Groundbreaking new energy storage device charges up in just 20 seconds

March 2, 2018 by  
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A new aqueous storage device can be fully charged in a mere 20 seconds. Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Kangwon National University scientists developed the device suited for portable electronics , with KAIST emphasizing in a statement that their device is both safe and environmentally friendly. Aqueous storage devices are less flammable than today’s lithium batteries , and could be cheaper too, according to ScienceAlert , but limitations have held scientists back. Cells comprising a battery transfer electrons between two materials, but aqueous solutions limit voltage range between the points, according to ScienceAlert. But scientists at institutions in South Korea , according to KAIST, “came up with new structures and materials to facilitate rapid speed in energy exchange on the surfaces of the electrodes and minimize the energy loss between the two electrodes.” They described their strategy for high-performance aqueous hybrid capacitors in the journal Advanced Energy Materials in January . ScienceAlert said hybrid capacitors like this one are basically a mixture of capacitor and battery. Related: Scientists just created a new type of battery inspired by electric eels Graphene to the rescue again: the scientists utilized graphene-based polymer chain materials for anodes. Graphene’s web-like structure afforded a high surface area, enabling higher capacitance, according to the institute. Metal oxide nanoparticles served as cathode materials. KAIST said, “This method realized higher energy density and faster energy exchange while minimizing energy loss.” The device they developed can charge up in 20 to 30 seconds via low-power charging systems like flexible solar cells or USB switching chargers. It boasts a power density 100 times greater than conventional aqueous batteries. And it can sustain capacity for more than 100,000 charges, according to ScienceAlert. KAIST professor Jeung Ku Kang said in the statement, “This eco-friendly technology can be easily manufactured and is highly applicable. In particular, its high capacity and high stability, compared to existing technologies, could contribute to the commercialization of aqueous capacitors.” + KAIST Via ScienceAlert Images via

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Groundbreaking new energy storage device charges up in just 20 seconds

New Italian ice cream shop reflects its delicious ‘clean label’ products

March 2, 2018 by  
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Italian architecture firm NINE Associati designed this stunning ice cream shop in the Italian village of Isola del Liri to reflect the company’s commitment to serving “clean label” products. Started by the Masci family in 1989, ZERO-E serves up traditional Italian gelato made with zero preservatives. The company’s commitment to serving all-natural ice cream inspired the architects to create an elegant, breezy shop with bespoke furnishings made by local Italian artisans . Located in the small town of Isola del Liri, about 100 km south of Rome, ZERO-E stands out for its commitment to serving “clean label” ice cream . It’s the first shop of its kind in the area, and it’s a breath of fresh air – both in terms of its product and its design. Related: Cleverly layered compact dirt walls mimic ice cream cakes in this Tokyo patisserie With just 38 square meters to work with, the architects wanted to leave the interior open and uncluttered. They developed a 3-point strategy that optimized the space, provided tailor-made furniture, and created flexible areas that can adapt to new uses in the future. The shop’s walls are painted a light blue hue, and the atmosphere is clean and vibrant. Subtle graphics add a bit of flair to the space – from the tiny bathroom signs to the ice cream menu and ingredients listed on the walls. In addition to designing the shop, NINE Associati also provided branding for the company. + NINE Associati Photography via Alessandro Zompanti

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New Italian ice cream shop reflects its delicious ‘clean label’ products

Will the Environment Medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea?

February 9, 2018 by  
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For the Winter Olympics, South Korea is rocking an array of … The post Will the Environment Medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea? appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Will the Environment Medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea?

Elevated bamboo peace bridge for the Korean Demilitarized Zone unveiled by Shigeru Ban and Jae-Eun Choi

January 2, 2018 by  
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South Korean artist Jae-Eun Choi is teaming up with prolific architect Shigeru Ban to bridge a peaceful relationship between the two enemy nations of the Korean peninsula. The artist and architect propose to install a garden-lined bamboo bridge called “Dreaming of Earth” within the Korean DMZ area, which has grown into a unique wildlife sanctuary over the decades of tension between the two countries. The ambitious project includes an elevated  bamboo walkway with various meditation pavilions that would span roughly eight miles through the two warring countries. On a mission to create common peaceful zone that would sit strategically between the two enemy nations, Jae-Eun Choi and Shigeru Ban unveiled the design behind Dreaming of Earth at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The bridge would comprise a small, peaceful gesture within the 160-mile-long, 2.5-mile-wide DMZ zone that separates the two countries. The area has been a no-man’s land of sorts for more than half a century and as such, has naturally converted into a beautiful wildlife sanctuary where native plants and animals live in harmony. Related: 10 groundbreaking designs by Shigeru Ban that changed our ideas about architecture Choi’s project envisions a long curving bridge that would sit off the ground to protect visitors from DMZ landmine. A bamboo tower  with an internal winding staircase would lead up to a viewing platform to allow visitors to take in the spectacular surrounding nature. At every kilometer, a different open-air “Jung Ja” meditation pavilion would invite guests to enjoy the peaceful serenity of the area. Each pavilion would be designed by a different designer, including Danish artist Olafur Eliasson , Sebastian Behmann, Bijoy Jain, Seung H-sang, Minsuk Cho, and artists like Lee Ufan and Lee Bul, Tadashi Kawamata, + Shigeru Ban + Jae-Eun Choi Via LA times Images via Shigeru Ban and WikiCommons

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Elevated bamboo peace bridge for the Korean Demilitarized Zone unveiled by Shigeru Ban and Jae-Eun Choi

South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade

August 7, 2017 by  
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For the first time in South Korea’s history, a rescue pup will serve as the country’s “first dog.” The country’s president, Moon Jae-In, adopted a canine named Tory on Wednesday, July 26. The 4-year-old mixed breed was pulled from a dog meat farm by the group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) two years ago, but has had trouble being adopted due to superstitions against his dark coat. Fortunately, he has finally found a forever home with none other than South Korea’s President. The news was published on the Facebook page of the President’s official residence, the Blue House. Now a part of the family, Tory will live a life of luxury along with Moon’s 10-year-old Pungsan dog Maru and a rescued shelter cat named Jjing-jjing. Animal rights activists are applauding Moon Jae-In for setting a positive example in South Korea , where animal abandonments are quite common. In 2015, roughly 800,000 animals were abandoned – and that number was closer to one million animals in 2010. Related: 10,000 dogs and cats to be slaughtered for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Additionally, it is not uncommon for neglected canines to end up in the dog meat trade. This is because, in some parts of South Korea, dog meat is considered to be a delicacy. In fact, old beliefs hold that if prepared correctly, dog meat can have special medicinal properties. There are no rules or regulations limiting the farming of consumption of dogs in the country, which means that around 17,000 dog meat farms exist . At those locations, between 2.5 and 10 million dogs are killed every year. Tory was adopted during the peak of “Bok nal,” an annual festivity when the majority of dog meat is consumed. Aware of this reality, Moon Jae-In pledged early 2017 to invest in animal welfare by building playgrounds for pets and feeding facilities for stray cats . The politician also pledged to make South Korea better for both humans and animals, though he did not outright declare he would end the controversial dog meat trade. Still, progress has been made by the notable public figure adopting a dog that might have ended up on someone’s dinner plate. Korean K9 Rescue is an organization in the U.S. that rehouse dogs rescued from the meat trade. Director Gina Boehler said: “President Moon Jae-In is very aware of the campaigns around the world to ban the dog meat trade in Korea. We believe he will push for change and, in time, it will become illegal to raise dogs for consumption in Korea. He has the power to do it.” She added, “I hope that President Moon Jae-In’s adoption of Tory sends a loud message to South Koreans that all dogs are pet dogs. We hope this will be a catalyst for a change in mindset, values and compassion and extends to all dogs — even ‘meat dogs’ or strays.” Via BBC , Yonhap News Images via CARE , Cheong Wa Dae Handout

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South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade

Living green bridge keeps wildlife safe from a busy highway

June 28, 2017 by  
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This stunning green bridge creates a natural connection between two mountain peaks near Seoul in Korea . Blending seamlessly into its surroundings, the bridge provides safe passage for wild animals and references the traditional Korean garden pavilion. The sides of the undulating structure simulate an organic mountainside path, while the center provides a more linear experience for humans. The bridge acts as an extension of two existing mountain slopes separated by a busy highway. It is positioned at an optimal altitude in order to create a safe separation for traffic and wildlife. Related: Living Growing Root Bridges Are 100% Natural Architecture The architectural language of the structure reminds of the rhythmic nature of the traditional Korean garden pavilions which were used as a way of establishing a stronger connection with nature. The central core of the bridge forms a straight path for humans, while the suspended segments on its sides create a gently undulating slope used by animals. Offering an experience similar to that of walking on a side of a mountain, the gradually opens up toward expansive vistas of Seoul and the north. The structure, designed by team KILD –architects Ivane Ksnelashvili , Petras Išora and Ona Lozuraityt? – received first prize at the Yang Jagogae Eco-Bridge Design Competition. + Ivane Ksnelashvili + Petras Išora + Ona Lozuraityt?

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Ethereal bubble building pops up in the middle of a Dutch forest

June 28, 2017 by  
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This gigantic bubble tucked in the middle of a forest may look like something out of a fairy tale, but it’s actually a gorgeous performance space in the Netherlands. Berlin-based collective Plastique Fantastique created the monumental inflatable pavilion – named Loud Shadows – for the Oerol Festival as a music and art space that integrates completely with the surrounding forest. Loud Shadows was conceived as a joint project of Plastique Fantastique, Kate Moore, The Soltz, and LeineRoebana. It references the name of the festival, which means “everywhere’ in Dutch, and the intent to use the entire island as a large performance and exhibition space . Related: Inflatable pop-up night club can disappear as soon as the party is over The transparent skin blurs the line between the interior and the exterior, the building and its natural surroundings. It offers views of the forest, while creating an intimate space where art, music and dance merge together. The temporary installation is divided into three parts: two bubbles placed on either side of an opaque walkable circular tube. Made of plastic, this space can be installed almost anywhere. + Plastique Fantastique Via Plataforma Arquitectura Photos by Marco Canevacci , Jelte Keur, Maria Purik

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Ethereal bubble building pops up in the middle of a Dutch forest

Weird but wonderful Wind House brings whimsy to Koreas Jeju Island

January 19, 2017 by  
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A peculiar home has popped up on Korea’s idyllic Jeju island , and it’s unlike any we’ve seen before. Moon Hoon , a Seoul-based architect who’s never afraid to think outside of the box, recently completed the Wind House, a low-lying structure topped with a large-scale golden sculptural object that bears similarities to a duck head or hairdryer. Despite its alien appearance, the golden protrusion’s shape takes inspiration from the wind-swept landscape, while its golden color alludes to the island’s fall and winter foliage. Moon Hoon, the same architect behind a Star Wars House and the candy-inspired Lollipop House , was commissioned by an eye doctor with a love of contemporary art and a taste for the eccentric. The client tasked Hoon to design three small houses with the requirements that they be unique and functional. The resulting Wind House comprises a volcanic stone wall that runs the perimeter of the site, two low-lying houses that sit at right angles to one another, and a third house in the middle topped with a inhabitable and sculptural space that Hoon describes as “blossom[ing] like a golden flower.” The boxy gray-colored homes draw inspiration from traditional Jeju architecture and provide a sharp contrast to the glistening gold crown. Accessible via a spiral staircase , the duck head-shaped space includes a living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Unlike the other interior spaces, which are painted a demure white and kept relatively minimalist, the interior of the “hovering flower” is painted a vibrant shade of red complemented with black furniture and a zebra print floor. A slit window offers views towards Hallasan, the volcano located at the center of the island. Related: The Force is Strong With This Sandcrawler-Inspired Star Wars House in South Korea “The sharp difference and contrast between the horizontal houses and hovering houses grounded secularly by high volcanic rock walls bring about a kind of contrasting harmony like that of flowers blossoming among the green leaves,” says the architect. Moon Hoon and Tomeny Kisilewicz also produced an unusual five-minute science fiction film that stars the Wind House as the hero that saves the residents of Jeju from the erupting Hallasan. + Moon Hoon Via ArchDaily Images © NamGoong sun

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Weird but wonderful Wind House brings whimsy to Koreas Jeju Island

Dogs raised for meat in South Korea to get forever homes in the US

January 10, 2017 by  
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A group of dogs raised for meat in South Korea are getting a new lease on life. Humane Society International (HSI) has rescued 10 dogs from a dog meat farm located about 55 miles away from Seoul. The dogs, which were raised in filthy, rusty cages for eventual consumption by humans, will be placed in forever homes throughout the US. HSI says it will take time and money to move all 200 animals off the farm, and you can help. Six months of vaccinations, medical examinations, and negotiations later, HSI has finally been able to start removing dogs from the horrifying meat factory farm. It will take a few weeks for them to ship out all the animals, as airlines will only take so many dogs per flight. Dogs like Demi, a labrador mix puppy, will journey to United States shelters and be offered for adoption. Related: Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia HSI campaign manager Andrew Plumbly told Reuters, “As soon as they’re ready for adoption, we find that there are line-ups of people – literally people would line up at shelters – in the U.S. to adopt these dogs because people are so engaged by their sad and compelling stories.” The dogs lived in harsh, disgusting conditions. They were only fed once per day and waste collected under their rusty cages. This dog meat farm is the sixth HSI has worked to shutter in the country since 2015, but they estimate there are around 17,000 such farms left in South Korea, even as Reuters reports dog consumption is declining in the country. Up to two million dogs are still killed and consumed in South Korea each year, according to HSI. If you’d like to help them in their goal of shutting down the dog meat industry – including finding better livelihoods for dog meat farmers and caring for rescued animals – you can donate here . + Humane Society International Via Reuters Images via Humane Society International Facebook

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Dogs raised for meat in South Korea to get forever homes in the US

South Korea considers shutting down aging coal-fired power plants

June 15, 2016 by  
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South Korea is considering a plan to shut down aging coal-fired power plants in an attempt to address air pollution and fine dust emissions. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is drafting the initiative which could see the oldest and most polluting plants phased out. According to Korea Times, out of 53 coal-fired power plants in the country, 11 are over 30-years-old and three have been in operation for more than 40 years. “The government has decided to close down aged coal-powered power plants accused of air pollution and fine dust emissions,” South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-Hwan said in his keynote speech at the Future Energy Forum in Seoul. He said that natural gas facilities would generate more electricity to avoid any possible electricity shortages. Related: South Korea races to create the world’s first carbon-free island While the South Korean government blames China for up to half of the fine dust floating in the air over the Korean Peninsula, Greenpeace says that 50 to 70 percent of particle-laden smog (PM2.5) comes from South Korea’s coal-fired power plants. South Korea scrapped plans for four new coal-fired power plants as part of its commitment to the Paris climate agreement signed by nearly 200 nations this past December. However, 20 new plants are still planned by 2021. Via Climate Action News Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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