Shocking Caribbean photos reveal a "sea of plastic and Styrofoam"

October 26, 2017 by  
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We hear about the issue of ocean plastic a lot, but new photographs visually demonstrate just how pervasive the pollution is. Roatán-based photographer Caroline Power shared pictures on Facebook taken near the Caribbean island belonging to Honduras, revealing what she calls a “sea of plastic and Styrofoam”. Power said, “This has to stop.” Power shared photographs of waves of plastic garbage floating in seaweed in a part of the world we tend to think of as pristine. Pressure group Blue Planet Society said the trash could have come from the Montagua River in Guatemala. Related: Could France-sized ocean garbage patch become 196th nation? Power seems to have posted in hopes of prompting people to think about their own consumption of single-use plastic. She wrote in the Facebook post, “Think about your daily lives. How did you take your food to go last time you ate out? How was your last street food served? Chances are it was styrofoam and served with a plastic fork and then put in a plastic bag. Do you still use plastic garbage bags? Plastic soda bottles? Ziplock bags? Plastic wrap on your food? Do you buy toilet paper that comes wrapped in plastic instead of paper? Do you put your fruit and veggies in produce bags at the grocery?” Power challenged people and businesses to keep their garbage, after sorting out organic and recyclable trash, for a week. She said, “You will be disgusted by how many single-use items you use.” Every single year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans . Plastic pollution isn’t just an eyesore; The Independent quoted statistics saying it’s harming over 600 species around the world. Around 100,000 marine animals and more than one million birds perish because of plastic every year. Surely we can do better? Via Caroline Power and The Independent Images via Caroline Power on Facebook

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Shocking Caribbean photos reveal a "sea of plastic and Styrofoam"

Magical beauty of mushrooms is captured in Jill Bliss stunning arrangements

August 10, 2017 by  
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Flowers aren’t the only kinds of plants deserving of artistic arrangement. Artist and self-proclaimed nature nerd Jill Bliss shows off the magical beauty of mushrooms in her gorgeous temporary fungi arrangements in a series she calls ‘Nature Medleys.’ These stunning compositions show off the diverse texture, types, and colors of fungi in eye-catching detail. Jill Bliss lives, works, and travels the Salish Sea islands of Canada and Washington State where she collects natural objects and inspiration for her art. Bliss forages for the mushrooms in local forests and will often pair the fungi finds with other plants and objects found by the shore including shells and pieces of driftwood. Related: 3 edible mushrooms that are easy to find – and how to avoid the poisonous ones An incredible variety of mushrooms exist in the Pacific Northwest . One of her most popular and eye-catching mushroom choices is the vibrant purple gill mushroom. Bliss photographs her compositions and offers many as prints and stationery in her online shop. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram . + Jill Bliss Via Colossal

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Magical beauty of mushrooms is captured in Jill Bliss stunning arrangements

Check out the otherworldly transformation of a salt-covered dress left at the bottom of the Dead Sea

September 1, 2016 by  
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The Salt Bride dress is reminiscent of the ” traditional Hasidic garment ” worn by a character in the Yiddish play The Dybbuk . The play, penned by S. Ansky between 1913 and 1916, chronicles a bride possessed by evil who is exorcised. Landau’s art explores themes of death and change by focusing in on how the Dead Sea altered the dress’s appearance. Salt Bride is comprised of eight images shot during the dress’s transformation. Related: Petey Ulatan’s cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles According to a statement from the Marlborough Contemporary, “Over time, the sea’s alchemy transforms the plain garment from a symbol associated with death and madness into the wedding dress it was always intended to be.” It’s not the first time Landau has worked with the Dead Sea as an essential part of her artwork. She has immersed other items in the sea and even created a floating art installation with watermelons in the sea. Landau said in a statement, “Over the years, I learnt more and more about this low and strange place. Still the magic is there waiting for us: new experiments, ideas, and understandings. It is like meeting with a different time system, a different logic, another planet. It looks like snow, like sugar, like death’s embrace; solid tears, like a white surrender to fire and water combined.” Salt Bride will be on display at the Marlborough Contemporary through September 3. + Sigalit Landau + Marlborough Contemporary Images courtesy of Sigalit Landau/Marlborough Contemporary, Matanya Tausig/Marlborough Contemporary, and Shaxaf Haber/Marlborough Contemporary

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Check out the otherworldly transformation of a salt-covered dress left at the bottom of the Dead Sea

Steve Axford captures the hidden world of rare and undocumented fungi

August 11, 2016 by  
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The unusual diversity of shapes, colors and textures of these fungi is a visual reminder of just how beautiful life on this planet really is. Each specimen, photographed in its natural environment, is a testament that nothing exists in isolation, and everything is interconnected.  All of the fungi is left untouched and unaltered, documented by Axford so that people around the world can enjoy the ethereal beauty. Related: Surprising Photos Reveal the Enchanting World of Fungi Some months ago Axford left his beloved Australia to wander around with his camera throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Xishuangbanna, in China and Chiang Mai, in Thailand . What he found was a handful of species that may be unknown to science and documented for the first time. The new images include a types like the Amanita hemibapha eggs and Cookeina Tricholoma , a bizarre-looking cup-shaped, hairy fungi we can now admire thanks to the photograph’s lens. + Steve Axford Via This is Colossal Photos by Steve Axford

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Steve Axford captures the hidden world of rare and undocumented fungi

Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

August 8, 2016 by  
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Ulatan’s artistic interpretation of the world as a cube is not the same treatment as taking other round objects and making them cubic, such as the cube-shaped watermelons grown in Japan. Rather, his vision reflects something closer to science fiction, where Earth’s corners face inward to create exceptionally geometric valleys that defy gravity. Ulatan, who unveiled his cubist world in a series of curious images on Instagram , bends a number of familiar scenes at 90-degree angles, making for some very interesting—and head turning—possibilities. Related: Artist uses spider webs to create spellbinding cubes of eerie art The squared-off world of Ulatan’s creations takes everything we know about the Earth’s physical attributes and turns them, well, sideways. A sailboat can now not only glide along the water’s surface, but can also take a 90-degree turn up or down. Smoke flowing up from a factory’s stacks might spew from two different planes, intersecting at a sharp angle. A relaxing day by the lake may require folks to crane their neck in order to get a view across the water, as the vantage point reaches straight down from a drop-off. Ulatan’s cubic world doesn’t need to explain its bizarre physics or impossible gravity . It doesn’t require an explanation of how its shape came to be. Rather, his series of manipulated images serves a more esoteric purpose, which is to inspire people to look at the world in a different way. + Petey Ulatan’s website + Petey Ulatan on Instagram Via Architectural Digest Images via Petey Ulatan

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Petey Ulatans cubic landscapes reimagine the world full of sharp angles

Giants of Japanese architecture design prototypes for houses of the future

August 8, 2016 by  
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Shigeru Ban ‘s Open House with Condensed Core proposes that plumbing water and waste could be funneled through the ceiling instead of floors to provide more organizational flexibility. Floor-to-ceiling windows open outwards at a right angle as a space-saving solution. Sou Fujimoto conceived a housing model named Rental Space Tower, which provides shared living spaces. The “pixelated” structure was built in collaboration with real estate company Daito Trust Construction. Related: Amazing Green-Walled Japanese Bathroom Answers Nature’s Call Atelier Bow Wow teamed up with Japanese design brand Muji to build Tanada Terrace Office. The building is a prototype for paddy field housing and references traditional structural solutions such as stilted timber construction. This solution would function as a workspace for digital nomads. Another model addressing the trend of nomadic living is the temporary Nomad House, designed by Suppose Design Office founders Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida. Kengo Kuma designed the venue and came up with a series of solar-powered tents named Grand Third Living Room. Latticed timber walkways connect all the exhibits, including the Checkerboard Water Garden designed by Kuma himself. One of the houses- Go Hasegawa ‘s Yoshino-Sugi Cedar House-will be transported to the town of Yoshino after the exhibition closes and listed on Airbnb. Inside-Out/Furniture-Room, designed by architect Jun Igarashi and furniture designer Taiji Fujimori for toilet manufacturer Toto and window company YKK AP, has built-in furniture placed in volumes that radially branch out from a central core. Visitors of the One Family Under a Wireless Roof can use VR headsets to experience how families living apart communicate and stay in touch, while Hiragana-no Spiral House, designed by Yuko Nagayama for Panasonic, features a spiraling screen for watching films. Several other projects address different aspects of modern living and housing trends, often using the latest technology to educate visitors and allow them to experience space. + House Vision 2 Via Dezeen

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Giants of Japanese architecture design prototypes for houses of the future

PHOTOS: The Great Salt Lake is drying up and it could have a global impact

June 29, 2016 by  
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Recently, a report from Utah State University revealed how dire the situation has become at the Great Salt Lake. According to the report, over 50% of the lake bed has been exposed, nearly half of the water has dried up and the lake has dropped 11 feet since settlers arrived in the valley in the mid-nineteenth century. That’s a significant drop for a lake that is only 33-feet deep at its deepest. Last spring, cranes were brought in to lift 80 boats out of the muddy marina after water levels dropped so low that the marina was no longer deep enough to support the boats. Today, a year later, they sit moored on the side of the road, waiting for a day when they might get them up and running. The state approved a budget for dredging the marina with the hopes of getting boats back in the water at some point, but the work would just be a bandage on a larger problem. Related: The Great Salt Lake is turning to dust – and it could vanish entirely While many think of the lake as essentially a “dead” sea , the lake is home to numerous wetlands that support waterfowl, shorebirds and lakeside ecology. The lake also acts as a hub for migratory birds across the world. Development has already threatened these areas, and the drying lakebed only exacerbates the issue. A dry lakebed will also reduce precipitation in northern Utah and increase dust in what is already some of the most polluted air in the nation. Many in Utah blame the lake levels on drought, but as the recent report illustrates , diversion is a major contributor to lake levels, since it is fed by numerous rivers that are used as sources of water for Utah residents. Of all of the human-caused water depletion, 63% has gone to agricultural use, with another 24% going to mineral extraction and industry. All told, about 40% of the water running into the Great Salt Lake has been diverted. Coupled with reduced precipitation in the region, it’s a recipe for disaster. Reduced levels have also caused problems related to the railway causeway that divides the lake in half. Reduced water is causing erosion , which threatens to collapse the 20-mile railroad causeway that traverses the lake. But even more distressing, the raised causeway, coupled with the lower water level, has prevented water from moving between the two sides of the lake, essentially killing the northern half of the lake. Since a majority of the fresh water feeds into the lake from the south, the northern half of the lake hasn’t been receiving fresh water, raising the salinity. When viewed from the air, the northern half of the lake appears to be pink. That’s because the lake’s main inhabitant – brine shrimp – can’t survive in the saltier water, leaving behind salt-loving bacteria with a pinkish hue. Some areas of the lake have dropped so low that islands are no longer islands, including Antelope Island, the lake’s largest, which is now surrounded by shallow waters and dry lakebed. Instead of being a true island, as it is when water levels are higher, it is now a peninsula. Other smaller islands have been exposed and are now just grassy hills in the middle of dry lakebed. The drying lake has caused another concerning issue: poisonous air. The Great Salt Lake is full of toxic arsenic, selenium and  mercury , with levels so high they are unlike just about anything measured before in a US body of water. As the lake is drying, the chemicals are settling into the soil, which gets kicked up when the wind blows. Right now, researchers are looking into the potential health threat that these chemicals may pose to a proposed prison that will be built next to the lake. When I was young, I used to sit at the edge of the lake by the railroad tracks that run to the south of the lake and pretend I was sitting on the ocean. These days, I can walk out from the railroad tracks for an hour on the cracked, salty lakebed and not reach the shoreline. Since the early 1900s, families spent their summers at the Saltair amusement park, which featured a massive dance pavilion in the lake that could only be reached by walking along an extended pier. Today, you can walk along the dry lakebed and follow the path where the pier foundations sit, and the wood foundations that used to support the pavilion now stand dry like lonely sentries in the middle of the lakebed. Water is an incredibly precious resource in the West ( see: California ), and as people continue to battle to control it, less and less of it is reaching the lakes. If the Great Salt Lake is allowed to dry up, the impact on wildlife, local populations and the entire ecology of the west could be serious. Utah’s leaders need to weigh the value of their state’s economy against it’s future. Photos by Kristine Lofgren for Inhabitat

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PHOTOS: The Great Salt Lake is drying up and it could have a global impact

Average cost of solar and wind energy could fall by 59% in the next decade

June 29, 2016 by  
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A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that with the right policies in place, the average costs for solar and wind power could decrease by between 26 percent and 59 percent by 2025. The report, titled The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost Reduction Potential to 2025 , concludes that technology innovations, increased competition, pressure on supply chains and economies of scale could see by 2025 average electricity costs for solar PV fall by 59 percent, offshore wind by 35 percent, onshore wind by 26 percent and concentrated solar power by as much as 43 percent. “We have already seen dramatic cost decreases in solar and wind in recent years and this report shows that prices will continue to drop, thanks to different technology and market drivers,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Given that solar and wind are already the cheapest source of new generation capacity in many markets around the world, this further cost reduction will broaden that trend and strengthen the compelling business case to switch from fossil fuels to renewables.” Related: Solar and wind power are now cheaper than coal or natural gas in some markets The report finds that by 2025, the global average cost of electricity from solar PV and onshore wind will be around five to six cents per kilowatt hour. The average utility-scale solar price in the United States has already fallen to five cents per kilowatt hour, according to a 2015 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Another study from the Berkeley Lab, also published last year, found that the price of wind energy in the United States averaged under 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2014, an all-time low. While advances in energy storage are being made, another new study from MIT finds that the falling cost of solar and wind could limit energy storage profitability unless the price of energy storage systems comes down along with solar and wind. Unless the price of energy storage systems is reduced, it could be more profitable to add more generating capacity from solar and wind and other renewables than to add more storage capacity. + The Power to Change: Solar and Wind Cost Reduction Potential to 2025 Via IRENA Images via Engineers Journal and Wikipedia

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French artist JR makes the Louvre’s pyramid "disappear" with a giant photographic print

June 6, 2016 by  
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Many of JR’s art installations are similar in nature: outdoors, large in scale, and centered around photographic prints. In a press release, the artist explained his motivation for pairing photos with landmarks all around the world, ranging from the Middle East to the favelas of Rio to slums of Kenya. “The most important thing,” wrote JR, “is where I put my photos and the meaning they take on depending on the place.” Related: INFOGRAPHIC: The most amazing museums in the world For a full 24 hours (May 28 3:00 p.m. to May 29 3:00 p.m.), JR and other artists occupied the Louvre . The agenda included a series of talks, films, and concerts, including a film with Agnès Varda in northern France and a performance with dancers from the New York City Ballet. The celebration also included five brief after-hours museum tours, led by JR and magician Yann Frisch, topping the momentous day with an extra dose of whimsy. JR documented the progress of the exhibit via his Instagram page . There, he shows crews in action, working carefully to hang the enormous photographic print with the aid of a giant crane. The exhibition will be open through June 27. + The Louvre Images via JR

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French artist JR makes the Louvre’s pyramid "disappear" with a giant photographic print

Magical New Zealand cave is illuminated by luminescent glowworms

June 2, 2016 by  
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Jeffers, who is an official Hobbiton photographer, frequently captures incredible landscapes for tourism companies. He snapped some glowworm photos for Discover Waitomo , a company that organizes cave visits, rafting, and tours of the Hobbiton Movie Set. To obtain the images, Jeffers had to spend six to eight hours submerged in chilly cave water. Related: Biofluorescent sharks glow bright green in the depths of the sea According to his Bored Panda post on the experience, he said, “When the headlamps are out and all you can see are the glowworms, you can’t help but feel like you’ve stepped into James Cameron’s Avatar Pandora; it’s just unreal!” Discover Waitomo says the glowworm ” is unique to New Zealand .” The caves were first explored back in 1887, when Maori Chief Tane Tinorau and English surveyor Fred Mace entered via a raft on the river that runs into the cave. According to Discover Waitomo, the Maori knew the caves were there but hadn’t yet explored far into their depths. Chief Tane and Mace were the first to discover the now-famed Glowworm Grotto. In 1889 tourists began venturing into the caves using the other entrances Chief Tane found, led by the chief and his wife Huti. The government started managing the caves in 1906, but in 1989 management was given back to the Maori. Discover Waitomo says many of the staff that guide tourists through the enchanting caves today are ” direct descendants ” of Chief Tane and Huti. Jeffers said, “Something quite special dwells beneath the surface of New Zealand and these images prove that the country is just as beautiful below ground as it is above!” + Shaun Jeffers Photography Images courtesy of Shaun Jeffers , Shaun Jeffers Instagram , and Shaun Jeffers Facebook

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Magical New Zealand cave is illuminated by luminescent glowworms

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