Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

February 21, 2017 by  
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For those looking to get away from the chaos of modern life, a stunning luxury eco-lodge is currently on the market. The solar-powered Melody Key Lodge is a timber home located on 5.24 acres of secluded island paradise, just 25 miles from Key West, Florida. But if you’re on a tight budget, you might not want to read on. The breathtaking lodge previously owned by an undisclosed rockstar comprises a three-story timber structure with three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The top open floor, which houses the gourmet kitchen, dining area, living and lounge space, offers beautiful 360-degree views of the ocean. Lucky guests will be able to choose between a dip in the pristine beaches or the adjacent freshwater pool. Related: For $2.3 million, this breathtaking self-sufficient Scottish island could be yours The home, which is listed for $6,900,000, is perfect for wealthy folks looking to go off grid . In addition to its integrated solar system and backup generator, there’s also a desalination water system. Add in all-you-can-eat seafood, and off-grid living has never been so luxurious. + Engel & Völkers Florida Keys Via Uncrate  

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Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

New research suggests an unseen 9th planet may be tilting the solar system

October 24, 2016 by  
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Astrophysicists have long wondered why our sun is tilted at a different angle than the rest of the known solar system . While all eight known planets rotate on a flat plane within only a few degrees of one another, the sun itself appears to be tilted roughly six degrees off of the planets. Now, new research shows that a massive, undiscovered ninth planet at the edge of the solar system might actually be causing the other planets to “wobble” in their orbit around the sun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h72tABvkLAo This isn’t the first time scientists have speculated about the existence of “Planet Nine” – earlier this year researchers from Caltech predicted its existence due to the abnormal bunching of several objects orbiting near Neptune, an effect which could only exist if a large, unknown planet were exerting a gravitational influence. Planet Nine has yet to be observed directly, but more and more evidence is beginning to point to its existence as the answer to some of our solar system’s enduring mysteries. Related: Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet in our solar system If you’ve never heard about the fact that the planets are slightly off-kilter compared to the sun, you’re not alone. Mike Brown, one of the authors behind the Planet Nine theory, explains, “It’s such a deep-rooted mystery and so difficult to explain that people just don’t talk about it.” The as-yet unseen planet is estimated to be about 10 times the size of Earth, with an orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune . It also appears to orbit about 30 degrees off of the orbital plane of the rest of the solar system – an angle that, along with its massive size, could be slowly pulling objects within the solar system off-balance. That’s not too surprising, considering scientists believe Planet Nine might eventually destabilize the solar system once the sun balloons into a red giant. Related: Mysterious ninth planet could one day tear apart the solar system What is still unknown is exactly how Planet Nine came to occupy its unusual orbit in the first place. It’s possible it may have once sat with the gas giants near Jupiter before being ejected. The gravitation pull of other stellar bodies might have also had an influence at some point in the solar system’s distant past. The new study will be published in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal . Via Phys.org Images via Caltech

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New research suggests an unseen 9th planet may be tilting the solar system

Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong

September 20, 2016 by  
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Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong, according to a new study written by two Harvard scientists. The leading theory since the 1970’s suggests a Mars-sized object scratched Earth in a ” giant impact event ,” leading to the moon . But new analysis of moon rocks reveals the collision that led to the moon was likely far more violent than we thought, which could offer insight into what the solar system was like long ago. Kun Wang and Stein B. Jacobsen, who are both affiliated with the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard , scrutinized ” old Apollo samples from the ’70’s ” with better technology than was available 40 or more years ago. They found elements that couldn’t fully be explained by the old theory, including ” heavy isotopes of potassium .” The process to separate out those potassium isotopes would have needed super hot temperatures. Those temperatures could have resulted after a very violent collision. Related: The Moon was created when young Earth collided with another planet, says new study Wang told Gizmodo, “We need a much, much bigger impact to form a moon according to our study. The giant impact itself should be called extremely giant impact. The amount of energy required isn’t even close.” Instead of the Mars-sized object scraping Earth, the collision would have been more akin to a “sledgehammer hitting a watermelon.” The collision was so hot and forceful that the scientists think some of Earth actually vaporized. When the vapor cooled, it condensed into our moon. Nature published their study online this week. The new information about the moon’s origins led the scientists to think long ago, the solar system could have been a lot more violent and volatile. They think the moon rocks could hold more secrets about the ” early solar system ” and plan to keep probing the samples for more thrilling hints about the past. Via Gizmodo Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong

Mysterious ninth planet could one day tear apart the solar system

August 31, 2016 by  
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When scientists announced earlier this year that they might have discovered a ninth planet in Earth’s solar system, the finding brought comfort to those of us still mourning Pluto’s downgrade to “dwarf planet.” But new research out of the University of Warwick shows that the mysterious “Planet Nine,” which is believed to circle the sun once every 15,000 years , could eventually spell disaster for our solar system.

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Why Solar Financing Truly Is An Art Form

August 24, 2016 by  
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A decade ago, a residential solar system was a relatively elite product available only to homeowners with the means to finance the installation. Banks were still a little shy about investing in this new technology and solar financing programs were…

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Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun

June 6, 2016 by  
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Toyota is greening up their game in a big way. Next year the automaker is scheduled to move its North American headquarters from Southern California to Plano, Texas and when it opens, the new building will pull energy from the sun to keep the lights on. Toyota has announced that its new home will be powered by a 7.75-megawatt solar power system, which will be the largest corporate office on-site solar installation among non-utility companies in the state of Texas. Toyota expects the system to generate up to 25 percent of the energy the new headquarters will need. While 25 percent may not seem like a lot, the automaker estimates the solar system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7122 metric tons, or the equivalent of almost 1,000 homes electricity usage for a year. The solar array is part of Toyota’s goal to achieve USGBC Platinum LEED Certification for its new home. Related: Toyota Prius has the best gas mileage of any car Consumer Reports has ever tested “We are dedicated to making sure our new headquarters campus supports – even redefines – Toyota’s commitment to the environment,” said Kevin Butt, Regional Director, North American Environmental Division. “The Plano solar system will not only reduce our environmental footprint and educate team members about renewable energy, it moves us closer to Toyota’s 2050 global environmental challenge to eliminate carbon emissions in all operations.” The 2.1-million square foot headquarters should open by early 2017, according to the company. It will also employ up to 4,000 employees and an additional 1,000 contractors. + Toyota All images © Toyota

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Mars is emerging from a 400,000 year-old ice age

May 27, 2016 by  
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A new study has found that Mars is emerging from an ice age that ended about 400,000 years ago. While scientists have long believed that the planet has undergone several rounds of ice ages in the past, there have been few physical measurements to actually prove the theory. Now, the journal Science has published the first map of the red planet’s ice deposits, along with confirmation of the planet’s icy past. Just like Earth, Mars undergoes cycles of planetary warming and cooling, but this has more to do with the “tilt” of the planet than anything else. While Earth’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees and remains relatively stable over time, Mars has an axis that shifts from 10 to 40 degrees. The wobble in Mars’ orbit is due to two factors: one, it doesn’t have a large moon like we do to stabilize it, and two, its proximity to Jupiter allows it to be tugged by the larger planet’s gravity. When the planet is tilted to an extreme degree, its poles receive more sunlight and its equator cools, causing an ice age. Researchers used NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to gather radar images of the red planet’s ice deposits, allowing them to look for signs of erosion and other hints of how the ice on Mars has formed and redistributed over time. These images confirmed that Mars’ last ice age ended about 400,000 years ago — which, in planetary terms, is not as long as it seems. Related: NASA finds flowing water and potential for microscopic forms of life on Mars This research is exiting because it gives us more hints about what’s on the Martian planetary surface, which could help lay the groundwork for future manned missions . But it also may offer scientists a better glimpse into the science behind climate change on our own planet. While global warming on Earth is due to greenhouse gas emissions , not the wobble of the Earth’s pole, Mars is the most similar planet to our own in the Solar System and could help us better understand the physics behind climate change in an environment without human interference. + Science Via The Verge Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

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5 buildings around the world that memorialize tragic losses of life

May 27, 2016 by  
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1. Light and darkness contrast in Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum Berlin One of the most moving memorial buildings ever created, Daniel Liebeskind ‘s Jewish Museum in Berlin, utilizes architecture to take visitors on a journey through some of humanity’s darkest moments during the Holocaust, when millions of people were murdered by the Nazis. From above, the museum appears to be an ” exploded Star of David .” Sharp angles and zigzagging hallways take visitors on a contemplative journey to the Holocaust Tower, Garden of Exile, and Stair of Continuity. The strong design of the museum stands out from other buildings nearby, bringing attention to its important purpose. 2. Reflecting pools allow contemplation at the National 9/11 Memorial by Michael Arad Right where the Twin Towers used to stand in New York City, Michael Arad designed the National 9/11 Memorial to capture the enormous loss and invite visitors to reflect. Carved in bronze, the names of those who died on September 11 surround two massive reflecting pools with the biggest man-made waterfalls in America. The simplicity of the memorial contrasts with the grandiose scale, evoking the sense that each loss is incredibly personal while remembering so many died and were impacted that day. 3. Earthquake debris utilized in Ishi-no-kinendo Memorial by Koishikawa Architects In the aftermath of Japan’s 2011 earthquake , 18,000 people died or went missing. Tokyo’s Koishikawa Architects created a memorial, called Ishi-no-kinendo , from the rubble of a city hit hard on Japan’s east coast. Lines etched into mirrored stainless steel on top of the monument point mourners to the other locations impacted by the earthquake so they can grieve the loss of loved ones around the country. Since the earthquake struck in the spring, a nearby cherry tree that blossoms that time of year adds natural beauty to the monument. 4. Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux’s Qatar World Cup Memorial tower is scalable Over 1,000 migrant workers in Qatar have already perished in the lead up to the 2022 World Cup Stadium . Architects Axel de Stampa and Sylvain Macaux imagined a scalable tower commemorating those people as part of their experimental 1 Week 1 Project effort. Their Qatar World Cup Memorial would draw attention to the country’s reprehensible labor practices, and could grow as more die to build the stadium under conditions some have described as akin to slavery. They said if nothing changes for these workers, the memorial might stretch close to a mile in the sky. 5. Chapel of Reconciliation by Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth on old no-man’s-land Architects Rudolf Reitermann and Peter Sassenroth utilized rammed-earth architecture to create a minimalist chapel between what was once East Berlin and West Berlin. They erected their Chapel of Reconciliation on the site of a former church torn down in 1985 for ” security measures .” Some materials from the demolished church were incorporated in the new chapel in remembrance of what was lost when Berlin was divided. The building also usher in a new era through the use of ” sustainable natural methods ” in its construction. 9/ll Memorial image © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat; other images via Daniel Libeskind , Koji Fujii/Nacasa & Partners , 1 Week 1 Project , and jaime.silva on Flickr

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Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet in our solar system

January 21, 2016 by  
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For those of us who grew up learning about the solar system ‘s nine planets, there may be nothing that can fill that Pluto-shaped hole in our hearts. However, astronomers recently announced the potential discovery of a new planet in our solar system, bringing the total planet count once again back up to nine. Nearly the size of Neptune, the as-of-yet unnamed planet lurks beyond Pluto in the far reaches of the solar system. From this distance, “Planet X” slowly circles the sun, completing one orbit every 15,000 years. Read the rest of Astronomers may have discovered a ninth planet in our solar system

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Australian geologists track down fallen meteorite “older than Earth itself”

January 7, 2016 by  
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In late November, a meteorite fell to Earth and landed somewhere in the Australian Outback. Geologists worked for weeks to track it down, and finally located the 3.7-lb chunk on New Year’s Eve . Phil Bland, a professor and the team’s leader, dug it out of the ground by hand, just in time to save it from being washed away by an incoming storm. The team has now determined the meteorite is 4.5 billion years old, which is “older than Earth itself.” Read the rest of Australian geologists track down fallen meteorite “older than Earth itself”

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