Lacy Flying Mosque installation changes shape depending on the viewing angle

March 9, 2018 by  
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Following their gorgeous sea urchin-inspired installation at Singapore’s iLight Marina Bay Festival, Choi+Shine Architects unveiled a new lacy design crocheted in geometric shapes that mix cultural influences of the east and the west. The Flying Mosque is comprised of architecture elements that come together to form a mosque when viewed at one angle, or an elegant collection of lacy shapes from other angles. The project reinterprets an Islamic mosque by deconstructing it into elements that form a harmonious whole or a seemingly illegible composition, depending on the viewing angle. Each element is a shape familiar in both Eastern and Western architecture. The varying views of the composition emphasize individual elements that are independent, complete and can stand alone, but can also form a harmonious single entity. Related: Dark highway underpass transformed into a brilliant tunnel of light The elements of the project sway and rotate in the wind, creating a series of kinetic patterned shadows in which viewers can immerse themselves. The geometric patterns reference the traditional Islamic arabesque. The abstract expression embodied in its repetitive, orderly and cohesive pattern signifies infinity and its quiet impact produces a meditative feeling. + Choi+Shine Architects

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Lacy Flying Mosque installation changes shape depending on the viewing angle

MIT claims that clean, limitless nuclear fusion energy is just 15 years away

March 9, 2018 by  
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You’ve probably heard about the promise of nuclear fusion before… many times. But when MIT is involved, it’s best to listen up. The university has teamed up with Commonwealth Fusion Systems , and they believe that clean, limitless power could be just around the corner. Thanks to the development of a new superconductor, the team believes that they can have a working fusion power plant on-grid within the next 15 years. Scientists have been trying to make nuclear fusion happen for decades, and for a good reason – it could provide nearly endless clean energy without the risks associated with nuclear energy. In the 1950s, scientists theorized that nuclear fusion was just a few decades away. Then, after that failed to materialize, scientists in the 1970s said that it was just a few more decades away. Cut to today, and it seems like we are no closer to nuclear fusion power… until now. Related: ‘We were blown away’ – researchers eliminate obstacle to fusion energy So what makes this time different, I hear you ask? The team says that a new type of superconductor that just became available is the breakthrough they were looking for. Part of the problem with making nuclear fusion happen is that you have to be able to heat things up to a mind-boggling 150 million degrees, which turns most containers into plasma. MIT and Commonwealth plan to use this new superconductor – made of steel tape coated with yttrium-barium-copper oxide – to make magnets that will help make nuclear fusion a reality. “This is an important historical moment: Advances in superconducting magnets have put fusion energy potentially within reach, offering the prospect of a safe, carbon-free energy future,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. + MIT Via Fast Company Images via MIT

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MIT claims that clean, limitless nuclear fusion energy is just 15 years away

6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

December 26, 2017 by  
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Unless you are from Denmark or Norway, the concept of “hygge” (pronounced hoo-gah) was likely foreign to you until the past few years when this idea of “cozying around” began gaining serious traction. In this big, loud, harsh world, many of us desire a return to good company, simple pleasures, and mindfulness in the moment, and hygge embodies these ideas and more. We’re sharing six ways to help you create this restorative state of mind beloved for centuries in Denmark (by way of Norway ). Image © @quizzically_yours 1. Host a low-key and intimate get-together Small hang-outs with friends are an ideal hygge-promoting gathering. Hygge get-togethers aren’t pretentious: think board game night , card night, or a bagel brunch in the comfort of your own home. The focus of these gatherings is on togetherness, not on spending five hours baking fussy hors d’oeuvres or desserts, so they are perfect for throwing together at a moment’s notice and are super potluck-friendly . An event that gets people absorbed in each other’s company and a low-tech activity that encourages them to detach from their phones is definitely high on the hygge scale. Linked to the concept of hygge is an appreciation of the outdoors, and Danes are known for prizing their open-air time from a young age: babies in Denmark and all over Scandinavia even take their naps outside . Take your gathering outdoors (weather permitting) to bring together the best of both worlds: huddling around an outdoor fire pit definitely fits the bill as does taking a dip in a hot tub. Image © Maria via Unsplash 2. Or make your own solo hygge experience Although hygge is often associated with cozy, candlelit get-togethers with dear friends, you can create your own hygge vibe when you are by yourself. Fredagsmys , a word from Denmark’s Nordic neighbor Sweden , is an actual term used for curling up indoors on a Friday night. So watch a movie, sit on the sofa, or make yourself some hot chocolate or tea and relax with a book (perhaps in front of a fire). Hygge is focused on the idea of enjoying and being aware of simple moments and experiences, so everything doesn’t have to be “just so”: partaking in a free flowing  yoga  practice or a nourishing  soup making  session applies. Image © Alisa Anton via Unsplash 3. Create hygge-friendly spaces in your home While it may be tempting to get caught up in the hygge-buying fever and feel the desire to suddenly possess a plethora of knit throws, cushy pillows, an array of scented candles, and more items, there’s no financial obligation required for creating a warm, comfortable, friendly space. Putting your favorite vintage and reclaimed  knickknacks on display creates a sociable, lived-in vibe. Ditto for items picked up during memorable vacations and roadtrips. If you have a home with large open spaces, consider arranging the furniture that you already own in configurations that encourage intimate tête à têtes. Even a small side table or an ottoman can be a place to gather around, set down your mug, or put your feet up. Interior designer Dani Arps for TaskRabbit suggests, “Texture and natural materials always add warmth; think chunky or nubby blankets stored in a mesh basket that sits next to a reclaimed coffee table.” Related: DIY Meditation Temple Built from Salvaged Materials Photo © Aaron Burden via Unsplash 4. Make space for quiet/meditation Mindfulness and gratitude are definitely components of a hygge mentality, and they dovetail nicely with many people’s goals of having a regular meditation practice. If sitting cross-legged and reciting a mantra isn’t your cup of tea, then consider making your cup of tea the meditation itself. Give yourself permission to really savor and enjoy your morning beverage  without feeling the need to check social media. Or take an invigorating walk with your dog by your side, soak in the tub , journal or even make a phone call to a friend or family member who you can’t connect with in person-these all align with the idea of creating a soothing and reflective practice. Since mindfulness is the goal, avoid multitasking while you are doing whatever activity you choose. Image via Inhabitots 5. Make comforting and nourishing food and drink If you were to scan Instagram, many of the images hashtagged with hygge would start to resemble each other: hands around a warm mug of something, a table laid out with humble but hearty fare, like this mushroom quinoa risotto , a bowl of oatmeal, or fruit and nut-studded granola. Another central tenet in Danish culture is spending time with family , so pulling out a favorite recipe that has been shared over generations for a family gathering is a great way to honor tradition (not to mention the fact that commonly beloved food seems to have a way of smoothing over many family riffs). A super hygge-friendly activity: create an intimate  multigenerational family cooking class with a matriarch or patriarch of the family teaching the younger set how to make a traditional family dish. A few other ideas to get you started include apple cider served in apple cups , a homemade vegan nutella-like spread , one pot sun-dried tomato and basil pasta , and a decadent vegan chocolate cake made with veggies . Image © Antonia Bukowska via Unsplash 6. Put hygge concepts to work year-round Although the idea of cozying around a fire or snuggled up on the couch with our favorites makes winter the season most associated with hygge, the concept of hygge can be employed throughout the year. After all, hygge is a mindset for making “ essential and mundane tasks dignified, joyful, and beautiful ”. To that end, going for a midsummer midnight swim, having a backyard BBQ with a few friends, taking a hike in the spring rain, or organizing a pumpkin picking and carving session could all embody this mind/body/soul-nourishing concept. Lead image ©  Worthy of Elegance via Unsplash

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6 ways to make your life more "Hygge" – the Danish secret to happiness

EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living

March 27, 2017 by  
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An American agrihood making waves with its sustainable living movement turned heads again with the completion of the first Organic Life House early this year. Located on the outskirts of Atlanta, Ga., the Serenbe community teamed up with Rodale’s Organic Life Magazine to build an EarthCraft-certified demonstration home to teach residents and visitors about healthy living and eco-friendly building practices. Constructed from natural materials, the 6,000-square-foot dwelling draws energy from renewable geothermal and solar sources and features a variety of wellness-promoting spaces. Designed by architect J.P. Curran and built by Bobby Webb, the Organic Life House is a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath home that promotes wellness and connection with the outdoors. In addition to the use of natural materials throughout the home, the stone-clad Serenbe house reinforces its ties with nature with views of the preserved woods, edible and medicinal gardens, and a series of outdoor spaces like the labyrinth and multiple porches. Thoughtful choices for the neutral-toned interior, from the flooring to window treatments, create a healthy indoor environment promoting wellness and relaxation. Tall ceilings, ample natural light, and warm textures create a homey feel. “The partnership between Serenbe and Organic Life is the perfect collaboration,” says Steve Nygren, founder of Serenbe. “We are both dedicated to helping people enjoy well-balanced lives that are in tune with their environment and community. The Organic Life House will be an exciting opportunity to introduce the Serenbe lifestyle to the Rodale audience and show how they can apply these practices in their own homes.” Related: America’s first urban ‘agrihood’ feeds 2,000 households for free The Organic Life House expands on the Serenbe mission to serve as an inspiring leader for agrihoods and wellness communities, and was the first home to break ground in the 1,000-acre community’s newest neighborhood, Mado. Like Serenbe’s other energy-efficient homes, the Organic Life House features renewable energy systems like geothermal heating and cooling as well as energy-saving appliances. The home also includes a yoga and meditation studio, saltwater lap pool, and hot tub. + Organic Life House Images by J. Ashley Photography

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EarthCraft-certified Organic Life House teaches Atlanta agrihood residents about healthy living

Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

March 27, 2017 by  
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Teenagers fighting environmental destruction at the hands of the oil and gas industry in Colorado just celebrated a victory. Last week the Colorado Court of Appeals sided with teenage activist and Earth Guardians director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez , who filed suit, and reversed a lower court ruling so the state could have to prioritize environmental protection before the interests of the fossil fuel industry . Back in 2013 Martinez and other teenagers approached the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), a state organization that according to their website is charged with promoting responsible development of fossil fuel resources in Colorado “in a manner consistent with the protection of public health , safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources.” But apparently the kids didn’t think they were doing such a great job with that mission – and they weren’t alone. According to The Denver Post, COGCC officials for over 10 years have interpreted their mission to balance fossil fuel industry interests against public health. Since the commission’s formation, over 50,000 oil wells have been drilled. Related: 16-year-old activist demands US gov end fossil fuel use by 2026 The kids asked the organization to not issue any new drilling permits “unless the best available science demonstrates, and an independent third party organization confirms, that drilling can occur in a manner that does not cumulatively, with other actions, impair Colorado’s atmosphere, water, wildlife, and land resources, does not adversely impact human health, and does not contribute to climate change .” COGCC refused after holding a hearing. The teenagers appealed, with the support of over a dozen advocacy groups. But the Denver District Court backed the COGCC. So the teenagers appealed again, and last week a three-judge appeals court panel sided with the teenagers. The fight isn’t over. The COGCC doesn’t have to now implement the teenagers’ rule. Instead the ruling means the organization illegally rejected the rule, and the case returns to district court. Via Business Insider and The Denver Post Images via Xiuhtezcatl Martinez on Facebook and Teja Jonnalagadda on Facebook

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Colorado appeals court sides with teenagers fighting oil and gas industry

Tiny timber meditation pavilion in Italy reconnects people to nature

September 26, 2016 by  
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Inspired by East and West spiritual philosophies, the five-meter-tall Riondolo was built by hand using local techniques and labor. The building features crisscrossing timber slats that taper upwards from its seven-square-meter base into a small square skylight. Only a few people are able to use the pavilion at the same time and are invited to rest on the small wooden benches inside. Gaps between the timber slats frame views over the lake and the surrounding vistas. Related: Beautiful cedar-covered pavilion is a poetic rest stop in the English countryside Wegher wrote: “Riondolo explores the sensory perception of nature and communicates with the symbolic and minimal language of the elements, like a filter which frames light and reality, which gives form and space in the search for balance between full and void spaces, vibrant harmonious compositions, telltale signs of imperceptible streams between lightness and gravity, all this conveyed by wood, the natural and lively matter ready to receive a slow and incontrovertible biological erosion.” + Giovanni Wegher Via Dezeen Images via Giovanni Wegher

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Tiny timber meditation pavilion in Italy reconnects people to nature

Unique meditation pavilion in the Netherlands generates its own mist

September 21, 2016 by  
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The Meditation Pavilion and Garden were designed to cultivate a tranquil atmosphere and harness the calming potential of water. The enclosed volume spreads from bank to bank and draws the water inside to blur the line between the interior and exterior space. It houses changing rooms and a bathroom at the west end, and a summer kitchen and storage at the opposite side. Related: Tiny Meditation Pavilion Sits Ever-So-Quietly Amidst Vermont’s Green Mountains The steel-framed structure features movable partitions that slide to open and close the middle part of the pavilion. Most of the exterior is defined by vertical ash wood slats that make the volume seem permeable. Skylights add natural light to the interior and partly illuminate the water. + GMAA – GM Architectes Associés Via Dezeen

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Unique meditation pavilion in the Netherlands generates its own mist

Oyler Wu’s interactive Headspace Pods give you a cozy space to learn meditation

February 29, 2016 by  
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Science (& iPhone App) Backs the Meditation-Happiness Factor, Big Time.

November 14, 2010 by  
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Sorry, daydreamers. Wandering thoughts, even if pleasant, won’t bring on the bliss. Photo: Simon James/ Creative Commons There’s a saying in the Buddhist tradition that I adore that goes, “If you can’t sit with reality, it will sit with you.” This isn’t some metaphysical, new-agey speak

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Science (& iPhone App) Backs the Meditation-Happiness Factor, Big Time.

‘No Body’s Right, If Everybody’s Wrong’ – Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Opposes Biomass Power

November 13, 2010 by  
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“The new 29MW Charter Street facility will use 250,000 tons of biomass fuel each year” Caption and image credit: BrighterEnergy.org Wisconsin’s newly-elected Republican Governor is opposed to funding the planned biomass-fired portion of a flex-fuel power plant on the UW Madison campus. He wants the cheaper, natural gas fired part to go forward, however, which will translate to cleaner emissions and capital cost savings. From an

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