Wildfires and drought cause national forest closures in New Mexico and Colorado

June 13, 2018 by  
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Blazes in Colorado closed the 1.8-million-acre San Juan National Forest this week. The 416 Fire is burning on 25,900 acres and is 15 percent contained, according to a June 13 Facebook post . Meanwhile, in New Mexico , the 1.6-million-acre Santa Fe National Forest was closed “due to extreme fire danger.”  NPR quoted San Juan National Forest Fire Staff Officer Richard Bustamante as saying fire risks are at “historic levels.” The San Juan National Forest spans across nine counties, and the last full closure was in 2002. The forest order , signed by forest supervisor Kara Chadwick, says the purpose “is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the impacts of the wildland fire.” Related: NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire Bustamante said, “Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire , and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property.” The residents of more than 2,000 homes were told to evacuate; a June 12 night update said the evacuation order for San Juan County residents would lift this morning, although people would require Rapid Tag resident credentials to return. At the time of writing, no structures have been destroyed, and 1,029 people are working the fire. The Burro Fire is also burning in the San Juan National Forest on 2,684 acres (as of last night) and is zero percent contained. The cause for both fires is under investigation. In New Mexico, some districts of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands will be closed effective Friday. “The Cibola is a high-use forest, so this is not a decision that we made lightly,” said Fire Staff Officer Matt Rau. “The forest is tinder dry and the monsoons may still be a few weeks out. We need to take every action possible to reduce the risk of human-caused fires.” Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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New study shows some LED lights can harm wildlife

June 13, 2018 by  
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Researchers have concluded that certain types of LED lights can be harmful toward a wide variety of wildlife, calling attention to the potential hazards of the rapid expansion of LED light usage. Though LEDs made up only 9 percent of the global market in 2011, that number is expected to rise to 69 percent by 2020. In a study published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology , researchers concluded that blue and white LED lighting is the most harmful to wildlife , particularly animals such as sea turtles and insects, while green, amber and yellow are more favorable. As the urbanization of our planet continues, it is essential that policymakers and scientists understand the potential outcomes of altering a space so drastically from its natural state. “Outdoor environments are changing rapidly and in ways that can impact wildlife species,” study leader author Travis Longcore told Phys.org . The researchers incorporated existing ecological data into the study as the team examined the impacts of different kinds of LED lights on animals such as insects, sea turtles, salmon and Newell’s shearwater seabird. Related: New research links LED streetlights to increased risk of cancer LED lights seem to adversely affect species in different ways. Loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings can be lured inland by artificial light rather than into the ocean , while migrating juvenile salmon’s attraction to light may leave them vulnerable to predators. To better inform the public regarding the risks of LED, the study includes the first publicly available database that documents how about 24 different kinds of light can impact wildlife. “If we don’t provide advice and information to decision-makers, they will go with the cheapest lighting or lighting that serves only one interest and does not balance other interests,” Longcore said. “We provide a method to assess the probable consequences of new light sources to keep up with the changing technology and wildlife concerns.” + Journal of Experimental Zoology Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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This trippy tea house in Shanghai is built from 999 handmade timber sticks

June 13, 2018 by  
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Chinese design studio MINAX Architects have combined contemporary architecture with traditional Chinese tea drinking rituals in the ONE Teahouse, a cocoon-like space crafted from 999 handmade wooden sticks. Spanning an area of just 17.86 square meters (about 59 square feet), the compact tea house is a result of the renovation of an existing timber structure in Shanghai’s Hongkou District. The architects completed the project over the course of three months. Tea has long been an important part of traditional Chinese culture. However, with the advent of tea bags and busy lifestyles, the historic rituals surrounding tea are often overlooked or forgotten. With ONE Teahouse, MINAX Architects wanted to create a space where drinking a cup of tea would be elevated into an act of spiritual significance. Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese wooden architecture, MINAX Architects inserted handmade wooden sticks of varying lengths into the oriented strand board walls of a rectangular room. Each stick was cut to a different angle and length to create the illusion of an ellipsoidal space. At the center of the space is a low “YI ZHANG” tea table by Shanghai-based furniture designers MINAXDO surrounded by six seats. LED lights illuminate the interior. Related: ARCHSTUDIO inserts a modern teahouse into an ancient Chinese structure “On one side of the room, a round window faces the urban road, while a square doorway is adjacent to a garden on the other side,” MINAX Architects wrote. “That is because [we] were inspired by an old Chinese saying —’The circle has a tread of auto-rotating, and the square has a tread of stable.’ The specificity of the space brings the people strong psychological hints. The theme of the teahouse is ‘ONE.’ ‘ONE’ and ‘RESTART’ are two words of the space where we could reach a higher state of consciousness.” + MINAX Architects Images by Zhigang Lu

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This trippy tea house in Shanghai is built from 999 handmade timber sticks

7 international permaculture retreats for relaxing and learning

November 10, 2016 by  
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The Yoga Forest, Guatemala Perhaps a tropical breeze through a morning yoga session is more your speed. Located in the western highlands of Guatemala , the Yoga Forest in San Marcos la Laguna boasts beautiful views of Lake Atitlán and three surrounding volcanoes. Vegetarian meals sourced from the site’s food forest are served to guests who participate in yoga, permaculture courses, hiking and relaxing by day and rest in a loft, cabin or tent by night. Paititi Institute, Peru The Paititi Institute  in Peru  best serves those who are seeking high altitudes and would like to practice their Spanish. In the Mapacho Valley, near the Manu National Reserve in the Andes, the Paititi Institute maintains a 4,000 acre sanctuary which harnesses the landscape’s varied elevation to grow a diversity of crops. Tropical foods such as mangos, plaintains and yuca are grown at the base of the mountains, while temperate crops such as greens, apples, and pears thrive at higher elevation. At the peaks are potatoes and quinoa, ancient crops of the Andes. Guests assist with the maintenance of the farm, which offers a course on shamanic permaculture. Jiwa Damai, Bali In the tropical rainforest of Bali , adventurous soul seekers may find peace and enlightenment at Jiwa Damai , hands-on, socially responsible organic garden and retreat center. Guests are invited to enjoy a spacious lounge and dining space, a permaculture garden, fresh water ponds and pools as they explore the tranquil grounds. Jiwa Damai offers permaculture courses, meditation sessions, and various seminars and workshops on self development. All income from Jiwa Damai is distributed to the community through programs and projects from the Lagu Dumai Foundation. Honaunau Farm, Hawaii On the Big Island in the 50th State , Honanuanu Farm aspires to demonstrate a regenerative living model through its practices as a wellness retreat. Below Mauna Loa Volcano with breathtaking views of Kealakekua Bay and Honaunau Place of Refuge, Honoanuanu offers courses in permaculture design, animal husbandry, fruit tree care, yoga and Qigong, and medicinal plants. Students stay in tents on site, though there are more luxurious lodging options. Honoanuanu also offers therapeutic massage and wellness services. La Loma Viva, Spain In the village of Gualchos, Spain, near Granada and the Mediterranean coast, La Loma Viva offers permaculture education and peaceful exploration at its retreat center, where most guests are lodged. Meals, bedding and hot showers are provided, as well as organic soaps. Vegetarian meals, prepared as a community and sourced from the permaculture garden, are served in the communal dining area. On the patio and throughout the landscape, guests can revel in the gorgeous Mediterranean scenery of the coastline and local mountain ranges. Earthships, New Mexico If you are simply looking to relax in an environmentally sound, serene home, look no further than the Earthships  of New Mexico . Built to last with recycled materials and permaculture-like systems designed for maximum self sufficiency, Earthships are fully furnished homes with modern amenities located in the desert landscape of Taos, New Mexico. Nightly rentals of Earthships was named one of Lonely Planet’s top ten eco-stays in 2014  and offers relaxation in the ultimate green getaway for two or a group of friends. Center of Unity Schweibenalp, Switzerland If you crave crisp mountain air, the Center of Unity Schweibenalp may satisfy. The Center features a 20 hectare farm, the largest alpine permaculture projects in Switzerland . Permaculture students may take courses on site, where perennial plants are grown in a nursery for later transplanting outdoors, where edible plants cover the landscape. Most of the mushrooms, fruit, and vegetables gathered from the farm is used by the community and seminar house kitchen, available to guests at Center of Unity. Images via  Flickr   (2) , Scott Hudson ,  Nicolás Boullosa , Kai Lehmann , La Loma Viva , the Yoga Forest

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Navajo tribe blazes new trail in the US with contract to grow industrial hemp

October 26, 2016 by  
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The Navajo tribe recently signed their first contract to begin growing industrial hemp , a move that is expected to provide much-needed economic stimulus. Partnering with CannaNative , the tribe plans to sell hemp for rope, oil, and construction materials and shrink chronic unemployment and poverty rates. If all goes according to plan, their New Mexico farm could start harvesting homegrown hemp by next season. CannaNative will help the Navajo tribe grow hemp in accordance with a new memorandum of understanding. The plan has the potential to be very lucrative given the $800 million global hemp market, which is projected to rise in coming years. According to Forbes , the tribe’s unemployment rate currently stands at 48 percent and the average household income hovers around $8,240. New economic stimulus could potentially improve the tribe’s socioeconomic health. Related: UK farmer grows his own eco home from sustainable hemp crops Currently, growing hemp in New Mexico – where the farm will be located – is not permitted. However, Anthony Rivera, CannaNative’s chief executive officer, is optimistic that the quality relationship between the Navajo and federal government will make the transition a smooth one. “We are striving for the first, if not the largest hemp crop in the country,” he told Forbes . He also believes growing hemp will become a far more successful venture than the declining gaming industry. Via Forbes Images via Flickr , Wikipedia

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Navajo tribe blazes new trail in the US with contract to grow industrial hemp

Game of Thronescreator turns abandoned bowling alley into a glow-in-the-dark game

July 7, 2016 by  
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The House of Eternal Return is a low-energy, glow-in-the-dark interactive experience in a Santa Fe ‘s former bowling alley. Upon arrival, guests are told a story about the Seligs, an imaginary family said to have once occupied the house. Visitors are then free to roam the 20,000-square-foot space, touch everything, go anywhere and together create the rest of the narrative with the clues found. Related: Glow-in-the-dark cement could illuminate dark highways without electricity Six writers and 150 artists designed authentic real life-yet magical environments to achieve Meow Wolf’s large-scale vision within 18 months. The project was made possible by the Game of Thrones creator, a resident of Santa Fe resident who invested $3 million to renovate the former bowling alley. The House of Eternal Return is the spiritual sister of St. Louis’ famous  City Museum and is now open to the public. + House of Eternal Return + Meow Wolf Via This is Colossal

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Game of Thronescreator turns abandoned bowling alley into a glow-in-the-dark game

California Could Run Out of Water in Less Than Two Years

May 29, 2014 by  
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The U.S. Drought Monitor has released its latest report and the results are deeply troubling. Seven states are experiencing long-term severe drought, resulting in severe water scarcity and profound agricultural losses, and California only has enough water reserves to last roughly two years. Read the rest of California Could Run Out of Water in Less Than Two Years Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 7 US states without water , agriculture , Arizona , California , Drought , Kansas , nevada , New Mexico , oklahoma , severe drought , texas , U.S. drought , U.S. drought monitor , U.S.A. , water issues

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California Could Run Out of Water in Less Than Two Years

New Mexico Highlands University Student Centre Responds to Desert Climate with a Sun-Tracking Louvered Facade

July 31, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of New Mexico Highlands University Student Centre Responds to Desert Climate with a Sun-Tracking Louvered Facade Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , Daylighting , desert architecture , diamond schmitt , diamond schmitt architects , eco design , eco school. green school , eco university , green architecture , Green Building , green design , las vegas , LEED gold , Louver System , louver tracking system , louvered facade , motorized louver system , New Mexico , new mexico highlands university , nmhu student centre , shading , student center , student centre , sun shade , Sustainable Building , sustainable design        

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New Mexico Highlands University Student Centre Responds to Desert Climate with a Sun-Tracking Louvered Facade

Chinese Scientists Grow False Teeth From Human Urine

July 31, 2013 by  
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Over the years scientists have made false teeth from a variety of materials – from cuspids crafted out of animal bone to chompers made from wood and gold. However a group of Chinese scientists just announced that they have successfully grown “rudimentary teeth” from an extremely unlikely and slightly unsettling source: human pee . According to the research, published in Cell Regeneration Journal , the tiny tooth-like structures were grown from stem cells harvested from urine. Read the rest of Chinese Scientists Grow False Teeth From Human Urine Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Cell Regeneration Journal , dentures , False Teeth , Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health , Pee Power , stem cells , urine , urine power        

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Penn State Creates Thin and Flexible Glass for Renewable Energy Storage

July 31, 2013 by  
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One of the greatest challenges to the widespread adoption of renewable energy and electric cars has been the issue of affordable, high-volume energy storage. To scientists at Penn State however, the solution was clear. In a paper published in a recent edition of the journal, Energy Technology a team from the University’s Materials Research Institute detailed their invention of a flexible, clear glass that can store energy at high temperatures. The material is about one-tenth of the thickness of display glass, and it can be customized to make it suitable for a wide range of applications—including the storage of energy harnessed by wind turbines, and the storage of energy for use in electric vehicles. Read the rest of Penn State Creates Thin and Flexible Glass for Renewable Energy Storage Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: electric vehicles , energy technology , glass , materials research institute , mohan manoharan , nippon electric glass , Penn State , polymer , strategic polymer sciences , turbines        

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