Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

February 6, 2019 by  
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One of the best ways to fight climate change is to invest in trees and plants. Branches and leaves help trap carbon dioxide, effectively reducing overall pollution in the atmosphere. The only hurdle is that trees take up a lot of land and resources to cultivate, which is why scientists are turning to an alternative source in the fight against carbon emissions. Scientists in Germany just published a new study about how artificial plant life can also cut down on carbon pollution . The team created an artificial system that absorbs carbon dioxide and turns it into a product that is rich in carbon, like alcohol. The system then releases oxygen into the air and captures any excess carbon byproducts for later use. Related: How to teach children about climate change The artificial system is actually more effective than what plants and trees do naturally. In fact, some experts believe this new technology is about 1,000 times better than its natural counterpart. This is significant, because there is not enough room on the planet for trees and plants to absorb the amount of carbon we are currently emitting into the atmosphere. Although artificial trees might be the answer to help curb carbon emissions, there is one catch to the system. According to The Guardian , the cost of installing artificial trees is beyond the reach of most communities. Starting a small forest of artificial trees costs close to a quarter of a million dollars, and that is just to get the ball rolling. Scientists hope to decrease that price point in the near future, but that will only happen once technology progresses and investors get more interested in funding research. If scientists can lower the cost of artificial trees, then it might be our best option for capturing  carbon emissions. But this technology is competing against other methods of removing carbon from the air, so only time will tell if artificial systems are the answer to the growing problem of climate change. Via The Guardian  and  Popular Science Image via Pixabay

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Fake trees could help in the fight against climate change

Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat

February 6, 2019 by  
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A charming, circular escape from the city has popped up on an idyllic stretch of beach in New Zealand . Powered with solar energy and built with weather-resistant materials, the St Andrews Beach House is the work of Austin Maynard Architects , a Fitzroy-based design practice that prides itself on sustainable architecture. The “Euclidean form” of the dwelling was inspired by the beauty of the remote site and is designed to take advantage of views in all directions. Located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula along secluded coastline near national parkland, the St Andrews Beach House is surrounded by stunning vistas of the water, wild bush, sand dunes and scrub. The simple two-story circular structure was a site-sensitive response to both the fragile environment and the client’s brief for a ‘bach’ — a New Zealand word commonly used for a very modest holiday home. The simplicity of the home’s design helps focus attention on the landscape, while its self-sustaining construction minimizes the building’s environmental footprint. “Less than five meters in radius, St Andrews Beach House is an object in the landscape,” the architects explained in a statement. “A Euclidean form set amongst the rough terrain. The plan of the house is generated using the rational and precise geometry, as the circle extrudes into a tube. The internal spaces are generated by a tightly controlled plan adhering to the rules of form, guiding and arranging segments that divide the space, with a spiral staircase as its central core, providing light and air but also snug spaces. This is not a slick beach house, but a relaxed and informal escape, designed with materials that will patina and weather, like an old coastal wharf.” Related: Swanky laneway house in Melbourne is built from recycled red brick The communal living areas are located on the ground floor while the bedroom and bathroom zone are upstairs. In addition to the home’s small footprint and use of durable materials, the beach house was built with rooftop solar panels as well as double-glazed windows. A large cylindrical concrete water tank harvests rainwater for reuse in the toilets and for irrigation. + Austin Maynard Architects Images by Derek Swalwell via Austin Maynard Architects

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Circular, solar-powered beach house is a sustainable holiday retreat

Can vegan pet food be good for the planet and your pet?

December 20, 2018 by  
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Does your pup hover at your feet when the smell of bacon or steak wafts in his direction? It’s no surprise, considering the ingredients dogs are used to receiving and the evolution of the species. Every bag of food at the pet store promotes meat as its main ingredient. From chicken to lamb to bison, meat reigns supreme in the pet food world. Now it is coming to light that maybe it would benefit the planet and our pets if we moved to vegan food to fulfill their dietary needs. But is a plant-based diet both good for your pup and our Earth? Many companies are jumping into the plant-based pet food market. Celebrities are shining a light on the irony of providing shelter for animals and then feeding them animal-based foods. More and more people are beginning to question whether feeding meat-based foods is an unnecessary form of animal cannibalism. Does it make sense to rescue animals like rabbits in one effort and then raise them for slaughter in another? Related: A guide to the best eco-friendly holiday gifts for pets A potential issue with meat-based pet food is the consumption of meat in a world already stressed by the burdens that cattle and other livestock industries contribute to the planet. When you consider that animals drink water and also consume foods that require water to grow, the effects are staggering, and it explains why many vegans have chosen a meat-free diet. In addition to gouging water resources, animal production requires massive amounts of land. Opponents of the meat industry argue that all forms of fruits and vegetables produce more consumable food per acre and use significantly fewer resources. Some estimates report that eliminating meat from the pet food market could reduce the environmental impact by over 25 percent. Of course, there is also the ethical component in the mix. Ask any PETA member and they will scream out that raising animals entirely for the purpose of butcher is inhumane. Plus, there are well-documented issues about how these animals are treated during their short life cycles with little room to move, limited access to the outdoors and an inability to follow their instincts. Related: This sustainable dog house has a green roof and solar-powered fan to keep cool Many animals are already vegan . Think cows, hamsters and elephants, for starters. So we know that humans and some animals can survive without meat. But does that apply to our domestic friends, too? The question has been asked, “Is it healthy for animals to go vegan?” This is where science and veterinarians weigh in. In short, the answer is yes, cats and dogs can be perfectly healthy eating a vegan diet. Like humans, the key is acquiring the right nutritional balance. We associate meat with protein , but vegetables can fill that requirement just as well in many ways. There are exceptions, however. For example, some vets argue that cats and dogs do not absorb vitamin D from the sun and need to get it from their food. Specifically, dogs and humans can absorb D2 from foods, but cats need D3, only available in animal proteins. An inadequately balanced diet can result in a deficiency of minerals, nutrients, vitamins, amino proteins (especially taurine) and essential fatty acids. A shortage of these dietary needs can lead to irreversible medical issues. As the premium pet food market explodes, manufacturers are finding ways to make sure that food meets the nutritional needs of our pets. That means that many products spend time in a lab before being added to food. This food technology is not new. Scientists have worked toward meat substitutes in our food markets for many years. The advantage of transferring this technology over to animal products is that the consumer is a whole lot less picky. Where humans require a smell and texture similar to the meat variety, pets don’t care about tactile pleasure. That means that pet food produced with the help of a lab is faster and less expensive to make. It also means that scientists can carefully balance the nutrients in the food, even if the ingredients don’t provide them upfront. The bottom line is that pets need specific nutrients, regardless of what form they come in. These needs are well-backed by science, so everyone can agree that if the nutritional profile is being met, then it’s absolutely healthy for your pet to sustain a vegan-based diet. The problem is getting a guarantee that your pet food selection in fact meets those needs. Pet owners should not make the decision lightly. After all, modern day pets are members of the family, and we want to provide them the best care we can. When considering the switch to vegan pet food, there are several things to keep in mind. Make sure the food has been thoroughly tested through trials and has met the requirement outlined by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). Discuss the switch with your veterinarian; not only are they trained in animal diets, but they’ve seen the results of a poor diet and can guide you toward the best combination for your pet. Get a preliminary or baseline blood test for your pet, and take them back in for another test after six months. Never feed a vegan diet to puppies or kittens, or any animal that you plan to breed, as these groups have additional nutritional needs. While many see this as an opportunity to significantly reduce the carbon footprint from meat production and offer an alternative to the use of animals in animal food, others maintain the believe that there is no substitute for the real thing. Either way, the market is providing options for consumers on both sides of the aisle. Via Popular Science Images via Ish Ka , Mimzy and Shutterstock

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Can vegan pet food be good for the planet and your pet?

Can Drinkable Sunscreen Protect Your Skin from the Inside Out?

May 21, 2014 by  
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Osmosis Skincare from Colorado claims to have invented a drinkable form of UV protection. Harmonized H2O UV Neutralizer uses a vaguely defined process of “ imprinting ” water with radio waves. They claim that ingesting two milliliters (less than half a teaspoon) of the product one hour before exposure to the sun will provide up to three hours of protection. It appears, however, that the Food and Drug Administration and the British Skin Foundation do not agree. Read the rest of Can Drinkable Sunscreen Protect Your Skin from the Inside Out? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alternative health , Dr. Ben Johnson , Harmonized H2O UV Neutralizer , Osmosis Skincare , popular science , skin cancer , skincare , sun protection , sunscreen , UVA , UVB , World’s first drinkable sunscreen

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Hidden Grass Cave House Offers the Perfect Sanctuary for an Urban Recluse in Japan

May 21, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Hidden Grass Cave House Offers the Perfect Sanctuary for an Urban Recluse in Japan Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: cave-like home , cave-like house , green roof , green-roofed architecture , green-roofed homes , Japanese architects , japanese architecture , Makiko Tsukada , Makiko Tsukada Grass Cave House , natural lighting , small homes , timber architecture , tiny homes , wood architecture , Yokohama architecture

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Hidden Grass Cave House Offers the Perfect Sanctuary for an Urban Recluse in Japan

17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250

February 11, 2013 by  
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Easton LaChappelle shows off an earlier version of his robotic arm [via Popular Science] Combining a Nintendo Power Glove with 3D-printed parts, 17 year-old Easton LaChappelle has designed an incredible robotic prosthetic arm . As a young teen, the designer still played with his LEGO bricks, but instead of LEGO fortresses, the 14 year old built his first foray into robotics. Made from LEGOs, fishing wire, and surgical tubing, LaChapelle built version one of his robotic arm, which earned him 3rd place in the Colorado Science Fair of 2011, and inspired him to go even further with the 3D-printed design. Read the rest of 17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed prosthetic arm , Easton LaChappelle , eco design , een design , LEGO robotic arm , Prosthetic arm , RObotic Arm , sustainable design

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17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250

17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250

February 11, 2013 by  
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Easton LaChappelle shows off an earlier version of his robotic arm [via Popular Science] Combining a Nintendo Power Glove with 3D-printed parts, 17 year-old Easton LaChappelle has designed an incredible robotic prosthetic arm . As a young teen, the designer still played with his LEGO bricks, but instead of LEGO fortresses, the 14 year old built his first foray into robotics. Made from LEGOs, fishing wire, and surgical tubing, LaChapelle built version one of his robotic arm, which earned him 3rd place in the Colorado Science Fair of 2011, and inspired him to go even further with the 3D-printed design. Read the rest of 17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250 Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed prosthetic arm , Easton LaChappelle , eco design , een design , LEGO robotic arm , Prosthetic arm , RObotic Arm , sustainable design

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17 Year-Old Creates a 3D-Printed Robotic Prosthetic Arm for $250

Reclaimed Bunker Offers Doomsday Luxury Accommodations

October 11, 2010 by  
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This everything-proof doomsday condo takes disaster-proof design to the umpteenth degree. Showcased in the latest issue of Popular Science , the ‘luxury’ underground condo is located in a reclaimed bunker near Barstow, California.

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Reclaimed Bunker Offers Doomsday Luxury Accommodations

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