New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

September 8, 2017 by  
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Good riddance “lunch shaming” — the practice of holding children accountable for school lunch bills. Starting this school year in New York City, all 1.1 million students who attend public schools will receive their lunches for free. The move has been long sought after by food policy advocates, as 75 percent of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunches. Now an additional 200,000 kids will benefit, saving their families approximately $300 per year. According to city officials, the program will not cost the city additional money since New York state changed how it tracks families that are eligible for benefits and matched them with schools their children attend. The city was then able to identify more students whose families receive those benefits. It made officials realize the whole city qualifies for a federal program that dishes out free lunches at schools. According to Carmen Fariña, the school’s chancellor, “This is about equity. All communities matter.” Fariña is one of many who thinks the practice of lunch shaming needs to stop. When a student’s account is in overdraft, oftentimes their food is thrown away in front of them and they are given a simple sandwich on white bread as a replacement. The practice is so embarrassing, many kids choose to go hungry rather than subject themselves to the humiliation. Related: 8 Organic School Lunches That Can Be Prepared The Night Before New York isn’t the first city to offer free lunch to all students. Other major cities that do the same include Boston , Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. However, New York has far more children to feed than any of those cities, which is why this initiative is particularly applaudable. While breakfasts were already free to students at the city’s public schools, this latest development will ensure all students receive most of their daily recommended food intake. This is vital, considering 13 million children in the United States live in food insecure households. Via New York Times Images via Wikimedia Commons , Pixnio

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New York City is now offering free lunch at all public schools

What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

September 8, 2017 by  
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What3Words is a revolutionary addressing system that pinpoints locations more precisely than conventional street addresses. The tool divides the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares and assigns a unique combination of three words to each square. This enables more efficient aid and delivery services around the world – and it could actually save lives in disaster zones and informal settlements without street names. Roughly 75% of the world suffers from inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing systems, meaning that 4 billion people are unable to report crime, receive deliveries or request aid . They also are unable to exercise many of their rights as citizens because they simply have no way to communicate where they live. Even in the developed world, people get lost and mail goes delivered. Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award London-based What3Words offers an efficient, precise solution that is currently being integrated into businesses, apps and services across the globe. Each of the 57 trillion 3mx3m squares in the world has been allocated a fixed & unique 3-word address. The What3words geocoder turns geographic coordinates into these 3 word addresses & vice-versa. The system works across all platforms and devices, in multiple languages, offline and with voice recognition. Related: Life-saving LifeArk snaps together like LEGO to provide emergency off-grid housing Nigeria ‘s postal service has just started using What3Words to tackle its snail-mail problem and the poor addressing system. By adopting this state-of-the-art technology , NIPOST hopes to increase home delivery to 70 percent over the next two years. The firm has also signed a deal with Mongolia’s national delivery service and drone company Altavian, which designs and manufactures high quality drones for commercial enterprises. They teamed up with Indian moped taxi firm Bikxie, which is utilizing What3Words’ award-winning addressing system to help women travel more safely. What3words has been selected as the winner of the world’s biggest design prize – the INDEX: Award – which recognizes sustainable designs that generate positive impact in the world. + What3words + INDEX: Award

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What3Words provides an address for every person and point on planet earth

Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

June 22, 2017 by  
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Imagine zipping between cities in mere minutes—all from the comfort of your hotel suite. That’s the futuristic vision of the $130 million Hyperloop Hotel, a proposal built upon Elon Musk’s Hyperloop One high-speed train system currently in development. Designed by University of Nevada, Las Vegas graduate architecture student Brandan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel envisions seamless transport between 13 cities with a proposed flat fee of $1,200. The visionary Hyperloop Hotel won the student section of this year’s Radical Innovation Award , an annual competition for futuristic hotel designs. Siebrecht’s winning design uses reclaimed shipping containers as mobile, customizable hotel rooms that zip between cities at near-supersonic speeds through tubes and dock at designated hotels. Guests could travel across the U.S. without leaving the comfort of their pods and handle the entire process, from reservation to travel arrangements, with their smartphone. Siebrecht created the design for America’s 13 largest cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Denver, Sante Fe, Austin, Chicago, Nashville, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston. He drew inspiration from Musk’s Hyperloop test track, the DevLoop, located just outside Las Vegas. If successful, the high-speed train could zip travelers from Philadelphia to New York in 10 minutes. Related: Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for the Hyperloop Guests can customize the layout of the repurposed modular shipping container hotel rooms. Each hotel room includes areas for sleeping, bathing, living, and flex. Siebrecht estimates that the construction cost of each docking hotel between $8 and $10 million, and believes construction of his hotel concept feasible within the next five to 10 years. + Radical Innovation Award Via Business Insider

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Elon Musk-inspired Hyperloop Hotel could be the future of travel

Cover’s $50k algorithmic tiny houses are 80% more efficient than conventional homes

April 26, 2017 by  
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A California-based tech company is looking to bring tiny homes to the masses by streamlining the construction process with the help of computer algorithms. Cover has developed specialized software that creates custom-made, prefabricated tiny houses that are 80% more efficient than conventional homes – all without the help of architects, planning departments, or even contractors. Cover was founded by Alexis Rivas and Jemuel Joseph in 2014. The company seeks to give everyday people the tools to create “thoughtfully designed and well-built homes” for themselves rather than enlisting the help of costly professionals. The innovative process essentially removes the need for architects, planning departments, or even contractors by guiding users through a simple 3-step process: Design, Permit, and Build. Related: Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes Although the idea may seem a little farfetched to some, the founders believe that this is the future of DIY home building : “We’re doing for homes what Tesla is doing for the car – using technology to optimize every step of the process, from design and sales, to permitting and manufacturing.” Cover’s process uses generative design technology and algorithms to spec out various design options based on individual needs. In the design phase of the process, which costs just $250, clients fill out a digital survey providing information about their lifestyle and design preferences such as location, style, size, etc. The company then meets with the clients onsite to discuss details. The next step is feeding all of the information into a computer program that generates multiple designs options based on the information. The program is also equipped to account for geospatial data, solar positioning , and zoning requirements. After the clients choose their design, the company develops and sends “photorealistic renderings and plans” and a full quote to the client. Currently, the company’s tiny dwellings range from $50,000 to $350,000, depending on size, location, design, etc. Once the design details are worked out, the second stage is obtaining the necessary building permits, followed by laying the foundation while the prefab structure is built in a factory. Once the permits are approved, most Cover dwellings can be completed in as little as nine weeks. Cover limits material waste by manufacturing each tiny home in a factory. Additionally, using digital technology produces more energy-efficient structures. According to founder Alexis Rivas, “We’re redesigning the details that make up a home to take advantage of the precision possible in a controlled environment. This allows us to build homes that are 80 per cent more energy efficient than the average new home.” Cover homes are currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has plans to expand to other cities in the future. + Cover Images via Cover

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Apple announces goal to make products from 100% recycled materials

April 26, 2017 by  
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The electronics industry is notoriously harsh on the planet. Around 60 million metric tons of e-waste end up in landfills each year, and children are sometimes put to work to mine necessary rare earth elements. Technology giant Apple aims to fix these issues in their company. They recently announced plans to use 100 percent recycled materials in all of their devices. Apple’s aims are ambitious. In addition to using only recycled materials, the company also wants 100 percent of their supply chain to run entirely on renewable energy . They want their packaging to be made of 100 percent responsibly sourced and recycled paper. And they want to stop mining the earth. Related: Apple just unveiled a blazing fast iPhone recycling robot Apple has already made progress in many areas. Their data centers are 100 percent powered by solar, wind, or hydropower. 96 percent of their worldwide facilities run on renewable energy and over 99 percent of their packaging is already made with recycled and responsibly sourced materials. But they still have a long way to go. Apple didn’t offer a specific timeline for their mining goal. “It sounds crazy, but we’re working on it,” the company writes on their website. “We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain.” In their 2017 Progress Report , they said they’re challenging themselves to “one day end our reliance on mining” but that will require many years. They pointed to recycling programs and their recycling robots as evidence of progress. Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson told Vice , “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it. So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.” Greenpeace Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook said in a statement Apple’s goal “highlights the need for greater urgency across the sector to reduce resource consumption and e-waste that are causing significant impacts on the environment and human health …While transitioning to 100 percent recycled materials is critical to reducing the sector’s footprint, it is also fundamental for Apple and other major IT companies to design products that last, are easy to repair, and recyclable at the end of their life.” Via Apple and 9to5Mac Images via Maurizio Pesce on Flickr and screenshot

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Georgetown Universitys LEED Gold living room will make you wish you were a student

December 5, 2016 by  
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Georgetown University recently added a LEED Gold “living room” for undergraduates that’s so beautiful it’ll make you wish you were a student again—at least one who can afford the posh Washington, D.C. private school. Designed by ikon.5 architects , the Healey Family Student Center is an activity hub filled with cozy study rooms, meeting spaces, cafes, and other programmatic spaces. Renovated from a former mid-century residence hall, the multipurpose adaptive reuse building is filled with natural light, living green walls, and other sustainable and energy efficient systems. The 45,000-square-foot Healey Family Student Center is a renovation and expansion of the former New South Residence Hall into a living room for undergraduates. The interior spaces are carved out of interior and exterior stone edifices in a nod to the university’s official cheer “Hoya Saxa,” a phrase that roughly translates into “what rocks.” The most eye-catching area is the “Great Room,” a large rectangular student lounge centered on a cylindrical hearth with a variety of seating options naturally illuminated from above and backed by living green walls . Full-height windows and glazed doors extend the Great Room’s footprint to the outdoors, where the landscaped Riverside Terrace overlooks the Potomac River. Related: Schmidt Hammer Lassen’s university center is inspired by local mountains in Wenzhou, China In addition to the Great Room’s open-plan lounge and the twelve adjacent study alcoves, the student center includes a smoothie cafe, TV lounge, meeting rooms, art gallery, music practice rooms, stage, pub, dance studios, and even a dividable 350-seat ballroom. A natural materials palette of timber and stone is used throughout the interior. The Healey Family Student Center achieved LEED Gold certification this year thanks to eco-friendly features including recycled materials , certified timber, and systems for optimizing energy performance. + ikon.5 architects Via ArchDaily Images by Brad Feinknopf Photographer

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Georgetown Universitys LEED Gold living room will make you wish you were a student

Lucid Motors to build electric vehicle plant in Arizona

December 5, 2016 by  
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California-based electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors just announced plans to build an assembly plant in Arizona. Lucid expects construction on the $700 million facility to start in the second quarter of 2017, bringing more than 2,000 new jobs to The Grand Canyon State over five years. The company says eventually the plant will turn out 50,000 to 60,000 of its electric luxury sedans per year after operations begin late 2018. “Lucid Motors is building the luxury automobile of the future, and we have an opportunity to become the global leader in automotive technology. We are confident Arizona is the ideal location to advance our innovations and will continue to provide an excellent platform for our success,” Peter Rawlinson, Lucid’s chief technology officer, said in a written statement. Related: Elon Musk announces that Tesla will build a second Gigafactory in Europe The company unveiled two Alpha prototypes of their first vehicle last week in front of the Arizona state capitol building in Phoenix. The zero emissions electric car features an 87 kWh battery pack and an output of more than 900 horsepower. Rawlinson said that a version with a 400-mile range will be offered. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich also took part in the news conference. So can Lucid compete in the electric luxury sedan market with California rival Tesla ? That remains to be seen. However, there are signs that the Silicon Valley startup could potentially become a formidable foe for Elon Musk given that Lucid was founded by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla vice president and board member (Lucid started as a battery maker called Atieva). Rawlinson also brought his talent from Tesla , where he was the lead engineer for the Model S. The manufacturing center will be located in Casa Grande, approximately halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. Parts and supplies for the vehicles will be manufactured in Sonora, the Mexican state bordering Arizona. + Lucid Motors Via TechCrunch Images via Lucid Motors

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Futuristic, sustainable Urban Droneport could act as a hub for drone deliveries

December 5, 2016 by  
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Companies from Amazon to Facebook have bet on drones as the aerial vehicles of the future. But many locales lack the appropriate infrastructure to support the day-to-day management of hundreds of zooming devices. Enter architect Saúl Ajuria Fernández , who, as part of his master’s degree in architecture at Universidad de Alcalá , designed a solar-powered drone hub for Madrid called Urban Droneport. The futuristic dome-shaped Urban Droneport could allow companies to radically optimize package delivery. Spherical hangars allowing drones to take off with ease populate the outside of the droneport, while the interior would accommodate a logistics center and State Institute of Technology Development. Since the building would be close to three separate parks – Tierno Galván, Madrid Rio, and Lineal del Manzanares – the first floor of the Urban Droneport has been raised up so people could stroll around the base and connect to the different parks. Related: Avoid Obvious designs the first drone highway for a Utopian Chinese city Any futuristic design worth its salt incorporates sustainability , and Fernández’s design is no exception. In his description of the Urban Droneport he said prefabrication and modularity are two principles central to the design. “We opt for a metal structure with dry joints which allows both the assembly/disassembly and its expansion or modification. The building is modulated so that the details of its construction are solved with only one of its twelve slices,” Fernández said. Renewable energy would largely power the Urban Droneport; a system in the hangar doors could actually gather solar rays to provide almost as much energy as the building would need. A courtyard in the center of the Urban Droneport would facilitate natural lighting. While the Urban Droneport is designed for Madrid, Fernández said it could be easily adapted for other cities. He also said not only could the drone hub be used for package delivery, but also for drones ferrying medical supplies. + Saúl Ajuria Fernández Images courtesy of Saúl Ajuria Fernández

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This Danish grocery store selling expired goods is so popular that it’s opening a second branch

December 5, 2016 by  
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Slashing food waste is becoming trendy in Denmark. A grocery store in Copenhagen called Wefood is peddling expired goods – and it’s become so popular that it’s opening a second branch in the district of Nørrebro. Like the first store, the Nørrebro Wefood will be staffed with volunteers and it will donate profits to charity . It’s legal to sell expired food in Denmark , provided the goods aren’t dangerous and are openly advertised. Project leader Bassel Hmeidan told The Guardian, “We look, we smell, we feel the product and see if it’s still consumable.” Local supermarkets and food producers donate items to Wefood, and volunteers collect them and sell them. Locals can obtain food items at a 30 to 50 percent discount. Related: Denmark’s first supermarket for expired groceries cuts nation’s food waste Wefood is operated by DanChurchAid , an organization combating poverty . According to DanChurchAid, 800 million people are hungry when they go to bed at night, but more than a third of food produced globally is thrown away. Money collected by selling food at Wefood goes back to DanChurchAid for “emergency aid and social protection schemes as well as projects promoting agro-ecological production,” according to the organization. Not only does Wefood aim to address poverty and hunger, but the store’s concept of selling expired food could help in the fight against climate change . DanChurchAid says the food industry releases 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere when so much food is tossed out. While the innovative store allows Denmark to cut down on food waste, The Guardian points out it isn’t a place to do regular grocery shopping. Goods vary daily since the store depends on donations, but locals can find deals and support DanChurchAid through shopping at Wefood. As she grabbed a bottle of normally expensive olive oil for just around $2.85, shopper Signe Skovgaard Sørensen told The Guardian, “It’s awesome that instead of throwing things out they are choosing to sell it for money. You support a good cause.” + Wefood + DanChurchAid Via The Guardian Images via Wefood Facebook

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This Danish grocery store selling expired goods is so popular that it’s opening a second branch

Obama administration announces student loan forgiveness for nearly 400,000 disabled people

April 15, 2016 by  
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The Department of Education is sending letters to 387,000 individuals who are eligible for a “total and permanent” discharge from their student loan debt . The move cuts through some serious red tape for the people who need debt relief the most, namely people who have a disability that prevents them from being able to work and repay their loans. Thanks, Obama, indeed. Read the rest of Obama administration announces student loan forgiveness for nearly 400,000 disabled people

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