The secret behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s resilience is revealed

May 14, 2018 by  
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A team of engineers has finally solved the mystery of how the seemingly unstable Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy has managed to stay standing for more than six hundred years, even in a seismically active region. A team led by Roma Tre University concluded that the tower’s height of 183 feet, the soft soil in which it stands, and the structural strength of the its marble all contribute to its remarkable resilience. This phenomenon is known as dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI). “Ironically, the very same soil that caused the leaning instability and brought the Tower to the verge of collapse, can be credited for helping it survive these seismic events,” said University of Bristol researcher George Mylonakis in a statement . Construction on Pisa’s bell tower began in 1173, and the tower reportedly started to lean when builders reached the third story. Even then, engineers understood that the site’s unique soil mix was responsible for the leaning. After religious wars and conflict interrupted construction, the tower was finally completed in 1370. Though the tower’s lean appears to be stable, efforts throughout the 20th and 21st century have decreased its severity over time. Related: Building Inspectors Deem Tilting Shanghai Towers Safe to Live In The research team expanded on previous studies by examining structural and seismic data records over time. They also engaged with a deep analysis of the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties of the materials used to build the tower, as well as the rock and soil in which it was anchored. Because of DDSI, the ground in which the Tower stands is insulated from seismic shocks, protecting it from the frequent and powerful earthquakes that have historically affected Pisa. These findings will be presented at the 16th European Conference in Earthquake Engineering in June. Via IFLScience Images via Depositphotos (1)

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The secret behind the Leaning Tower of Pisa’s resilience is revealed

Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

January 22, 2018 by  
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The four pavilions of the Naked Gallery resort in China were built using a combination of locally available natural and recycled waste materials. Xiaohui Designer Studio designed the complex as an eco-friendly space that “includes 75% of sustainable and renewable materials , 75% recyclable materials, and 75% of work by local craftsmen.” The designers utilized locally available stones, the soil excavated from the other sites in the resort, and bamboos abundant at the foot of Mount Mogan where the resort is located. The materials of the formwork and the joists of Naked Gallery are collected from the waste materials from other structures, which helped reduce the generation of waste and alleviate the influence of the architecture on the natural environment. Related: Luscious eco-resort design in China inspired by the Silk Road The resort consists of four pavilions. Local craftsmen built the complex using traditional building techniques which helped cut construction costs and increase construction efficiency. In fact, the transportation fees and construction waste were both cut by 90% during the building process. + Xiaohui Designer Studio Via Archdaily Photos by Youkun Chen    

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Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

December 6, 2016 by  
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Everyone knows that humanity has an enormous footprint on the planet – but few of us have thought to ask just how much our collective impact weighs . A new study published in The Anthropocene Review examines exactly that question, and has found that the so-called human “technosphere” is bogging down the planet with a staggering 30 trillion tons of infrastructure, development, and manufactured products. To understand the sheer volume of our impact on the planet, it’s important to recognize what’s being included in the tally. The paper includes all of the structures people have built or modified, as well as all of the gadgets and junk we’ve created – that means everything from farmed land to smartphones is being counted in that estimate. It includes all of our buildings, factories, roads, and trash, “active urban, agricultural and marine components used to sustain energy and material flow for current human life, and a growing residue layer.” Related: Scientists say that we are entering a new geological epoch thanks to human activity The mass of all the technosphere was estimated using an interesting method – basically, the authors compiled information on the area, thickness, and density of our cities , roads, croplands, and other structures worldwide. This is just one more piece of evidence that the Earth has entered a new geological era, what some are calling the “ Anthropocene ” epoch. In order to declare the current era its own geologic epoch, scientists need to be convinced that our footprint will last throughout the planet’s history, -even if our species fades away – as part of the fossil record. It’s hard to argue against the theory – after all, many of our structures will never decompose and may be preserved into the far future. But where previous epochs have been marked by the evolution of new life, our era will be marked in history by “techno-fossils” – the structures and trash we leave behind. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks

February 14, 2014 by  
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Computer scientists at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Science have created a small army of self-controlled robots that follow the same principles as ants or termites to create impressive structures out of foam blocks. The TERMES robots can create towers, pyramids, and other structures out of miniature bricks without any sort of blueprint — even building themselves staircases to reach higher levels. Read the rest of Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: autonomous robots , construction robots , Disaster Relief , harvard , School of Engineering and Applied Science , self-controlled robots , TERMES project , termite robots , termites        

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Autonomous “Termite” Robots Work Together to Build with Bricks

Structures Showcases Its Snakelike S7 LED Lamp at New York Design Week

May 24, 2013 by  
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A floor lamp, bedside lamp and reading lamp all in one, S7 is a versatile new lighting design by Structures . Founded by sailor turned designer  Nicolas Pichelin , Structures developed the fascinating and  flexible LED lamp to have an interchangeable head which can be rotated 360 degrees. This ultra versatile lamp is being sold by Ameico is one of our green picks from  New York Design Week this year. Read the rest of Structures Showcases Its Snakelike S7 LED Lamp at New York Design Week Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , Flexible LED Lamp , green lighting , ICFF , International Contemporary Furniture Fair , Modular Lamp , new york design week , New York Design Week 2013 , Nicolas Pichelin , S7 LED Lamp , S7 Push and Play Lamp , Snakelike LED Lamp , Structures        

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Structures Showcases Its Snakelike S7 LED Lamp at New York Design Week

New startup Moj.io connects dumb cars to smartphones

December 6, 2012 by  
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Canadian telematics startup unveils device to connect cars to the Internet and launches an aftermarket open platform for car apps.

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New startup Moj.io connects dumb cars to smartphones

Fractal Structures Could Yield Ultralight 3D-Printable Beams That Are 10,000 Times Stronger Than Steel

November 30, 2012 by  
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If you were to strip away the walls, floors, and insulation, you’d see that most buildings are constructed on a frame of beams. Most beams are made from steel, and while strong, they’re fairly one-size-fits-all. A new study published in the journal Physical  Review Letters  found that fractal patterns could be used to create 3d printed beams that are lighter and up to 10,000 times stronger than typical steel beams! This combination of material science and 3D printing technology could make it possible to customize beams for a specific load and purpose, reducing waste and cost. Read the rest of Fractal Structures Could Yield Ultralight 3D-Printable Beams That Are 10,000 Times Stronger Than Steel Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printable beams , 3D printing , Architecture , building materials , construction , green building materials , green design , Material science , resin , steel , sustainable building materials , sustainable design , UK , University of Nottingham , Yong Mao

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Fractal Structures Could Yield Ultralight 3D-Printable Beams That Are 10,000 Times Stronger Than Steel

The Uros: Organic Homes on Floating Man-Made Islands

July 15, 2011 by  
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[ By Steph in Geography & Travel . ] At first glance, these dwellings don’t look like much more than a scattering of huts along the edge of a river. However, the land they sit on isn’t exactly natural – though it is alive. The Uros people fashioned these floating islands themselves out of living reeds, and have lived on them in the middle of Lake Titicaca, which is bordered by Bolivia and Peru, for hundreds of years. Totora reeds, the materials used to create the islands as well as the Uros’ huts and boats, grow naturally in the lake. They have dense root systems that form a mat between three and six feet thick, keeping the islands buoyant despite sometimes supporting ten families. The roots rot away quickly, so the Uros – a Pre-Incan people who stake ownership claims to the lake and water – constantly add new reeds. These islands are sometimes anchored and sometimes allowed to drift across the surface of the lake. As the eight-foot-thick mass slowly sinks, the new material is added to the top. The texture underfoot is said to be spongy, giving up to four inches with each step. In addition to the islands they live on, the Uros also have ‘outhouse islands’; the root system of the reeds absorbs and filters the waste. The tortora reeds also provide for the Uros’ dietary and medical needs. The white bottom of the freshly-pulled reed contains iodine, which can help prevent goiter; it is also cool to the touch, and thus often split open and placed on areas of the body that are in pain. The flowers of the reed are made into tea. The Uros also rely on fish and birds for food, and occasionally venture to the mainland to barter for quinoa and other foods. While they have maintained a very natural lifestyle, they don’t shun modern technology – some of their boats have motors, and solar panels even power televisions. The Uros even run their own FM radio station. Want More? Click for Great Related Content on WebEcoist: Bridge to Nature: Amazing Indian Living Root Bridges When we think of amazing bridges, we usually think of the large steel and concrete variety. But Cherrapunji, India features truly astounding living bridges. 2 Comments – Click Here to Read More »» 10 Most Remote and Remarkable Inhabited Islands The most remote islands on earth, islands in lakes, the smallest islands, islands in cities and other amazing islands. 7 Comments – Click Here to Read More »» Architecture of Antarctica: 12 Strange Sub-Zero Structures With their heavy metal exteriors and tall legs, these 12 Arctic and Antarctic structures look surreal and almost sci-fi against the white polar landscape. Click Here to Read More »» [ By Steph in Geography & Travel . ] [ WebEcoist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

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The Uros: Organic Homes on Floating Man-Made Islands

Disaster-Proof Architecture: 13 Super-Strong Structures

April 22, 2011 by  
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[ By Steph in Art & Design . ] High-profile earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters have made it more clear than ever that in the face of climate change, stronger buildings able to withstand such events are not just advisable but necessary. These 13 designs range from fantastical concepts for entire floating cities to real homes that have already proven themselves disaster-proof, and from large-scale billion-dollar projects to low-cost housing solutions for the poor

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Disaster-Proof Architecture: 13 Super-Strong Structures

Man-Made Jungle: Exotic Architecture for Rain Forests & More

April 8, 2011 by  
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[ By Steph in Art & Design & Geography & Travel & Nature & Ecosystems . ] Beautiful and untamed, the jungle can be an inhospitable setting for human inhabitance when dwellings are not designed in harmony with the climate and landscape.

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Man-Made Jungle: Exotic Architecture for Rain Forests & More

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