Solar-powered timber home in Chile embraces ocean views

April 15, 2020 by  
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Earlier this year, Chilean architecture firm Cristobal Vial Arquitectos completed Casa Rural #01, a solar-powered holiday home oriented for views of the Pacific Ocean and optimal passive solar conditions. Located just outside the coastal town of Matanzas in Navidad, the building was designed for a reduced environmental footprint, from the use of elevated foundations that minimize site impact to the rooftop solar panels that meet all of the home’s electrical needs. Set atop hilly remote terrain high in the pine-studded mountains, Casa Rural #01 marks the first home to be constructed within a new housing development. Conceived for a single family, the modestly sized building embraces the outdoors with its framed views and material palette. The structure is built entirely of dimensioned wood with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and is topped by a metal butterfly roof with solar panels.  Inside, Casa Rural #01 measures 60 square meters and is organized as three modules, all of which open up to an exterior west-facing terrace . The house includes three bedrooms, an open-plan living room with a kitchen and dining area, and a bathroom. The interior spaces are minimally dressed and wrapped entirely of timber with the roof timber elements exposed.  Related: This elevated prefab home in Chile takes in striking volcano views “The proposed volume is proposed longitudinally in favor of the slope,” explains the architects in a project statement. “That is why a modulation of three separate volumes is solved, which organize the public, private (children) and private (adults) program. The separation of these volumes is done through two cuts that allow having the north-south domain of the land in which it is located. In order not to lose the continuity of these, a broken gable roof is proposed, as an envelope, which seeks to dialogue with the existing slope and at the same time marks what is the circulation space within it and the opening towards the views.”  + Cristobal Vial Arquitectos Images via Cristobal Vial Arquitectos

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Solar-powered timber home in Chile embraces ocean views

This is a solution that could help end illegal fishing

March 2, 2020 by  
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In the Pacific Ocean, a report estimated 24 percent of the fish are unreported and illegally traded in international markets.

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This is a solution that could help end illegal fishing

BP walks away from three U.S. trade groups over carbon pricing

March 2, 2020 by  
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From Apple to Unilever to Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, more big companies are partings ways with industry associations that support policies at odds with corporate sustainability goals

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BP walks away from three U.S. trade groups over carbon pricing

How using biodiversity indicators can improve conservation effectiveness

March 2, 2020 by  
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Data can help companies make decisions about their conservation initiatives — and improve outcomes.

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How using biodiversity indicators can improve conservation effectiveness

Endangered Canadian Orca births first calf in three years

June 4, 2019 by  
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A small and endangered pod of orca whales primarily seen off the coast of British Columbia was seen with their first newborn calf since 2016. The calf has been called a “ray of hope” by whale researchers and conservationists and brings the total population up to just 76 whales. “Researchers at the Centre for Whale Research, have confirmed that the calf is a new addition, and based on its coloration and body condition was likely born sometime in the last one to three weeks…More field observations are needed to confirm the identity of the calf’s mother,” the research center said in a statement. Related: Russia to release hundreds of illegally captured orcas and belugas from ‘whale jail’ The whale was first observed and photographed by whale watchers on May 31, who noted its orange hue and fetal skin– evidence that it was born very recently. This subsection of endangered killer whales are unique to others of the same species because they primarily eat Chinook salmon instead of seals and mammals. The crash in salmon population in the Pacific Northwest contributed to a decline in whale population. Last year, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee released a plan to revive and protect salmon and whale populations. The newest calf belongs to the J-Pod, but there are two other pods of the endangered group– the L-pod and the K-pod. Just five months ago, the L-pod also successfully birthed a calf. “Southern resident killer whales , their population is small so any birth is huge,” a representative from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada told CBC News. Despite these recent celebrations, the survival rate for Orca calves is only 50 percent. The last successful Orca birth took place in 2016. However, last year after the death of the calf, the mother continued to carry the body for a heart wrenching 7 days, a story which received considerable media attention and drew sympathy for the vulnerable population. Via The Guardian Image via skeeze

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Endangered Canadian Orca births first calf in three years

State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

August 23, 2018 by  
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Hurricane Lane is swiftly moving along its course toward Hawaii, where a hurricane warning is in effect for Maui and the Big Island. A hurricane watch has also been issued for Kauai and Oahu. According to the National Weather Service , the storm has now been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make contact with the state later today. Related: After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over The NWS reported that “the center of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday.” In addition, the organization noted that, “regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach.” Despite the storm’s demotion from a Category 5 to a Category 4, many locals are comparing Hurricane Lane to the devastating Hurricane Iniki, which hit Hawaii in 1992. Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday in case Hawaii needs relief for “disaster damages, losses and suffering.” In a news release from the Governor’s office , Ige said, “Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane. I’ve not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I’ve seen with this storm. I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact.” Related: The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes — and it’s officially on the market Residents have already “rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and rainfall accumulations of between 10-15 inches, the storm is expected to cause flash-flooding and landslides in Hawaii. In addition, the NWS has reported the possibility of “large and potentially damaging surf.” As the hurricane continues to approach the Hawaiian coastline, many residents are hoping Lane will show a little more mercy than 1992’s Iniki, which killed six people and caused $1.8 billion worth of damage. Numerous government buildings have closed as the state’s residents prepare for the storm. Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

A spike in tailless whale sightings worries scientists

May 8, 2018 by  
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People have occasionally glimpsed tailless whales in western North America, but a recent spike in sightings has troubled scientists. This year alone, at least three flukeless gray whales have been spotted near California. Ship collisions or killer whale attacks probably aren’t to blame for the injuries; entanglement in fishing equipment is likely the cause. National Geographic reported that when whales are feeding in areas with debris, man-made objects or fishing gear, nets or ropes can get stuck at their tail’s base, slowly sawing off their flukes. Ropes and nets can also cut off blood circulation, causing a whale’s tail to wither away. Entangled whales may not survive, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ‘s (NOAA) California stranding network coordinator Justin Viezbecke. “The majority of them — if not all of them — are going to most likely die from these injuries,” Viezbecke said. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry Losing a tail makes life difficult for whales. Feeding becomes a challenge; the limb serves as a propeller as they navigate to the seafloor and seek out crustaceans. The long migration from Mexico birthing grounds to Arctic feeding grounds can also be hard without a tail. Flukeless mother whales are less capable of defending their babies from killer whales . According to whale biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger, some whales can adapt to the handicap. Brooke Palmer — who posted a YouTube video of a tailless whale near Newport Beach, California earlier this year — said in the video description that the whale was doing “seemingly well as it adapted to the loss of an integral limb. It is sad, but inspirational how resilient and adaptive these beautiful mammals can be.” The increase in tailless gray whale sightings matches up with what National Geographic called a general increase in whale entanglements. There was an average of 10 incidents a year between 2000 and 2012, but in 2017, there were 31 incidents, according to NOAA whale disentangler Pieter Folkens. Folkens said the reason behind the rise is unknown, although it could be possible that people are better at spotting the whales. Via National Geographic Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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A spike in tailless whale sightings worries scientists

Boeing’s new hypersonic plane could circle the globe in 3 hours

February 5, 2018 by  
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Boeing has developed a hypersonic plane that is faster than a speeding bullet. So fast, in fact, that it could circle the globe in just three hours, according to the manufacturer. The plane is designed to use its own shockwaves to increase its speed, and it could herald an entirely new era of flight. The plane was revealed last month, though we are just now getting real details about what it is like. The hypersonic plane is a ‘waverider’ style, which means that it uses the shock waves it creates to increase its speed. It is being developed as a reconnaissance or strike plane, and if it enters production, it will be the fastest plane ever produced, hitting speeds of Mach 5 or higher (that’s a mind-bending 3,836 mph). The development of a hypersonic plane could change the way we engage in warfare, because it means that a threat could arrive so quickly, there would only be minutes to identify it and prepare a defense. It also means that if it were developed as a passenger plane you would be able to travel anywhere across the Atlantic in an hour, and anywhere across the Pacific in two hours. It would go more than twice as fast as the Concorde . Related: Skreemr concept jet aims to fly 5 times as fast as the Concorde Aviation fans are calling the unmanned aircraft “Son of Blackbird,” because it is expected to be the successor of the legendary Lockheed Martin-developed Blackbird SR-71 plane. Some people speculate that it is being called “Valkyrie II” within the industry. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been locked in a battle to develop hypersonic travel. Lockheed Martin has also been developing its own hypersonic plane, called the SR-72. Only time will tell who breaks the speed barrier first. Via Daily Mail and Popular Mechanics Images via Lockheed Martin and Boeing

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Boeing’s new hypersonic plane could circle the globe in 3 hours

Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

January 16, 2018 by  
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Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines , sent lava billowing down its slopes on Tuesday and prompted an evacuation of more than 21,000 locals who live in threatened areas. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, lava flowed as far as 1.2 miles from the crater while ash from the volcanic activity spread to several communities in the northeastern Albay Province, where Mayon is located. Although the sight of an active volcano is breathtaking, authorities have advised that people remain beyond the 3.7-4.3 mile danger zone around Mayon. “They say it’s beauty juxtaposed with danger,” Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said, according to CBS News . Of the at least 21,800 people to be displaced by Mayon’s most recent eruptive episode, over 16,800 have taken shelter in 22 schools throughout the region. Others found safety at the homes of relatives far from the danger zone. Locals have expressed concern for their livestocks, which authorities have met by setting up evacuation areas for animals such as pigs, poultry, water buffalo, and cattle.  Despite the vivid display of danger, the volcano’s current lava spell was sparked by lava fragments splitting from the lava flow, not from an explosive eruption from within the crater. Further, scientists have not observed the level of volcanic earthquakes that would indicate an imminent eruption. If such an eruption were to appear imminent, authorities say that they are ready for a large-scale evacuation operation. Related: Scientists construct new theory of Yellowstone’s supervolcano hotspot Mayon has erupted about 50 times in the past 500 years, often with great strength. Its first recorded eruption was in 1616 while the most destructive occurred in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and the town of Cagsawa was buried. The most recent episode before the current occurred in 2013 when an eruption of ash killed five people who attempted to climb the volcano despite warnings. While Mount Mayon may be the most active, it certainly is not the only volcano in the Philippines. Mayon is a part of the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific in which seismic faults are plentiful and often produce earthquakes and volcanic activity. Via CBS News Images via Denvie Balidoy/Flickr and Tom Falcon/Flickr

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Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

January 16, 2018 by  
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Argentina-based Reale Arquitectos just unveiled plans for a stunning office building made completely out of shipping containers . Currently under construction in Miami, the contemporary structure is made out of four repurposed containers strategically configured to give the building plenty of open spaces and great ocean views. In addition to the shipping containers, the project take advantage of a variety of green building strategies including solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. Since its inception, the project focused on combining sophisticated design with sustainable systems . The use of repurposed shipping containers cuts down on building and transportation costs. Additional sustainable features include water heating panels, garden terraces, and a greywater harvesting system . The building also features interior and exterior LED lighting as well as energy-efficient appliances. Related: Affordable shipping container village can pop up almost anywhere in the world To fit into the Miami landscape, the containers were painted a stark white, which also helps with passive cooling. The strategic placement of the containers provides the interior with beautiful views of the Miami shoreline, as well as optimal natural light throughout the interior. The configuration was also pivotal in providing the building with a number of outdoor garden spaces for relaxing, working, or entertaining. + Reale Arquitectos Images via Reale Arquitectos

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Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

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