Macron and Schwarzenegger throw shade at Donald Trump in new climate video

June 26, 2017 by  
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Donald Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again” has become infamous – as it casually writes off the other 7.17 billion or so people that share the planet with America. But recently elected French president Emmanuel Macron is calling on Earth’s inhabitants to Make Our Planet Great Again – and he got together with Trump foe Arnold Schwarzenegger to throw a little shade at the American president. Schwarzenegger posted a video of himself and Macron, saying they were talking about a green future. Macron said they’d deliver together “to make the planet great again” – a reference to his new initiative to battle climate change regardless of Trump’s decision to yank America out of the Paris Agreement . Schwarzenegger described Macron as a great leader, a marked contrast on his view of his own country’s president. Related: US states and cities say they’re sticking to the Paris Accord without Trump I was truly honored to meet with President @EmmanuelMacron about how we can work together for a clean energy future. He's a great leader. pic.twitter.com/MSoxjIruup — Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) June 23, 2017 On June 1, when Trump announced America would exit the Paris Agreement, Macron posted a Facebook video reiterating an offer he’d made before: “To all scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the President of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland. I call on them: come and work here with us, to work together on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment .” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain #MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain Posted by Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, June 1, 2017 Shortly after that he launched the Make Our Planet Great Again website, offering information for not only Americans but citizens of the world. Those interested in coming to France to work on climate change can submit their name and email address to receive information on coming. It appears Macron’s getting some big names on board to spread the message. Unless Trump wants a brain drain on his hands, maybe he should start paying attention to science . + Make Our Planet Great Again Via Mashable Images via Emmanuel Macron on Twitter and Gage Skidmore on Flickr

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Macron and Schwarzenegger throw shade at Donald Trump in new climate video

The 2018 Nissan Leaf will feature semi-autonomous driving technology

June 23, 2017 by  
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We’re just a few months away from the debut of the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf – and the automaker just announced a killer feature for its next-generation electric vehicle. In addition to a complete restyling and a longer driving range , the 2018 Leaf will be able to drive itself with Nissan’s new ProPILOT Assist autonomous technology. ProPILOT Assist can take over driving tasks on the highway, which includes accelerating, braking and steering controls. The 2018 Leaf won’t have the full SAE Level 4 technology, which would give it the ability to also drive autonomously on city streets. Nissan says that “in the coming years” the ProPILOT Assist technology will be improved to give it the ability to navigate city intersections. Related: Nissan is working on a new 340-mile-range electric car Nissan hasn’t revealed any details about the 2018 Leaf’s powertrain – and most importantly – what its new driving range will be. It’s being reported that the 2018 Leaf will be offered with two battery options, similar to what Tesla does with its models. The bigger battery pack could give the 2018 Leaf a driving range close to 300 miles, which would easily beat the Chevy Bolt and the upcoming Tesla Model 3. The 2018 Nissan Leaf will be officially revealed in early September. Images @Nissan + Nissan

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The 2018 Nissan Leaf will feature semi-autonomous driving technology

Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

June 23, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been working since the 1970’s to transform algae into biofuel . Now a new breakthrough could make this alternative energy source a more viable option. Researchers from Synthetic Genomics, Inc. and ExxonMobil were able to edit algae genes to produce two times more lipids. Those lipids can be turned into biofuel that isn’t too different from the diesel we use today. Researchers figured out how to tune a genetic switch to regulate the conversion of carbon to oil in the alga Nannochloropsis gaditana . They used multiple editing techniques including CRISPR-Cas9. They were able to boost the algae’s oil content from 20 percent to over 40 percent – and importantly, did so without stunting the algae’s growth rate. The modified algae can produce as much as five grams of lipid per meter per day. Related: New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80% Vice president for research and development at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company Vijay Swarup said the milestone confirms their belief algae can offer a source of renewable energy . Synthetic Genomics CEO Oliver Fetzer said carbon dioxide and sunlight are two major components necessary for algae production, and both are plentiful and free. According to ScienceAlert, a past report indicated biofuels from algae could become a $50 billion industry , with the potential to offer transport fuel and food security. But we still could be years away from pumping this particular algae-based biofuel into our cars at gas stations. Researcher Imad Ajjawi of Synthetic Genomics told ScienceAlert this step was just a proof of concept, but did describe it as a significant milestone. According to Greentech Media , organizations have been working on making biofuel from algae for years, without much progress towards commercialization. In fact, they cited former ExxonMobil CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson , who back in 2009 said the work on turning algae into biofuels might not come up with real results for 25 years. The journal Nature Biotechnology published a study on the concept online this month. Via ScienceAlert and Synthetic Genomics Images via ExxonMobil and Wikimedia Commons

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Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel

Doctors warn cities that LED street lights can cause serious health issues

June 23, 2017 by  
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Many cities have shifted to LED lights in a bid to be more energy and cost efficient, but LED lights have another price, and it comes at our health. This week, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued an official statement, in which they warn that cities need to consider resident’s health when installing the bright lighting because it can cause damage to our sight and disrupt our circadian rhythms. Think of it as living with a bunch of giant computer screens blaring around your neighborhood, and you get the idea. The AMA unanimously adopted an official policy  giving cities guidelines for installing lighting that takes human health into account. These guidelines include keeping lighting at a temperature of 3000 Kelvin – within the warmer spectrum of light that humans are accustomed to. The guidelines also call for dimmer lighting that isn’t so harsh on our vision. Related: A Simple Change in Lighting Could Be the Secret to Beating the Monday Blues It’s easy to forget about how much of an impact lighting has on our health because it is so ubiquitous. But bright LED lighting, particularly bright lighting in the cooler temperature spectrum, can actually damage our retinas and contribute to glare that can cause temporary, or even permanent vision loss. Blue-spectrum lights and lights above the 3000k recommendation can also impact our sleep by disrupting human circadian rhythms . Essentially, your body thinks it is morning even though you are trying to get some sleep, which can lead to all kinds of problems, from fatigue to even an increased risk for breast cancer. These bright lights can impact wildlife as well, disrupting bird migration, feeding and sleep behaviors. And let’s not forget that the dark sky is vanishing at an alarming rate. The AMA calls for efficient lighting that minimizes the blue spectrum and that is shielded to protect against glare. It also calls for dimming during non-peak periods, like the early morning. Via CNN images via Flickr and  Pixabay

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Doctors warn cities that LED street lights can cause serious health issues

Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

June 23, 2017 by  
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French rustic charms and modern luxuries come together in this beautiful tiny home on wheels. France’s tiny house company Baluchon has outdone themselves again in their latest build called the Ostara, a tiny home built on a six-meter trailer. Currently located near a horse farm in Toulouse, the light-filled timber abode looks surprisingly spacious despite its small size and sleeps two in a loft bedroom. Custom built for clients Nathalie and Sebastien, Ostara was named after the stable close to the tiny home’s location. Although charming and rustic on the outside, the spruce -clad Ostara makes a grand impression with its large French doors flanked with curtains that open up to a light-filled living room. A large 1.8-meter-long sofa forms the living room’s focal point and can also comfortably lodge an overnight guest. A small bookcase, wood-burning stove , and a small dining table that accommodates three people is located to the left. To the right of the living room is the kitchen with a full-size sink, pantry, two-burner stovetop, fridge/freezer, and a gorgeous extendable wooden countertop. The bathroom with a full-size shower and composting toilet are tucked into the end of the home. Related: Fully-furnished tiny house from France easily fits a family of three A corner staircase with built-in storage leads up to the mezzanine with a large loft bed . Multiple double-glazed openings, including a broad bay window and one-meter-wide circular window, punctuate the home and provide views of the horses and rural surroundings. Sheep wool, cotton, linen, hemp, and wood fibers were used for insulation. The home is made from locally sourced materials. Baluchon’s beautiful homes are only delivered in France due to the company’s desire to limit carbon emissions. + Baluchon Via Tiny House Talk

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Enchanting tiny home combines French rustic charms and modern luxuries

Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic stopper

June 23, 2017 by  
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This new ice cream shop in Pozna?, Poland is a treat for the stomach—and the eyes. Clad in nearly a thousand white traffic cones, this spiky mobile shop for LODOVNIA is the creative work of local studio mode:lina architects . The eye-catching facade shows off an extraordinary use of an ordinary object, and references the conical shape of the ice cream cone. Completed this month, the LODOVNIA ice cream shop is a 35-square-meter building currently docked in the heart of Pozna?’s Stary Browar. Its sculptural facade is a response to the shop’s central location in the Courtyard of Art and LODOVNIA’s signature product: ice cream served in a cone. Nearly one thousand white traffic cones protrude out of the shop’s facade in five directions, giving it a whimsical and prickly appearance. Large glazed panels allow passersby to peek into the shop and also reflect Stary Browar’s surrounding architecture. In contrast to the white cones, the rest of the facade is painted black. Related: Hedgehog Concert Pavilion Makes Traffic Cones Beautiful “The interior is a black and white composition as well, warmed by triangle-shaped elements made of natural plywood,” wrote mode:lina. “Both the triangles and the shape of a sport cone further connect with the letter V in LODOVNIA’s logo, which makes the architectural result consistent with the ice cream shop’s visual identity system.” + mode:lina Images by Patryk Lewin?ski

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Spiky sweets shop makes extraordinary use of the common traffic stopper

Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

June 22, 2017 by  
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We humans have done a pretty good job of trashing the Earth all by ourselves, but we don’t often stop to consider external threats – like asteroids . A 1908 asteroid explosion over Tunguska, Siberia ravaged 800 square miles, and Queen’s University Belfast astrophysicist Alan Fitzsimmons said another asteroid collision is simply a matter of time, which could have devastating consequences if we remain unprepared. He said most of us don’t think about asteroids as a threat to our existence. We now remember the day of the 1908 asteroid strike as Asteroid Day . It’s June 30, and Fitzsimmons is joining other experts like physicist Brian Cox and International Space Station astronaut Nicole Stott to call attention to the threat. Fitzsimmons says it’s not a matter of if an asteroid will impact the Earth, but when. He said a strike like the Tunguska one today could demolish a mayor city – and a larger asteroid strike could be even more devastating. Related: NASA rolls out new asteroid detection program to defend Earth from destructive meteors Fitzsimmons said in a statement, “Astronomers find Near-Earth Asteroids every day and most are harmless. But it is still possible the next Tunguska would take us by surprise, and although we are much better at finding larger asteroids, that does us no good if we are not prepared to do something about them.” He said experts have gotten much better about detecting Near-Earth Asteroids, and have found more than 1,800 objects that could be potentially hazardous. But there are more out there – and we need to be prepared. Fitzsimmons is part of a European Research Council-funded project, NEOshield-2, whose mission is to figure out how to deflect the hazardous asteroids. Asteroid Day events will be live streamed here . There will be conversations with space agencies like NASA and a Neil deGrasse Tyson-narrated video series on scientists laboring to protect Earth from asteroids, to name a few. The organization says it will be the first 24-hour live broadcast about space ever. Via Queen’s University Belfast Images via Asteroid Day

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Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when

EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

June 21, 2017 by  
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Although 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is a real threat, the Trump administration maintains that global warming is a “hoax” – and it’s gutting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) . Under administrator Scott Pruitt the EPA has scrubbed climate science from its website, and now it’s eliminating thousands of employees — including dozens of scientists — by failing to renew their contracts in August. The Washington Post reports that members of the Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC) were alerted via email that their terms will not be renewed in August. While they do have the opportunity to re-apply by September, the news came as a shock to many – on average, scientists serve three terms and are re-elected to a fourth if they are willing to serve. Peter Meyer, an economist with the E.P. Systems Group, resigned from the board’s sustainable and healthy communities subcommittee as a form of protest. Meyer said: “We were told quite explicitly by the leadership of the sustainable and healthy communities group … that our assignment was a four-to-five-year assignment. That was what we were told at our first meeting. That produces an assumption that you’re going to get reappointed so that you can complete the job.” Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the board’s executive committee and professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota, added, “It effectively wipes out the BOSC and leaves it free for a complete reappointment.” Related: EPA dismisses 5 members of major scientific review board Because this is the second time this year the agency failed to renew scientists’ terms, some claim the Trump administration is politicizing the agency, which exists to benefit wildlife and preserve the environment. In response, EPA officials stated that the cuts provide a new opportunity to reach out to a broad array of applicants and draw on their expertise. “ EPA is grateful for the service of all BOSC members, past and present, and has encouraged those with expiring terms to reapply,” said agency spokeswoman Amy Graham. “We are taking an inclusive approach to filling future BOSC appointments and welcome all applicants from all relevant scientific and technical fields.” The BOSC advises the agency’s Office of Research and Development on whether its research can adequately address important scientific questions. Due to cuts, only five scientists remain on the executive committee. The ultimate fear is that the EPA could eliminate members that hold different opinions than the Trump administration , and fill those positions with people who are more favorable to the communities being regulated by the agency. Reportedly, the agency’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) and Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) will also be changed in the near future. “This gives me a great deal of concern about the erosion of science in this administration,” said Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability . “It’s hard to understand the rationale behind a decision like this. I understand they might simply want to repopulate [the board] with people of their own choosing. However, this could also be a way of just weakening advisory boards, of diminishing their role by not replacing members.” Via Washington Post Images via EPA , PBS

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EPA to eliminate 1,228 employees by August – including dozens of scientists

South Korea to throw out any plans for new nuclear reactors

June 20, 2017 by  
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South Korea currently obtains around 30 percent of its energy from nuclear power , but with the election of a new president the country seems ready to shift away from that energy source to something a bit safer. President Moon Jae-In – who campaigned on a platform of phasing out nuclear energy – says he will toss out plans to build new reactors and won’t extend the lifespan of existing ones in the country. The 2011 Fukushima disaster in nearby Japan incited concern in South Korea, as many of the country’s nuclear plants were then getting old. According to the country’s new president, many of the plants are located dangerously near residential areas. He said a nuclear meltdown could result in unimaginable consequences. Add to that corruption scandals over state nuclear energy agencies during the last few years and public unease over several earthquakes in South Korea in 2016, since an earthquake sparked the Fukushima meltdown. Related: Finland’s Green Party says humanity must embrace nuclear power Moon echoed these fears when he said, “South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquake, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact.” South Korea is running 25 nuclear reactors right now. Many of them will expire between 2020 and 2030, leaving the decision to extend several of them or not in Moon’s hands during his 2017 to 2022 term. He campaigned on the idea of shutting down every single one – although that task could take decades. As he decommissioned the Kori-1, South Korea’s first nuclear reactor, Moon said in a speech, “We will dump our atomic-centric power supply and open the door to the post-nuclear era.” He’d like to move towards what he described as more environmentally-friendly and safer energy sources like solar power and wind power . He’s also pledged to promote a post-coal energy policy . During his campaign he said he’d abandon coal to help curb air pollution . Among the member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), South Korea is home to the highest levels of small air particles. The country currently obtains around 40 percent of power from coal. Via Phys.org Images via IAEA Imagebank on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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South Korea to throw out any plans for new nuclear reactors

Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

June 20, 2017 by  
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Although the mahogany cladding on the Tonke Woodline Camper may seem like a blast from the past, this camper is designed for the modern road warrior. The camper is entirely powered by solar energy , and it comes with a large battery bank and water tank for those looking to go completely off-grid . Hand built in the Netherlands, the camper offers a compact, but comfortable living space. The interior comes with all of the basic necessities – a spacious sleeping area, kitchenette with a large, double-door fridge, and small latrine. Strategic storage throughout the interior helps keep the space clutter free. The dining table with ample seating backs up to the rear doors, which open to provide stellar views. The camper also has a number of windows, which flood the interior with natural light , making the living space light and airy. Related: Solar-powered EarthCruiser camper expands at the push of a button Designed to be used as a sturdy ride for on-the-go travel or just a simple home addition, the camper van’s Mercedes Sprinter base comes installed with four remote-controlled electrical jacks that can lift the camper off its base in order to use the truck’s cargo bed. This feature, along with its compact size, makes the Tonke Camper convenient to ship virtually anywhere in the world. + Tonke Woodline Camper Via Uncrate

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Solar-powered Tonke Camper brings a hint of nostalgia to off-grid living

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