Couple transforms a fire truck into a cozy camper for traveling Europe

June 15, 2018 by  
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When Anna and Sebastian Schlüter decided to take a break from working in Berlin to embark on their long-awaited trip around Europe, traveling via fire truck wasn’t the first thing on their minds. But on the advice of Sebastian’s father, and after coming across a deal on a 1987 Mercedes-Benz fire truck, the duo found themselves in a year-long conversion project that turned the vehicle into a cozy travel camper. Nicknamed ‘ Bombero ’ (Spanish for “fireman”), the converted fire truck took about a year to complete and has provided the perfect travel wheels for Anna and Sebastian, who have visited 19 countries and counting thus far. Purchased for approximately $14,700 USD, the 30-year-old Mercedes Benz fire truck conversion involved a gut-renovation that decreased the 11-ton vehicle to a weight of 7.5 tons. The couple initially parked the vehicle on the Schlüter family farm in Nottuln, Germany, where it was worked on with help from Sebastian’s brother and father, who has experience with converting a Unimog into a camper . Thanks to Sebastian’s father’s experience and many helping hands, the project was relatively low-cost. Sebastian handled the engineering and construction, while Anna led the interior design. The cost of materials, some of which were gifted or found in secondhand shops, is estimated at around $29,520. In addition to emptying out the interior, the Schlüters made the fire truck more livable by lifting up the roof to add extra windows and inserting insulation and wiring. Custom-made upholstery, a mix of birch , oak and spruce as well as decorative elements like porcelain door knobs make the space cozy and inviting. The fire truck was outfitted with all the necessities, such as a full-size bed, closet, dining area, a bathroom and a full kitchen with an oven and electrical appliances. The off-grid home is also equipped with a gas tank, fresh water and gray water tanks and rooftop solar panels. Related: The Beer Moth is a Sweet Room in a Refurbished Fire Truck in Scotland “Many decisions were very deliberately led by quality over price — keeping in mind that anything that keeps you from having to fix it while on the road will give you peace of mind and let you enjoy traveling rather than being stressed out and having to find solutions while in a foreign country,” explained the couple. “This decision paid off very well — no items, besides the brake lights, has broken down during the last 11 months! Not one thing!” Anna and Sebastian hit the road with their dog, Lotta, in June 2017 and have clocked more than 10,000 miles in their ongoing trip around Europe. You can follow the Bombero Travel adventure here . + Bombero Travel Via Dwell Conversion image copyright Anna Schlüter, all others copyright Seraia Photography

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Couple transforms a fire truck into a cozy camper for traveling Europe

This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

June 5, 2018 by  
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While some architects use various strategies to blend their design into natural surroundings, Santiago-based firm  Felipe Assadi Arquitectos chose to go bold and bright with its design for La Roja. The modular home , which is comprised of four modules stacked on top of each other, is a bright crimson, cube-like structure that rises out of the deep green forest landscape of San José de Maipo, Chile. Although the house was constructed on-site, its materials were fabricated away from the current location. Additionally, the home’s four modular boxes can be transported by trucks and installed on virtually any flat landscape. Related: Modular Gomos homes can be assembled in three days flat The two-story, 936-square-foot home comprises four  prefab modules , with each floor made up of two units. To give depth to the box-like design, the architects added a sloped roof and a beautiful double-height entryway that pulls double duty as an open-air terrace. This large outdoor area enabled the architects to create a bright and airy interior flooded with natural light . The wall that wraps around the terrace is clad in floor-to-ceiling windows, creating a strong connection between the modular home’s interior and exterior. A bright, minimalist interior with a floating staircase leading up to the bedrooms also opens up the space. Traditionally, many architects and homeowners have used natural materials or even mirrored facades to blend their home into such a beautiful landscape, but the team from Felipe Assadi Arquitectos went another route completely. The architects say that the decision to paint the house an eye-catching crimson red was meant to “activate the relationship between the landscape and the project through contrast.” + Felipe Assadi Arquitectos Via Dwell Photography by Fernando Alda

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This striking, bright-red modular home connects to its surroundings through contrast

This tiny cabin in Australia lets you go off-grid in style

May 11, 2018 by  
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For those looking to get back to nature, this tiny cabin in rural Australia provides a picturesque retreat without sacrificing comfort or style. Located on the remote Kimo Estate and designed by Anthony Hunt Design and Luke Stanley Architects , JR’s Hut is a beautiful A-frame cabin built with sustainable Australian hardwoods . The minimalist cabin was designed to provide guests with a remote, off-grid option to disconnect and enjoy the area’s stunning natural beauty. Kimo Estate is a popular wedding venue set in the rural area of Gundagai, New South Wales. The JR Eco Hut is located away from the main venue, in the midst of a beautiful, expansive landscape. Related: Go way off-grid in this beautiful bamboo hut tucked into Bali’s lush mountains All of the cabin’s materials were locally sourced and assembled on-site by a two-person team. Sustainable Australian hardwoods were used throughout the cabin’s A-frame volume, which is topped with pitched roofs covered in galvanized steel. A glazed front wall brings natural light to the interior while also providing stunning views. The serene, minimalist interior, which is furnished with a small seating area and queen-sized bed, allows guests to enjoy the remote location in optimal comfort. A wood-burning fireplace keeps the space warm and cozy during the chilly nights, but when weather permits, the outdoor deck is the heart of the beautiful cabin . + Kimo Estate + Anthony Hunt Design + Luke Stanley Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Hilary Bradford Photography via Anthony Hunt Designs

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This tiny cabin in Australia lets you go off-grid in style

18 states representing 140 million people sue the Trump administration to defend clean car rules

May 2, 2018 by  
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California is leading a coalition of states representing around 43 percent of the car market in the United States to sue Donald Trump’s administration . The 18 states say the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in attempts to weaken Barack Obama-era car emissions rules. California governor Jerry Brown said in a news conference, “This is about health, it’s about life and death. I’m going to fight it with everything I can.” The states joining today’s lawsuit represent 140 million people who simply want cleaner and more efficient cars. This phalanx of states will defend the nation’s clean car standards to boost gas mileage and curb toxic air pollution. ? https://t.co/6t4sHygNT5 — Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) May 1, 2018 New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, and the District of Columbia join California in suing the EPA and Administrator Scott Pruitt . The states seek to “set aside and hold unlawful” the EPA’s attempts to weaken fuel economy standards adopted in 2012 that take effect in 2022. They say the EPA violated the Clean Air Act and didn’t follow its own regulations. Related: EPA set to repeal Obama-era rules for cleaner cars “The federal standard the states are suing to protect is estimated to reduce carbon pollution equivalent to 134 coal power plants burning for a year, and save drivers $1,650 per vehicle,” the states said. The Trump administration said the standards were too stringent, according to The New York Times , and moved forward legally with the aim of reopening them. The EPA hasn’t offered proposed new standards but has drafted new regulations that would weaken the rules post-2020. The publication also said after executives from the Big Three — General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler — visited the White House to request emissions rules that were more lenient, Trump’s administration began to try and roll back the standards. Safe Climate Campaign director Dan Becker told The New York Times, “This is California saying: You really want war? We’ll give you war. It’s a signal to the administration that they’re not going to get away with anything in this space.” + Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Via The New York Times Images via Depositphotos and Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

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18 states representing 140 million people sue the Trump administration to defend clean car rules

Tipoon’s tiny home on wheels triples in size with the push of a button

May 2, 2018 by  
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Travel campers : they’re here to stay, and they’re becoming better than ever. Case in point? French startup Tipoon’s new mobile and modular camper pod triples its size with the push of a button. The startup says the easy-to-tow, lightweight, and expandable Tipoon Travel Machine can switch between three modes—closed, half open, and fully open—in mere seconds. Designed to sit atop a utility trailer , the Tipoon Travel Machine measures approximately 5.5 feet in height and 5.5 feet in width when closed for transport. When switched to the ‘open’ mode, both sides expand to increase the width to 10.5 feet and the height to 8.4 feet. The half-open position is designed for temporary stopovers. This remote-controlled expansion also comes with a manual crank backup. Tippon Travel Machine is crafted with an insulated poly-composite mono bloc shell with a galvanized subframe. It’s designed as a standalone pod that can be removed from the trailer and stored in a garage when not in use. The unit itself is between 13.5 and 14.8 feet in length. Related: Airstream launches its first-ever fiberglass camper for under $50K The interior is available in four configurations: single sleeper, two-bed sleeper, king-size sleeper, and dining area, as well as a bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet. Transforming and space-saving furniture make the most of the small footprint, as seen beneath the fixed bed, where a dining table, benches, and even storage slide out. With deliveries planned for this year, the company estimates a base price starting at €24,000 (approximately $30,000). Tipoon is finalizing its pricing and equipment lists and is accepting pre-launch reservations now. + Tipoon Via New Atlas

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Tipoon’s tiny home on wheels triples in size with the push of a button

The Earth-like planets orbiting this star could hold 250 times more water than Earth

April 27, 2018 by  
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Recent research suggests that some of the Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1 could carry more water than our own planet. TRAPPIST-1 is an ultra-cool red dwarf discovered in 1999, and its planets were first documented within the past few years. Scientists have measured the density of TRAPPIST-1’s planets and concluded that the mass of some of these planets may be composed of five percent water – roughly 250 times the amount of water found in our planet’s oceans. Stars such as TRAPPIST-1 are of particular interest to astronomers because their size and faintness allows for more in-depth study of orbiting planets. Through the European Union-funded SPECULOOS project, scientists have been able to focus on these planets as they search for life beyond Earth . Researchers have also observed differences based on the planets’ distance from their sun. For example, planets closest to TRAPPIST-1 may contain thick, steamy atmospheres while outer planets may be covered in ice. Perhaps most importantly, astronomers have concluded that the lack of a hydrogen -rich atmosphere on three planets indicates that they are not gaseous and therefore much more likely candidates for harboring extraterrestrial life. Related: Two Trappist-1 planets are highly likely to be habitable The intensive study of the TRAPPIST-1 system is only in its early stages. In 2020, NASA and the European Space Agency will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be capable of detecting possible molecules of biological origin. “In the temperate – and potentially habitable – Earth-size regime, SPECULOOS’s detection potential should be significantly better,” Dr. Michaël Gillon from the University of Liège, Belgium told Science Magazine . “The next years are going to be very exciting!” Gillon plans on expanding the observation of Earth-like planets by searching through 1,000 stars similar to TRAPPIST-1. Via Phys.org Images via NASA (1)

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The Earth-like planets orbiting this star could hold 250 times more water than Earth

These diamonds from outer space hint at a long-lost planet

April 17, 2018 by  
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Diamonds in a meteorite  that crashed into Earth years ago have now given scientists a glimpse into the universe’s past. Recently, a team of scientists led by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland used transmission electron microscopy to examine the diamonds contained in a slice of the Almahata Sitta meteorite. Based on their research, the scientists think the meteorite came from a planetary embryo, between the size of Mercury and Mars , that was destroyed in a collision around 4.5 billion years ago. Nearly a decade ago, an asteroid exploded over the Nubian Desert in Sudan. Scientists collected fragments from what’s now called the Almahata Sitta meteorite, and these fragments have yielded intriguing new information. EPFL materials scientist Farhang Nabiei told The Washington Post , “These samples are coming from an era that we don’t have any access to…This is part of the story of how we came to be.” The meteorite fragments are largely ureilites, which EPFL said are “a rare type of stony meteorite” in which nano-sized diamonds can be found. Related: New theory suggests the Moon may have formed “from a giant donut of vaporized rock” Embedded in the diamonds were chromite, phosphate, and iron-nickel sulfides; the scientists call these inclusions, and they hold signatures of the mysterious long-lost planet . According to EPFL, the “particular composition and morphology of these materials can only be explained if the pressure under which the diamonds were formed was higher than 20 GPa (giga-Pascals, the unit of pressure). This level of internal pressure can only be explained if the planetary parent body was a Mercury- to Mars-sized planetary embryo, depending on the layer in which the diamonds were formed.” What exactly happened to the long-lost planet? Nabiei couldn’t say for sure. Researchers think that, in the early solar system , large protoplanets pulled on others’ orbits until they coalesced, crashed, or broke up into pieces. The ureilites could have come from the same protoplanet that existed for a few million years before its demise in a collision. Nature Communications published the research online this week; scientists from institutions in France and Germany contributed. + Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne + Nature Communications Via The Washington Post Images via NASA/JPL-Caltech and copyright EPFL/Hillary Sanctuary

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These diamonds from outer space hint at a long-lost planet

HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

April 16, 2018 by  
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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies just began construction on the world’s third Hyperloop test track. According to its latest announcement, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies ‘ full-scale tubes just reached a research and development facility in Toulouse, France , and a test track is under construction. The two other Hyperloop test tracks are Virgin Hyperloop One in the desert near Las Vegas and Elon Musk’s near the SpaceX headquarters in California. The race toward a functioning, real-world Hyperloop system continues as more test tracks pop up , governments sign deals , and billionaires get in on the action. Construction of Hyperloop TT’s test track will happen in two phases. The first phase is the building of a closed system around 1,050 feet long, which the company says will be operational in 2018. In 2019, the company plans to finish a 0.6-mile system elevated by pylons at around 20 feet for the second phase. HyperloopTT’s passenger and freight tubes have an interior diameter of about 13 feet. A full-scale passenger capsule is scheduled to arrive in France this summer “for assembly and integration” — it’s almost finished being built at a facility in Spain. Related: Hyperloop One exhibits exciting first images of full-scale test track In the company’s statement, HyperloopTT chairman Bibop Gresta said, “We’ve pioneered the technology , proved feasible and insurable by the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich RE. We have agreements in place in nine countries where we’re working on feasibility and regulations. We have a research center for freight and logistics in Brazil and a facility in Toulouse where we’ll deliver the first full-scale passenger capsule. Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry.” Stay tuned — HyperloopTT said they’ll soon reveal details for a public unveiling of their France facility this year. + Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Via The Verge Images via Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

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HyperloopTT is building the world’s third Hyperloop test track in France

Earth was buzzed by a giant asteroid this weekend and we didn’t even realize it was coming

April 16, 2018 by  
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Earth just survived a near miss with an asteroid, and we didn’t even know it was coming. Around 1,500 people were injured in the aftermath of the Chelyabinsk meteorite when it exploded over Russia in 2013, and an even larger  asteroid  just buzzed incredibly close to Earth this weekend, according to EarthSky . The Catalina Sky Survey first observed the asteroid – which is the closest large one on record to pass by the planet –  just hours before it tumbled past us at about half the distance of the moon. Asteroid 2018 GE3, according to EarthSky, was around 119,500 miles away from our planet at its closest point — and the Moon is an average of 238,855 miles away. Its diameter was around 157 to 361 feet, and it was hurtling through space at around 66,174 miles per hour. Asteroid 2018 GE3 surprised us, as did the Chelyabinsk meteorite. Related: Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when The Catalina Sky Survey detected the asteroid on Saturday, April 14, and in the early hours of the morning on April 15 on the United States’ East Coast, Asteroid 2018 GE3 passed by our planet. The closest approach happened at around 2:41 AM EDT, according to EarthSky. They cited NASA as saying the asteroid passed closer to our Moon than it did to Earth a few hours later at around 5:59 AM EDT. A preliminary analysis of Asteroid 2018 GE3’s orbit reveals this pass is the closest this asteroid has flown by our planet since around 1930. Was the planet in danger? No, not this time, according to EarthSky. What might have happened if Asteroid 2018 GE3 had indeed hit Earth? The publication said a big portion of rock would have broken up into pieces if it had entered our atmosphere , but some might have made it through to the surface. “…an asteroid this big is capable of causing some regional damage, depending on various factors such as composition, speed, entry angle, and location of impact,” EarthSky said. “It might make you feel better (or worse) to know that asteroids enter Earth’s atmosphere unnoticed on a fairly regular basis.” Via EarthSky and TIME Images via Depositphotos,   Tomruen/Wikimedia Commons  and Deposit Photos

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Earth was buzzed by a giant asteroid this weekend and we didn’t even realize it was coming

Alien life may not exist due to a lack of this chemical element

April 5, 2018 by  
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Holding out hope for alien life somewhere out there? According to a recent study from Cardiff University , you may have to wait a long, long time – if phosphorus isn’t present, it could be difficult for that life to exist. Phosphorus is one of the six elements Earth’s organisms depend on, and researchers Jane Greaves and Phil Cigan found it in short supply near the Crab Nebula supernova remnant, around 6,500 light years away. In light of these new findings, we may be alone in the universe after all. Greaves said phosphorus “is crucial to the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which cells use to store and transfer energy.” Astronomers have begun paying attention to phosphorus’ cosmic origins, and have discovered it’s created in supernovae. Related: Atacama ‘alien’ skeleton’s identity revealed by genetic testing Cigan and Greaves observed infrared light from phosphorus in the Crab Nebula using the William Herschel Telescope. They compared two “stellar explosions based on how they each ejected phosphorus into the atmosphere,” thanks to other scientists’ research on phosphorus in Cassiopeia A. Preliminary results hint “material blown out into space could vary dramatically in chemical composition.” Greaves said, “The route to carrying phosphorus into new-born planets looks rather precarious…If phosphorus is sourced from supernovae, and then travels across space in meteoritic rocks, it’s possible that a young planet could find itself lacking in reactive phosphorus because of where it was born. That is, it started off near the wrong kind of supernova. In that case, life might really struggle to get started out of phosphorous-poor chemistry , on another world otherwise similar to our own.” At the European Week of Astronomy and Space, Cigan and Greaves presented the preliminary results. They hope to continue to work and discover whether other supernova remnants lack phosphorus too, to discover if the element is rarer than scientists once thought. + Cardiff University Via The Telegraph Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Alien life may not exist due to a lack of this chemical element

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