Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

April 21, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk must not be busy enough with his Boring company , Space X and Tesla , because he just became CEO of another company, and this one has a goal of turning us all into cyborgs .  Neuralink,  a  San Francisco -based startup says they are “developing ultra high bandwidth brain -machine interfaces to connect humans and computers ” and Musk says he hopes to start delivering by 2021. Musk hinted that he was working on neural lacing last year , though details were scant, but he has never been shy about his opinion that we should be connecting our brains to computers. According to TechCrunch, Musk wants to make that leap with Neuralink. He wants to integrate our brains and computers, or allow us to connect cloud-based artificial intelligence computing with our selves. This could allow humans to communicate directly with each other, instead of having to compress thoughts into language. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month It sounds like science fiction. Musk explained it in detail to Tim Urban of Wait But Why . Musk said we already are cyborgs; we’ve “already kind of merged” with smartphones and laptops. He added, “You’re already digitally superhuman. The thing that would change is the interface – having a high-bandwidth interface to your digital enhancements. The thing is that today, the interface all necks down to this tiny straw, which is, particularly in terms of output, it’s like poking things with your meat sticks, or using words – either speaking or tapping things with fingers. And in fact, output has gone backwards. It used to be, in your most frequent form, output would be ten-finger typing. Now, it’s like, two-thumb typing. That’s crazy slow communication. We should be able to improve that by many orders of magnitude with a direct neural interface.” Neuralink’s product probably won’t be ready for the public any time soon – it could be eight to 10 years for people without disabilities, according to Musk, who said the timeline depends both on regulatory approval and how well the devices could work for disabled people. If you want to dig more into the project, Urban wrote a 36,000-word explanation . About the piece, Musk said on Twitter , “Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.” Via Wait What Why ,  The Next Web and TechCrunch Images via OnInnovation on Flickr and Max Pixel

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Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

April 5, 2017 by  
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This futuristic residential building in Luxembourg has a segmented facade that resembles the tail of a lobster or an exotic insect. Design studio Metaform sought to eliminate some of the major problems that occur in multi-family housing projects – such as the lack of privacy, natural light , and open space. Metaform approached the project in an experimental way in order to respond to the steep topography and preserve the existing three-century-old trees located on the plot. These elements inspired the form of the building, which is split into six smaller, vertically shifted blocks. This allowed the designers to preserve the required density while providing residents with a sense of belonging, identity and human scale. Thanks to the resulting layout, the units receive ample amounts of natural light and have panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the city. Related: Innovative Gap House in Seoul saves space with communal living areas The ventilated facade is clad in triangular aluminium panels . Passive house design features work together with a well-insulated facade and glass elements coated with anti-UV film that protects the interior from overheating. Solar panels and living roofs round out the home’s green building strategies, ensuring low-energy performance. Related: Belles Townhomes is SF’s First LEED Platinum Multi-Family Housing The design eliminates long, horizontal circulation routes, which can often be dark and acoustically problematic. Three vertical cores connect underground parking directly to the apartments–an element that allows the units to have three-sided orientations. Apart from offering privacy, the architects also wanted to give residents the possibility to meet and get to know each other in common shared indoor spaces like kitchens and living rooms. + Metaform Via v2 com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

March 31, 2017 by  
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Shipping container residences can be elaborate and complex, but sometimes bringing it back to basics is the key to good living. At the request of their client, San Francisco-based architects  YAMAMAR  created a simple, off-grid container cabin getaway out of two  repurposed shipping containers tucked into a pristine natural forest in North California’s Mount Lassen area. The container cabin is located on 1,000 acres of pristine wilderness. The idyllic location is next to an old creek bed with amazing sunset views of the surroundings. At the request of the property owner, who had been previously using an old Fleetwood trailer to sleep on site, the new structure had to fit into this natural area by operating completely off-grid . Working within the restrictions set by the local nature conservancy for permanent structures, the team began by customizing two shipping containers off site. This reduced the project’s overall footprint and production costs. Related: A glazed container cabin that reflects the Colorado sky Once fused together, the new cabin was built out with simple materials such as  reclaimed Douglas fir panels on the flooring and walls. To generate power, a solar array was installed on the roof, but the home uses propane for most of its lighting and heating needs. The adjacent creek is the home’s natural source for fresh water. In contrast to some luxury dwellings found in the world of shipping container design, this off-grid cabin was meant to offer the basics and keep the focus on the amazing setting. The compact interior is equipped with a small kitchen and one bedroom with a large window that offers incredible views. Two sliding doors on either side of the home roll open on castors and can be locked up tight when not in use. + YAMAMAR Design Via  Dwell Photography by Bruce Damonte

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Off-grid shipping container cabin has a warm wooden interior

Ghost Barn built of locally felled timber glows like a lantern at night

March 31, 2017 by  
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With a name like Ghost Barn and a glowing, lantern-like appearance at night, this fiberglass-clad structure could easily be mistaken for a haunted hut. Rest assured, however, the building is actually a new model-making shed completed by British firm Invisible Studio in the woods of Bath. The architects designed the prototyping workshop using unseasoned spruce timber grown and milled on-site. Invisible Studio constructed Ghost Barn to complement their existing woodland studio and to serve as a space for full-scale model making. Built of locally sourced five-by-two timber planks in less than two weeks, the new prototyping workshop was an exercise in “constructional efficiency.” Minimal drawings were created before construction started to allow the build team to decide much of the design in an ad-hoc way, though the architects determined the materials and the overall farm shed -like appearance. Related: Super-local energy-efficient Caretaker’s House is built from locally grown and felled timber “The project is the first of a series of ‘equivalent’ projects that use same-section timber,” write the architects. “The project also relates to Piers Taylor’s PhD topic exploring contingencies that emerge through incorporating making in to design.” The mono-pitched Ghost Barn is clad in impact-resistant fiberglass and corrugated steel , materials that reference the local agricultural vernacular. The fiberglass walls allow natural light to pierce into the interior and give the building the appearance of a glowing lantern when lit at night. A large opening allows the designers to move large models and materials in and out of the building with ease. + Invisible Studio Via Dezeen Images via Invisible Studio

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Ghost Barn built of locally felled timber glows like a lantern at night

Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

March 29, 2017 by  
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New York City’s obsession with building ultra-tall, skinny skyscrapers should come as a surprise to no one. For decades, architects and developers have worked to “out-phallic” each other to seize prestige and obscene amounts of cash. New York-based Oiio Studio has had enough of the taller-is-better trend – and they’re now aiming to create the “longest skyscraper in the world” – aptly dubbed “The Big Bend” – to draw attention to the city’s absurd real estate situation. The proposed Big Bend aims to be the longest skyscraper on the globe – topping out even Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – by folding the tower in half in an inverted U-shape. Big Bend is a 4,000-foot-tall paperclip-shaped skyscraper that would loom over the towers along New York City’s Billionaire’s Row . The plans evoke an ultra-modern atmosphere with images of top-hatted rich men taking center stage in the renderings. According to the architects, the “bendy” design responds to the city’s uber-tall skyscrapers , which have been criticized for “bending” building codes and using their height to command exorbitant prices. Related: World’s tallest timber skyscraper proposed for London The building proposal for the Big Bend reads, “We usually learn about the latest tallest building and we are always impressed by its price per square foot. It seems that a property’s height operates as a license for it to be expensive. New York City’s zoning laws have created a peculiar set of tricks trough which developers try to maximize their property’s height in order to infuse it with the prestige of a high rise structure. But what if we substituted height with length? What if our buildings were long instead of tall? If we manage to bend our structure instead of bending the zoning rules of New York we would be able to create one of the most prestigious buildings in Manhattan.” In an interview with Quartz , Oiio’s Ioannis Oikonomou explains that the project aims “to raise awareness on the extreme law-bending that the emergence of such structures requires by proposing an even more extreme, yet achievable, scenario.” The fact that the design is feasible is what makes the Big Bend design even more intriguing. With current high-tech engineering and elevators that can move horizontally as well as vertically, the U-shaped tower could potentially be built – and it even complies with current NYC zoning laws. “There is nothing particularly demanding that has not been already tested within existing high-rise structures,” Oikonomou says. If fact, if the skyscraper design came to fruition, its size would overtake Dubai’s Burj Khalifa , which at 2,722 feet, is the world’s tallest (and longest) building. + Oiio Studio Via CNN Imags via Oiio Studio

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Is this massive folded skyscraper trolling New York City’s obsession with size?

Stickbulb is a revolutionary and gorgeous modular LED light

March 29, 2017 by  
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If you haven’t heard of Stickbulb yet, it’s time you did. Stickbulb is a collection of stunning, innovative and diverse modern LED lighting made locally in New York City out of wood reclaimed from within the Big Apple itself. Stickbulb’s latest revelation – the Custom Collection – is produced by the New York-based RUX Design Studio and it features interchangeable wooden LED stick lamps that you can combine into different configurations to suit your space. The original Stickbulb was, as the name suggests, a straight stick of wood affixed to a long, linear LED lamp. The geometric shapes of this latest Custom Collection build on the simple shape of the linear LED stickstulb. But the new pieces are modular and can be altered to fit almost any space. Stickbulb’s beautiful geometric designs range from free-standing formats to wall-mounted pendants that can be clustered to create statement pieces. They scale from the size of a table lamp to a 9-foot-tall chandelier that was displayed at last year’s New York City Design Week . This unique design was a collaboration between by RUX Design studio founder and Creative Director, Russell Greenberg, and Partner, Christopher Beardley. Both are architecture graduates with a passion for buildings, modular systems, and sustainable manufacturing. The sculptural pieces are assembled in Rux’s shop in Queens, New York, and are made from locally-sourced materials. Wood options include southern yellow pine reclaimed from buildings demolished in New York State. The pieces are designed with a minimal number of parts, so they’re easy to separate for maintenance, recycling, and reuse. RELATED: 24 Gorgeous Green Lamps That Look Great With Energy-Saving LED Bulbs Stickbulb celebrates New York City’s past and future, combining energy efficient LED lighting with sustainably sourced, reclaimed wood that is a part of the fabric of the past. + Stickbulb

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State Department to approve permit for Keystone XL

March 24, 2017 by  
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The Trump administration has announced its intention to reverse Barack Obama’s Keystone XL pipeline decision by March 27, according to a report by Politico . Obama blocked construction of the controversial pipeline 16 months ago, a move hailed by environmentalists and slammed by the oil industry. This should come as no surprise, given that one of Donald Trump ’s campaign promises was to push through both Keystone XL and the renewed Dakota Access Pipeline project. The pipeline’s cross-border permit will be signed by Tom Shannon, undersecretary for political affairs. Due to his personal connections with the industry as former CEO of Exxon Mobil, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself from the process. This will be the end result of a decade-long fight on the part of developer TransCanada to build the $8 billion project. If construction is completed, the pipeline could potentially result in catastrophic oil spills that could pollute drinking water and destroy ecosystems. But even more worrying is the amount of CO2 the project could produce by triggering development in Alberta’s oil sands . At a time when climate change is accelerating rapidly, the last thing we need is to promote projects that will pump huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Related: The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trump’s administration This isn’t the end of the road for anti-Keystone protesters. Though the project has won cross-border approval, it still needs to receive approval from the state of Nebraska and a small number of landowners who have refused to yield the right of way. The Nebraska decision isn’t expected until September. Via Politico Images via Wikimedia Commons and Maureen/Flickr

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This ready-made tiny home can be shipped to any destination

March 24, 2017 by  
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There are those who work for months or even years to create a beautiful tiny home out of nothing, but if you don’t have time for all that, now you can order your own ready-made Mobile Home. The compact structure, designed by Ruzanna Andressa Oganesya, is built on a moving platform and can be transported virtually anywhere. Those looking to go off grid hassle free can order it to be delivered to their desired location, ready to use as a serene mountain retreat or even as an urban home addition. The Mobile Home is a prefab modular construction that is wide enough to fit on a freight-liner truck bed, making delivery ultra-convenient. The home is compact, approximately 150 square feet, and comes with all of the basic necessities, including a selection of furnishings. The compact house is a unique shape, almost completely covered in glass panels. Adding to its charm is a lovely open-air deck that leads into the interior. Related: Inhabitat spends the night in a Harvard-designed tiny cabin in the woods On the interior, a mezzanine floorplan allows for optimal use of space. The bedroom hovers over the living space connected by an open staircase. Along with the glass walls, a skylight floods the home with natural light . Strategically located just over the bed, it allows residents to enjoy a bit of stargazing as they nod off to sleep. + Ruzanna Andressa Oganesya Via Yanko Design

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This ready-made tiny home can be shipped to any destination

Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

March 21, 2017 by  
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A company based in Toronto is bringing New York City its first community solar project. UGE International , one of the world’s leading renewable-energy contractors, will be partnering with Gotham Community Solar to develop a new array at a multi-tenant commercial facility between the Park Slope and Boerum Hill neighborhoods in Brooklyn. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in early summer, will have a rated peak capacity of roughly 100 kilowatts, according to UGE. The building abuts another UGE project: the Whole Foods Market at 214 3rd Street, colloquially known as “3rd and 3rd” by locals. “It’s been a privilege to work with ConEd , the Department of Buildings, and the project’s ownership group on developing this landmark project” Tim Woodcock, UGE’s Regional Director, said in a statement. Related: UGE is building a massive rooftop solar array atop this popular Brooklyn church Woodcock anticipates selling any surplus power to nearby residents at rates lower than those offered by their utility companies. The benefits would be twofold: cheaper electricity that also comes from a sustainable source. “The solar power generated by the project will be credited to numerous residential accounts, offering access to the benefits and low cost of solar energy to those previously excluded due to their housing situation,” he added. + UGE International

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Coming soon: NYC’s first community solar project

New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

March 20, 2017 by  
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An innovative new project called LIFE+ Methamorphosis is pioneering a new sustainable biofuel for cars . Car company SEAT and water management company Aqualia have transformed wastewater into the alternative fuel . Powered with this biofuel produced during one year at a treatment plant in Spain, a vehicle could circumnavigate the globe 100 times. SEAT and Aqualia came up with a creative answer to the issues of pollution from traditional car fuels – which have led to traffic restrictions in cities like Madrid – and reusing water , a scarce resource. To make their biomethane , wastewater is separated from sludge in treatment plants, and then becomes gas after a fermentation treatment. Following a purification and enrichment process, the biogas can be utilized as fuel. Compared against petrol, production and consumption of the biofuel releases 80 percent less carbon dioxide, according to SEAT . The new biofuel works in compressed natural gas (CNG)-fueled cars. Related: Africa’s newest sustainable biofuel grows on trees The project aims to show feasibility at industrial scales through two waste treatment systems. The UMBRELLA prototype will be set up in a municipal waste treatment plant serving Barcelona. The METHARGO prototype will create biomethane at a plant handling animal manure. The biogas made with the second prototype can be utilized directly in cars or could be added to the natural gas distribution network, according to the project’s website . A mid-sized treatment plant can handle around 353,000 cubic feet of wastewater every day, which could yield 35,000 cubic feet of biomethane, according to companies involved with the project. All that biomethane could power 150 vehicles driving around 62 miles a day. SEAT will supply vehicles to test the biofuel over around 74,500 miles. The European Commission is funding the project. Other companies participating include Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas , Gas Natural , the Catalan Institute for Energy , and the Barcelona Metropolitan Area . Via New Atlas Images via SEAT and LIFE+ Methamorphosis

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New biofuel from wastewater slashes vehicle CO2 emissions by 80%

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