Can satellites help companies reach their sustainability goals?

May 2, 2018 by  
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Methane is the most dangerous greenhouse gas emission, and accurate measuring is necessary to ensure that corporations meet their public commitments and meet the 2-degree warning.

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Can satellites help companies reach their sustainability goals?

Customer obsessed: Customer demand for sustainability and engagement to maximize impact

February 15, 2018 by  
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The future of corporate sustainability leadership involves finding ways to engage the public to think and act sustainably. This is a task that companies can’t do alone and is best achieved by creating partnerships with NGOs and others to connect with the public and spread the word about companies that are trying to make a difference. As one of the world’s largest restaurant companies, McDonald’s has the responsibility and opportunity use our Scale for Good.

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Customer obsessed: Customer demand for sustainability and engagement to maximize impact

US to lift restrictions on making viruses deadlier and stronger

December 21, 2017 by  
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The United States National Institute of Health (NIH) announced on Tuesday that it will soon end a three-year moratorium on funding research projects that aim to make pathogens more powerful than they are naturally. The restrictions were put in place during the Obama Administration while the NIH created a more comprehensive system of risk-benefit analysis for the research. Now that such a system has been developed, the NIH is moving forward with its plans to develop more dangerous forms of deadly viruses . The goal is to study these lab-grown super-viruses to determine how these viruses might evolve in the real world, enabling experts and institutions to prepare antiviral medicines or other public health responses. Projects that engineer super viruses in the hopes of learning their weaknesses are called “gain-of-function” studies. Scientists seek to learn how a virus interacts with its hosts may change based on evolution . While research involving highly dangerous pathogens is strictly regulated, the potential cost from a mistake or malicious action could be devastating. Former CIA director John Brennan recently highlighted biological weapons, like a weaponized form of the ebola virus , as one of the most pressing existential threats facing the United States. Related: Scientists harness tobacco plants to produce polio vaccine Between 2003 and 2009, there were 395 reported incidents in which human error created a situation in which people were at risk of infection from these deadly viruses. Only seven infections resulted from these 395 events. Although this research is ostensibly to serve the public’s interest, some scientists question whether the risks are worth any potential reward. Gain-of-function studies have “done almost nothing to improve our preparedness for pandemics, yet they risked creating an accidental pandemic , said Marc Lipsitch, epidemiologist at Harvard University, according to Nature . It would seem that the NIH did its due diligence in preparing a comprehensive policy concerning the research of deadly pathogens. Hopefully it is enough to keep these super viruses behind tightly closed doors. Via Motherboard Images via NIAID   (1)  

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US to lift restrictions on making viruses deadlier and stronger

Defining the affordable path to Hawaii’s renewable future

September 8, 2017 by  
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Sponsored: A broad coalition of stakeholders can protect the public’s interest.

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Defining the affordable path to Hawaii’s renewable future

Elon Musks Boring Company receives green light to dig a two-mile test tunnel

August 28, 2017 by  
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Progress is being made on Elon Musk’s version of the Hyperloop , a supersonic train that could potentially travel up to 700 mph. Last week, the City Council in Hawthorne, California voted four to one in favor of allowing Musk’s Boring Company to dig a two-mile-long underground test tunnel. The newly-approved extension will stretch beyond the company’s property line outside of Los Angeles and will run 44 feet below the public roads and utilities that surround SpaceX headquarters. Reportedly, consumers won’t even notice the construction. The test tunnel will allow Boring Company to test its own version of the supersonic train which Musk previously shared open plans for. As The Verge reports, the planned route doesn’t go under any privately-owned residential or commercial property, aside from that owned by SpaceX. When the test tunnel is completed, the city can request the company fill it with concrete or soil. Read more: Hyperloop One conducts first full-scale test of superfast transportation system Brett Horton, senior director of facilities and construction for SpaceX , assured the Council that people in the area won’t even notice the construction — or the testing. He said, “They won’t even know we’re there” even though digging will take place below their feet. To assuage concern, Horton added that the company thoroughly tests the soil and will deliver the results to the city on a daily basis. If the ground is found to move as little as half-an-inch in either direction, work will stop until a solution is found. If the public has concerns, they can contact the city or visit SpaceX headquarters, he added. “Our operations team is on site at the entrance shaft, so we’re easy to reach,” said Horton. Hawthorne’s Mayor Alex Vargas said, “This is groundbreaking, this is establishing a precedent, and I think we all agree that we want to make sure that this goes off without a hitch.” The Boring Company still needs to obtain an “encroachment permit” before it can dig the test tunnel. Because some are still wary of the proposed Hyperloop , the company might still run into challenges. Regardless, the City Council’s approval is an essential step for Musk’s latest project. + Boring Company Via The Verge Images via Boring Company , Optimist Daily

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Elon Musks Boring Company receives green light to dig a two-mile test tunnel

The inside perspective from an Exxon-funded climate scientist

August 28, 2017 by  
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Should the oil and gas giant be held responsible for misleading the public?

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The inside perspective from an Exxon-funded climate scientist

Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

August 22, 2017 by  
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Ai Weiwei is returning to New York City – and he’s planning to install fences around 300 sites in one of his largest public art projects to date. According to the artist, “Good Fences Make New Neighbors” is a reaction to “a retreat from the essential attitude of openness” in American politics. The exhibition opens on October 12 and it was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the organization. All in all, the project will comprise 10 major fence-themed installations in addition to scores of smaller works. Said Nicholas Baume, the Public Art Fund’s director and chief curator, “This is the most ambitious that we’ve undertaken since I’ve been here. Certainly, it’s the most distributed throughout the city.” In the past, the Public Art Fund commissioned major artists like Alexander Calder and Sol LeWitt to produce thought-provoking masterpieces. Related: Miami Artist Smashes $1 Million Vase by Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei “In Protest” Ai Weiwei was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall” to build the fences – and they will be located in multiple boroughs, including Manhatten , Queens, and Brooklyn. Some of the sites include Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, and the Cooper Union building in Manhattan. + Good Fences Make Good Neighbors + Ai Weiwei Via New York Times Images via Ai Weiwei and Public Art Fund

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Artist Ai Wewei to install fences around 300 sites in New York City

This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

August 22, 2017 by  
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Looking for ways to spruce up your yard with some nifty DIY outdoor furniture ? This wooden trellis, built by Notcot ‘s Jean Aw and Shawn Sims, is a head-turning project that combines a vine-supporting exterior structure with a cozy wooden bench on the inside. From one side, its a beautiful yard feature that hosts lush greenery, but from the other side, it is the perfect cozy spot for entertaining and relaxing. The trellis doesn’t function only as support for beautiful passion flowers, but also doubles as a private nook with an L-shaped wooden bench . The couple wanted to create a private space for their back yard that’s comfortable to lounge on. They paired it with smaller coffee tables, transforming it into a multifunctional space where they can relax, dine or work. Related: This pallet-based patio proves that even renters can have stylishly-remodeled spaces Passion flower vines growing up the wooden structure acts as camouflage that hides the seating area, turning it into a lush, private oasis. The structure is sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Head on over to Notcot to see how it was done. Via Notcot

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This DIY trellis doubles as a lush private oasis with seating

Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

March 28, 2017 by  
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As debates over immigration policy and the refugee crisis continue to rage across the United States, Ai Weiwei , the Beijing-born provocateur, has revealed his plans to raise more than 100 wire security fences across New York City. On view from October 12 through February 11, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”  will be a commentary on the barriers, both psychic and physical, that divide us as a people. The multi-site installation, which is expected to span locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, will be one of Ai’s largest public art projects to date. Indeed it’s the most ambitious to be commissioned by the Public Art Fund , which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. “Ai Weiwei transforms an ordinary architectural element into a series of striking installations,” said Nicholas Baume, director and chief curator of the Public Art Fund. “’Good Fences Make Good Neighbors’ invites us to consider the role of the fence in a modern society as well as our own relationship to the object in question: Does this fence serve a purpose? Does it feel imposed or like it belongs? What does it separate me from? What side of the fence am I on? Does it protect me, or do I feel constrained?” Ai’s exhibition takes its name from “Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost about a stone wall that separates the narrator’s property from his neighbor’s. The pieces will appear to grow out of the urban landscape in unexpected contexts, Baume said, including on rooftops, the spaces between buildings, and on bus shelters. Related: Wool art installation repurposed into blankets for Syrian refugees For Ai, who lived in New York for a time, the political is personal. “I was an immigrant in New York in the 1980s for 10 years and the issue with the migration crisis has been a longtime focus of my practice,” Ai said. “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.” + Ai Weiwei + Public Art Fund Via the New York Times

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Ai Weiwei to build 100 fences in NYC to shed light on immigration issues

Check out the vibrant outdoor art gallery coming to NYC’s High Line park

February 24, 2017 by  
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High Line Art , the arm of Friends of the High Line that manages its public art projects, reviewed more than 50 proposals before shortlisting 12 for the inaugural Plinth commissions. The artists, who hail from all corners of the globe, include veterans such as Haim Steinbach and Charles Gaines, mid-careerists like Matthew Day Jackson and Cosima von Bonin, and emerging talents such as Minerva Cuevas, Lena Henke, and Jonathan Berger. “The High Line Plinth will provide artists with an opportunity to work on a larger scale than ever before possible on the High Line, and to engage with the breathtaking vistas that open up around this new site,” said Cecilia Alemani, director and chief curator of High Line Art. “As a new landmark to this space, the High Line Plinth will create a new symbol of this incredible nexus of horticulture, art, and public space in the ever-evolving metropolis that is New York City.” For the 2.3 million visitors the High Line receives annually, the Plinth provides an opportunity unlike any other: “free, world-class artwork 365 days a year,” according to Robert Hammond, co-founder and executive director of Friends of the High Line. “The High Line Plinth will expand the program’s impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” he said. The Fourth Plinth has served as a stage for subversive, politically charged, or otherwise controversial pieces that have fueled debate. The High Line Plinth is expected to be no different, Alemani said. Ascent of a Woman , an entry from New York’s Lena Henke, is a “singular, gigantic, upturned” breast that will slowly erode in the face of the elements. The breast’s outer layer of soil, sand, and clay will eventually give way to new forms cast into the inner mold. Unapologetically sensual, the work pits the city and the body in a “surreal entanglement … challenging New York City’s rational and modernist approach to public space.” Los Angeles–based Sam Durant proposes an abstract representation of an unmanned Predator drone, rotating like a wind vane atop a 20-foot column. In the shadow of the aircraft, visitors may imagine the specter of surveillance casting a creeping, growing influence across the world. Paola Pivi, who was born in Italy but lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska, suggests a 20-foot-high reproduction of the Statue of Liberty wearing an inflatable cartoon-style mask in the guise of someone who has gained his or her freedom in the United States, or seeks to do so. The stories of the individuals featured would be made available to visitors online. Less polarizing, perhaps, is Londoner Jeremy Deller’s slide, which takes the form of a giant chameleon. “There is something magical about chameleons; they can do things that we can only dream of,” he explained. To start with, High Line Art wants to whittle the proposals down to two—you can vote for your favorites , or, if you prefer, recommend something else altogether. “I am excited to work with artists who think critically about the meaning of public space and public life, and create artworks that not only respond to the site, but also spark conversations among a wide audience,” Alemani added. + The High Line Plinth + The High Line Via Curbed

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