A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to "speak their language"

November 3, 2017 by  
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A beluga whale living in captivity with a pod of bottlenose dolphins learned to communicate using their unique “language” or sounds. Detailed in a new study published in the journal Animal Cognition , the extraordinary inter-species communication breakthrough demonstrates the well-documented ability of beluga whales to accurately imitate sounds of other species. This mimicry extends even to humans, as was the case with Noc, the beluga whale studied by the US Navy in the 1970s who was observed making human-like sounds. Although it can’t be confirmed whether or not the beluga whale actually understands the meaning of the dolphin sounds, her ability to shift her own communication style demonstrates the social sophistication and intelligence of cetaceans . At first, the cohabitation arrangements were not originally an easy transition for the cetaceans. “The first appearance of the beluga in the dolphinarium caused a fright in the dolphins,” wrote researchers Elena Panova and Alexandr Agafonov of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow . However, after only two months of living with dolphins , the beluga whale featured in the study began using dolphin sounds. The team of scientists recorded 90 hours of vocalizations, data through which the researchers were able to identify that the beluga whale began to use the signature whistles of each individual dolphin, unique sounds that may function similar to names. Related: There’s a humpback whale living in the Hudson River Although the beluga whale was eager to fit in with her new family, the dolphins did not similarly adapt their “ language .” “The inspection of the audio recordings made before and after the beluga’s introduction revealed that the cross-species imitation was not reciprocal,” wrote the researchers. “While the imitations of dolphin whistles were regularly detected among the beluga’s vocalizations, we found only one case in which the dolphins produced short calls that resembled (but were not identical in physical parameters) those of the beluga .” Although the beluga may not be able to understand the sounds it is using, it is nonetheless an important example of a phenomenon known as call convergence. “The case reported here, as well as other instances of imitation and whistle sharing in dolphins described in the literature, may be considered as vocal convergence between socially bonded individuals – a phenomenon that can be seen in various vocal species, from birds to humans,” wrote the researchers. “With some exceptions, call convergence is suggested to provide recognition of a group and strengthening of social bonds between its members.” Via Science Alert Images via Depositphotos (1)

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A beluga whale living with dolphins learned to "speak their language"

Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

February 23, 2017 by  
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Philippe Starck is one of the most influential designers of modern times – and he’s applied his signature style and environmental ethos to develop a striking new residential building in Ecuador . The slender YOO Quito tower, created in collaboration with property entrepreneur John Hitchcox, real estate developer Tommy Schwarzkopf and architecture studio Arquitectónica , is expected to feature several sustainable strategies, including low-impact materials, a volumetric design to mitigate solar exposure, and a number of green terraces to reduce the heat island effect . In 1999, Philippe Starck and John Hitchcox partnered to create YOO , design firm that works with international developers on high-end residential and hospitality projects throughout the world. Their latest endeavor brought together several international firms to design and build four new landmark buildings for Quito . Related: Philippe Starck’s New Wind and Solar-Powered Home Produces 50% More Energy Than it Consumes The YOO Quito building has a slender undulating silhouette with vegetation dominating its base and top floor. For interior spaces, the designers coupled traditional regional design with a modern, minimalist aesthetic. Glass, metal, concrete , foliage and a neutral color palette dominate both the interior and exterior of the building. The building’s vegetal covers are designed to “obstruct, filter and reflect solar radiation,” according to Yoo Quito literature, “fighting the heat in [sic] sunny days and maintaining heat in the winter.” They also provide protection against noise. Transparent glass ensures ample natural light, while smart technology throughout further reduces the building’s energy requirement. When complete, YOO Quito is expected to be the tallest building in the city. + Uribe & Schwarzkopf + YOO + Arquitectónica

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Philippe Starck reinvents himself again with striking green YOO Quito tower

Yayoi Kusama covers Philip Johnsons Glass House in red polka dots

September 2, 2016 by  
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Built in 1949, the Glass House is a modern and minimalist masterpiece designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence on a 49-acre estate in New Canaan, Connecticut. The Glass House opened to the public in 1996 and has hosted tours, art installations , and even music performances. Ms. Kusama, a contemporary of Johnson, was invited by curator Irene Shum to install the “Narcissus Garden”—a work first created in 1966 for the 33rd Venice Biennale—as part of a celebratory event. “Narcissus Garden” comprises 1,300 floating steel spheres installed in the newly restored pond. The shimmering spheres, each around 12 inches in diameter, move with the wind currents to create a kinetic sculpture that mirrors its environment. Ms. Kusama also added her signature polka-dotted “Pumpkin,” a six-foot-tall shiny gourd located on the opposite side of the home in the hillside meadow. The most notable work of the three site-specific installations is “Dots Obsession — Alive, Seeking for Eternal Hope,” in which Ms. Kusama covered the Glass House with polka dots and added an “infinity room” experience. On display from September 1 through 26, the exhibition breathes new life into the glass-and-steel structure. Over 1,200 low tack adhesive vinyl circles of three varying sizes—12 centimeters, 18 centimeters, and 25 centimeters—were applied to the walls and doors on all four sides of the home. The vibrant “Pepsi Red” of the polka dots creates a sharp contrast against the green landscape. Related: PHOTOS: Tour Philip Johnson’s Famous Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut “My desire is to measure and to make order of the infinite, unbounded universe from my own position within it, with polka dots,” said Ms. Kusama. “In exploring this, the single dot is my own life, and I am a single particle amongst billions. I work with the principal themes of infinity, self-image, and compulsive repetition in objects and forms, such as the steel spheres of Narcissus Garden and the mirrored walls I have created.” + The Glass House Images via The Glass House , © Matthew Placek

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Yayoi Kusama covers Philip Johnsons Glass House in red polka dots

Maryland governor expected to ban bee-killing pesticides in US first

March 29, 2016 by  
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The declining bee population on Earth has been linked with widespread use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids . While the chemicals have already been banned in several countries, they are still widely used in the United States. Maryland, however, is the first state poised to approve a measure that bans the pesticides , after losing 60 percent of its hives last year. The pending legislation has passed the state’s upper and lower chambers, and now awaits the signature of Governor Larry Hogan, which is expected. Read the rest of Maryland governor expected to ban bee-killing pesticides in US first

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Maryland governor expected to ban bee-killing pesticides in US first

Daniel Libeskind unveils design for geometric recreational attraction in Lithuania

January 7, 2015 by  
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Architect Daniel Libeskind just unveiled renderings for a year-round recreational and leisure destination that’s designed in his signature dynamic and geometric style. Located at the highest point in Vilnius, Lithuania , the Beacon will serve as a multipurpose attraction at the base of Liepkalnis Ski Hill. The Beacon’s swooping form was inspired by the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape and is a visual contrast between hard and soft geometries. Read the rest of Daniel Libeskind unveils design for geometric recreational attraction in Lithuania Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Baltic region , Beacon , Canopy , Daniel Libeskind , Liepkalnis Ski Hill , lithuania , Lithuanian landscape , multipurpose destination , ski attraction , ski destination , Vilnius , Vilnius Beacon

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Daniel Libeskind unveils design for geometric recreational attraction in Lithuania

Gary Taxali Recycles Used Book Covers Into Cool Art Emblazoned with His Signature Retro Drawings

May 7, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Gary Taxali Recycles Used Book Covers Into Cool Art Emblazoned with His Signature Retro Drawings Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: book art , eco design , Gary Taxali , green design , mixed media art , recycled art , recycled books , Recycled Materials , sustainable design

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Gary Taxali Recycles Used Book Covers Into Cool Art Emblazoned with His Signature Retro Drawings

New Jersey Legislature Votes To Ban Fracking

June 30, 2011 by  
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We knew this might be coming for the last three months : New Jersey has become the first state in the US to enact a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, popularly known as fracking . The vote in the state senate was 31-1 and in the assembly, 56-11

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New Jersey Legislature Votes To Ban Fracking

Shabd Simon-Alexander Gives Spring 2011 Prints a Fresh Twist (Photos)

March 19, 2011 by  
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Shabd Simon-Alexander Spring 2011 collection. Photo: Shabd Simon-Alexander One look at Shabd Simon-Alexander ‘s Spring 2011 collection and it’s official: spring is in the air — and if you’re in New York, the weather agrees, too.

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Shabd Simon-Alexander Gives Spring 2011 Prints a Fresh Twist (Photos)

olive 8 and elaia spa.

November 10, 2010 by  
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We recently had the chance to stay at Seattle’s first LEED certified hotel, Hyatt at Olive 8 and to enjoy the indulgent , yet eco-friendly treatments at the hotel’s Elaia Spa and couldn’t wait to share them both with you as green is sexy’s Place of the Month.  Located at the intersection of Olive and Eighth in Downtown Seattle, the hotel is wrapped in windows making it very bright and airy.  In fact, 75 percent of the building’s interior spaces have access to daylight, which makes the hotel both energy efficient and excellent for people watching in this bustling section of Seattle’s main business and shopping district.  Olive 8 is the first LEED certified hotel in Seattle and one of only 20 LEED certified hotels in the United States.  If you’re not familiar with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), it’s the US Green Building Council’s certification system for green buildings.  To become LEED certified, a building must undergo a rigorous application process in which points are awarded in areas such as sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation.  Olive 8 was awarded a LEED Silver rating, but don’t get the wrong idea – this is no hippy commune or rustic tree house.  We took a tour of the entire property, and if we didn’t know it was a LEED certified project, we might never have guessed.  This glossy, comfortable, luxurious hotel features dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads,  special lights that turn off automatically when you leave your room and a salinated pool.  Other green features include: An 8,355 square foot green rooftop (the largest in Seattle) Recycled-content building materials (20% of all materials used to build the hotel are made of recycled content) Low or no-VOC paints and finishes Low or no-VOC carpet Conscious Cleaning using Green Seal approved, low-VOC cleaners In-room recycling and food composting The hotel’s restaurant, Urbane , serves Northwest fare using local and seasonal ingredients. The restaurant dedicates itself to the holistic philosophy of Executive Chef Brent Martin, “good food depends on good ingredients.” Brent and the Urbane staff have cultivated close, personal relationships with a variety of famers, hatcheries, foragers, wineries and breweries throughout the Pacific Northwest to bring fresh, quality ingredients to the table.  Urbane even filters its own water and creates its own cocktail mixers.

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olive 8 and elaia spa.

Brazil’s Lula Grants Amnesty to Deforesting Farmers

December 13, 2009 by  
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Photo via Momento24 Brazil’s pragmatic president Lula, with his bold pronouncement that his country would reduce its CO2 emissions by 36.1% to 38.9% by 2020, secured himself as a prime protagonist amongst leaders at COP15 . In his signature manner, he has generally shied away from the careful political-speak adopted by many of his head-of-state contemporaries when discussing climate change solutions, striki… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Brazil’s Lula Grants Amnesty to Deforesting Farmers

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