How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study

December 19, 2017 by  
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It turns out mushrooms aren’t just great to eat, but played an essential role in creating an atmosphere suitable for animal life, according to a new study. The earliest plants to dwell on land did not have well developed roots or vascular systems. Fungi, among the earliest colonizers of land, helped facilitate the transfer of phosphorus from rocky soil to the primitive plants , which required the mineral to photosynthesize. “The results of including data on fungal interactions present a significant advance in our understanding of Earth’s early development,” said Benjamin Mills, co-author of a report on the research published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B . “Our work clearly shows the importance of fungi in the creation of an oxygenated atmosphere.” The recent research shines a light on a process that remains mysterious, even in modern times. “Photosynthesis by land plants is ultimately responsible for about half of the oxygen generation on Earth, and requires phosphorus, but we currently have a poor understanding of how the global supply of this nutrient to plants works,” said Mills. Without fungi helping them acquire their necessary phosphorus, the earliest land plants would not have been able to survive. The oldest fossil of a land-living organism is of a fungi species, one of many which moved on land and helped to break down the rocky mantle into soil, enabling plants with roots to more easily extract their minerals . Related: Paris has a new underground – a massive farm for mushrooms and veggies To test fungi’s symbiotic relationship with early plants, a research team at the University of Leeds incorporated computer modeling and laboratory experiments which involved ancient species of fungus that still endure today. The researchers observed the differing rates at which different species of fungi exchanged phosphorus and carbon, which indicated how quickly plants might have produced oxygen. “We used a computer model to simulate what might have happened to the climate throughout the Palaeozoic era if the different types of early plant-fungal symbioses were included in the global phosphorus and carbon cycles,” said Katie Field, study co-author and plant biologist. “We found the effect was potentially dramatic, with the differences in plant-fungal carbon-for-nutrient exchange greatly altering Earth’s climate through plant-powered drawdown of CO2 for photosynthesis , substantially changing the timing of the rise of oxygen in the atmosphere.” Via Science Alert Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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How fungi made Earth’s atmosphere livable – new study

Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels

December 19, 2017 by  
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When he’s not putting out fires in Edmonton, Canada, firefighter Steve has managed to find time to build an Earthship-inspired tiny home on wheels. The 140-square-foot home , which can easily go off-grid, has all the comforts of a traditional residence – including a queen size bed, a deck and even a mini vertical herb garden in the kitchen. And of course, it was built to meet building codes for fire safety. Steve built his little shelter after taking a one-year sabbatical, during which time he traveled via campervan , volunteering on many tiny ship builds along the way. Having honed his building skills, he came back to Edmonton to construct his own earthship-inspired tiny home. Located in a the backyard of a home that he rents out, the compact dwelling was recently featured by Living Big in a Tiny House . Related: Architect builds a tiny studio in his backyard to be closer to his child The entrance to Steve’s home is via an open-air wooden deck that’s a perfect space for reading or bbq-ing. The interior living space is bordered with seating and storage cubbies on the wall. This main room doubles as the bedroom when the pull-out queen bed that’s hidden under the kitchen platform is rolled out. The kitchen is definitely designed for someone who has a love of all things culinary. The L-shaped layout makes for an ultra-efficient space and easy movement. A wall of vertical shelving has ample space for basic condiments as well as space to grow herbs , although Steve admit to killing most of them. The floor of the tiny home is brick, which was Steve’s attempt at creating a high thermal mass for passive heating. However, he’s planning to replace the flooring with wooden panels because the brick’s heat isn’t faring well against the cold Canadian winters. However, the home is still well-heated thanks to the three different heating options: woodstove, propane heater or electric patio heater. During the design process, Steve wanted to make the home as off-grid as possible. Now, it sits in the backyard and uses the utilities from the main house, but the idea was to have a roaming independent space. The main structure is built on wheels and hot water is provided by a propane-powered water heater. For extra sustainability, there is an incinerating toilet in the bathroom. When asked about his inspiration to build the tiny home , the firefighter explained it’s all about financial practicality, “For me, it was how the economics of it make sense. I rent the big house out and the tenants pay the mortgage, so by me staying in the small house in the backyard, I’m living a mortgage-free lifestyle right now, immediately, while I’m still collecting equity in the main house. So that makes sense to me and that’s a good situation to be in.” Via Treehugger Video and images via Living Big in a Tiny House

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Firefighter’s self-built tiny house is an earthship on wheels

Artist Monsieur Plant created this incredible Batman suit out of bark

July 11, 2015 by  
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From the artist who brought you the Nike Just Grow It! topiary sneaker comes this crazy Batman suit made  out of moss, bark and fungi. Christophe Guinet , or Monsieur Plant as he is known, created the amazingly-detailed suit as a way to examine “the balance that exists between the symbiosis of nature and that of this mythical character.” READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bark Batman , bark moss fungi suit , Batman plant suit , Batman suit , Christophe Guinet , Christophe Guinet plant suit , Monsieur Plant , Monsieur Plant Batman suit

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Artist Monsieur Plant created this incredible Batman suit out of bark

Scientists Discover Freshwater Reserves Under Ocean Floor 100 Times Greater Than All Water Used in the 20th Century

July 11, 2015 by  
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Humanity just found an incredibly valuable resource hidden under the ocean floor, and it’s more precious than fossil fuels or minerals. Scientists discovered vast aquifers of fresh water underneath the sea. A study published in the December 5th edition of the journal  Nature reveals the existence of nearly 120,000 cubic miles of low-salinity water beneath South Africa, North America, Australia, and China. This figure amounts to a volume 100 times greater than all of the fresh water used since the beginning of the twentieth century. Read the rest of Scientists Discover Freshwater Reserves Under Ocean Floor 100 Times Greater Than All Water Used in the 20th Century Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: australia , china , Climate Change , fresh water , fresh water aquifer , Nature , north america , Polar Ice Cap Melting , saltwater , saltwater contamination , sea level rise , south america , United Nations , water scarcity

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Scientists Discover Freshwater Reserves Under Ocean Floor 100 Times Greater Than All Water Used in the 20th Century

The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Sloths Teach Us About Energy Efficiency?

September 13, 2013 by  
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It’s a scientific fact that there’s nothing cuter than a baby sloth in a bucket. But even if Facebook ‘likes’ turn out not to correlate with biological fitness, sloths are a runaway success by any measure. Well, maybe not so much ‘runaway.’ But it’s certainly true they’re not going anywhere. Sloths have an outstanding survival strategy, as their unexpectedly high density in South and Central American tropical forests attests. In some areas, sloths consume half the energy and make up two-thirds of mammalian biomass. That’s a lot of sloths. But it’s hard to see them because they hardly move—their leafy diets just don’t provide enough energy for them to monkey around. How do they succeed on such meager rations? Simple. They are consummate energy misers. Can humans learn something about conserving energy from the sloth? Read today’s entry of  The Biomimicry Manual to find out! Read the rest of The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Sloths Teach Us About Energy Efficiency? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , bio-inspiration , biomimicry , design by nature , design inspiration , hanging gardens , hanging lamps , hanging plants , industrial ecology , inspiration from nature , kalundborg , sloth in a bucket , sloth moth , sloths , symbiosis , The Biomimicry Manual        

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The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Sloths Teach Us About Energy Efficiency?

Algaerium Bioprinter 3D-Prints Nutrient-Rich Algae Superfood at Home!

September 13, 2013 by  
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In just a short time, 3D printing has revolutionized the industries of medicine , tech , and design – and the technology’s next breakthrough application could revolutionize our food system. PhD researcher Marin Sawa has developed an “Algaerium Bioprinter” that can produce nutrient-rich microalgae to alleviate food security issues in the future. Read the rest of Algaerium Bioprinter 3D-Prints Nutrient-Rich Algae Superfood at Home! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 3d printed algae , Algaerium Bioprinter , eco design , green design , Marin Sawa , sustainable design        

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Algaerium Bioprinter 3D-Prints Nutrient-Rich Algae Superfood at Home!

INTERVIEW: Eric Maundu on Turning Aquaponic Gardens into an Internet Connected Resource

September 11, 2013 by  
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Read the rest of INTERVIEW: Eric Maundu on Turning Aquaponic Gardens into an Internet Connected Resource Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: American Steel , aquaponics , biomimicry , education , Environment , environmental science , Eric Maundu , fish , Interviews , Kijani Grows , oxygen , plants , schools , symbiosis , Urban Farming , West Oakland        

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INTERVIEW: Eric Maundu on Turning Aquaponic Gardens into an Internet Connected Resource

“Domestic Ponds” are Tabletop Ecosystems for Your Home

November 9, 2010 by  
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Duende Studio has unveiled a series of “Domestic Ponds” that explore the potential for incorporating living ecosystems within our homes. The limited-edition ponds re-envision everyday aquariums as delicately-balanced eco systems that have been adapted to our contemporary interiors.

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“Domestic Ponds” are Tabletop Ecosystems for Your Home

Solar-Powered Blood Pressure Device Enables Off-Grid Medical Aid

November 9, 2010 by  
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Researchers have developed a new solar-powered device that will allow doctors to measure blood pressure and dispense critical medical aid in developing countries around the world. It will combat the increase in cardiovascular disease in poor and off-grid areas by providing affordable and reliable blood pressure testing. The new device, which is 94 percent compliant with the standard blood pressure testing method for systolic blood pressure, is not only solar-powered but has already been approved for field testing and is being utilized in Uganda and Zambia, Africa.

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Solar-Powered Blood Pressure Device Enables Off-Grid Medical Aid

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