Fantastical off-grid home is the perfect pad for Fred Flintstone and Bilbo Baggins

October 18, 2017 by  
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If Fred Flintstone and Bilbo Baggins were roomies, this crazy stone dome home would be their perfect abode. Located just outside of Eugene, Oregon, the unique structure – which is currently on the market for $175,000 – was originally buried under soil and it has eight round rooms naturally lit by skylights. The interior comes complete with stone tables, reclaimed wood flooring, and Celtic artwork painted on the walls. The 1,826 square feet home was built in 1988 by Bob Adams, pastor of the adjacent Lorane Christian Church, and his wife, Vicki. Designed by Eugene architect Richard Britz, the home was originally covered in plastic and buried under soil as a way to regulate temperature, but is now just partially sheltered by the surrounding landscape. As far as materials, Adams used a number of repurposed materials in its construction such as reclaimed wood from a local gymnasium. Related: This Oregon dome home could be yours – if aliens don’t come for it first At the time of construction, building codes required homes to have a heat source, so Adams installed electric baseboard heaters. However, the interior temperature rarely dropped below or rose above a comfy 68 degrees so heating or air conditioner is rarely necessary . “You could live in that house, in that Lane County climate, and not burn a watt of electricity, as far as heating is concerned,” Adams explained. In addition to needing scant electricity, the home, which sits on almost an acre of property, has the potential to be completely off-grid . Various 6-foot-­diameter domed skylights were installed in the ceiling to provide natural light and natural ventilation is possible thanks to multiple windows. Nolan Scheid purchased the home 13 years ago from foreclosure and has used it for housing guests or just for quiet space ever since. However, the family has recently put it on the market, making it clear that it does need some work to make it a real home, even for ambitious off-gridders . Although the structure is technically complete with running water, it would need some extra wiring work to create a workable electric system. Additionally, the home has been damaged by rain falling through the open skylights over the years, so repairs would definitely be necessary. “It has a long ways to go,” owner Nolan Scheid said. “This is not your standard paint-it-and-be-done kind of house.” + Zillow Via The Register Guard

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Fantastical off-grid home is the perfect pad for Fred Flintstone and Bilbo Baggins

TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

October 12, 2017 by  
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The camper designers at TAXA Outdoors have outdone themselves with their latest off-grid masterpiece. Weighing in at just under 2,300 pounds, the Mantis can be towed wherever adventure calls you. The 18-foot-long home on wheels comes complete with a pop-up roof that adds more space to the interior, creating enough room for four full-sized adventurers to sleep comfortably. The innovative flexible space adds a lot of value to the otherwise compact camper. At full height, the pop-up central roof adds ample standing room in the kitchen and bathroom areas. For sleep space, a full-size bed/couch at the rear of the camper fits two full size adult and two bunk beds fold out in the living area. Related: Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed Like most of the TAXA campers, the Mantis is designed to be enjoyable on the road and easy to store when not since it easily folds down to 6´9″ to fit into most standard length and height garage. Founder Garrett Finney, former senior architect at the Habitability Design Center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), explains the inspiration behind the ultra-efficient Mantis design, “Our dealers wanted something with more sleeping room to round out our family of products beyond the Cricket, which is designed for 2 adults and 2 younger children,” Finney says. “The number one selling trailer for the past decade is a 20-foot trailer that sleeps 4 adults. This is our version of that.” For basic needs, the camper comes installed with integrated electric and plumbing systems, and is pre-wired for solar panels . The camper was also installed with ample storage underneath the bunk beds and in the kitchen. The Mantis also comes with the beloved TAXA feature of well-placed cargo nets and bungee cords, which are infinitely handy. The roof also has a cargo deck and rack for large items like bikes or kayaks. The Mantis camper has an estimated starting cost of $32,500 and will be available for purchase this month. + TAXA Mantis Via Uncrate

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TAXA unveils ultra-lightweight Mantis camper with pop-up roof

Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed

February 7, 2017 by  
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Taxa Outdoors’ tow camper, the TigerMoth , is a compact home on wheels geared towards traveling adventurers. The lightweight camper sleeps two, has LED lights, and even better, comes with a built-in electrical system that generates energy while being towed. The camper’s battery can store energy for at least seven days, making off-grid living easier than ever before. Although certainly compact, the camper sleeps two comfortably and thanks to its lightweight size of just 900 pounds, can be towed virtually anywhere. The unique side latch allows for easy access and the large window allows for amazing views and air circulation. Built with adventurers in mind, the small structure has a roof rack system for bikes or kayaks, a tongue-mounted toolbox, and a roof cargo deck for additional gear storage. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel The camper’s tow vehicle connection recharges the battery while on the road, providing enough electricity for at least seven days of off-grid living . Although solar panels have to be ordered, the camper roof is pre-wired for installation. As far as the basic amenities go, the tiny camper can sleep two people comfortably and comes with LED lighting installed in the kitchen area and sleeping area. There is 5.5 square feet of countertop for food preparation or work space. Along with various hooks and bungees, two large cubbies provide extra storage space. + Taca Outdoors

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Bill Gates warns against climate-change denial

February 7, 2017 by  
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Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates recently spoke out against denying climate change during a student question-and-answer session at Columbia University in New York City earlier this month. Joined by voluntary tax-information sharer and fellow monied person Warren Buffett , the Microsoft founder also called for greater innovation in clean energy. He said, “Certain topics are so complicated like climate change that to really get a broad understanding is a bit difficult and particularly when people take that complexity and create uncertainty about it”. And Gates is more than happy to put his money where his mouth is. In December, he and a team of investors said they would pump more than $1 billion into Breakthrough Energy Ventures , a fund that invests in technologies that will curtail the planet’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Related: Bill Gates pledges $2 billion to renewable energy research We need to find energy that’s “reliable, cheap, and clean,” he said, before promising that “the innovations there will be profound.” He added, “There are many paths to get to where we need to go”. Perhaps another billionaire we know should pay attention? Photo by DFID Via U.S.A. Today

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Bill Gates warns against climate-change denial

Off-grid Utah home nestled inside a natural cave-like opening

January 4, 2017 by  
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The word ‘incredible’ does not begin to encompass the awesomeness of this Utah abode, hidden in the side of a cliff. Built in 1986, Cliff Haven is an off-grid dream come true , and it’s for sale. A closed auction invites bidders to imagine living right in the heart of one of America’s most dramatic canyons, amid orange-hued bluffs and tumbleweeds aplenty. With all the amenities needed to thrive (not just survive) off the grid , the Cliff Haven will make a perfect home for someone looking to escape America’s recent chaos without actually having to leave the country. The unique home sits on 12 acres of land, situated 20 minutes outside of Monticello, Utah, in the scenic Montezuma Canyon, and the home is entirely self-sufficient . Cliff Haven spans 2,100 square feet of indoor living space within its rectangular footprint, including three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a three-car garage. From the outside, the home appears to sink into the cliffside itself, as it was constructed within an existing natural cave-like opening. Behind the home, a tunnel has been dug out to provide natural air circulation and an outlet for rainwater to run off. The tunnel doubles as a fire escape as well. Related: These 6 extraordinary cliffside homes will give you chills In addition to just looking downright cool, Cliff Haven features all the technical amenities necessary for supporting life off the grid. A solar power system with 120-volt current charges a battery system, and the home is also equipped with a backup generator for emergencies. A private well supplies water for use inside the home while two 2,000-gallon water tanks collect and store rainwater for other uses. The property has a mature orchard, vineyard, and garden – so the potential irrigation applications are plentiful. If you’re tempted to bid on Cliff Haven and finally getting away from it all, head to the property’s website to check out the full video tour. Then, mark your calendar for January 21, when the closed auction will take place. + Utah Cliff House Via New Atlas Images via Utah Cliff House

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Off-grid Utah home nestled inside a natural cave-like opening

Irish scientists identify new human organ

January 4, 2017 by  
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You’ve been walking around with an unknown organ without even realizing it. The mesentery, which connects the abdomen and intestine, isn’t exactly a new find, but doctors previously thought it was fragmented, instead of continuous. Now University of Limerick scientists are seeking to reverse the centuries-old viewpoint in an article explaining why this piece of the body deserves to be classified as an organ. For more than 100 years, scientists thought the mesentery was comprised of several different, complex segments. Not so, say J. Calvin Coffey and D. Peter O’Leary. They found the mesentery was in fact “one continuous structure,” according to Coffey, and worthy of classification as an organ. The mesentery serves to help organs like the colon and small intestine maintain their shape, wrapping around them in one ribbon of tissue. Coffey told Discover Magazine, “Without it you can’t live. There are no reported instances of a Homo sapien living without a mesentery.” He and his team established the continuous structure of the mesentery back in 2012, and have been building up evidence since then. Related: Scientists grow test tube human brains with potential to think and feel A better understanding of the mesentery could help doctors as they operate on the body, even resulting in less invasive surgeries and complications, according to the University of Limerick. Patients could recover faster and pay less if the medical community had further knowledge of the mesentery. Coffey said in a statement, “When we approach it like every other organ…we can categorize abdominal disease in terms of this organ.” So who gives the final word on whether the mesentery is officially an organ? Coffey told Discover Magazine he doesn’t actually know. For now his article can be read in the journal The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology , who published the research in late 2016. Via Discover Magazine and University of Limerick Images via Alan Place and J. Calvin Coffey/D. Peter O’Leary/Henry Vandyke Carter

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Irish scientists identify new human organ

Faraday Future’s FF91 smashes speed record of Tesla Model S in ludicrous mode

January 4, 2017 by  
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Faraday Future made a bold claim Tuesday when the California-based automotive startup unveiled its 1,050-horsepower FF91, which they say will be the world’s fastest electric car . The production model was featured in a video at CES in Las Vegas, where it can be seen besting a Tesla Model S . Since its inception in 2014, Faraday Future has chased Tesla’s shadow—consistently promising to release a better electric car with a better battery—and the company has even started building a $1 billion factory near Las Vegas. While Faraday Future is already taking pre-orders for the supposedly lightning fast FF91 model, the company can’t pay for production without hefty support from investors, which have yet to be found. Does Faraday really have a future? While Faraday Future is an American company, it is backed in large part by Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting. Since 2014, the company has been teasing the automotive world with promises of bigger, better, faster electric cars, and the unveiling of the FF91, which Faraday calls “the first of the species”, marks the first time we’ve seen an actual car to back up the wild ambition, as the previous teasers have all been mere concepts. Faraday Future’s FF91 can reportedly accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 2.39 seconds, shaving precious time off the record 2.5 seconds for a Tesla Model S P100D with “Ludicrous Mode” engaged . Related: Faraday Future breaks ground on $1B electric car factory outside Las Vegas In addition to its speed, the FF91 (that’s FF “nine-one,” the company clarifies in its press release) also boasts a longer range than any other commercially available electric car , with an estimated 378 miles of travel on a single charge of its 130 kWh battery. Faraday Future also claims to have achieved the fastest charging time with a home battery charger capable of juicing from 50 percent to full charge in under 4.5 hours. Faraday says deliveries of its super fast FF91 will begin in 2018, but there are a lot of “ifs” involved. The company is still working hard to raise capital for production of the FF91 (which is strikingly similar to where Faraday was a year ago at this time, with a different concept car) but they are already taking reservations toward purchases (much like Tesla) at $5,000 (which is refundable). There’s no word on what the FF91’s final price tag will look like, and Faraday Future’s reputation for big ideas without the actual technology to back them up may prevent the speedy electric car from ever hitting the road. Via Bloomberg Images via Faraday Future

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Self-sufficient Platypus Bend House was built to float above torrential flooding

March 4, 2016 by  
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DIY Trombe Wall Made From River Rock and Wire

February 18, 2011 by  
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Images credi t DesignBuildBLUFF While researching The Trombe Wall: Low Tech Solar Design Makes A Comeback I stumbled over the work of DesignBuildBLUFF , the principal mission of which is to “design and build safe, sustainable off-grid homes for needy families living on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation in the four corners region located just outside of Bluff, UT. ” The

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