters Image via Wikipedia

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Hundreds of radioactive wild boars run amok in Fukushima, Japan

RiverBlue: Jason Priestley-narrated documentary exposes the dark side of your blue jeans

March 18, 2017 by  
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Are your clothes causing the world’s rivers to bleed blue? Directed by David McIlvride and Roger Williams and narrated by Jason Priestley, RiverBlue is a new documentary that delves deep into the shocking underbelly of fast fashion to expose its destructive and widespread impacts on our environment. For those of you in New York City, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator will be hosting a screening of this powerful film on March 22 for World Water Day . Read on for more details about the screening and post-film discussion with Williams and Paul Gallay, President of Riverkeeper, and learn more about the movie by checking out BF+DA’s interview with McIlvride here . RiverBlue follows acclaimed river conservationist Mark Angelo on a waterborne trip around the world to uncover the truth behind the garment industry and its effects on the Earth’s waterways and ecosystems. Infiltrating one of the world’s most pollutive industries, and speaking with fashion designers and water protectors world-wide, RiverBlue reveals stunning yet, shocking images that will forever change the way we look at fashion, and the impact of the clothes we wear. – Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator BF+DA will be screening RiverBlue on Wednesday, March 22 from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10. Click here for more details and to RSVP. + RSVP to see RiverBlue here

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RiverBlue: Jason Priestley-narrated documentary exposes the dark side of your blue jeans

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