Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

July 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Lyme disease is a growing issue in the United States. Since the 1990’s, the number of cases has more than doubled . Scientists at a laboratory associated with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School are working on an answer, and have made progress on a shot that could protect people against contracting the disease . Lyme disease, which is contracted after infected ticks transmit a bacterium to humans, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is “ the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States .” 14 states, most on the East Coast of the country, have reported 95 percent of confirmed cases. Every year 30,000 cases are reported to the CDC, and that number is only increasing. Related: GUIDE: Effective Non-Toxic Bug Repellents for You and Your Family The shot – which Western Mass News makes clear is not a vaccine – could be groundbreaking. Professor Mark Klempner said the scientists have isolated one antibody that could prevent Lyme disease from being transmitted to humans. The antibody could kill the bacteria in the tick’s gut when it bites so a person won’t get the disease. One injection could last from the spring through the fall. So far, the team has tested the antibody in mice . Klempner told Western Mass News, “We take ticks that carry the bacteria – many of them – six or seven, put them on a small rodent, and then give that mouse a little bit of that antibody. It’s been 100 percent effective in preventing many ticks from transmitting.” The method has been entirely effective in preventing mice from contracting the disease. Klempner said the discovery of the antibody came during research in which he was involved for a vaccine, now discontinued. With the new research, the team thus far has not seen any unfavorable side effects, but needs to do more testing. Undergoing Food and Drug Administration trials could take around two to three years. Via Western Mass News Images via Pixabay and U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

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Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert

July 24, 2017 by  
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Architect Andreas M. Larisch is revamping the homestead movement for those who’d prefer a little luxury with their off-grid dreams. Larisch has created Homestead Modern, a series of upscale rentals in the Mojave Desert. The first home, Homestead Modern No. 1, comes with a one bedroom house, detached casita and our favorite – one very cool refurbished vintage trailer . Installing luxury digs into the ruggedness of the harsh Mojave Desert is no easy task, but with good design, anything is possible. The first in Larisch’s series of rental homes is Homestead Modern No. 1, which is located in the Hollywood-built Pioneertown. Known for its beautiful desert surroundings , the area is a favorite of nature lovers who can now rent the home to experience the amazing desert sunrises and sunsets right out the front door. Related: Experience the good old days of off-grid living at the El Cosmico vintage trailer park The Homestead Modern No. 1 complex includes two glass and steel buildings as well as the beautiful vintage trailer . The main home features a one-bedroom, one-bath house with a kitchen, living room, and dining area. For guests, a separate one-bedroom, one-bath casita is also on site. Clad in a rusted welded metal and concrete, the exterior blends seamlessly into the desert sands. The main home has a large outdoor deck in the back with a bbq grill and an enclosed front patio with a fire pit. Both properties were built with an abundance of glass windows and doors, as well as private outdoor showers, to provide a strong connection between the home and its natural surroundings. Guests can also enjoy the outdoor sauna as well as the galvanized “cowboy” tub located just steps away from the home. However, if it were up to us, we’d bunk in the beautifully refurbished vintage trailer . Equipped with a queen bed and full bath, the 28-foot, 1973 Holiday Rambler is the perfect off-grid st ay for those looking to enjoy some quiet time me time. The property is currently available for rent on at Airbnb  or HomeAway . + Homestead Modern Rentals + Andreas M. Larisch Via Dwell Photography by Lance Gerber

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Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert

London scientists want to revive plants buried in ‘ghost ponds’

July 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Life will find a way, even if that way is winding and submerged under layers of organic matter and water . According to a recent study by a scientific team at University College London , uncovering hidden habitats buried under so-called “ghost ponds,” ponds that have been filled in with soil and vegetation but not fully drained, could prove decisive in restoring ecosystems and may even hold the key to reviving extinct plant species. “We have shown that ghost ponds can be resurrected, and remarkably wetland plants lost for centuries can be brought back to life from preserved seeds,” declared lead researcher Emily Alderton. To the untrained eye, a potential treasure trove of ecological richness that is a ghost pond may go unnoticed. They manifest as damp areas of land, on which plants have difficulty growing and the soil may appear discolored in contrast to the ground around it. Ghost ponds are usually created by farmers who apply plants and soil to small ponds as they seek to create more arable land. “Small ponds were not drained, but were filled in while they were still wet. We think this is likely to have contributed to the survival of the seeds buried within the historic pond sediments,” said Alderton. Related: Scientists Bring Extinct Mouth-Brooding Frog Back to Life After 30 Years Researchers at UCL analyzed survey maps and historical records in order to track down nondescript ghost ponds of interest. “We also suspected that ghost was the right word as it hints at some form of life still hanging on and this is exactly what we have,” said Carl Sayer, study co-author and director of the UCL Pond Restoration Research Group. “The species that lived in the past pond are still alive, dormant and waiting!” From three sites in the UK, the team has so far recovered and revived eight different plant species. Researchers are now urging conservation groups and policymakers to place greater emphasis on ghost ponds and their role in ecological restoration. “For plants to grow back after being buried for over 150 years is remarkable,” said Christopher Hassall of the University of Leeds, who was not involved in the study. “Ponds are often neglected compared to lakes and rivers because of their small size, but they punch above their weight in terms of the number of species that they contain.” Via ScienceAlert Images via University College London/Carl Sayer and Felix Neumann

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London scientists want to revive plants buried in ‘ghost ponds’

This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

July 21, 2017 by  
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Sometimes, there are benefits to being clumsy – so discovered 9-year-old Jude Sparks on a recent hike in New Mexico’s Orange Mountains. On a trip with his family, Sparks tripped over an object which he first thought was “just a big fat rotten cow.” Instead, it turned out to be a Stegomastodon fossil from 1.2 million years ago. The young boy told KVIA TV, “I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.” His family agreed, which is why they contacted Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, and returned to the site the next day. Sure enough, what Sparks had tripped over was a fossilized tusk belonging to an ancient Stegomastodon . According to The New York Times , the ancient mammal was a cousin to the wooly mammoth and modern-day elephants. Not only are the remains large, they are quite rare, considering prehistoric bones tend to disintegrate quickly after being exposed to the elements. “This is really very unusual to find,” said Houde. Elated to have made the find, the family set up a fundraiser for a formal dig. It took months to organize a team and secure a permit, but earlier this May, an entire skull made of delicate “egg-shell thin” pieces was discovered. Houde hopes to display the remains at the university. “We’re really, really grateful that they contacted us, because if they had not done that, if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” he said. “It really has to be done with great care and know-how. Jude — now 10-years-old — says he isn’t as interested in fossils as he used to be but likes the attention that comes with discovering the fossilized remains of a mammal which is slightly smaller than the average African elephant . Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion-years-old Believe it or not, this isn’t the first Stegomastadon that’s been “accidentally” discovered. A hiking bachelor party found a 3-million-year-old skull in 2010 while hiking in New Mexico’s Butte Lake State Park. Via The New York Times , All That Is Interesting Images via Peter Houde

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This boy accidentally found a 1.2 million-year-old fossil by tripping over it

Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

July 21, 2017 by  
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Indoor vertical farming is on the rise, if a recent funding round for San Francisco startup Plenty is any indication. The company just scored what they say is the largest agriculture technology investment in history. Plenty has attracted attention – and quite a lot of money – from well-known tech greats like Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Plenty is utilizing technology to improve agriculture. The startup draws on big data processing, micro-sensor technology, and LED lighting in an effort to make affordable, local food available for people around the world. Their system uses less water and space than conventional farms, and grows food more efficiently. Plenty says they can yield as much as 350 times more crops per square foot than a typical farm. Their recent Series B funding round, led by Japanese media corporation SoftBank ‘s Vision Fund, turned out to be quite fruitful at $200 million. Related: 40-foot shipping container farm can grow 5 acres of food with 97% less water SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement, “By combining technology with optimal agriculture methods, Plenty is working to make ultra-fresh, nutrient-rich food accessible to everyone in an always-local way that minimizes wastage from transport. We believe that Plenty’s team will remake the current food system to improve people’s quality of life.” Plenty will use the $200 million to start expanding, and plan to bring their first produce to market later this year. They plan to grow two to five acre indoor farms, which the BBC said is around the size of a Walmart or Home Depot. The company already employs 100 people working in three facilities in Wyoming and San Francisco. Initially, Plenty will provide mainly leafy greens and herbs for distributors that have already signed on, according to co-founder and CEO Matt Barnard. He said in a statement, “The world is out of land in the places it’s most economical to grow these crops. After a decade of development driven by one of our founders, our technology is uniquely capable of growing super clean food with no pesticides nor GMOs while cutting water consumption by 99 percent…We’re now ready to build out our farm network and serve communities around the globe.” + Plenty Via Plenty and the BBC Images via Plenty Facebook

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Vertical farming startup raises $200M from Alphabet, Jeff Bezos

Scientists discover the Amazon forest sets off its own rainy season

July 21, 2017 by  
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Scientists have been stumped for years over why the southern Amazon rainforest ‘s rainy season begins two to three months earlier than they’d expect. But now an international team that includes researchers from NASA and Google has discovered the forest actually triggers its own rainy season, thanks to water vapor off plant leaves. The finding points to one disastrous consequence of deforestation in this part of the world: as trees are cut down, it appears there’s actually less rainfall. Monsoon winds and the Intertropical Convergence Zone, which NASA describes as a belt of converging trade winds that shifts depending on the seasons, control when the rainy season begins in many tropical locations, and the southern Amazon experiences both factors. But they don’t kick in until December or January, while the southern Amazon’s rainy season typically begins in the middle of October. Related: Scientists warn Amazon jungle faces “death spiral” To try and find out why, the team of scientists led by Jonathon Wright of Tsinghua University scrutinized data on water vapor from NASA’s Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer, aboard the agency’s Aura satellite , together with other satellite measurements, to discover clouds in the southern Amazon at the dry season’s close form via water rising from the rainforest. But the southern Amazon’s rainy season already begins nearly a month later than it did back in the 1970’s. Evidence indicates if the region’s dry season stretches longer than five to seven months, there won’t be enough rain for the rainforest to remain a rainforest – it could transition to grassy plains. But the dry season is already a few weeks shorter on average than that benchmark in parts of the southern Amazon. The new study, published by the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , bolsters the idea that deforestation is partly to blame for the delayed start of the rainy season. The rainforest’s capacity to develop clouds dwindles as trees are chopped down. And if deforestation harms the forest to the point where it can’t trigger its own rainy season, the southern Amazon’s rainy season likely wouldn’t commence until December or January. Such changes could have far-reaching impacts. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, “The loss of a major Amazonian forest ecosystem could increase Brazilian droughts and potentially disrupt rainfall patterns as far away as Texas.” Via NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Images via Center for International Forestry Research and Jay on Flickr

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Scientists discover the Amazon forest sets off its own rainy season

Aspiring Jedis can pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ hotel

July 21, 2017 by  
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Aspiring Jedis will now be able to practice their light saber moves at the upcoming Star Wars -themed hotel in Disney’s Orlando and Anaheim park locations. According to CNN , the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge experience will be set on a remote trading port on the edge of space. Visitors will be able to interact with a host of familiar characters, dress up in proper Star Wars attire, and even pilot the beloved Millennium Falcon, “shooting blasters or preparing for hyperspace” along the way. Bob Chapek, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, revealed a few details of the new attraction at the recent Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, “To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said, “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.” Related: Disney’s ‘World of Pandora’ Avatar park opens with floating mountains and glowing forests Reportedly, the new park experience will be set on a remote planet in the Outer Rim where the First Order and Resistance forces are battling for control. The immersive experience will let visitors become active participants in the otherworldly atmosphere as well taking time to pilot the Millennium Falcon . On set will also be some familiar faces such as BB-8, Chewbacca, members of the First Order, and more. “You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. “It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits,” adds Chapek. Along with the multiple interactive experiences, all of the shopkeepers and staff in the park will be dressed up as Star Wars-themed creatures and aliens to ensure that the atmosphere is as authentic as possible. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is slated to open first in Orlando and then in Anaheim in 2019. + Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Via CNN Images via Disney Parks

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Aspiring Jedis can pilot the Millennium Falcon at Disney’s upcoming ‘Star Wars’ hotel

Montreal supermarket is Canada’s first to grow produce on its own rooftop garden

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

When the Montreal borough of Saint-Laurent began pushing for green roofs , a supermarket wondered if it could do regulations one better. Fast-forward a few years and IGA Extra Famille Duchemin now claims to be the first grocery store in Canada to sell produce grown on its own roof. High above its LEED Gold-certified retail space, IGA’s 25,000-foot garden features more than 30 different varieties of certified-organic produce, including tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, kale, eggplant, and basil. Speaking to the Ottawa Citizen , co-owner Richard Duchemin said he decided to perceive Saint-Laurent’s requirement not as a burden but an opportunity. Related: New York City unveils massive green-roofed film and fashion hub in Brooklyn Not only does a green roof help regulate the temperature of the building below it, saving energy, but it also feeds into consumer demand for food with a smaller carbon footprint. “People are very interested in buying local,” he said. “There’s nothing more local than this.” The garden, which is irrigated using water reclaimed from the store’s dehumidification system, has also become a mini-Eden for birds, bees, and other embattled urban fauna. Duchemin compares IGA’s produce-laden roof to those “little boxes where [supermarkets] grow herbs,” but on a grander scale. “We pushed it further because we know we’re able to sell what we produce here,” he added. Related: Green roofs cool co-working shipping container office in Brazil If proven successful, GA Extra Famille Duchemin could even kick-start a trend across Canada. Pierre St-Laurent, executive vice-president for Quebec at Sobeys , which owns the IGA chain, is said to be following the store’s progress with great interest. Photos via Facebook Via Ottawa Citizen

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Montreal supermarket is Canada’s first to grow produce on its own rooftop garden

Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Architecture studio tenfiftyfive paired modern luxury with sustainable and nature-centric design in their design of this gorgeous house extension in Melbourne. Named the Park House, this Instagram-worthy dwelling is built around two mature gumtrees and clad in timber to blend into the surroundings. More than just a pretty picture, this stylish abode also boasts energy-efficient principles as well as a natural-materials palette largely foraged from recycled and salvaged items. Completed as an extension to an old heritage house, the Park House sports a sleek modern facade with simple, clean lines and a strong attention to detail. The boxy, top-heavy structure features a cantilevered first floor punctuated by protruding black steel windows that contrast beautifully with the timber facade. Full-height glazing wraps around the ground floor to let in an abundance of natural light and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Fencing along the lot provides privacy. Related: Breezy addition keeps cool in Melbourne’s summers with smart passive design A large open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area dominates the ground floor, while bedrooms are placed in the more closed-off upper floor. The use of timber is continued inside the home, where it can be seen in an exposed recycled wood ceiling in the living space as well as in the furnishings, stairway, and feature wall support built from old Oregon rafter. Some of the red brick used on the kitchen wall was recycled from garden paving and is complemented by a Statuario marble countertop. A green wall above the windows in the dining area adds a splash of nature indoors. Concrete floors with in-built hydronic heating provide thermal comfort as well as a noise barrier between floors. + tenfiftyfive Via Architecture and Design Images via tenfiftyfive

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Gorgeous modern home makes stunning use of recycled and salvaged materials

Elon Musk just announced he got verbal approval to build a New York to DC hyperloop

July 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Elon Musk just announced that the New York City to Washington D.C. hyperloop is happening. Taking to Twitter, Musk said that he has received verbal approval to build an underground hyperloop, with at least a dozen entrance/exits in each city. Once completed, riders will be able to travel from city center to city center in under 30 minutes. Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017 Musk added – again, on Twitter – that there is still work to do to get official approval, but he is “optimistic that will occur rapidly.” The project will be built by The Boring Company at the same time as the Los Angeles hyperloop. Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2017 Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track Right now it takes four hours to drive between New York City and Washington DC, or three hours by train. The hyperloop would dramatically decrease transportation time, though specifics on how it would all would are still sketchy – and, of course, verbal approval is a far cry from having signatures on the dotted line. No doubt Musk will update us as things develop. via Inverse

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Elon Musk just announced he got verbal approval to build a New York to DC hyperloop

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