South Korea is building a $10 billion agriculture city in Egypt

August 18, 2017 by  
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Within six months, 311,400 acres of land in Egypt will be transformed into an agriculture city. The $10 billion deal was signed on Tuesday by Egypt and the Korea-Arab Society (KAS). The project will feature 50,000 smart greenhouses in addition to a number of seawater desalination and solar power plants. Arab Finance reports that the protocol was signed by the General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development, an affiliate to the Egyptian Agriculture Ministry, and the Korea-Arab Society, which is represented by the Korean Arab Company for Economic and Cultural Consultancy. At a press conference, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said that the city will be located in the southeast part of the Qattara Depression, which is northwest of Egypt . The entire project will be overseen by Korean experts and it will be built within six months, Ismail added. The latest technologies will be incorporated to ensure that the development is as eco-friendly and efficient as possible. Related: South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade In addition to constructing smart greenhouses, seawater desalination plants, and solar power plants, the city will grow food and cultivate stevia — a plant which serves as a healthy alternative sweetener. Though little else is presently known about the integrated agriculture city, the project signifies the growing relationship between Egypt and South Korea. Via Arab Finance Images via Pixabay

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South Korea is building a $10 billion agriculture city in Egypt

Germany is electrifying part of the autobahn to cut freight emissions

August 18, 2017 by  
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We rely on trucks to get the goods we need from one place to another, but all of those semi trucks spew a lot of pollution. So Siemens and the German state of Hesse teamed up to create a 6-mile stretch of electric highway on the autobahn . Hybrid trucks can connect to overhead charging cables to drive on pure electricity, and then switch back to diesel power once they leave the eHighway. The Siemens eHighway initiative could double the energy efficiency of big rigs, compared to running on gas. Even better, the highway design enables any truck to be retrofitted, and it is constructed over existing road, integrating easily with existing infrastructure. Combined with the autonomous and electric trucks in the works, it could make a significant dent in semi truck emissions. Related: Sweden opens one of the world’s first electric roads Global freight is expected to increase 200 percent in the next 30 years, so it is essential that we tackle freight emissions if we want to slow down global warming. According to Siemens, the eHighway is a smart way to do this, because it still allows other drivers to use the road. The first eHighway system opened in Stockholm last year and Siemens is currently testing another in California. Via Treehugger Images via Siemens

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Germany is electrifying part of the autobahn to cut freight emissions

South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade

August 7, 2017 by  
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For the first time in South Korea’s history, a rescue pup will serve as the country’s “first dog.” The country’s president, Moon Jae-In, adopted a canine named Tory on Wednesday, July 26. The 4-year-old mixed breed was pulled from a dog meat farm by the group Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth (CARE) two years ago, but has had trouble being adopted due to superstitions against his dark coat. Fortunately, he has finally found a forever home with none other than South Korea’s President. The news was published on the Facebook page of the President’s official residence, the Blue House. Now a part of the family, Tory will live a life of luxury along with Moon’s 10-year-old Pungsan dog Maru and a rescued shelter cat named Jjing-jjing. Animal rights activists are applauding Moon Jae-In for setting a positive example in South Korea , where animal abandonments are quite common. In 2015, roughly 800,000 animals were abandoned – and that number was closer to one million animals in 2010. Related: 10,000 dogs and cats to be slaughtered for the Yulin Dog Meat Festival Additionally, it is not uncommon for neglected canines to end up in the dog meat trade. This is because, in some parts of South Korea, dog meat is considered to be a delicacy. In fact, old beliefs hold that if prepared correctly, dog meat can have special medicinal properties. There are no rules or regulations limiting the farming of consumption of dogs in the country, which means that around 17,000 dog meat farms exist . At those locations, between 2.5 and 10 million dogs are killed every year. Tory was adopted during the peak of “Bok nal,” an annual festivity when the majority of dog meat is consumed. Aware of this reality, Moon Jae-In pledged early 2017 to invest in animal welfare by building playgrounds for pets and feeding facilities for stray cats . The politician also pledged to make South Korea better for both humans and animals, though he did not outright declare he would end the controversial dog meat trade. Still, progress has been made by the notable public figure adopting a dog that might have ended up on someone’s dinner plate. Korean K9 Rescue is an organization in the U.S. that rehouse dogs rescued from the meat trade. Director Gina Boehler said: “President Moon Jae-In is very aware of the campaigns around the world to ban the dog meat trade in Korea. We believe he will push for change and, in time, it will become illegal to raise dogs for consumption in Korea. He has the power to do it.” She added, “I hope that President Moon Jae-In’s adoption of Tory sends a loud message to South Koreans that all dogs are pet dogs. We hope this will be a catalyst for a change in mindset, values and compassion and extends to all dogs — even ‘meat dogs’ or strays.” Via BBC , Yonhap News Images via CARE , Cheong Wa Dae Handout

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South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade

Worlds largest rotating solar plant to be built in South Korea

July 10, 2017 by  
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South Korea is known for its workaholic culture and for hosting an enormous LEGO tower . But soon, the country may be known for something even more impressive: installing the largest rotating solar plant in the world. Solkiss, a South Korean solar developer, has plans to install a proposed 2.67 MW PV project at the Deoku Reservoir. Not only will the plant float on top of the water, it will follow the sun’s movement throughout the day. Solkiss’ technology enables solar power stations to float on water and rotate in unison with the sun’s movements. According to the developer, the technology delivers 22 percent extra solar energy yield compared to a fixed installation on land, as well as a 16 percent increase in yield compared to a typical floating solar array. The installation on Deoku Reservoir isn’t the only floating solar array Solkiss has planned. Two additional solar plants are planned for the Myeoku Reservoir. All three installations are expected to be completed by the end of November. When combined, they will add 3MW of solar PV capacity to the solar developer’s portfolio. Related: World’s cutest solar farm in China is shaped like a panda The company has made great progress since its first floating solar development , which was installed in 2014 at a reservoir in Anseong, south of Seoul. Using its patented rotating motors, Solkiss was able to generate 465 kW from the array. To help South Korea shift away from “dirty energy” sources, such as nuclear and coal , Solkiss will be installing more rotating solar plants at viable reservoir sites across the country. + Solkiss Via PV Magazine Images via YouTube screenshot , Solkiss , Pixabay

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Worlds largest rotating solar plant to be built in South Korea

Shocking investigation reveals 70,000 dogs in Bali murdered and served to tourists every year

June 19, 2017 by  
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Each year 70,000 dogs are brutally killed in Bali , Indonesia, according to an investigation spearheaded by Animals Australia (AA). The animals are strangled, bludgeoned, or poisoned and then fed to tourists who think they’re eating chicken meat. AA estimates seven times more dogs are killed in Bali yearly than in the Yulin Dog-Eating Festival in China. Evidence obtained by ABC’s 7.30 program revealed a huge dog meat trade in Bali. An AA undercover investigator spent four months posing as a documentary maker to uncover details about the trade. Known simply as ‘Luke,’ the investigator said he started by getting to know key players in the unregulated industry, and “eventually, they invited me to join them as their gangs stole, hunted, poisoned, and killed dogs.” Related: Dogs raised for meat in South Korea to get forever homes in the US AA campaign director Lyn White said, “Tourists will walk down a street, they’ll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realizing is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served. They’re just sitting down ordering satay have no idea that they’re eating dog.” And it’s not just street vendors selling the meat to tourists as chicken, but restaurants as well. The Bali Animal Welfare Association, an organization working to rescue the animals from dog traders, has discovered 70 restaurants serving dog meat. It’s not illegal to consume dog meat in Bali. But White said it is illegal to kill animals cruelly or to consume meat tainted with poison. Luke described aggressive methods and said although he’s trained himself to cope with cruelty, in one village where he saw dogs being caught, nothing had prepared him for the brutality. On one occasion he witnessed hunters catching dogs by laying out fish meat laced with cyanide. For the first time in his career, he switched off his camera as he watched a puppy die over agonizing minutes. He said, “I sat stroking him as he died and found myself apologizing for the cruelty of my fellow man.” According to ABC, while some local people think dog meat is healthy, the practice isn’t a long-held tradition. Hindu leader Gusti Ngurah Harta is among those working to end the trade – he said Bali Hindus consider dogs to be a holy animal and that it’s upsetting people are eating them. AA is willing to partner with the Bali government to end the trade and find a positive solution, which may include compensating those who make their living in the trade. You can sign their petition for the governor of Bali here . Via Animals Australia , ABC , and International Business Times Images via Pexels and Pixabay

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Shocking investigation reveals 70,000 dogs in Bali murdered and served to tourists every year

Korean barista creates incredible works of latte art

June 1, 2017 by  
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Latte art is nothing new; your favorite barista at the local coffee shop probably serves up drinks adorned with hearts or flowers. But Korean barista Kangbin Lee’s latte art, which he calls creamart, will totally blow your mind. From Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night to Disney-inspired pieces, these pieces of art look far too beautiful to drink. Lee, owner of Cafe C.Through in South Korea, has been a barista for 10 years. He says he’s never had any training in drawing, but that didn’t stop him from creating stunning latte art. You might be suspicious there was some Photoshop involved, but Lee demonstrates how he creates his art in the video below. Related: Artist paints stunning leaf art from leftover coffee grinds and stains Lee actually paints the colors on with a small spoon, using the foam as a backdrop and a color in many pieces. A metal stir stick allows him to add smaller details or blend colors. My Modern Met noted the process is remarkably similar to conventional painting . In another method of his latte art, Lee adds the pigments to the foam first before pouring it out over a cup of coffee to create colorful swirling shapes. #Rainbowlatteart . . . . . . . . #??? #cthrough #????? #?????? #???? #?????? #?????? #??? #????? #??? #????? #????? #???? #???? #????? #latteartporn #dailyart #coffee #barista #baristalife #latte #latteart #baristadaily #cafelatte #coffeetime #creamart #espresso #artwork A post shared by ??? (@leekangbin91) on May 18, 2017 at 4:48pm PDT In an Instagram post Lee said creamart is cold coffee, but that the taste doesn’t change as time passes. He’s as serious about coffee as he is about art and said taste is important to him. According to UPROXX , the artist uses espresso, chocolate sauce, and food coloring to create the works of art – so they’re entirely edible. He said customers always say they’ll never be able to drink the works of art but eventually doing just that. Lee is working to share his art with the world and has also started giving classes in creamart. + Kangbin Lee Via My Modern Met Images via leekangbin91 on Instagram

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Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

May 23, 2017 by  
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Cleantech pioneer Elon Musk wants you to drive a Tesla electric car or truck, power your home with SolarCity solar panels and store renewable electricity with Tesla Powerwall battery packs. Oh yeah, he also wants to zip you from DC to NYC in less than 30 minutes via Hyperloop pods that can reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour racing through evacuated tubes. Now Musk has revealed that part of the reason he started The Boring Company , besides finding a solution for LA’s “soul-destroying traffic,” is to launch and test Hyperloop by using his new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to dig underneath the City of Angels . “Fast to dig, low cost tunnels would also make Hyperloop adoption viable and enable rapid transit across densely populated regions, enabling travel from New York to Washington DC in less than 30 minutes,” the company’s new FAQ page states regarding its specific goals, adding that “the electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.” Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race The FAQ page mentions that The Boring Company aims to fix congestion in major cities by building an underground network of road tunnels “many levels deep” with the ability to keep adding levels. The key to making this work would be “increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more.” Costs would be mitigated by reducing the tunnel diameter, which the site claims can be accomplished by placing vehicles on a “stabilized electric sled.” Speeding up tunneling is another way to reduce costs, with the stated goal for the TBM to defeat the snail in a race. Hyperloop One has already built a full-scale test track at the company’s development site in Nevada. Countries from India to South Korea  to the United Arab Emirates  to Russia  have expressed interest in Hyperloop technology. It is clear that the race to build the first Hyperloop rapid transit system is underway and similar to his other ventures, Musk is eager to take the lead. + The Boring Company + Hyperloop One Via Archinect Images via The Boring Company

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Giant sequoia skyscrapers designed to keep rotted trees standing

May 5, 2017 by  
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Modernization has harmed giant sequoias: not only have they been cut down in groves, but climate change has diminished their lifespan. Four designers in South Korea want to help preserve the trees’ legacy with a skyscraper called Tribute: The Monument of Giant , that could be tucked inside hollowed-out trunks, helping to keep trees with rotted heartwood from crashing down. The skyscraper would allow a visitor to feel small inside the vastness of a giant sequoia, while also offering education about the natural wonders. Ko Jinhyeuk, Cheong Changwon, Cho Kyuhyung, and Choi Sunwoong believe in the past, human desires and development clashed with the natural world. They said nature’s response is the natural disasters that wreak havoc throughout the world. They pointed to deforestation as both a cause of such disasters and “one of the worst crimes on nature .” Earning an honorable mention in the 2017 eVolo Skyscraper Competition , they offered up an answer. Their skyscraper is enveloped inside a dying tree in a bid to help keep it standing. Related: Incredible farming skyscraper could fight poverty and feed the world Although giant sequoias can be over 300 feet tall, with diameters between 20 and 26 feet, their roots often aren’t deep, so when their heartwood – what the designers described as a structural backbone – starts to rot, the weight of the trees can cause them to topple over. A skyscraper nestled inside could prevent this ending. “This project attempts to show a new architectural approach to human coexistence with nature,” the architects said in their design statement. They said their skyscraper, inside the empty void of a giant sequoia, wouldn’t hinder the breathtaking beauty of the tree. The building would then become “active as an artificial organ to replace the trunks rotten away.” Platforms inside the tree would offer opportunities for laboratories, exhibitions, education, and photo opportunities on observation decks. A lattice-like cage would comprise an outer casing that appears to blend in with the tree. Via eVolo and Dezeen Images via eVolo

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Octopuses and their cephalopod cousins can edit and recode their own genes

May 5, 2017 by  
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Octopuses have earned a reputation as clever aquatic escape artists . But in addition to being underwater Houdinis , these creatures (and other coleiod cephalopods like cuttlefish and squid) were recently discovered to have another mind-blowing trick: they can rewire their own genetic material to adapt more quickly to their environment. Researchers found that  octopuses and their relatives can edit and recode the RNA component of genes, which allows them to reprogram cells (often in their nervous systems) and adapt to external stimuli in the environment, such as a change in water temperature. Changes at the RNA level manifest in the formation of different versions of proteins from the same gene . The result is that these cephalopods can make transient changes that don’t have an effect long-term on their overall  evolution and that could even be turned on or off by the cephalopod herself. Researchers believe the reason for the cephalopod’s overall slow rate of evolution is due to the extreme possibility of change and editing in their RNA. As per the study’s lead author Joshua Rosenthal : “If a squid and octopus want to edit a base, they must preserve the underlying RNA structure. This means that the RNA structure can’t evolve. If it collects mutations as a result of DNA mutations, it would no longer be recognized by the editing enzymes. We normally think of mutations as the currency of evolution. But in this case their accumulation is suppressed.” The slow rate of change in cephalopod DNA also may indicate that these sea creatures have been around longer than previously believed. Beyond the fact that this recoding provides yet another example for why these sea creatures  are fascinating, researchers continue to be interested in and slightly mystified by the reasons behind this action, although some believe their extreme use of RNA editing is linked to their intelligence and their behavioral complexities. Further fueling this idea were the findings by researchers that less intelligent and less cephalopod species such as the nautilus had far lower levels of RNA editing. Related: Octopuses are taking over the ocean and no one knows why However, the intelligence/RNA editing connection is not as clear as the water cephalopods love to swim around in. “It’s a really interesting phenomenon, but it’s unclear why they need so much RNA editing,” says Jianzhi Zhang from the University of Michigan . “It’s not absolutely clear if it has to do with behavior; humans have very complex brains and behaviors and in us, RNA editing is very rare.” Indeed, RNA editing is found in mere dozen of sites out of the 20,000 genes in the human body, while the cephalopods studied ranged from 80,000-130,000 editing sites. The study’s authors, however, also consider the possibility that “protein recoding may not be the primary function of editing in cephalopods” and that perhaps another purpose, such as immunity, might be the goal. The study was published in Cell . Via Science ,  Scientific American , The Atlantic Lead image via Wikimedia Commons

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Octopuses and their cephalopod cousins can edit and recode their own genes

Green-roofed house for a pilot looks like a temporarily grounded aircraft

February 27, 2017 by  
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This unique home for a young pilot and his family in South Korea looks like an aircraft that has been grounded. Appropriately called the Flying House, it was designed by IROJE KHM Architects , who drew inspiration from traditional Korean architecture to create a delicate balance between sky and land. The architects combined the elements of yard, garden and rumaru, a traditional courtyard with a canopy , to create a space which connects the ground to the roof surface. The resulting sloped roof garden allows the house to coexist with nature, with a flowing design that establishes a strong connection to the ground. Related: IROJE KHM’s green-roofed house in Seoul blooms like a flower A limited budget influenced the choice of materials. By leaving the concrete framework surfaces exposed, the architects managed to utilize the structural material as the finishing material and lower the total construction cost of the building. + IROJE KHM Architects Via Archdaily Photos by Sergio Pirrone

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