German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

June 6, 2019 by  
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The circuses of the future will have bright lights, virtual-reality technology and one especially awe-inspiring feature: consent from all entertainers. German-based Circus Roncalli is leading the way by becoming the first circus to use 3D holograms of animals instead of forcing live animals to entertain crowds. Circus Roncalli has been around since 1976 but led the pack by dropping live circus animals from its acts as early as the 1990s. Last year, founder and director Bernhard Paul invested half a million dollars (USD) to develop the holographic animal performances that have recently gone viral on social media. Related: New Jersey first state to ban wild animals in circuses His shows now feature acts by holographic elephants , horses and large goldfish and attracted over 600,000 attendees in the first year alone. With ticket prices between $32 and $78 USD per person, his investment was well worth it. Animal rights advocates and circus enthusiasts have jumped on his success, touting Circus Roncalli as the future of the circus and using it as an example to advocate for the end of animal abuse in entertainment. Many governments are also passing laws that prohibit the use of animals for entertainment. “Thankfully, the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform ,” said Jan Creamer from Animal Defenders International. “This is the future of circus — a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment.” Paul claims his years of success are due to the skills of his human performers, including amazing acrobatic tricks, and the circus animals are an added feature that the crowds love. Not all entertainment acts have the available cash to invest in large light shows; however, with increasing awareness and support for animal rights, other circuses should look to Circus Roncalli as inspiration. Via The Dodo and WSVN Miami Images via Circus Roncalli ( 1 , 2 )

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German circus goes cruelty-free by replacing animals with holograms

Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

June 6, 2019 by  
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Can digital fabrication unlock a new frontier in low-cost timber construction? All signs point to yes in the IBA Timber Prototype House, a micro-architecture project that’s been playfully described as “a log cabin turned on its side” by its designers at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction at the University of Stuttgart . Designed to meet PassivHaus standards, the airtight and highly sustainable building system was developed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) Thueringen and is currently on show in Apolda until September 29. The IBA Timber Prototype House shows how computational design and fabrication technologies can turn low-cost timber construction into an environmentally friendly, economical and architecturally expressive way to build. The mono-material building consists of a series of staggered upright spruce timber frames with thin slits that serve as stress-relief cuts to prevent splitting and dead-air chambers to increase insulation values without compromising structural capacity. Digital fabrication and five-axis CNC milling also allowed for the creation of precision-cut airtight joints for connecting the timber elements so that no metal fasteners or adhesives were needed in construction. “Conventional building systems have a vast array of different materials embedded in them, which often have very high embedded energy costs and are difficult to separate for recycling ,” explains the ICD team. “In contrast, this research draws on traditional joinery, and a system was developed that relies purely on wood elements for structural connections and airtight enclosure, minimizing system layers and ensuring easy disassembly for end-of-life recycling. Furthermore, the project sources all the wood from within the state of Thueringen, where the demonstrator was built, allowing the team to minimize the embodied energy costs associated with moving materials over transportation networks.” Related: This geometric pod is an ultra-light micro-office on wheels The tiny building’s curving walls and roof are also a result of digital fabrication, while simulations of the home’s energy efficiency—the house achieves a U-value of 0.20 W/(m^2K) without additional insulation—have indicated that the prototype should perform up to PassivHaus standards even during cold German winters. + ICD Photos by Thomas Mueller

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Innovative micro-house uses digital fabrication on low-cost timber construction

Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

February 6, 2019 by  
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One of the best ways to fight climate change is to invest in trees and plants. Branches and leaves help trap carbon dioxide, effectively reducing overall pollution in the atmosphere. The only hurdle is that trees take up a lot of land and resources to cultivate, which is why scientists are turning to an alternative source in the fight against carbon emissions. Scientists in Germany just published a new study about how artificial plant life can also cut down on carbon pollution . The team created an artificial system that absorbs carbon dioxide and turns it into a product that is rich in carbon, like alcohol. The system then releases oxygen into the air and captures any excess carbon byproducts for later use. Related: How to teach children about climate change The artificial system is actually more effective than what plants and trees do naturally. In fact, some experts believe this new technology is about 1,000 times better than its natural counterpart. This is significant, because there is not enough room on the planet for trees and plants to absorb the amount of carbon we are currently emitting into the atmosphere. Although artificial trees might be the answer to help curb carbon emissions, there is one catch to the system. According to The Guardian , the cost of installing artificial trees is beyond the reach of most communities. Starting a small forest of artificial trees costs close to a quarter of a million dollars, and that is just to get the ball rolling. Scientists hope to decrease that price point in the near future, but that will only happen once technology progresses and investors get more interested in funding research. If scientists can lower the cost of artificial trees, then it might be our best option for capturing  carbon emissions. But this technology is competing against other methods of removing carbon from the air, so only time will tell if artificial systems are the answer to the growing problem of climate change. Via The Guardian  and  Popular Science Image via Pixabay

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Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

Turn the Eiffel Tower Green?

December 30, 2011 by  
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A concept to turn the Eiffel Tower into a giant green wall has been proposed as a symbolic statement of “the reconciliation of nature and mankind.”The plan calls for 600,000 plants to be attached to the structure using hemp sacks filled with soil as the growth media. An irrigation system comprising 12 tons of tubing would be used to provide water for the plants. The installation would not be permanent, and would be removed after a few years. But, once in place, the installation would help remove an estimated 87.8 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. “Should it not be the duty of engineers to imagine a new future where nature is brought back into the heart of the city,” said a statement from Ginger, the company behind the proposal. With an estimated cost of nearly 100 million dollars for the project, that’s more than a million dollars per ton of CO2. Hardly the most cost effective carbon sequestration, but certainly a visible one. image: CC-BY 3.0 by Taxiarchos228 via: Sustainablog

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Turn the Eiffel Tower Green?

BMW to Invest $560 Million Dollars to Produce an Electric Car

November 5, 2010 by  
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A BMW concept car shown at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

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BMW to Invest $560 Million Dollars to Produce an Electric Car

Charles Waldheim’s Brief History of Agrarian Urbanism

November 5, 2010 by  
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Broadacre City.

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Charles Waldheim’s Brief History of Agrarian Urbanism

Island Once Overrun by Rats Now Buried in Bunnies

April 28, 2010 by  
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Photo: Reuters via the Daily Mail Four years ago, the tiny Scottish island of Canna had a rat problem . The invasive pests were relentless, threatening the island’s native bird colonies and other local wildlife

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Island Once Overrun by Rats Now Buried in Bunnies

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