This on-the-go carafe heats or cools water instantaneously as you pour

February 26, 2019 by  
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Good news for coffee and tea drinkers: No more wasting time and energy waiting for the perfect cup. Thanks to Heatworks, the company responsible for creating an innovative new heating carafe, you won’t have to. Using patented Heatworks ’ Ohmic Array Technology, the DUO Smart Untethered Carafe has the power to heat (or cool!) water to the exact degree while you pour. The DUO Carafe has Frog Design to thank for its modern, sleek exterior, and it is the third in a line of award-winning collaborations between the two companies. When it comes to functionality, convenience and stylish appearance, the DUO looks like quite the game changer. Related: This countertop dishwasher promises to wash your dishes in just 10 minutes So how does it work? The precise temperature control on the side panel lets you pick the water temperature to the plus/minus one degree. Simply set your temperature, pour water into the reservoir (fits four cups) at the top and pour into your cup. The carafe features one spout for filtered cold water and another spout for hot water (hence the “duo”). On the red side, the water appears to heat up instantaneously, or pour from the blue side for crisp, cool water. The entire device is battery operated, making it perfect for taking it to the office or really anywhere else. You’ll also be able to plug it in, so the carafe can stay comfortably on your kitchen table or desk to charge for on-the-go use. The DUO boasts 99 percent energy efficiency and an advanced water filtration system created by Heatworks CEO Jerry Callahan, who wanted to create a heating system without using metal heating elements. Unsustainable and flawed, metal heating parts have been used for heating for the past 100 years and carry the risk of rust and limescale to form, causing elements to fall apart or leak sediment into the water supply. Callahan felt it was time for an upgrade to traditional heating systems, and the Ohmic Array Technology was born. Using electrical currents passed through the water itself rather than separate heated elements to transfer heat into the water, Ohmic Array cuts out a whole step in the process. The DUO is not yet available for purchase, but you can learn more information and sign up for release updates on the Heatworks  website . + Heatworks Images via Heatworks

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This on-the-go carafe heats or cools water instantaneously as you pour

LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials

February 26, 2019 by  
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Nestled in the bucolic countryside of Garzón, Uruguay, the boutique winery Bodega Garzón produces estate-grown premium wines while keeping sustainability in mind. Designed by Argentina-based architecture firm Bórmida & Yanzón , the winery optimizes energy efficiency with insulating green roofs that total nearly an acre in size, rainwater harvesting and reuse, as well as a high-efficiency HVAC with heat recovery. Fitted with state-of-the-art technology, the 205,000-square-foot development is currently pursuing LEED certification. Set on property formerly overgrown with invasive species and marked by rocky and steep slopes, the Bodega Garzón winery has reintroduced the landscape to native species and more productive uses. Not only does the state-of-the-art winery encompass 500 acres of vineyards, but it also boasts a production facility, a tasting room for visiting guests, retail space, a wine club, an open-fire 120-seat restaurant, and caves for barrel storage, tours, private dining, and events. Views of the idyllic countryside are optimized in the design and placement of the buildings. As part of the winery’s commitment to sustainability, over 90 percent of the construction materials were locally sourced and include granite, concrete and stone. An earthy and natural material palette of raw steel, honed marble, brass accents, leathers, and rich textiles give the interiors, dressed by California-based Backen Gillam & Kroeger Architects, a luxurious and polished feel. The designers were also careful to select recycled and rapidly renewable materials, such as Forest Stewardship Council-certified timbers. Related: An award-winning winery in British Columbia elegantly steps down a hillside The 19 varieties of grapes grown on site — including the brand’s flagship Tannat and Albariño grapes — are connected to drip irrigation that uses recycled surface runoff harvested in newly dug man-made pond systems. All stormwater runoff is treated before leaving the site and recycled for not only all of the irrigation, but for cleaning the outdoor areas and for the water pond as well. + Bórmida & Yanzón

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LEED-seeking winery in Uruguay is built almost entirely of locally sourced materials

New study predicts mass extinction in 140 years

February 25, 2019 by  
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A new study suggests that the old saying about history repeating itself is absolutely true. In this case, history repeating itself pertains to none other than the topic on everyone’s minds— extinction. Researchers believe it’s taken 56 million years for earth to face another mass extinction that can occur in as little as 140 years.  The research, released last Wednesday and published in Geophysical Research Letters , compares conditions in the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) period with our planet’s present warming condition. Back in PETM days, carbon dioxide shot up, increasing Earth’s temperatures by 9 to 14 degrees. The tropical Atlantic heated up to approximately 97 degrees. Land and marine animals died. It took 150,000 years for the planet to recover. Related: Global warming will melt over 1/3 of the Himalayan ice cap by 2100 Unfortunately for us, carbon dioxide emissions are rising ten times faster now than they did during the PETM. Back then, wildfires, volcanic activity and methane wafting from the seafloor and permafrost were the culprits. Today, it’s down to us. Last year, emissions in countries with advanced economies rose slightly after a five-year decline. At this rate, the study predicts Earth’s atmosphere will be comparable to the beginning of PETM in 140 years, reaching a peak in 259 years. The result? Mass extinction. Philip Gingerich, the study’s author, did a literature review of previous studies on PETM and the rate of carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. Based on eight studies published between 2009 and 2018, he used models to project future emissions caused by humans. Gingerich is an emeritus professor in the University of Michigan’s earth sciences department. He directed the university’s Museum of Paleontology for nearly 30 years. “[It’s] as if we are deliberately and efficiently manufacturing carbon for emission to the atmosphere at a rate that will soon have consequences comparable to major events long ago in earth history,” Gingerich told Earther. As he states in his study, “A second PETM-scale global greenhouse warming event is on the horizon if we cannot lower anthropogenic carbon emission rates.” Via Earther Image via nikolabelopitv

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Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

September 21, 2018 by  
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New data suggest that flooding in the Amazon River has dramatically increased by as much as five times in both intensity and frequency in the last 100 years. Scientists analyzed data points from the past century and believe the increase in flooding is linked to global warming. Scientists have measured the river’s water levels for 113 years at the Port of Manaus in Brazil . Over time, they found that large flooding events and extreme droughts have gone up over the past 20 to 30 years. In the early part of the century, massive floods only happened about once in every 20-year period. That number has increased to one major flood every four years. Related: High tide coastal flooding in US has doubled in the past 30 years The researchers believe the uptick is related to an oceanic system called Walker circulation, which describes air currents created by temperature fluctuations and pressure changes in the ocean , specifically in tropical locations. The Pacific Ocean has been cooling while the Atlantic Ocean has been getting warmer, which creates these circulating air currents. These changes are affecting the surrounding environment, including precipitation in the Amazon basin. Scientists are not sure why the Atlantic Ocean has been warming up. They do, however, believe that global warming is contributing to the temperature changes, but in a more indirect way. They theorize that global warming has shifted wind belts farther south, which pushes warm water from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. This creates an opposite effect of El Niño and results in more rainfall in the Amazon. Flooding along the Amazon River lasts weeks on end. Not only does it spread disease and contaminate water supplies, but it also destroys farms and homes. Right now, there is no indication that the flooding will decrease. This past year, water levels rose above the flood range, and scientists believe the water levels will only get higher as the years progress. Via EurekAlert! Images via Dave Lonsdale and NASA

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Flood frequency of the Amazon River has increased fivefold

MIT’s thermal resonator generates power "out of what seems like nothing"

February 27, 2018 by  
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A brand new power-generating system from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers creates energy “out of what seems like nothing,” according to chemical engineering professor Michael Strano in a statement . Their system, which they’re calling a thermal resonator, harnesses daily swings in ambient temperature , potentially enabling remote sensing systems to operate for years — no batteries or other power sources required. Nine MIT scientists from the chemical engineering department envisioned a new way to transform temperature changes into electric power. Their system doesn’t need two different temperature inputs simultaneously; it simply draws on fluctuations in the temperature of the air. Strano said, “We basically invented this concept out of whole cloth. We’ve built the first thermal resonator. It’s something that can sit on a desk and generate energy out of what seems like nothing. We are surrounded by temperature fluctuations of all different frequencies all of the time. These are an untapped source of energy.” Related: MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months MIT said the power levels the thermal resonator can generate are modest at this point, but the system’s advantage is that it isn’t affected at all by short-term changes in environmental conditions, and doesn’t require direct sunlight. It could generate energy in oft-unused spaces like underneath solar panels . The researchers say their thermal resonator could even help solar panels be more efficient as it could draw away waste heat . The thermal resonator was tested in ambient air, but MIT said if the researchers tuned the properties of the material used, the system could harvest other temperature cycles, such as those of machinery in industrial facilities or even the on and off cycling of refrigerator motors. The scientists created what MIT described as a “carefully tailored combination of materials” for their work, including metal foam, graphene , and the phase-change material octadecane. MIT said, “A sample of the material made to test the concept showed that, simply in response to a 10-degree-Celsius temperature difference between night and day, the tiny sample of material produced 350 millivolts of potential and 1.2 milliwatts of power — enough to power simple, small environmental sensors or communications systems.” The journal Nature Communications published the work online in February. + MIT News + Nature Communications Images via Melanie Gonick and Justin Raymond

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MIT’s thermal resonator generates power "out of what seems like nothing"

Antarctica just hit a record high temperature of 63.5F

March 2, 2017 by  
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Climate change is already ravaging the Antarctic Peninsula, which the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) described as one of the fastest warming regions on Earth. In a recent statement, the organization announced the area has witnessed record high temperatures. The Argentine Research Base Esperanza, which rests on the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip, hit 63.5 degrees Fahrenheit on March 24, 2015. WMO identified three subregions in Antarctica, and listed the high temperature record for each. The Antarctic Region, or all the land under the 60th parallel south, saw a balmy temperature of 67.6 degrees Fahrenheit back in January 1982. It’s the Antarctic continent, or “the main continental landmass and adjoining islands” as defined by WMO that saw the recent hot temperature of 63.5 degrees. The Antarctic Plateau, which is land higher than 8,202 feet, saw a record temperature of 19.4 degrees Fahrenheit in December 1980. Related: Scientists warn rapidly-melting glacier in West Antarctica could cause serious global havoc WMO said the average annual temperature is around 14 degrees Fahrenheit along the coast of Antarctica, and negative 76 degrees Fahrenheit at the interior’s highest regions. But parts of Antarctica have already heated up nearly three degrees Celsius, or 37.4 degrees Fahrenheit, in just the past 50 years. According to the organization, “Some 87 percent of glaciers along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula have retreated in the last 50 years with most of these showing an accelerated retreat in the last 12 years.” Around 90 percent of the planet’s fresh water is in Antarctica, frozen as ice. Should all that ice melt, sea levels would spike by around 200 feet, so even extremes around the edges of the region concern scientists. The recently released data highlights the dire need for continued climate change research . Polar expert Michael Sparrow, of the World Climate Research Program co-sponsored by WMO, said in the statement, “The Antarctic and the Arctic are poorly covered in terms of weather observations and forecasts, even though both play an important role in driving climate and ocean patterns and in sea level rise. Verification of maximum and minimum temperatures help us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Antarctica just hit a record high temperature of 63.5F

New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

February 13, 2017 by  
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Engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a thin, artificially structured “metamaterial” that can cool objects without the use of water or energy. The film works to lower the temperature of the surface beneath it through a process known as “passive cooling,” meaning that it vents the object’s heat through thermal radiation while bouncing off any incoming solar energy that may negate those losses. As described last week in the journal Science , the glass-polymer hybrid material could provide an “eco-friendly means of supplementary cooling” for thermoelectric power plants, which require colossal amounts of water and electricity to keep their machinery chugging along at optimum temperatures. The film measures a lithe 50 micrometers thick, or just slightly more substantial than the aluminum foil you’d find in your kitchen. And, much like foil, researchers say it can be easily and economically manufactured by the roll for large-scale residential and commercial applications. “We feel that this low-cost manufacturing process will be transformative for real-world applications of this radiative cooling technology,” Xiaobo Yin, an assistant professor who co-directed the research, said in a statement. Buildings and power plants aren’t the only structures that could benefit, Yin said. The material could keep solar panels from overheating, allowing them to not only work longer, but harder, as well. Related: 3D-printed “Cool Brick” cools a room using only water “Just by applying this material to the surface of a solar panel, we can cool the panel and recover an additional one to two percent of solar efficiency,” said Yin. “That makes a big difference at scale.” Yin and his cohorts have applied for a patent as a prelude to exploring potential commercial applications. They also plan to create a 200-square-meter “cooling farm” prototype in Boulder sometime this year. “The key advantage of this technology is that it works 24/7 with no electricity or water usage,” said Ronggui Yang, a professor of mechanical engineering and a co-author of the paper. “We’re excited about the opportunity to explore potential uses in the power industry, aerospace, agriculture and more.” + University of Colorado Boulder Photo by Chris Eason

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New super-thin film acts like "air conditioner" for buildings

Heat stress from climate change may cost global economies $2 trillion by 2030

July 21, 2016 by  
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Research reveals yet another loss we can anticipate at the hands of climate change: global productivity . Heat stress in lower income countries has already shortened work days, which could result in a net loss of $2 trillion across all global economies by the year 2030. The sad irony is that the countries contributing the least to global warming will end up hurting the most. A recent study published in Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health is one of six detailing the economic devastation coming our way on the heels of rising temperatures. Bloomberg reports that Southeast Asian countries’ work hours have been slashed 15 to 20 percent because of extreme heat, a figure which could double in the next 30 years or so. Tord Kjellstrom, director at the New Zealand-based Health and Environment International Trust , explains, “With heat stress, you cannot keep up the same intensity of work, and we’ll see reduced speed of work and more rest in labor-intensive industries.” Related: 7 clues climate change is here to stay First world countries, who contribute far more to our dire climate situation, can afford to adapt to the productivity challenges. For instance, factories can invest in alternative means of cooling their machinery and bigger companies can afford to shift around workers’ schedules. Lower income countries will be the first to experience the growing economic burden, due to low-skill, low-paying, and labor intensive jobs being affected more severely by heat stress. Up to 43 countries, including China, Indonesia, and Malaysia, could take an economic hit by 2030. Anthony Capon, a professor at the UN University , says it best when he explains, “As it is, high income countries have more capacity to insulate their people from health impacts of climate change. People in the poorer countries are the most effected [sic].” Via  Bloomberg Images via Pexels , Bloomberg , Flickr

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Heat stress from climate change may cost global economies $2 trillion by 2030

Luxurious net-zero Stanford home features an earthquake-resistant steel frame

July 21, 2016 by  
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The key to Professor Jacobson’s new net-zero home is BONE Structure’s innovative and lightweight steel frame system laser cut in a factory and delivered for on-site assembly. “The steel frame system allows for exciting design features that would not be possible using traditional building methods,” said Professor Jacobson. “Interior spaces and window lines can run up to 25 feet between columns.” The building’s “net zero ready” shell is designed to produce near zero waste and is 100% recyclable, earthquake-resistant , and impervious to mold and termite damage. The shell of a home can be assembled in just days using a battery-powered drill. Precut openings in the steel structure allow for easy installation of electrical, plumbing, heating, and ventilation systems. Precut insulation panels slot between the steel columns and the shell is further sealed with spray-on polyurethane foam insulation. The net-zero home is powered entirely with electricity and includes Tesla Powerwall energy storage, the Tesla Wall Connector auto charger, a 15kW solar system, and the Nest Learning Thermostat . Related: BONE Structure breaks ground on first net-zero residential project in California BONE Structure has plans to scale up to produce 1,000 residences per year. The net zero energy-ready homebuilder expects to complete 50 more homes in California in 2016. + BONE Structure Images via BONE Structure

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Luxurious net-zero Stanford home features an earthquake-resistant steel frame

New City of Wine museum in Bordeaux looks like wine swirling in a glass

July 21, 2016 by  
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The shape of La Cité du Vin references wine in a variety of ways; it could be interpreted to mimic gnarled vine stock or wine swirling in a glass. Its round volumes are clad in silk-screen printed glass panels and perforated, lacquered aluminum panels that change appearance depending on the time of day. Related: Italy’s Green-Roofed Antinori Winery is Topped With a Vineyard! Two entrances on opposite sides of the building facilitate and accentuate movement and flow, leading visitors to the highest point of the structure-an observation tower offering expansive views of the city. The ground floor features numerous mirrored surfaces that encourage visitors to move up towards the light, just like a vine plant grows upwards towards the sun. Wooden structural elements visible in the interior are reminiscient of boats, wine, and its travels. + XTU Architects Via World Architecture News Photos by XTU Architects

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New City of Wine museum in Bordeaux looks like wine swirling in a glass

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