Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

March 30, 2018 by  
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Tesla just issued their biggest ever recall  involving over 123,000 Model S cars. The automaker said they noticed excessive corrosion in power steering bolts, The Verge and Agence France Presse reported. They’re voluntarily recalling the cars and will retrofit impacted cars with a new part that will resolve the issue. Tesla recalled thousands of Model S cars built before April 2016. There haven’t been any crashes or injuries reported connected to the issue — in an email sent to customers, the automaker said this is a proactive move. According to Agence France Presse, the problem has only been observed in locations where salt is used on winter roads to melt ice or snow, but Tesla will retrofit all Model S cars containing the part. No other models are involved in this recall. Related: The Tesla Semi just made its first cargo trip transporting battery packs Tesla’s email said, “If the bolts fail, the driver is still able to steer the car, increased force is required due to loss or reduction of power assist. This primarily makes the car harder to drive at low speeds and for parallel parking, but does not materially affect control at high speed, where only small steering wheel force is needed.” The company said if an owner hasn’t experienced issues, they don’t have to cease driving the cars, and that they would let owners know when retrofits, estimated to take around one hour, were available in their area. The Verge said this is Tesla’s largest recall; in 2015 they recalled 90,000 Model S cars due to a faulty seat belt, and in 2017 they recalled 53,000 Model X and Model S vehicles because of a parking brake issue. The publication also noted the recall comes right as the company is getting ready to report quarterly deliveries — people will be watching to see how many Model 3 cars Tesla has delivered to customers this year. Via The Verge and Agence France Presse Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Tesla voluntarily makes their biggest recall ever for 123,000 Model S vehicles

Leaked memo shows that EPA staffers were told to downplay the reliability of climate science

March 30, 2018 by  
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees received talking points that appear to fit right in with Administrator Scott Pruitt’s skepticism of humanity’s role in climate change . Meant to develop “consistent messages about EPA’s climate adaptation efforts,” the talking points — obtained by HuffPost — emphasized the uncertainties in what we know about climate change and concluded with, “Administrator Pruitt encourages an open, transparent debate on climate science .” EPA employees got eight talking points from career staffer Joel Scheraga, who worked under President Barack Obama, on how to talk about climate adaptation. The first said the agency “recognizes the challenges that communities face in adapting to a changing climate.” The next three talked about promoting science and working with local and tribal governments on improving infrastructure. Related: Scott Pruitt thinks global warming could be favorable for humans The final four took a detour into the realm of uncertainties. Talking points five and six read, “Human activity impacts our changing climate in some manner. The ability to measure with precision the degree and extent of that impact, and what to do about it, are subject to continuing debate and dialogue. While there has been extensive research and a host of published reports on climate change, clear gaps remain including our understanding of the role of human activity and what we can do about it.” EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman told HuffPost, “This is not an official memo; this is simply an email among colleagues, based on information developed by someone in our office…implying we are telling people to downplay climate change is a gross over misrepresentation of the facts.” The Washington Post said the email had been written based on scientifically unsound, controversial statements from Pruitt. HuffPost said Pruitt personally oversaw moves to remove climate change from agency websites, and has defended President Donald Trump’s decision to yank America out of the Paris Agreement . The Union of Concerned Scientists ‘ Center for Science and Democracy deputy director Michael Halpern told The Washington Post, “The EPA administrator should not be in the business of telling scientists what they should say publicly about basic scientific information. The implication is that EPA wants a political filter on all scientific information emerging from the government , especially if it has to do with climate change.” Via HuffPost and The Washington Post Images via The White House on Flickr and Depositphotos

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Leaked memo shows that EPA staffers were told to downplay the reliability of climate science

These electric Porsche 911s can go 250 miles on a single charge

March 15, 2018 by  
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Who says classic cars are meant to be collector’s items rotting away in a garage? Dutch company Voitures Extravert is on a mission to turn vintage cars into electric vehicles revamped for today’s world. Using state-of-the-art fast-charging technology, the company is breathing new life into Porsche 911s from the ’70s and ’80s. Renamed as the Quintessenza, the electric version of the iconic sports car will cost about $370,000 – and it has a top speed of 124 mph and a range of 250 miles. Pledging to retain the iconic car’s signature style in order to appease the critical eyes of classic car enthusiasts, the team at Voitures Extravert will produce only five revamped models per year. The company is offering two versions of the electric classic: the Quintessenza SE, which has been remodeled to look like a 1960s 911, and the Quintessenza TE, which is reminiscent of the later 1980s models. Related: Over a third of all cars were electric a century ago Both of the models are equipped with a 60-kilowatt-hour pack that lets the electric cars go from zero to 62 mph in just six seconds, provides a range of 250 miles, and allows a top speed of 124 mph. Interestingly, the battery cells are spaced throughout the car, which gives the old classic a better weight distribution. The cars have also been upgraded with a better braking system, adjustable dampers, power steering, and air conditioning. According to Voitures Extravert, their mission reflects their belief that classic cars should be more than just nostalgic ornaments. With the Quintessenza project, they aim “to color the streets again with iconic classics, based on technology of our future, 100% rebuilt, true to its origin, powerful and silent, all electric.” + Voitures Extravert Via Acquire Mag Images via Voitures Extravert

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6 cool cave homes that stay comfortable in summer and warm in winter

March 15, 2018 by  
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Cave homes have come a long way since prehistoric times. Far from primitive, many modern cave dwellings are surprisingly luxurious, comfortable, and beautiful places to call home. In addition to their head-turning location, cave homes tend to be naturally energy efficient thanks to their insulating earth walls that keep the inside air at comfortable temperatures year-round without heating or cooling. We’ve rounded up six such abodes that could make you want a cave home of your own. Rockhouse Retreat The Rockhouse Retreat is the luxury dream home located in a 700-year-old cave. Hand-carved from 250-million-year-old Triassic sandstone, this cave dwelling was fully restored and renovated by Worcestershire native Angelo Mastropietro who has transformed the space into “Britain’s first luxury cave house” with all the creature comforts of home—it even has WiFi—and made the home available for rent on AirBnB . Cuevas del Pino UMMO Estudio carefully slotted the modern Cuevas del Pino homes into calcarenite stone caves near Córdoba, Spain. The layout of the home was created in harmony with the existing rock wall formations. Natural materials like stone and timber complement the cave surroundings. Yaodong Renovation The Loess Plateau in China is home to many cave dwellers who live in very primitive conditions. Architect Shi Yang of hyperSity Architects renovated one of the caves into an extraordinary dream home that’s modern, aesthetically-pleasing, and full of natural light and ventilation. New Mexico Sandstone Homes Part art and part abode, artist Ra Paulette’s hand-carved sandstone homes are truly sculptural masterpieces. The inspiring artist meticulously turns sandstone into intricately detailed cave homes in New Mexico . He has since completed at least 12 caves over 12 years that include full power, wood flooring, and running water. Chez Hélène-Amboise Troglodyte A young French man named Alexis Lamoureux transformed a run-down cave home he purchased for just one euro into a gorgeous new abode with beautiful detailing. The original shelter lacked plumbing, sewage pipes, and electricity, so Lamoureux invested 35,000 euros and a lot of elbow grease to realize his chic new home. Luque Earth Homes BAUEN Architects tucked two homes into a sloped site in Luque, Paraguay. The green-roofed homes blend into the rolling hills and feature double-height windows that let plenty of light into the partially underground homes.

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6 cool cave homes that stay comfortable in summer and warm in winter

55-foot-tall Burj Khalifa is tallest LEGO building in the world

October 21, 2016 by  
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LEGOLAND Dubai just unveiled the tallest LEGO building in the world: a 55-foot-tall Burj Khalifa . The towering LEGO building , finished with the help of five-year-old Mohammed bin Ahmed Jaber Al Harbi, paves the way for the opening of the theme park the end of October. The lofty LEGO building required 439,000 bricks. Located in MINILAND, the LEGO Burj Khalifa smashed records. Standing at 17 meters, or a little over 55 feet tall, it nabbed the record for ” world’s tallest LEGO building model .” It required more than 5,000 hours to construct, and according to LEGOLAND Dubai “weighs a ton.” Mohammed, who drew attention when he doffed his black top hat before shaking Queen Elizabeth’s hand last year, was present to add a little LEGO model of him at the doors of the building and switch on the first LED lights of the building model. Mohammed is the son of Dubai’s crown prince’s close friend. Related: This massive LEGO Death Star is made from 500,000 bricks LEGOLAND Dubai will open October 31, and guests can view the impressive Burj Khalifa model and an accompanying LED light show. The theme park plans to recreate the fountain show awing visitors at the real-life Burj Khalifa at their LEGO Burj Khalifa. Also on display at LEGOLAND Dubai will be around 5,000 other models of other local landmarks that required 60 million bricks to build. LEGOLAND Dubai will comprise part of Dubai Parks and Resorts , which according to the LEGO theme park’s press release is “the region’s largest integrated theme park destination.” LEGO offers a Burj Khalifa kit in their Architecture line; the 2016 reintroduction is the “tallest LEGO architecture model to date.” It’s more than 15 inches tall and includes 333 pieces. According to LEGO, the model was “designed with a focus on rigidity and strength – retaining its distinctive flower form when viewed from above.” The LEGO Burj Khalifa kit costs $39.99. + LEGOLAND Dubai Via The National Images via LEGOLAND Dubai Facebook

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Chinese researchers hack a Tesla from 12 miles away

September 21, 2016 by  
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When a new high-tech product or piece of software hits the market, the inevitable next thing is that hackers try to find its weak points. Although Tesla likely employed its own hackers in developing the Autopilot program on its Model S electric cars, the released version (and its subsequent updates) are anything but foolproof. A Chinese research team became the latest group to successfully hack a Tesla but, unlike their predecessors who usually sit in the back seat or just outside the car, they were able to take control of the vehicle from a staggering 12 miles away. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1XyhReNcHY Keen Security Lab researchers Samuel LV, Sen Nie, Ling Liu and Wen Lu successfully hacked a Tesla Model S P85 and Model 75D from 12 miles away, and they think they could perform the same remote attack on other models. The team targeted the car’s controller area network, or Can bus, the “brain” that controls all sorts of functions on nearly every modern car. The team managed to gain control over the car’s brakes, door locks, and other electronic features that a malicious hacker could use to cause serious damage, or even a fatal collision. Related: Tesla sues oil exec for allegedly impersonating Elon Musk to get trade secrets Additionally, the security researchers gained control of features that could be used to simply annoy a driver incessantly. From 12 miles away, the team could move the seats back and forth, engage the indicator lights, control wing mirrors and windshield wipers. They could even open the sunroof and trunk, while the car was driving as well as parked. The Keen team notified Tesla about the vulnerability before it hit the headlines. Tesla was quick to develop a software patch to protect against this type of hack attack, and has already deployed it over-the-air to affected models. “The issue demonstrated is only triggered when the web browser is used, and also required the car to be physically near to and connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot,” said the company in a statement. “Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly.” Via Gizmodo Lead image via Tesla Motors  

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Chinese researchers hack a Tesla from 12 miles away

Tiny new flat-packed off-grid homes offer affordable housing breakthrough

September 21, 2016 by  
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For 11 years, Australia ‘s five major cities have been listed as “severely unaffordable” – making home ownership just a dream for many. Architect Alex Symes realized home ownership is typically tied to land ownership, but land prices are now so high, most people can’t afford to buy. As a result, Alex started Big World Homes . The goal is to disrupt expensive city housing with tiny , flat-packed, off-grid homes that sell for between $60K and $80K in Australian dollars, or around $45K to $60K. https://vimeo.com/180534968 A Big World Home is created with 39 flat-pack panels, which are comprised of ” low environmental impact materials “, including plywood, thermal insulation, and lightweight cladding. Even people without building experience can erect a Build World Home using a drill and a hammer, with access to online support. Related: Solar-powered POD-Idladla is a tiny flat-pack home for two that lets you live almost anywhere A basic home is equipped with a bed, living room, and bathroom complete with plumbing. The home is powered by solar panels and receives running water via rainwater tanks. The whole home, built atop a trailer, is portable. A Big World Home can even grow with a family; owners can add more modules to add more space to their home. Land is still a factor, but Big World Homes partners with ” developers, councils, community groups, and individual landowners ” to find land spaces from unused plots to backyards where one Big World Home or a pop-up community can be erected. On September 29 in Waterloo, Australia, a group of “non-skilled volunteers” will build a Big World House in a few hours using solely a drill and a hammer. That home will be displayed at the Sydney Architecture Festival from September 30 to October 3, 2016. Big World Homes is also crowdsourcing via Chuffed to build that first home and a pioneer community. You can donate here . + Big World Homes + Big World Homes Chuffed Campaign Images courtesy of Big World Homes

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Is BMW planning an all-electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model X?

June 16, 2015 by  
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Ever since the BMW i3 and i8 electric cars arrived last year, there has been a lot of speculation about what other models BMW could introduce to the electric i-sub brand. There have been several reports about a model dubbed the i5 that could compete with the Tesla Model S , but now a new report claims that the third “i” model could actually be an electric SUV. Read the rest of Is BMW planning an all-electric SUV to rival the Tesla Model X? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: AUDI , Audi Q6 , BMW , BMW electric car , BMW electric SUV , BMW i , bmw i3 , bmw i8 , electric car , electric SUV , tesla , Tesla Model X

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Computer Models for Global Warming May be Over-Estimating the Risk Of Drought

September 13, 2012 by  
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One might think that as the planet gets warmer and soil becomes more parched, droughts would become more common. However according to new research from Britain’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology the opposite may be true. The UK team published a study in Nature this week stating that as soil becomes more parched, afternoon storms are more likely to develop , meaning that droughts are less likely to occur. Read the rest of Computer Models for Global Warming May be Over-Estimating the Risk Of Drought Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Britain’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology , Climate Change , Drought , drought crops , global warming , nature journal , storms , thunderstorms

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Computer Models for Global Warming May be Over-Estimating the Risk Of Drought

Nitsan Debbi Cooks Up a Batch of Gadgets Made From Bread

September 13, 2012 by  
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We’ve featured furniture made from baked goods before, but now Israeli designer Nitsan Debbi has cooked up a batch of working electronic products made of bread! Debbi removed the original exterior cases of clocks, radios, and flashlight, and then baked the components into fresh loaves. The edible electronics are certainly mouthwatering, although we’re not so sure about their shelf life. Read the rest of Nitsan Debbi Cooks Up a Batch of Gadgets Made From Bread Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baked electronic goods , baked electronic products , baked goods , baking , Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design , bread , electrical products , Holon Institute of Technology , Israel , israeli designer , Köln International School of Design KISD , nitsan debbi

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