Boring Company confirms Elon Musk’s plan to use excavated dirt for low-cost housing

May 9, 2018 by  
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Will Elon Musk foray into affordable housing next? Earlier this week, he said on Twitter that The Boring Company would transform dirt from tunnel digging into bricks for low-cost housing . A spokesperson confirmed the plans to Bloomberg , and said, “there will be an insane amount of bricks.” The Boring Company will be using dirt from tunnel digging to create bricks for low cost housing — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2018 A Boring Company spokesperson told Bloomberg bricks would come from “excavated muck.” Musk has indicated in the past he could sell excavated materials; in March he tweeted about kits of life-size LEGO -like interlocking bricks to make structures inspired by ancient Egypt. And when asked if the bricks could be used for affordable housing around that time, he said yes, and that “two people could build the outer walls of a small house in a day or so.” Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company to sell life-size ‘LEGO-like’ bricks dug from the earth It seems like he’s serious, but there are still plenty of questions around such an endeavor — such as how many housing units Musk could build with Boring Company bricks. Bloomberg spoke with University of California, Los Angeles lecturer Juan Matute who said Musk’s tweet “assumes that housing costs are driven by construction materials , and particularly, construction materials that can be replaced by bricks. That’s not the case.” Labor and land drive prices more, according to Bloomberg, at least in California where The Boring Company is currently tunneling. Another potential issue is that chemicals have contaminated land underneath Los Angeles. If contaminants are present in excavated dirt, it may be difficult for The Boring Company to transform that dirt into bricks. Matute told Bloomberg challenges might not prevent Musk from following through on the plan, saying, “That doesn’t mean The Boring Company can’t buy some land and build a few low-cost houses, with a partner like Habitat for Humanity. And say, ‘Look what we did.’” The Boring Company said future offices could be erected with their bricks, according to Bloomberg. The company’s Frequently Asked Questions page said they’re “investigating technologies that will recycle the earth into useful bricks to be used to build structures,” and that these bricks “can potentially be used as a portion of the tunnel lining itself.” + Elon Musk Twitter Via Bloomberg Image via Steve Jurvetson on Flickr

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Boring Company confirms Elon Musk’s plan to use excavated dirt for low-cost housing

Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

May 9, 2018 by  
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The legislature of Hawaii has approved two bills that together put the state on the path to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 – the most ambitious climate change goal of any state in the United States. Bille bill 1986 establishes a carbon-offset program, while House bill 2182 convenes a task force to determine the best course of action to achieve carbon neutrality within the next three decades. “This is the biggest step forward on climate change any state has yet taken,” said Hawaii representative Chris Lee in a statement . As an island nation, Hawaii is taking such strong action to combat climate change in part because it is particularly vulnerable to its impacts. In passing the bills, legislators cited a study which estimated that Hawaii would endure $19 billion worth of damage on private property and significantly more on public infrastructure as a result of rising sea levels. In addition to its recently passed climate change legislation, Hawaii was the first state to formally adopt the goals established under the Paris climate agreement after President Trump withdrew the United States from it. Related: Helsinki unveils plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2035 Prior to the passage of these bills, Rhode Island was the American state with the most ambitious climate change goal, which pledged to achieve an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. Hawaii now stands as one of the world’s most aggressive states in its fight against climate change, sharing the same carbon neutrality timeline as Sweden. For context, carbon neutrality is expected in Iceland by 2040, Norway by 2030, Costa Rica by 2021, and the Maldives by 2020. While these steps are important, they are not sufficient. More governments must make similarly aggressive pledges toward carbon neutrality if climate change is to be halted. Hawaii governor David Ige,  who has been supportive of sustainability initiatives in the past , is expected to sign the bills into law. Via Quartz Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Hawaii sets the most ambitious goal of any US state by vowing to be carbon neutral by 2045

10.3 million people are employed in the renewable energy industry

May 9, 2018 by  
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For the first time ever, the number of people employed in renewable energy has passed the 10 million mark, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). In 2017, 10.3 million people were working in renewable energy, with 60 percent of the jobs in Asia. Of renewable energy jobs, solar power was the largest employer with nearly 3.4 million jobs. In 2017, the renewable energy industry created over 500,000 new jobs, according to IRENA, based in Abu Dhabi. That’s a 5.3 percent increase over 2016. The countries with the most jobs in renewable energy are the United States, China, India, Japan, Germany, and Brazil, and they account for over 70 percent of renewable energy industry jobs in the world. IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin said in the agency’s statement, “Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector.” Related: Clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel jobs in most US states The number of solar power jobs was up nearly nine percent over 2016 after what IRENA described as a record 94 gigawatts in installations last year. Around two-thirds, or around 2.2 million, of solar energy jobs are in China. Liquid biofuels is another big employer with 1.9 million jobs. Large hydropower is up there as well with 1.5 million jobs. Jobs in the wind industry decreased some at 1.15 million jobs globally. IRENA said while growing amounts of countries are enjoying clean power’s socioeconomic benefits, most manufacturing happens in relatively few countries. Amin said, “The data also underscores an increasingly regionalized picture, highlighting that in countries where attractive policies exist, the economic, social, and environmental benefits of renewable energy are most evident. Fundamentally, this data supports our analysis that decarbonization of the global energy system can grow the global economy and create up to 28 million jobs in the sector by 2050.” + International Renewable Energy Agency Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 ) and the International Renewable Energy Agency

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10.3 million people are employed in the renewable energy industry

Escapods rugged Topo trailer lets you go off-road in style

May 9, 2018 by  
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Taking your adventure off-road—and even off-grid —is now easier than ever thanks to the all-terrain Topo trailer. Escapod recently launched the off-road-specific teardrop trailer, which clocks in at 1,200 pounds dry weight and is crafted from the ground up in Warship, Utah. The Topo features a minimalist and stylish weatherproof build with a hand-welded, powder-coated steel tube frame and lightweight aluminum cladding. Built to last, the four-season Topo is constructed from a durable pressure-treated frame with 1.5-inch insulation . The trailer is elevated on 17-inch Mickey Thompson wheels with Goodyear Wrangler Trailrunner AT Tires, resulting in a standard ground clearance of 18 inches. To tackle even the most technical of terrain, the trailer also comes with independent suspension rated to 3,500 pounds. For extra functionality, Rhino Rack crossbars and a Sunseeker Awning are installed on top. In contrast with the rugged exterior, the interior is a warm cocoon of pre-finished birch ply , equipped with four cabinets, three cubbies, and a closed compartment behind the sleeping space, which is furnished with a 5-inch memory-foam queen mattress. Despite its compact quarters, the Topo feels expansive thanks to a 9-by-41-inch stargazer window and the two glazed doors on either side. There’s also room for food prep with counter space in the rear. The LEDs , USB ports, 3-speed fan, and optional water pump run off a 12v series 27 deep-cycle RV battery. The Escapod Topo starts at $13,800 and can easily be customized with tempting add-ons—like the solar array or shower—or with special request equipment. Interested buyers not quite ready to take the plunge will also be pleased to know that the team will soon offer rentals in Utah, with more details to be revealed on their website . + Escapod Via New Atlas

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Escapods rugged Topo trailer lets you go off-road in style

Steve Jurvetson on Deep Learning

August 31, 2016 by  
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At VERGE 15, Steve Jurvetson talks about being an early VC investor in Tesla and how the pattern recognition and optimization capabilities of “deep learning” software will help us humans adapt to a world that is becoming increasingly unpredictable due to climate change. “Instead of programming something to do something, you generate a computer program that is itself, like our brain, capable of learning anything,”said Jurvetson.

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Steve Jurvetson on Deep Learning

Why sustainability managers must learn to love artificial intelligence

November 3, 2015 by  
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We already have enough data to make better decisions, says legendary venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson. Now, we should trust software.

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Why sustainability managers must learn to love artificial intelligence

Silicon Valley’s ‘smartest guy’ on deep learning and sustainability

October 6, 2015 by  
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Venture capital legend Steve Jurvetson is “as excited as ever” about transforming industries focusing on the planet’s biggest challenges.

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Silicon Valley’s ‘smartest guy’ on deep learning and sustainability

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