The zero-electricity Gentlewasher does the laundry in five minutes flat

November 29, 2017 by  
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We’ve all been there – you need to wash just a few clothing items but you don’t have nearly enough for a full load of laundry . The gentlewasher offers a solution, washing clothes in five minutes with less water than washing machines and zero electricity . The hand-powered device can wash up to 12 T-shirts or eight dresses at a time, and it uses around 4.7 gallons of water – compare that to 13 gallons for an Energy Star washing machine, or 40 gallons for an older model washing machine. Need to wash delicates in a hurry? The gentlewasher makes hand-washing clothes a breeze. It’s easy to use: attach a water hose, put in clothes and a teaspoon of detergent, and start turning. After a two-minute wash cycle and two-minute rinse cycle, the garments are ready to hang-dry. The ergonomic handle ensures you won’t get too tired during the process. Related: 14-year-old girl invents pedal-powered washing machine from bike parts The gentlewasher lives up to its name, and it can actually prolong the life of your garments with the help of patented honeycomb holes that create a protective water layer so garments won’t come into contact with the drum. The company says that their product is the most sustainable and gentlest washing device for apparel ever. The company, based in the Netherlands, says results are “as good as a front-loading machine.” The gentlewasher is designed for clothes that should be washed by hand, but it can be used for all types of garments. It’s especially useful for people on the road – such as those traveling in an RV or camping. And it could even come in handy in between laundry loads or for cutting down trips to the laundromat for those living in tiny city apartments. The company says their mission is to “develop an affordable washing device for people around the world,” as five billion people worldwide still don’t have access to washing machines and must spend hours washing clothes. You can buy a gentlewasher online for $269. + gentlewasher Images courtesy of gentlewasher

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The zero-electricity Gentlewasher does the laundry in five minutes flat

BIG and WeWork reveal plans for interactive WeGrow kindergarten in New York City

November 29, 2017 by  
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International startup WeWork is expanding beyond its co-working roots with a public  kindergarten in New York City called WeGrow. The innovative school will be designed in collaboration  BIG Architects  and will provide an environment for education in an interactive space that focuses on introspection, exploration, and discovery. WeGrow will be a public elementary school for kids ages three to nine that aims to function as an environment where youngsters can experience hands-on and experiential learning. The first images of the space show wooden play areas, large grey pods for climbing and sitting, and several modular classrooms and treehouses that facilitate interaction. Related: 10 brilliant communal designs helping people work and live together WeWork claims that the new kindergarten will “focus as much on the growth of our children’s spirits as we will their minds.” References to various natural phenomena, as well as an element of futurism, permeate the new WeGrow concept, set to open its first location in Chelsea next autumn. “The design starts from the premise of a school universe at the level of the child: a field of super-elliptic objects forms a learning landscape that’s dense and rational – yet free and fluid,” said the firm. + BIG Architects Via Dezeen

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BIG and WeWork reveal plans for interactive WeGrow kindergarten in New York City

Scientists may have just found the chemical "missing link" for the origins of life on Earth

November 7, 2017 by  
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In attempting to recreate the conditions of Earth circa billions of years ago, a research team may have uncovered a key “missing link” in our knowledge of the origin of life on Earth. The discovery of diamidophosphate (DAP), a compound that may have been present in early Earth, is an exciting step forward in understanding how early life emerged from various ingredients and conditions. “It reminds me of the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, who waves a wand and ‘poof,’ ‘poof,’ ‘poof,’ everything simple is transformed into something more complex and interesting,” said Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy , senior author of the study published in  Nature Chemistry  and chemist at the Scripps Research Institute in California. The key to DAP’s “magic” is its ability to facilitate a process called phosphorylation, an essential process in the function of chemicals from neurotransmitters to proteins , and the linking of a particular compound with a phosphate. This process is very common in biochemistry and enables proteins, neurotransmitters and countless other chemicals to function within organic systems. To determine DAP’s fitness to facilitate the origins of life, the team checked DAP’s ability to phosphorylate with several crucial organic compounds. These included RNA, which is essential for the decoding and messaging of genetic information as well as protein synthesis, fatty acids, which make up cell membranes, and amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Related: Researchers shocked to discover protein that conducts electricity All of the tested organic chemicals, when mixed with water and an additional chemical thought to be found on early Earth, successfully reacted with the DAP. While scientists lack the ability to truly know what early Earth was like, or whether the origin of life involved DAP, these experiments show one feasible path through which life could have developed. Via Newsweek Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Scientists may have just found the chemical "missing link" for the origins of life on Earth

The rise and fall of an American utility

August 5, 2017 by  
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A utility CEO faces the crisis of his life: transform a 33-year-old electric utility and succeed in the fast-changing U.S. energy landscape.

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The rise and fall of an American utility

Ride the Chair of Death on world’s highest cliff drop swing

August 4, 2017 by  
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Picture it: you jump off a cliff edge 360 feet in the air and plummet past the rocky cliff face until the tension catches, and then you careen across the canyon on the world’s craziest swing . If that sounds like your idea of a good time, then you need to check out the Shotover Canyon Swing in New Zealand – the world’s highest cliff drop. Riders hook onto a 650-foot cable before launching off the cliff. As you fall, you can reach speeds up to 90 mph until your free-fall is arrested by the cable. If stepping off the cliff side isn’t enough for you, you can also choose to ride a bicycle off the cliff, shoot off on a slide, or be tipped over in a plastic chair, known as the “chair of death.” Related: Amazing Tiny Treehouse Boasts the World’s Wildest Swing 8,350 Feet Above Sea Level! Once you master the art of the world’s highest cliff drop, you can add in the “Canyon Fox” option, where you are tethered to two lines 600 feet above the canyon floor. You launch yourself off a sloped ramp, falling until the tether catches you and tosses you across the canyon on a massive zip line . The entire experience, including Swing and Fox ride, will cost you a cool $299 and possibly 10 years off your life. + Canyon Swing Via Thrillist

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Ride the Chair of Death on world’s highest cliff drop swing

Self-inflating HEXA raft automatically deploys upon contact with water

January 2, 2017 by  
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At sea, situations often emerge where crew and passengers have to quickly evacuate the vessel, causing panic, and jeopardizing safety and organization. To help simplify such scenarios, designers Yoo JiIn and Lee Ji Sang created HEXA, a six-sided life raft that automatically activates upon contact with water. In order to be deployed, HEXA requires only that it be dropped in the water where it automatically self-inflates into a life-saving device. Six inflatable sections allow people to climb onto the raft. In addition to the efficiency of its design, the device also sends a RFID signal that can help rescue teams pin point its location. Related: The SeaKettle is a Raft + Water Purifier That Could Save Your Life Various survival supplies like food, drinkable water, flares and lifejackets are available inside the center of the pod, providing survivors with all the essential things which will allow them to survive while waiting to be rescued. Via Yanko Design

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Self-inflating HEXA raft automatically deploys upon contact with water

The world’s oldest panda in captivity dead at 38

October 18, 2016 by  
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Last Sunday, the world’s oldest panda in captivity passed away. Jia Jia spent her final day at Hong Kong ’s Ocean Park, which was home for the last 17 years of her life. At 38, she had far surpassed the natural life expectancy for pandas , becoming a kind of national celebrity and making her death that much harder for locals to bear. Jia Jia first came to Hong Kong in 1999. She and her mate An An, now 30 years old, created a widespread sensation upon their arrival. An An is currently the second oldest male panda in captivity. Pandas typically do not live past the age of 20 in the wild, and maybe a few years more than that when under human care. Ocean Park officials say her longevity is a testament to the devoted care she received there. Related: World’s oldest panda celebrates with cake and bamboo. Happy Birthday Jia Jia! Like any human who lived long enough to be 114 (Jia Jia’s age in human years), she began to succumb to physical maladies typical in old age. High blood pressure, arthritis, and cataracts were among the ailments that plagued her in her final years. Jia Jia had also suddenly lost weight and her appetite, prompting veterinarians to make the decision to ease her suffering and euthanize her early this week. Ocean Park chairman Leo Kung said, “(She) was a member of our family who spent 17 wonderful years with the Hong Kong people, and she will be deeply missed.” Rest in peace, Jia Jia. Via CNN Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay

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The world’s oldest panda in captivity dead at 38

Stunning geodesic domes from Romania can handle earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale

October 18, 2016 by  
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“Geodesic domes are extremely strong for their weight due to their omni triangulated surface that provides an inherently stable structure,” according to Remus Gall, the lead project manager at Biodomes. The company adds that their domes have “a natural resistance to external factors like earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale, winds up to 320 km/h due to the aerodynamic shape and loads up to 20 tonnes per point of structure.” Related: 5 great reasons to build a geodesic dome home Geodesic domes also boast a series of environmental benefits. “The spherical design results in highly efficient and effective air circulation in both summer and winter,” according to the company. With a lower surface area than conventional homes, domes are also “less susceptible to temperature changes,” making them cheaper to heat and cool. And because their shape mirrors the sun’s path, they benefit from significant natural lighting and solar gain throughout the day – a plus in winter. In summer, magnetic shades reduce thermal loads. These domes are incredibly versatile – they can be used as a greenhouse , an eco-home, as a recreational space, indoor pool or even an observatory. The images in the gallery depict the Pollux model which is 16-feet in diameter and 8-feet tall. For now the company is restricted to European installations, but it might be worth contacting them if you’re outside of Europe – maybe they can offer you some ideas if this is the way you want to go. + Biodome Systems SRL

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Stunning geodesic domes from Romania can handle earthquakes up to 8.5 on the Richter scale

Hyperloop One raises $50 million and hires former Uber CFO as an advisor

October 18, 2016 by  
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In another round of successful financing, futuristic transportation startup Hyperloop One has tacked on an extra $50 million to its grand investment total of $160 million. Not only are they quickly raising funds – the firm also hired Brent Callinicos, former Uber Chief Financial Officer, to advise their CEO with how to move forward. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s49_ekUA2eg The company seems to be moving along almost as quickly as their vehicles are projected to travel. Two months ago the first Hyperloop One factory opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the startup still expects to have a full-scale demonstration ready to go by the first quarter of 2017. The latest round of financing, lead by the world’s third largest port operator DP World Group of Dubai , will be helpful. Greentech Media reports many groups are interested in utilizing Hyperloop One for shipping goods, with passengers to follow later. Related: Hyperloop One hits 116 mph in 1.1 seconds on first public test run CEO of Hyperloop One, Ron Lloyd, told The Verge that he is grateful for the addition of Callinicos to the team. He said, “We hope he can help us do the same things he helped Uber do in those early days.” Callinicos will serve as a “full-time strategic advisor to the CEO and board of directors,” according to Clean Technica . Callinicos brings expertise from the rise of Uber, as well as plenty of know-how from notable positions at Microsoft and Google. + Hyperloop One Via Clean Technica Images via Hyperloop One

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Hyperloop One raises $50 million and hires former Uber CFO as an advisor

Detailed flowchart shows the complete lifecycle of US energy use

August 16, 2016 by  
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San Francisco company Otherlab has created a massive interactive “ Energy Literacy ” flowchart that shows all of the energy used in America. The company debuted the chart at an event run by Reinvent , a company dedicated to bringing innovators together to address the world’s most pressing problems. Pulling data from the Department of Energy and other sources, the diagram is the first of its kind to depict the complete flow of energy throughout the US economy. While this was a massive undertaking, perhaps it’s not so surprising considering the source. Otherlab is run by serial entrepreneur and MacArthur genius Saul Griffith, who once famously calculated the carbon footprint of every single action in his life . When he presented the chart, he told his audience, “I think we may be the first three or four people to read every footnote in every energy agency document ever produced.” The left side of the diagram shows where our energy comes from – the majority from coal , less than 1 percent from solar . By highlighting a section, readers can track a single energy source to its various ends, seeing just how much energy ends up wasted along the way. For example: with natural gas the waste is substantial, with only half of the generated energy being used. Related: Americans used less energy in 2015, but more wind, solar, and geothermal power Some of the major uses of our energy should come as no surprise, such as that used for basic infrastructure. Other uses, like the energy used by US military jets, may raise questions readers didn’t even realize they had. By charting out the connections between all of these industries and our energy production, Griffith hopes it will be possible to better understand the economy and for policy decisions to be made with more accurate information. + Energy Literacy Via Co.Exist Images via Energy Literacy and Kevin Dooley

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