Geothermal-powered Lake Austin Home is tuned in to nature

September 22, 2017 by  
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Local studio A Parallel Architecture designed the award-winning Lake Austin Residence, a beautiful luxury home that derives inspiration from nature. Despite its large 6,750-square-foot size and horizontal footprint, the contemporary house achieves a sense of lightness thanks to ample full-height glazing and limestone massing. The energy-efficient dwelling offers geothermal climate control, as well as onsite waste treatment and water collection. Spread out across two stories, the Lake Austin Residence comprises a series of stacked and staggered rectangular volumes clad in limestone brickwork and white stucco. Nearly flat roofs top the volumes, which are punctuated by large sections of glazing to let in natural light and views of the landscape. “Like a butterfly specimen pinned to its mounting, this sinuous lake-front home’s light floating roofs are anchored to its site by heavy rusticated limestone masses, while its horizontal footprint is spread out and sewn through the vertical punctuation of mature sycamore, cypress and pecan trees,” wrote the architects. Related: Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin To lend a sense of warmth to the glass and stone palette, the architects added a warm interior palette of oak, mahogany, and cedar as well as splashes of turquoise to reference the lake. The heart of the light-filled interior is a nearly double-height living room separated from the dining room and kitchen by a fireplace. The master suite is located on the right side of the house, while the three bedrooms are placed in the left wing. Sliding glass doors open the back of the property up to the outdoor stone patio, infinity pool, and Lake Austin . + A Parallel Architecture Via Dezeen Images via A Parallel Architecture

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Geothermal-powered Lake Austin Home is tuned in to nature

Researchers find sunscreen becomes toxic when exposed to chlorine

June 30, 2017 by  
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Most of us are quick to reach for our sunscreen before heading outdoors in the summer , but that might not be a great idea – especially for swimmers. New research reveals that sunscreen becomes toxic when exposed to chlorine, sometimes resulting in kidney and liver dysfunctions, as well as nervous system disorders. The study, conducted by Lomonosov Moscow State University, was published in the journal Chemosphere . The researchers were reportedly stunned to discover that chlorine — a chemical commonly used in the US and UK to disinfect water by killing bacteria — breaks down suncream into other potentially-hazardous chemicals. Specifically, the ingredient Avobenzone is what breaks down into hazardous components when mixed with chlorinated water. As Phys.org reports , Avobenzone was approved by the FDA in 1988 due to its ability to absorb ultraviolet light by converting the energy of the light into thermal energy . Every year, it is regularly applied by millions of people worldwide — a fact which makes this finding so concerning. Related: Hawaii aims to ban coral reef-killing chemical sunscreens Dr. Albert Lebedev, the study’s author, said, “On the basis of the experiments one could make a conclusion that a generally safe compound transforms in the water and forms more dangerous products. In spite of the fact that there are no precise toxicological profiles for the most established products, it’s known that acetyl benzenes and phenols, especially chlorinated ones, are quite toxic .” Scientists are now looking into a suitable alternative for avobenzone that won’t break down when exposed to chlorination or bromination of fresh and sea water. “Studying the products of transformation of any popular cosmetics is very important as very often they turn out to be much more toxic and dangerous than their predecessors,” said Lebedeve. “In principle, basing on such researches, one could obtain results, which could restrict or even put under a ban the usage of one or another product, and preserve health of millions of people.” Via Express.co.uk , Phys Images via Pixabay , SheKnows

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Researchers find sunscreen becomes toxic when exposed to chlorine

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

Energy-generating ‘artificial plants’ turn greenhouse gases into clean air

April 27, 2017 by  
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Groundbreaking research from scientists at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Florida State University could help in the fight against climate change . The researchers were able to trigger photosynthesis in metal-organic frameworks (MOF) with a little help from blue light , and the process turned carbon dioxide (CO2) into solar fuel . UCF assistant professor Fernando Uribe-Romo described the find as a breakthrough. Scientists have been seeking such a breakthrough for years. The trick is getting visible light to set off the chemical reaction; ultraviolet rays can do it but only comprise four percent of the light hitting Earth from the sun. Most materials that can absorb visible light to set off the reaction are too expensive or rare. The Florida scientists, however, found they could use the common nontoxic metal titanium added with organic molecules that can be designed to absorb certain colors of light. Uribe-Romo set them up to absorb blue light. Related: MIT Scientists Create Artificial Solar Leaf That Can Power Homes The team tested the MOF inside a photoreactor – or glowing blue cylinder lined with LED lights to mimic blue wavelengths shining from the sun – and the resulting chemical reaction turned CO2 into solar fuel. Uribe-Romo said, “The idea would be to set up stations that capture large amounts of CO2, like next to a power plant . The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process, and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant.” He said it may even be possible for the material to be put in rooftop shingles to both clean the air and generate energy usable for homeowners. He aims to keep working with the synthetic material and see if different wavelengths of visible light can set off the reaction. The Journal of Materials Chemistry A published the find online earlier this month. Via The Independent and EurekAlert! Images via UCF: Bernard Wilchusky and University of Central Florida

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Energy-generating ‘artificial plants’ turn greenhouse gases into clean air

Court condemns Wyoming wolves to first legal hunt in four years

April 27, 2017 by  
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Wolves have been taken off the United States government’s endangered species list in Wyoming , and a court decision just gave wolf management back to the state. This means for the first time in four years, according to the Associated Press (AP), Wyoming plans to have a wolf hunt . Wolves are still recovering after their numbers were severely depleted, and environmentalists warn this order could be a step backward for the animals . Wolves will no longer have federal protections in Wyoming. The state will allow a wolf hunt this fall; officials told the AP the hunt will probably be similar to 2012 and 2013 hunting seasons. In 2013 the state allowed for 26 wolves to be killed near the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. The AP said the hunting season only applies to the greater Yellowstone area; elsewhere in the state wolves can now be shot on sight year-round. Related: Trump presidency could spell the end for wolves in America’s West The Wyoming Game & Fish Department put it rather bluntly: “Wolves outside the Trophy Game Management Area are now considered predatory animals as defined in state law and therefore can be harvested.” Back around the beginning of March Natural Resources Defense Council senior attorney Rebecca Riley told The Washington Post, “Wyoming’s plan to shoot wolves on sight throughout most of the state was a bad idea when it was proposed, and it’s a bad idea now. The court’s decision to lift federal protections for wolves in Wyoming will be a step backward for wolf recovery in the West.” A few hundred years ago some two million wolves lived in the United States; that number has dwindled to around 1,700. Wolves live on just 10 percent of their historic range in the American West. Via the Associated Press , the Wyoming Game & Fish Department , and The Washington Post Images via Pixabay and Jeremy Weber on Flickr

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Court condemns Wyoming wolves to first legal hunt in four years

Researchers close in on world’s first 100% self-charging lithium-ion battery

April 26, 2017 by  
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We’ve all experienced the nuisance of a dying phone when there’s no outlet in sight, but that moment could become a relic of the past thanks to new technology being developed by an international team of 19 scientists. The group, led by the Institute de Recherche d-Hydro-Québec and McGill University in Canada , want their battery to harvest and store light energy all on its own – without the help of solar panels . Lithium-ion batteries can only hold so much power, and must be recharged often. So researchers are developing a device that can harvest energy from light and store it. They just published a study showing a lithium-ion battery cathode can be sensitized to light by combining lithium-ion materials with dye molecules including solar cell technology. Here’s how study lead author Andrea Paolella of Hydro-Québec puts it: “In other words, our research team was able to simulate a charging process using light as a source of energy.” Related: 94-year-old inventor of lithium-ion cells develops new battery that can store 3 times more energy The cathode is only half of the process. The researchers must develop an anode that can store the light energy. If they can accomplish that feat, they will have created the first 100 percent self-charging lithium-ion battery in the world. And they’re already at work on phase two. “I’m an optimist and I think we can get a fully working device. Theoretically speaking, our goal is to develop a new hybrid solar-battery system, but depending on the power it can generate when we miniaturize it, we can imagine applications for portable devices such as phones,” said Paolella. Phase two could still take years, but co-author George Demopoulos, a professor at McGill University, thinks this passive form of charging could be significant for devices of the future. Nature Communications published the study online earlier this month. Scientists from institutions in Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom were also part of the research. Via McGill University Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Researchers close in on world’s first 100% self-charging lithium-ion battery

Seoul’s multi-tiered Deep House slopes into a gorgeous grassy roof

April 26, 2017 by  
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This house in South Korea’s capital utilizes negative space to create various micro-environments that boost the building’s energy efficiency. Architecture firm poly.m.ur designed the Deep House as a single volume featuring a slanted roof and walls where one room flows into another. The tilted roof provides ample storage inside and gives each residential unit expansive views of the surroundings. The house features a slanted roof and stone louvers along the sloping sides of the building. Taking inspiration from a design philosophy based on the idea of dispersing the main volume through the use of shallow depth, the architects created hollow spaces that improve the energy efficiency of the building and provide ample storage space . Related: Angular residence by Moon Hoon maximizes privacy and a tiny plot Box-type corner windows are strategically laid out to provide optimal views of the surrounding landscape while minimizing the effects of cold winter winds. Instead of treating windows as two-dimensional elements, the architects conceived them as “micro-spaces” or “rooms inside rooms”. + poly.m.ur Via Archdaily Photos by Kyungsub Shin

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Seoul’s multi-tiered Deep House slopes into a gorgeous grassy roof

New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements

January 24, 2017 by  
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Believe it or not, your body is largely made of the products from exploding stars, cosmic ray fission, and other Star Trek-esque phenomena. The stellar origins of every atom in your body trace back to the Big Bang , and are now outlined for your enjoyment in a new periodic table that classifies all the elements that make up life on Earth, according to their origin. Ohio State University astronomer Jennifer A. Johnson concocted the colorful table to give folks a better idea of where the ingredients for every living human originally came from. According to Science Alert , the human body is made up mostly of hydrogen, the most common atom in the universe, produced during the Big Bank about 13.8 billion years ago. The remainder of your body’s atoms are the product of ancient stars that merged, exploded and died over the billions of years since the universe was first forged. Others are the result of cosmic rays of high-energy radiation that come from outside our solar system . Related: Scientists observe the light spectrum of antimatter for the first time ever According to Johnson, her periodic table accounts only for the main elements of the human body, while others were cut in an effort to make the chart as relevant as possible. “Tc, Pm, and the elements beyond U do not have long-lived or stable isotopes. I have ignored the elements beyond U in this plot, but not including Tc and Pm looked weird, so I have included them in grey,” she says on her blog . The new table builds on work Johnson did in 2008, with her colleague Inese Ivans from the University of Utah . They launched into the work of putting this table together out of frustration over constantly having to explain which elements go with which process on a periodic table. What they’ve created is a periodic table that identifies the six sources of elements in our body and breaks them down by the stellar process that resulted in their formation. The colors correspond to the various elements and the way they fill up the boxes shows how much of that element is linked to a certain cosmic process or event. Via Science Alert Images via Wikimedia Commons and Jennifer A. Johnson

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Solar Team Great Britain designs the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car

January 24, 2017 by  
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Solar Team Great Britain has created the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car . The newly formed team has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help them build what it hopes will win the title as the world’s fastest solar-powered car at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, later this year. The challenge covers 3,022 km from Darwin to Adelaide and is labeled as the world’s toughest and longest competition for solar cars. Solar Team Great Britain is hoping to raise at least $25,000 via the Kickstarter campaign, which will help cover part of the costs to build the unique solar-powered vehicle. While the Kickstarter campaign will only raise about five percent of the funds the team needs, the campaign is also being run to raise public awareness of both the race and the need for more clean transportation . The team is also backed by over a dozen sponsors, which will help raise the additional money required to bring the four-passenger vehicle to life. Related: Sono Motors crowdfunds groundbreaking solar-powered car “We’ve been keen since the project’s inception to get more people on board with its goals. While only forming a small part of the total we need, we felt this could help highlight the work being done and get the public backing and awareness for solar cars … and joins initiatives like working with schools.” At the race in October, the team will compete in the Cruiser Class category, where the winner must balance not just speed but practicality and energy efficiency . In the 2013 race, a four-seater family car traveled the route with an external energy consumption of only 64 kWh. To compare, a typical family car traveling the same route would have an energy consumption of approximately 5,000 kWh. + Solar Team Great Britain

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Solar Team Great Britain designs the UK’s first family-sized solar-powered car

Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

January 11, 2017 by  
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Architect and designer Margot Krasojevi? shows off the beautiful possibilities of 3D printing in her latest work, the Lace LED. Made from recycled post-consumer plastics, the LED light diffuser gets its lace-like quality from its layers of geometric shapes that fan out from a central point. The Lace LED is designed as a suspended work of kinetic art . The diffuser is hinged on a pivot that rotates within a frame to create different patterns of light and shadow. “These complex shapes direct LED light through the entire pattern, which diffuses, deflects and refracts light creating a moving shadow whilst focusing it,” write Margot Krasojevi? Architects. “The form is the antithesis of the mass-produced recycled bottles and waste used in its fabrication.” Related: Designer David Grass 3D-Prints Light Bulbs in the Shape of Modern Cityscapes The diffuser’s intricate parametric pattern was created from a digital modeling program. In addition to recycled plastic , the Lace LED is 3D printed in ceramic, polymer, silver, and brass. + Margot Krasojevi? Via v2com Images via Margot Krasojevi?

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Margot Krasojevi 3D prints recycled plastic into a delicate Lace LED lamp

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