The world’s tallest active geyser in Yellowstone keeps erupting – and scientists don’t know why

April 30, 2018 by  
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Something strange is happening at the tallest geyser in the world in  Yellowstone  park  – and scientists can’t explain it. Steamboat Geyser can shoot up to 300 feet in the air when it erupts, which isn’t often, but over the past six weeks, the geyser has erupted three times. Even though scientists may be baffled as to why the geyser has suddenly become so active, don’t panic. They don’t believe it is an indication that Yellowstone’s supervolcano is getting ready to erupt. ? The last time Steamboat Geyser was this active was in 2003. Normally, it can go a year or more between eruptions. The park is still covered in deep snow, but a brave visitor reported seeing the geyser erupt on Friday around 6:30 am. This is the third time it has erupted since March 15. Before that, it’s last major eruption was in 2014. Related: Scientists just learned what makes Yellowstone’s supervolcano tick Scientists say that there is no reason to think that this activity is an indication that the supervolcano that Yellowstone sits on is getting ready to blow. “There is nothing to indicate that any sort of volcanic eruption is imminent,” said Michael Poland, lead scientist at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory . It could just be the “randomness” of geysers, he added. What would be concerning is if the hydrothermal systems in Yellowstone started drying up. That could indicate that the magma boiling in the volcanoes core was making its way to the surface. Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia and Deposit Photos

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The world’s tallest active geyser in Yellowstone keeps erupting – and scientists don’t know why

This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere

April 30, 2018 by  
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Architect Richard Moreta just unveiled the MINILOOP, an enclosed cycleway that could be a dream come true for bicycle commuters. Envisioned as the “ideal zero-emission transportation system,” the MINILOOP is designed to harness renewable energy and supply excess power to the local city grid. Geared to satisfy even the most fair-weather cyclists, the cycleway would be enclosed in a weather-resistant elevated pipeline and it’s designed to cater to bicycles and e-bikes . Inspired by the Hyperloop , the MINILOOP is designed for easy, world-wide reproduction and it can be modified to suit different climates – from an open-air design for temperate climates to a more insulated design for places with extreme weather. “MINILOOP helps create less traffic and pollution simultaneously; by both taking more conventional motor vehicles off the road and giving more vertical space to grow plants to further filter the air,” the architects wrote. “It also minimizes traffic and cycling incidents, creating safer environments for families and commuters.” Related: Shanghai flying car tower to clean the air with a 50,000-plant vertical forest The designers also included an optional additional circuit for small electric vehicles as part of their vision for moving cities toward a lower carbon footprint . To encourage surrounding communities to adopt greener transportation options, each MINILOOP would also be equipped with electric bicycle and vehicle charging stations, as well as electric bicycle rentals. + Richard’s Architecture + Design

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This all-weather bicycle highway could fulfill the dreams of bike commuters everywhere

Undulating green-roofed aquarium proposed for Viennas Schnbrunn Zoo

April 30, 2018 by  
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3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS recently revealed their proposal for the design of a new aquarium for Vienna’s Schönbrunn Zoo. Titled “Poseidon’s Realm,” the proposed aquarium stretches across the landscape like an undulating “veil” that the architects describe as “elegant, simple and mysterious.” The green-roofed design received second place in an international design competition for the aquarium, with the winner yet to be announced. Created in collaboration with aquarium specialists ATT, Poseidon’s Realm covers 65,000 square feet across four floors. The aquarium was envisioned to be built mainly of concrete and is embedded into the landscape to look like a natural extension of the earth. A wave-shaped green roof marks the entrance to the “softly undulating waterworld” where a rich diversity of environments differing in temperatures, sounds, lighting and spatial layouts welcome visitors. Related: Northern Europe’s largest aquarium unveiled for former Oslo airport site A massive shark tanks forms the focal point of the building and its size would have necessitated a 21-inch-thick glass display in addition to extra floor reinforcement. The end of the aquarium is marked with a cafe and shop, as well as a path that leads to an outdoor terrace . A walkway also traces its way to the landscaped roof of the aquarium where an aviary for bearded vultures is located. + 3XN + GERNER GERNER PLUS Via ArchDaily Images via 3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS

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Undulating green-roofed aquarium proposed for Viennas Schnbrunn Zoo

Pyramidal floating buildings envisioned for a self-sustaining city on the sea

April 30, 2018 by  
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As the world’s first floating city draws closer to completion, designers like Pierpaolo Lazzarini have begun drawing up their own utopian sea-based societies as well. The Italian designer recently unveiled plans for Wayaland, a floating self-sustainable community comprising solar- and wind- powered pyramidal buildings. Lazzarini hopes to turn the futuristic scheme into reality with a crowdfunding campaign that offers people the chance to stay in a yet-to-be-completed floating module for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. Inspired by ancient Mayan architecture, the pyramidal buildings comprise stacked prefabricated modules that can be adapted for a variety of purposes, from housing to entertainment. Powered by solar and wind energy, each relatively lightweight structure would be built from a combination of fiberglass , carbon and steel. The submerged floating basement would house the engine that propels the buildings, energy storage, and other service equipment like desalinators. Related: World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia Lazzarini hopes to jumpstart his floating city dream with a crowdfunding campaign targeting €350,000 ($423,000), the amount he says is necessary to build The Waya Suite, a residential floating module measuring 1,076 square feet over two floors with an expected delivery date of 2022. Supporters can pre-order a night on the home for €1,000 ($1,200) a night. + Wayaland Via New Atlas Images via Pierpaolo Lazzarini

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Pyramidal floating buildings envisioned for a self-sustaining city on the sea

These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

April 29, 2018 by  
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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles by Form Us With Love strike a brilliant balance between sustainable materials, economy and functionality. The modular tiles are available in a variety of different colors and can be assembled in various patterns to create a gorgeous mural on your wall. The tiles are made from wood fibers mixed with cement and water, and they have sound-absorbing properties that can actually improve the acoustics of a room. Form Us With Love collaborates with different manufacturing companies to create everyday objects, furniture, and lighting products that challenge conventional design initiatives. For the production of these hexagons, they work with the only manufacturer of wood wool in Sweden – a 20-man traditional family business called Traullit . The tiles are made from wood slivers which are known primarily as excelsior or wood wool in North America. The material is mainly used for packaging, cushioning, insulation, and even stuffing teddy bears. The process of making wood wool cement is very simple: wood slivers are cut from local tree logs and then get mixed with some water and cement, which acts as a binder and provides strength. The mixture is then put into a mold and left to dry into shape. The result is a material that is environmentally friendly, moisture and sound absorbent, and fire and water resistant. + Form Us With Love

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These colorful hexagonal wall tiles are made from sound-absorbing "wood wool"

Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark

April 25, 2018 by  
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The wind turbines at Thisted, Denmark don’t just generate renewable energy—these massive structures are among the world’s largest offshore wind turbines and have become a big draw for tourism too. In light of the site’s popularity, Cubo Arkitekter was tapped to design the Østerild Visitors and Operation Center that offers insight on wind energy and other sustainable technologies. Completed last year in the National Park Thy, the nearly 7,000-square-foot Østerild Visitors and Operation Center was designed for minimal site impact . Raised on stilts, the visitor center features a long and rectangular form clad in a lightweight fiberglass facade and topped with a curved roof. “The new Visitors and National Test Center gently inserts itself into the surrounding landscape as a slightly raised linear structure with a hovering appearance, which only lightly touches the terrain in order to preserve the local biodiversity ,” wrote the architects. Related: General Electric to debut world’s largest wind turbine in UK The wood-lined interior features a flexible layout that can adapt to a variety of uses, from exhibition space to meeting rooms. Glazing wraps around the building to let in light and views. The curved roof gradually slants upwards towards one end of the building, creating incrementally taller ceiling heights and culminating in a covered outdoor terrace . + Cubo Arkitekter Via ArchDaily Images by Martin Schubert

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Sleek fiberglass visitor center is a beacon for wind energy in Denmark

Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks

April 11, 2018 by  
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Each year, more than  1.5 million people attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C. to glimpse a colorful sign of spring . But while this year’s peak bloom was in line with the 96-year average, over the long term spring is actually springing sooner — due to climate change . This change isn’t limited to the cherry blossoms, either; recently published maps from NASA Earth Observatory have revealed how much earlier the season is starting in national parks around America. The maps show the “rate of change (days per century since 1901)” for first leaf and first bloom, drawing on data published in 2016  by National Park Service (NPS) ecologists. NASA Earth Observatory looked at 276 parks to discover around three-quarters are experiencing earlier springs — and over half are seeing extreme early springs. Related: California’s super bloom is so gigantic you can see it from space The changes in national parks offer more evidence that climate change is happening now; according to NASA Earth Observatory, “…most parks are already experiencing and responding to climate-driven changes.” Parks have had to alter the timing of opening park facilities, hiring seasonal staff, and commencing control of invasive plants and pests. The National Cherry Blossom Festival has also been extended, so that it’s more likely for the peak bloom and the festival to overlap. According to the National Cherry Blossom Festival website, the event now takes place over four weekends , as opposed to the two weekends it lasted in 1994 (although the festival website didn’t specifically attribute the length to climate change). NPS climate change ecologist John Gross said, “Climate changes are affecting resources across the entire range of national parks. Earlier springs, as indicated by leaf and flowering dates, is one of the most obvious and easily understood effects of climate change.” The magnitude of change differs across the parks; for example, in Grand Canyon National Park , spring is appearing almost two weeks earlier than in 1901, according to NASA Earth Observatory. Conversely, some parts of the southeastern United States haven’t experienced as much change. + NASA Earth Observatory Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 ) and NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens , using data courtesy of Monahan, William B., et al. (2016)

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Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks

Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

March 28, 2018 by  
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Big Bend National Park isn’t just a place of stunning landscape beauty—the Texan park is also paleontological paradise. To tell the story of the area’s rich fossil history, Texan architecture studio Lake | Flato designed the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, a series of interpretive pavilions that draws inspiration from the surrounding topography. The unstaffed, low-maintenance building operates off grid and draws energy and water from solar panels and a rainwater catchment system. Created as a series of open-air pavilions , the Fossil Discovery Exhibit takes visitors on the Big Bend Fossil Discovery Trail: a sequential walkway that covers four paleontological eras from the Early Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic Era. “The complex story of Big Bend’s remarkable landscape can be brought to life through its fossil history and the artifacts found within the park,” wrote the architects. “These characteristics create a unique opportunity for interpretation and education; the trail will describe the world-class diversity and length of Big Bend’s fossil history while directly referencing the breathtaking surrounding landscape.” Related: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is sustainably built from CNC-milled beetle-kill timber Elevated on concrete piers, the building is clad in perforated weathering steel for low maintenance and camouflage so as to avoid disrupting views from the road and trails. Interior partitions guide visitors through the spaces, the highlight of which is the Gallery of the Giants where massive bones and recreated skeletons are on display. Solar panels power the buildings, while the angled roof, which evokes a winged dinosaur, is optimized for rainwater collection. + Lake | Flato Via Dezeen Images by Casey Dunn

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Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

Over 20,500 people have signed a petition to keep Starbucks out of Yosemite

January 16, 2018 by  
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Should Starbucks be present in a national park like Yosemite ? More than 20,500 signers of a Change.org petition don’t think so. The petition says opening the Starbucks would pave the way for more undue development and the national park “will lose its essence, making it hardly distinguishable from a chaotic and bustling commercial city.” The idea of a Starbucks in Yosemite National Park has people livid. “National parks are some of the only free, clean, beautiful and pollution free places we have left. Multi billion dollar corporations don’t belong!” said petition signer Rebekah Stevens of Mariposa, California on Change.org. Signer Felicia Flick of Foresthill, California said, “John Muir would roll in his grave.” People saying they’re from places all over the United States and the world have signed the petition to be sent to representative Tom McClintock, senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein, and the Yosemite National Park Administration. Related: White House kills ban on bottled water at National Parks The Starbucks would be part of Base Camp Eatery , Yosemite Hospitality’s renovated food court. Yosemite Hospitality is a corporate subsidiary of Aramark , and senior director of corporate communications David Freireich told Thrillist , “The petition is not an accurate representation or reflection of what is being planned. The Starbucks offering will occupy existing space. No new structures or free-standing stores are being built as part of the food court renovation.” National parks right now aren’t free of corporations, according to National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson, who told Mashable , “Many of our current concessioners are multi-national corporations. Concessioners fill a vital role in helping the National Park Service carry out its mission. Private companies are drawn to working with NPS in order to offer services to park visitors, which are not provided directly by the government. Concessioners specialize in these operations and are thus able to provide quality services at reasonable prices.” Aramark became a concessioner at Yosemite in 2016 under a 15-year contract . People continue to sign the petition – at time of publication the number was just over 20,500. Find out more here . Via Change.org , Thrillist , and Mashable Images via Pixabay and Aniket Deole on Unsplash

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Over 20,500 people have signed a petition to keep Starbucks out of Yosemite

Idyllic ecolodge tucked into remote Vietnamese mountainside is made of locally-sourced granite

January 15, 2018 by  
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Located in a remote region in northern Vietnam, the Topas Ecolodge could just be the ultimate off-grid getaway . Set in an idyllic location with stunning views of the lush green mountainside, the sustainable complex offers 33 one-bedroom bungalows constructed from local white granite quarried from the surrounding mountains. The lodge is located in the remote village of Sapa in northern Vietnam, deep in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. The area is quite popular for tourism and many people come to visit the traditional hill tribe villages found in the area. In the past, visitors to the region would stay in the villages, but as tourism grew, the area was in dire need of a sustainable lodging option that would not take away from the idyllic surroundings. Related: Bolivia’s Ecolodge del Lago takes inspiration from traditional Lak’a Uta architecture The Topas Ecolodge was designed to provide rustic, but comfortable lodging that blends into the landscape. Situated atop two cone formed hills, the project’s construction was based on sustainable principles in order to create as low impact on the environment as possible. The 33 one-bedroom bungalows were all made out of locally-sourced granite quarried from the nearby mountains. Additionally, the complex has an innovative wastewater facility that was designed to avoid pollution of the surroundings. Additionally, the goods and products used in the lodge are all found locally. Created as a wellness retreat , thee bungalows have no TV and no internet. Visitors can spend their time hiking or biking through the mountainside and when they’re ready for a bit of relaxation, the infinity pool offers breathtaking views of the mountainside. Additionally, there is an onsite spa that specializes in the traditional Red Dao herbal bath. + Topas Ecolodge Via Uncrate

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Idyllic ecolodge tucked into remote Vietnamese mountainside is made of locally-sourced granite

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