How One Plant in India Learned to Turn Carbon into Baking Soda

February 23, 2017 by  
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As far as environmentalists are concerned, carbon dioxide and baking soda sit at entirely opposite ends of the eco spectrum. One is a greenhouse gas we have far too much of, an unfortunate by-product of our modern lifestyle; the other is a beloved…

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How One Plant in India Learned to Turn Carbon into Baking Soda

Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold

January 26, 2017 by  
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The rescued elephants at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Center in India get a second chance at life after being abused and exploited by their former owners and handlers. Along with finally having the freedom to take walks, bathe and play in water pools, and scratch themselves up against trees, several of the sanctuary’s elephants recently received a new winter wardrobe: giant sweaters lovingly hand-knit by the villagers of Mathura. As the nighttime temperatures dipped to freezing levels last year, the center’s staff issued a call to local women to help provide a little extra warmth to the giant pachyderms. The villagers responded enthusiastically, coming together to knit and crochet the brightly colored sweaters . The elephants quickly took to their new attire and, judging from the photos, seem pretty intrigued by the knitting process itself. In addition to looking cheerful and festive, the sweaters help protect the vulnerable animals from the cold and stave off their arthritic symptoms. Related: Cindy Chinn carves a tiny family of elephants into pencil tips The only downside to this giant knitting project is the length of time to make one sweater: each one takes about four weeks to complete. As a result, only three of the 20 elephants at the sanctuary have been fully outfitted so far, while the rest have been given blankets. Since the elephants suffered years of neglect and mistreatment, they are especially susceptible to infections and illnesses, so staying covered up in the poncho/sweater/long john combos is essential for keeping them healthy. The center is hoping for more volunteers to continue knitting in order to outfit every elephant with his or her own sweater by next winter. Considering that Wildlife SOS plans to rescue another 50 elephants this year , that’s a pretty tall order. If you want to get involved , including  volunteering on-site with the organization and preparing food or helping to bathe these gentle giants or donating funds, click here . Via Booooooom , Daily Mail , and My Modern Met All images © Roger Allen

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Villagers in India knit sweaters to protect rescued elephants from the cold

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

The dawn of architectural solar

January 3, 2017 by  
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Sponsored: Since the beginning of the modern architectural era, humankind has dreamed of self-sustaining buildings that generate their own power

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The dawn of architectural solar

How the Fed joined the fight against climate change

January 3, 2017 by  
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The Fed does not influence the opportunity cost of carbon — and whether companies account for it — it does influence the opportunity cost of financial capital.

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How the Fed joined the fight against climate change

Can you imagine a circular city?

December 3, 2016 by  
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This story is adapted from the book “The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life” (Harper Wave, 2016).

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Can you imagine a circular city?

19th century Belgian farmhouse reborn as a charming family-run B&B

November 22, 2016 by  
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The architects gutted two brick buildings, a former watch house and a jail, to create wooden extensions that stretch the gabled line of existing structures and adding large metal-framed openings to the facades. An underground passageway connects these volumes. The extension houses a new swimming pool and a large, open-plan living room on the ground floor, with four bedroom suites located on the upper floor. Related: Historic Belgian Windmill Transformed into a Modern Retreat The newly formed U-shaped plan, framed by the original structure and the timber-clad extension, cradles a private courtyard visible from the reading room, offices and living spaces. Cast concrete and timber dominate the renovation project, combining a modern aesthetics with rustic charm. We’d certainly stay there if we could. + Govaert & Vanhoutte Architects Via Dezeen Photos by Tim Van de Velde

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19th century Belgian farmhouse reborn as a charming family-run B&B

New supersonic jet can fly from London to New York in 3.5 hours

November 17, 2016 by  
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Supersonic air travel is one of those things (like flying cars and instant pizza machines) that we thought would be ubiquitous by this point. Yet, there hasn’t been a supersonic passenger jet in consistent operation in more than 10 years. Aviation startup Boom Technology has unveiled what it hopes will change all that: the XB-1 Supersonic Demonstrator , a speedy passenger jet that is the modern answer to the Concorde. The supersonic jet will cut the duration of long trips in half – NYC to London would take 3.5 hours instead of seven, while the 15-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney would be slashed down to a mere 6 hours and 45 minutes. Nicknamed “Baby Boom,” the one-third scale prototype is taking the first steps to drum up excitement about the next generation of supersonic air transportation. The plane was revealed at an event Tuesday evening at the startup’s Hangar 14 at Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado. Despite being one-third the size of an actual passenger jet, the Baby Boom was created as an accurate representation of the style, shape, and proportions of the full-size design. Although the unveiling met with oohs and ahhs from the media and industry experts, there was no incredible demonstration of supersonic speed at the ceremony. Baby Boom will not take to the air currents until sometime in late 2017. Related: Supersonic jet will fly from NY to London in 3 hours at half the price of the Concorde Boom’s full-size XB-1 is designed to carry 44 passengers on long-distance flights, and the company says it plans to be operating by 2020. A ticket on the ultra-fast jet will cost around $5,000, which the company considers affordable given the expense of the airplane and its fuel. The supersonic jet makes use of three General Electric J85-21 non-afterburning engines, Honeywell avionics, and carbon composite materials for a powerful yet lightweight aircraft. Boom says the XB-1 takes inspiration from the Concorde , particularly in regard to its design. In order to create the next-generation of supersonic passenger jets, Boom tapped experts from NASA, SpaceX, and Boeing to contribute to the design process. If Boom’s XB-1 is successful in launching commercial operations, it will be the first supersonic passenger jet to due so since the Concorde was retired in 2003 following 27 years of high-speed flights. Via New Atlas and The Verge Images via Boom Technology

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93 percent of the worlds seed diversity has vanished the last century

November 9, 2016 by  
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Take a look at modern agriculture , and you’ll find very little of it represents how farms looked in the early 1900s. Not only has technology changed significantly, but today’s seeds are only a fraction as diverse as those we planted many years ago. In fact, when you compare today to 1983 you’ll find that 93 percent of seed varieties from the early 20th century have disappeared. Today’s patenting and sale of genetically modified seeds isn’t helping the cause much, either. If you were a farmer living in 1903, you had a choice between planting 500 different kinds of cabbage, 400 varieties of tomatoes and peas, and at least 285 types of cucumber. A survey conducted by the Rural Advancement Foundation International found how these numbers were slashed by 93 percent in almost as many years. For example, in 1983 you could only pick from 28 kinds of cabbage, 25 types of peas, 79 kinds of tomatoes, and a pitiful 16 variations of cucumber. A phenomenon known as “seed consolidation” has carried us into the modern era, with companies like Monsanto patenting genetically modified seeds and selling them to farmers. Because saving the seeds to plant later could be considered patent infringement, a system of routinely purchasing seeds each year was created – a long leap from how farmers would prepare their crops from year to year just a century ago. The Organic Consumers Association estimates that, as of late 2013, Monsanto owns patents for 1,676 different seeds and plants. And they, along with other large corporations, can be found at the top of the hierarchy for many companies selling seeds. The Worldwatch Institute says, “With the profitability of seed increasing over the last 15 years, largely because of patents and contracts, the money and incentive for public institutions to develop new varieties are declining. Farmers also are saving less seed.” A new documentary on this state of affairs, Seed: The Untold Story , is showing in theaters now. Via Health Impact News Images via Pixabay , Flickr

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93 percent of the worlds seed diversity has vanished the last century

Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living

September 13, 2016 by  
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The renovation and addition to the old Victorian house created a bright, modern space inspired by rural living. Industrial materials give the structure a more contemporary feel, but applied in a way that doesn’t compete with the predominant architecture of the neighborhood. Large skylights run through three floors and bring natural light into the main living area located on the ground floor. Related: Modern Renovation Brings Victorian Ranelagh House Back from the Brink in Dublin “I really embrace the slot between the two floors. It turns the 2nd floor hallway into a bridge that connects all of the floors. This is key to bringing light down to the first floor,” said John Tong, principal of +tongtong. Related: Old Brick Factory Transformed Into the Sustainable Evergreen Headquarters in Toronto The existing window at the side of the house was widened to create a horizontal opening that connects the kitchen and the dining room, the latter of which features a countertop vent-free ethanol fireplace . Additional privacy was achieved by incorporating a landscaped berm and retaining wall into the design of the house, creating a small oasis in front where kids can play. + +tongtong Via v2com Photos by Lisa Petrole

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Renovated Victorian House in Toronto combines the best of rural and urban living

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