Unexpected giant spikes and other oddities take over a Scottish mansion grounds

July 27, 2017 by  
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A curious sight has taken over one of Scotland’s finest historic grounds. Environmental artist Steve Messam crafted XXX, a series of site-specific installations that add modern whimsy to the late 18th-century Mellerstain House & Gardens . Commissioned as the first works of the newly opened Borders Sculpture Park, the giant inflatable artworks create dialogue between the past and present, from the enormous roof of spikes atop a decrepit gatehouse to the floating white spheres on a lake. Messam’s XXX installation comprises three works, all of which are large-scale and made from inflated white fabric that reference the marble sculptures originally intended to decorate the Mellerstain grounds. Each site-specific intervention uses the element of surprise to disrupt the way viewers typically perceive the historic landscape. A fine day to be a punk cottage. ('Pointed' by Steve Messam) #mellerstain #art #environmentalart #scotland #cottage #punk #spikes #archifringe #installation #inflatables #scottishborders #scottishart #creativescotland #startups #borderssculpturepark @rougeit A post shared by Borders Sculpture Park (@borderssculpturepark) on Jul 22, 2017 at 12:19pm PDT ‘Scattered,’ which comprises two to four-meter-wide inflated white spheres that bob along a lake, can be immediately seen and explored up close in canoes. In contrast, ‘Pointed’ and ‘Towered’ are placed within hidden, partially ruined buildings and must be discovered on a walk through the grounds. In Pointed, 28 giant inflated white spikes make up the re-imagined roofline of a former gatehouse. In contrast, Towered takes the shape of column-like forms that emerge from atop an old laundry ruin. Related: Artist Steve Messam built a 16-foot paper bridge without glue or bolts A statement on Steve Messam’s website reads: “Messam’s fascinating site-specific works explore a sense of space, presence and place, each one working with the surrounding environment to disrupt and transform the way we perceive it. By integrating inflatable, fabric sculptures very directly into the buildings and landscape, the artist seeks to uncover some of the many layers of narrative bound up in this magnificent estate. Creating a true visual spectacle, the three works are joyful and uplifting. They are celebrations of form rather than being symbolic or having inherent meaning, and have to be directly experienced in the environment to be appreciated fully.” + Steve Messam Via Colossal Images via Borders Sculpture Park

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Unexpected giant spikes and other oddities take over a Scottish mansion grounds

Surprisingly modern hut in the Scottish Highlands is insulated with heather, moss and stone

July 20, 2017 by  
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This small hut nestled in the Scottish Highlands combines the influences of Le Corbusier’s iconic Chapelle Notre Dame du Haut and those of the region’s vernacular architecture . The building, designed by Moxon Architects , is covered with heather, moss and stone gathered from local hillsides, which provide both camouflage and additional insulation. The Culardoch Shieling hut sits in the grounds of the client’s Highland estate in the mountains of Cairngorms National Park in Scotland . Its rectangular windows reference Le Corbusier’s famous Ronchamp cathedral, while its overall form and materials establish a connection with the area’s vernacular architecture, livestock holdings and Scottish farming crofts in particular. Related: A green-roofed Hobbit home anyone can build in just 3 days The choice of natural materials and construction technique reflects the client’s request that the building have minimal impact on the terrain. Exterior walls made from unprocessed larch wood envelop the interior lined in spruce. A large dining table and wood-burning stove dominate this cozy space and facilitate social gatherings. + Moxon Architects Via Dezeen

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Surprisingly modern hut in the Scottish Highlands is insulated with heather, moss and stone

You can now buy a village on the Isle of Skye heres how

June 19, 2017 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to own a village, here’s your chance. Mary’s Cottages, located in Elgol on the Isle of Skye, is up for sale – and for the right person, it could be an enchanting getaway. Marketed as a “lifestyle business,” the village includes four traditional Scottish blackhouses that have been restored in addition to the owner’s modern five-bedroom house — complete with a pitched, tiled roof that blends in with the surroundings. In each of the traditional Scottish houses, you’ll find classically decorated interiors, vaulted ceilings, underfloor heating, oil stoves and Caithness slate floors. Each cottage has its own traditional built-in kingsize bed, in addition to a mezzanine area with single beds that can be tucked away. Related: Italy is giving away hundreds of historic castles and villas for free According to agents Strutt and Parker , views from all the abodes are breathtaking. Additionally, one doesn’t need to walk far from the collection of cottages to see fishermen going about their duties, and dolphins, otters, eagles, and sharks enjoy the nearby bay. In fact, The Scotsman describes the location as being “ideal for holidaymakers.” When a venture into the city is needed, Elgol is only 45 minutes away and a drive to Edinburgh is six hours. As you might expect, a village — particularly on the Isle of Skye — isn’t cheap. Right now, it’s on the market for £1.25 million. + Strutt and Parker Via The Independent Images via Strutt and Parker

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You can now buy a village on the Isle of Skye heres how

UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

April 25, 2017 by  
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Around 24.8 million miles of roads crisscross the surface of Earth. And hundreds of millions of barrels of oil have been used for that development. Engineer Toby McCartney came up with a solution to that waste of natural resources and the growing plastic pollution problem. His company, Scotland-based MacRebur , lays roads that are as much as 60 percent stronger than regular asphalt roads and last around 10 times longer – and they’re made with recycled plastic. Our city roads require a lot of maintenance over time as weather deteriorates them and potholes open up. Meanwhile there are around five trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. McCartney came up with an answer to both issues. He turns 100 percent recycled plastic into what he calls MR6 pellets, or small pellets of waste plastic, which replace bitumen , the material used to bind roads together (extracted from crude oil) and sold by oil companies like Shell. Related: Vancouver Becomes First City to Pave Its Streets With Recycled Plastic Normal roads are comprised of around 90 percent rock, sand, and limestone, with 10 percent bitumen. MacRebur’s process replaces most of the bitumen, using household waste plastic, farm waste, and commercial waste. Much of the trash would have otherwise ended up in a landfill . At asphalt plants the MR6 pellets are mixed with quarried rock and a bit of bitumen, and a plant worker told the BBC the process is actually the same “as mixing the conventional way with additions into a bitumen product.” McCartney was inspired to design plastic roads after his daughter’s teacher asked the class what lives in the ocean, and his daughter said, “Plastics.” He didn’t want her to grow up in a world where that was true. He’d also spent time in India, where he saw locals would fix holes in the road by putting waste plastic into the holes and then burning it. He started MacRebur with friends Nick Burnett and Gordon Reid. MacRebur’s first road was McCartney’s own driveway, and now the company’s roads have been laid in the county of Cumbria in the United Kingdom . + MacRebur Via the BBC Images via MacRebur Facebook

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UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic

World’s first mobile recycling plant turns trash into tiles

April 25, 2017 by  
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Waste management is a pressing problem all over the world, but it’s especially hard for isolated communities that lack access to recycling facilities. Taiwan-based architecture studio Miniwiz has come up with an environmentally friendly solution: TRASHPRESSO, a traveling solar-powered recycling plant that turns trash into tiles. Wherever it goes, TRASHPRESSO takes local waste and recycles it into tiles for use in architecture. The mobile recycling plant is in a 40-foot container platform that a trailer truck can transport, and Miniwiz says the plant opens up similar to how a satellite unpacks in orbit. It can recycle plastic and fabric waste, running on solar power . Garbage is “washed, shredded, melted, and molded” into architectural tiles, and the water to clean the trash is reused in the process. Related: Verti-Cult: Miniwiz Unveils Glowing Green Wall Made From Recycled Bottles The off-grid plant can pump out 10 square meters, or over 107 square feet, of the architectural tiles every 40 minutes. Each tile contains the equivalent of five plastic PET bottles . They can be utilized for exterior or interior floor finishes, according to Miniwiz, “or sold as raw material for further upcycling manufacturing processes like yarning, injection, and extrusion.” Miniwiz CEO and co-founder Arthur Huang said in a statement, “Until now, industrial grade recycling was limited to plants. The TRASHPRESSO overcomes the distance and energy barriers by showing that recycling is possible everywhere. Not only does it serve to transform trash on-site, it also serves as an educational tool in isolated communities.” The TRASHPRESSO will be deployed for the first time this summer to NianBao Yuze on the Tibetan Plateau. The natural beauty of the glacier region has been trashed by tourists who leave behind litter. From there TRASHPRESSO will travel to other remote areas where garbage gathers, such as beaches, lakes, reservoirs, or rivers. Miniwiz showed off the TRASHPRESSO recently in Shanghai to celebrate Earth Day . They’ll bring the recycling plant to NianBao Yuze in partnership with Jackie Chan’s Green Heroes documentary series on National Geographic . + Miniwiz Images courtesy of Miniwiz

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World’s first mobile recycling plant turns trash into tiles

Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes

April 20, 2017 by  
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Scotland’s Berwickshire Housing Association wants to capture the wind to boost their mission. By launching a new wind farm in the Scottish Borders, and selling the power to the National Grid, the charitable organization hopes to generate enough revenue to build 500 affordable homes over the next 25 years. Dubbed Fishermen Three, the 7.5-megawatt project at Hoprigshiels in Cockburnspath is a joint effort between BHA and the equally philanthropic Community Energy Scotland . The latter’s share of the revenue will enable it to help communities across Scotland leverage their own renewable energy initiatives. “The idea for the wind farm came when BHA realized that we had to be innovative in order to solve the dilemma of how to keep building new homes for social rental, which are so badly needed in this area, at a time when funding for new housing through traditional channels was in decline,” Helen Forsyth, chief executive of BHA, said in a statement. “The wind farm will provide BHA with a reliable, predictable, low-maintenance source of income that will allow us to build a steady stream of new affordable homes at a time when services are all too often being cut.” Related: 6 reasons the clean energy revolution doesn’t need Trump’s blessing Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of CES, said that the United Kingdom’s energy system is shifting, but with changes come fresh opportunities. “We want to make sure that communities are at the forefront of the opportunities that this will create for new low-carbon energy developments,” he added. Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, agrees that renewables are the way of the future. He said, “Locally owned renewables in areas such as the Borders have the potential to help drive social, economic and environmental change at a local level.” Via the Guardian Photos by Unsplash

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Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes

Scientists discover Antarctica is covered in rivers

April 20, 2017 by  
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For decades, scientists have known that summertime brings liquid meltwater to Antarctica’s ice sheets. But until now, they’ve had no idea just how extensive the continent’s network of rivers, streams, ponds, and waterfalls really is. A new analysis by scientists at  Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has found that warmer months cause far more extensive melting than previously thought. That could be a problem as global temperatures continue to rise. Surface water can damage the ice shelves , weakening them and causing them to collapse into the ocean. Some of the channels identified in this survey allow meltwater to run harmlessly off into the sea, but in other areas, standing water can be a huge problem. In 2002, more than 2,000 lakes on the Larsen B ice shelf drained through the ice into the ocean below, causing the entire area to rapidly disintegrate. Related: Scientists warn rapidly-melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc The presence of water on the frozen continent does not yet appear to be the cause of widespread problems—but there’s also the possibility that warmer temperatures are causing sub-surface ice melt. Unfortunately, that phenomenon has been researched in far less detail, so it’s unclear exactly what effect it will have on the ice and rising sea levels in the future. Via Phys.org Images via NASA and Wikimedia Commons

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ExxonMobil wants a sanctions waiver for Russian oil project

April 20, 2017 by  
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The United States imposed sanctions on Russia back in 2014 after Moscow annexed Crimea. But it appears oil giant ExxonMobil would like an exception for their own profit. They’re seeking a sanctions waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department to pursue drilling in the Black Sea with Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft . It seems U.S. sanctions are just too inconvenient for ExxonMobil . Apparently they sent in their waiver application when Barack Obama was president, and did not drop it once Donald Trump entered office. The application didn’t come up during Senate hearings for former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson before he was confirmed as Secretary of State. Tillerson and other ExxonMobil officials then said they hadn’t lobbied against the sanctions on Russia. Related: Americans don’t trust climate change science because of fossil fuel industry’s disinformation Tillerson and the officials said ExxonMobil did receive a waiver to finish drilling an exploration well in Arctic waters near Russia. ExxonMobil officials also said they’d exhorted members of the Obama administration to align U.S. sanctions with European sanctions which allowed some flexibility for European companies to continue working on Russian projects. The Wall Street Journal first reported on ExxonMobil’s sanctions waiver request yesterday, and The New York Times confirmed the story with an oil industry official. An ExxonMobil spokesperson refused to comment to The New York Times on the waiver application. The application will go before the Trump administration at a tenuous time, as an inquiry into Russia’s potential influence on the American presidential election continues. At a 2014 Exxon annual meeting, Tillerson as CEO said, “We do not support sanctions, generally, because we don’t find them to be effective unless they are very well implemented comprehensively, and that’s a very hard thing to do.” But as Secretary of State he has not suggested sanctions be lifted. Rosneft and Exxon made a deal back in 2011 to invest $3.2 billion to explore the Black Sea and the Arctic Ocean, with the pledge to share in the findings if oil were discovered. Obama’s U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael A. McFaul, said on Twitter , “If the Trump administration approves this waiver, then all that tough talk last week about Russia was just that – talk.” Via The New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons and President of Russia

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ExxonMobil wants a sanctions waiver for Russian oil project

Is tidal power finally coming of age?

April 4, 2017 by  
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A British company wants to demonstrate that underwater turbines can be a viable source of hydroelectricity, by winning a share of $363 million worth of electricity generation contracts being offered up by the U.K. government. As Bloomberg reports, Atlantis Resources wants to build power turbines under the ocean in Scotland, and their success would not only mean a whole pile of cash, but also provide another option for producing clean energy . The company faces steep competition for the government funds from offshore wind power companies, but they’re hoping to convince officials that tidal power has finally come of age. If they manage to do so, tidal power could eventually provide the U.K. with one fifth of its energy needs. As Bloomberg notes, previous efforts at producing tidal power have been largely experimental and operated at costs around triple that of wind power . To be successful in their bid to government, Atlantis must find a way to bring the cost of energy down by 70 percent—to about $125 per megawatt hour. That’s close to the price of nuclear and offshore wind power. If they can pull it off, Atlantis is hoping to get a $125 million investment that would let them build a manufacturing plant in Scotland, which would in turn let the company get much-sought contracts from France, South Korea and Indonesia. It’s all leading up to the final goal of helping to turn Scotland into a “Saudi Arabia of green energy.” Related: World’s longest wind turbine blade expected to drive down offshore energy costs With that in mind, the company is already working on its “MyGen” project, which involves the installation of up to 269 turbines under the Pentland Firth, a stretch of water that links the Atlantic ocean to the North Sea. It’s an eight-mile-wide channel of water that flows regularly at about 10 feet per second. Four turbines are already generating 6 megawatts, and two more phases should see enough turbines to generate about 86 megawatts of power by this summer. Via Bloomberg Images via Atlantis Resources

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Is tidal power finally coming of age?

Solar-power system could provide clean drinking water in rural India for the first time

February 2, 2017 by  
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A solar-powered purification system could slake the thirsts of rural India with clean drinking water for the first time. This would be no ordinary feat. Tens of millions of people in India lack access to potable water, and roughly 600,000 Indian children die every year from water- and sanitation-related diseases like diarrhea or pneumonia, according to UNICEF . In the country’s most far-flung regions, where 70 percent of India’s population lives, toxic bacteria routinely fouls at least half of the water supply . But while the Indian government has focused its efforts on treating surface water in rivers and streams, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland want to attack the source of contamination: sewage. They’ve developed a system that uses sunlight to induce high-energy particles within a photocatalytic material, which uses light to generate a chemical reaction. These, in turn, activate molecules of oxygen, mobilizing them to destroy bacteria and other organic matter. Because the materials require no power source, an off-grid system requires little more than attaching the photocatalyst to containers of contaminated water and angling them toward the sun until they’re safe to drink. If necessary, the system could be used in tandem with a filter to catch larger particles. Related: 6 Innovative, Life-Saving Designs for Clean Drinking Water The researchers are now working with the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research to scale up the technologies they honed during a five-month pilot project. “Working closely with our Indian partners, we aim to harness the sun’s energy to tackle a huge problem that affects many people around the world,” Neil Robertson, a professor from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Chemistry, said in a statement. + University of Edinburgh Via FastCo.Exist Photo by Jake Givens

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