Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets

August 24, 2017 by  
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You may have heard that icy planets like Neptune and Uranus experience diamond rain. But now, scientists have been able to mimic conditions of those planets and observe diamond rain at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California. Since it’s difficult for us at this point to directly observe the interiors of these planets, such research could help scientists better understand and classify worlds. For a long time, scientists have hypothesized that diamond rain arises over 5,000 miles below the surface of planets like Neptune and Uranus. In this recent experiment, a group of researchers simulated the conditions of these planets “by creating shock waves in plastic with an intense optical laser ” in the laboratory , according to a recent press release. They were able to observe that almost every carbon atom of the plastic was incorporated into diamond structures. The diamonds were tiny – only around a few nanometers wide – but on Uranus and Neptune, the researchers think the falling diamonds could weigh millions of carats. Related: Mysterious object near Neptune just made space a lot weirder Study lead author Dominik Kraus of research center Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf said in a statement, “We can’t go inside the planets and look at them, so these laboratory experiments complement satellite and telescope observations.” The scientists think diamond rain could produce an energy source, generating heat as it falls. Beyond observing a neat phenomenon, the experiment could help scientists learn about how elements mix together under pressure in the interiors of planets, providing them with more information on a planet’s defining features. These researchers plan to apply their methods to study the processes of other planets as well. Nature Astronomy published the study online this week. 23 scientists of institutions in Germany, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom contributed to the research. Via SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory Images via Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets

Fly down a zipline in the Willy Wonka-esque Future Forest in London

August 24, 2017 by  
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Bompas & Parr are like real-life Willy Wonkas—and they brought their magic touch to the inside of a UK shopping mall. The design duo launched a free ‘Future Forest’ in the Westfield London shopping center with the theme of urban reforestation. The immersive experience is an incredible indoor forest playground with a fantastical Fruit Cloud, electricity-producing plants, a historic tree circus, and even a 40-meter-long zip-line that starts atop a 5.3-meter-high treehouse. The Future Forest is envisioned as rural escapism in the concrete jungle that promotes relaxation, health, and wellness as well as environmental awareness . “Imagining how we can co-exist in nature is one of the key challenges facing our collective future, where we face increased urban populations while climate change and pollution threatens the stability of the natural world,” says Harry Parr, Director of Bompas & Parr. “We’ve tried to bring to life these concerns in a fun and interactive way that conveys important messages and delivers big on the fun factor too. What better way to engage young people in the future of our urban environment than by zorbing through Westfield or experiencing the fruit cloud?” Related: London to Launch Edible Fireworks Display to Ring in the New Year! The temporary nature-inspired installation first popped up earlier this summer at Westfield Stratford City and has now moved to Westfield London , where it will stay until August 28. The move to Westfield also comes with the new addition of the Adventure Zip-Line that offers an exhilarating 40-meter descent front the top of a treehouse . It is the only indoor zip-line in the UK, and free to the public. A Fruit Cloud that immerses visitors in a breathable aromatic cloud with regularly changing flavors, as well as other inspiring installations, complements the zip-line. + Bompas & Parr Images © Ann Charlott Ommedal and Bompas & Parr

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Fly down a zipline in the Willy Wonka-esque Future Forest in London

A wave of buckets hijacks public space in Mexico City

August 24, 2017 by  
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How much fun can you have with paint buckets? The designers at Factor Eficiencia and 5468796 Architecture prove that objects as mundane as paint buckets can be transformed into a vibrant public space with the power of creative thinking. The interactive installation, called ‘One Bucket at a Time,’ is a wave-shaped space with seating developed for MEXTROPOLI 2017, a four-day architecture festival in Mexico City. Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of over 20 million. Unsurprisingly, traffic is a nightmare in the city as is the shortage of available parking. To capitalize on the situation, thousands of “viene viene” entrepreneurs swarm the city streets, using painter’s buckets to claim a piece of the street in order to charge drivers a fee in exchange for parking in the illegally claimed spot. Inspired by this hijacking of public (parking) space, Factor Eficiencia and 5468796 Architecture created One Bucket at a Time, a pop-up installation made from paint buckets. Related: Giant animal faces take over Mexico City’s forest for environmental awareness Curled up on the edges, the wave-like pavilion is created with a grid of ropes that form the underlying structure. The attached buckets are strong enough to withstand the weigh of visitors who walk, run, and play on its modular surface. Overturned buckets are also used as seating around the installation. “By using buckets—a symbol of holding the public space hostage—we are highlighting and questioning this pervasive condition, and also empowering people of Mexico City to reclaim ownership of their public space, one bucket at a time, even if only for a few days,” wrote the designers. + Factor Eficiencia + 5468796 Architecture Via Contemporist Images by Jaime Navarro

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A wave of buckets hijacks public space in Mexico City

Scientists invent the world’s first microchip powered by biological systems

December 28, 2015 by  
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Researchers at Columbia University have successfully created the world’s first computer chip powered by an isolated chemical biological process. Natural systems emit enormous amounts of energy that is often underutilized. This new bio-chip represents a high-tech version of “working with nature” and is producing promising results in the laboratory. Read the rest of Scientists invent the world’s first microchip powered by biological systems

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Energy-efficient dryer of the future swaps heat for ultrasonic waves

June 28, 2015 by  
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Clothes dryers are one of the biggest energy users in the home, but a new discovery made by scientists at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory could change the home appliance’s energy-guzzling reputation forever. This “dryer of the future” will extract moisture from clothes using ultrasonic vibrations rather than heat. This method will not only use significantly less energy , but can also cut down drying times for a full load by as much as 15 to 20 minutes. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , dryer of the future , energy efficient dryer , oak ridge national laboratory , ultrasonic vibrations

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Superhydrophobic Coating Makes Better Solar Panels

June 2, 2015 by  
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Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a coating for glass that is superhydrophobic, making it so that it will literally bounce water off the surface. This coating also decreases the amount of light that reflects away from the glass. The benefits for solar collectors are immediately evident. The ability to be self-cleaning would be an enormous benefit for solar panels, even without the additional conversion efficiency benefits. Although many of the best locations for solar panel farms are in dusty desert climates with very little rainfall, even there, the ability to clean the solar panels with just a small amount of water and the self-cleaning ability of the panels would be a benefit, and a savings in labor and in water use. The coating can be applied to glass in a number of different categories, including architectural purposes, and military applications, but the use of superhydrophobic coating for solar panels could be particularly beneficial: “Where solar panels are concerned, the suppression of reflected light translates into a 3-6 percent relative increase in light-to-electricity conversion efficiency and power output of the cells. Coupled with the superhydrophobic self-cleaning ability, this could also substantially reduce maintenance and operating costs of solar panels. In addition, the coating is highly effective at blocking ultraviolet light.” According to the ORNL press release , the coating is also highly durable, unlike other hydrophobic and self-cleaning technologies. The process to make this coating is also cost-effective, and it “can be fabricated through industry standard techniques mak[ing] it easy and inexpensive to scale up and apply to a wide variety of glass platforms.” via: Oak Ridge National Laboratory press release image via: ORNL

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The Future of the Built Environment is 3D Printed

May 28, 2014 by  
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The future of the built environment is 3D printed, as California’s Bot Laboratory proves with this groundbreaking piece. Showcased at the Maker Fair 2014, the m_Wall was printed in only two pieces and stands over 6 feet 4 inches tall. Printed with the Euclid Robot 3D printer using both black and clear ABS plastic, the m_Wall is extremely strong with a single pass print thickness of over 1/4 inch (6.35mm). Architectural pieces need to be created with less expensive methods than “traditional” 3D printing, and the m_Wall proves that doing so is economically feasible by using inexpensive plastic pellets and high-speed production. Read the rest of The Future of the Built Environment is 3D Printed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3D , 3d printed , 3D printed wall , 3D printing , Bot Laboratory , grasshopper , Grasshopper 3D , m_Wall , Zachary Schoch

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Stanford’s New Pomegranate Super Batteries Could Store 10 Times More Juice

February 18, 2014 by  
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Pomegranates are a superfood for humans, and now they’re inspiring scientists to make super batteries for your smart phone and other devices. Researchers at Stanford University have taken inspiration from the pomegranate to design a supercharged anode battery . Working in collaboration with the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory , the team used the pomegranate’s unique seed design to make a battery that can store 10 times more charge than a standard rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Read the rest of Stanford’s New Pomegranate Super Batteries Could Store 10 Times More Juice Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: eco design , green design , pomegranate battery , silicon anode battery , SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory , stanford university , super charged anode battery , sustainable design        

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Stanford’s New Pomegranate Super Batteries Could Store 10 Times More Juice

Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize

July 26, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Architecture , BREEAM , breeam excellent rating , Cambridge University , London , RIBA , RIBA Stirling Prize , Stanton Williams

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Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize

Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize

July 26, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Architecture , BREEAM , breeam excellent rating , Cambridge University , London , RIBA , RIBA Stirling Prize , Stanton Williams

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Stanton Williams’ BREEAM Excellent Sainsbury Laboratory Shortlisted for 2012 RIBA Stirling Prize

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