Volkswagen says it will stop all animal testing

June 6, 2018 by  
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German automaker Volkswagen came under fire earlier this year for funding an experiment subjecting macaque monkeys to diesel fumes — tests PETA  described as cruel and outrageous. But PETA has also  just announced a victory : CEO Herbert Diess told PETA Germany the company would “never again use animals in testing unless required to do so by law.” In January, the New York Times reported  on a study involving 10 macaque monkeys at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the experiment, equipment pulled exhaust from tailpipes of a Volkswagen Beetle and a 1999 Ford pickup. The gas was diluted and sent into airtight chambers where the monkeys were kept. The laboratory played cartoons for the monkeys as they sat for four hours breathing fumes. The Beetle used, provided by Volkswagen, had been rigged to generate pollution levels less harmful in a laboratory than on a street. Related: Volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion to US following emissions scandal The European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), funded by Volkswagen , BMW, and Daimler, commissioned the Albuquerque experiment. The group shut down in 2017 during controversy about its work. EUGT wanted the Albuquerque experiment to challenge a World Health Organization finding that classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen. EcoWatch said a new Netflix series called Dirty Money, from which the above YouTube video was taken, also documented diesel emissions tests on monkeys. PETA said due to biological and genetic differences between monkeys and humans, “the results of experiments on them are useless in predicting human responses to things like inhaling diesel exhaust.” They also said LRRI has a history of abusing and neglecting animals. Diess told PETA Germany that Volkswagen will update their code of conduct later in 2018 with the ban on animal testing. PETA credited the victory to communications with company executives, protests at Volkswagen headquarters, and emails sent to the car company. They said over 160,000 people in the United States alone took action. + PETA Via EcoWatch and The New York Times Image via Depositphotos

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Volkswagen says it will stop all animal testing

173 countries agree to slash shipping industry emissions in historic deal

April 13, 2018 by  
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Shipping was the sole industry excluded from the 2015 Paris Agreement , even though the sector’s annual carbon emissions are higher than those of Germany  — and countries now plan to address that. 173 nations just agreed to a historic, mandatory deal to slash shipping industry emissions . Related: World’s first autonomous shipping company launched in Norway One week of negotiations at an International Maritime Organization (IMO) meeting in London yielded this landmark deal. Envoys of 173 countries agreed to reduce emissions at least 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050. Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the United States objected. Shipping vessels tend to burn fuel oil, which is cheap but also one of the dirtiest fossil fuels . According to Bloomberg , the industry didn’t factor into the Paris agreement because each participating country presented its own plans to curb emissions, excluding the seas. University College London Energy Institute reader Tristan Smith told Bloomberg, “It is likely this target will tighten further, but even with the lowest level of ambition, the shipping industry will require rapid technological changes.” BREAKING: Commitment to decarbonise shipping is welcome – governments can no longer shirk decisions on how to cut ship GHG emissions https://t.co/7Bh4pWIO04 pic.twitter.com/mEp3t36zSM — Transport & Environment (@transenv) April 13, 2018 “Making new ships emit less CO2 is the most obvious way to decarbonize the sector because ships have long lifetimes, usually around 25 to 30 years,” shipping officer Faig Abbasov of European NGO Transport & Environment told Bloomberg. “If you don’t build ships more efficiently, those ships will still be sailing around in the middle of the century.” As with the Paris Agreement , some people are saying this new deal doesn’t go far enough. A statement from the Clean Shipping Coalition (of which Transport & Environment is a member) said the target set “falls short of the 70 to 100 percent cut by 2050 that is needed to align shipping with the goals of the Paris Agreement.” Transport & Environment shipping director Bill Hemmings said, “The IMO should and could have gone a lot further but for the dogmatic opposition of some countries led by Brazil, Panama, Saudi Arabia. Scant attention was paid to US opposition.” + Clean Shipping Coalition Statement Via Bloomberg Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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173 countries agree to slash shipping industry emissions in historic deal

Dubai tests the world’s first autonomous mobility pods

February 15, 2018 by  
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10 passengers can fit inside Dubai’s new autonomous mobility pods—the first of their kind in the world. The city’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is working with Next Future Transportation on the first tests of the electric units at the World Government Summit, and it seems they were a success. They can operate for three hours with the help of a battery, or charge up again in six hours. Self-driving pods could soon be roaming the streets of Dubai. Six people can sit and four can stand inside the units, which move at around 12 miles an hour. The pods are nine-feet-long, seven-feet-wide, and nine-feet_tall. Related: Dubai police unveil Star Wars-esque electric hoverbikes The pods are designed for travelling short- to medium-length distances, in dedicated lanes, according to Gulf News . Two pods can be coupled in just 15 to 20 seconds, or can be detached in around five seconds. Prototypes tested in Dubai were manufactured in Italy, according to RTA director-general Mattar Al Tayer. Next Future Transportation’s website envisions passengers hailing one of the pods via a smartphone app , and while aboard calling for service modules that could then couple with the module in which a person is riding so they could purchase a drink or go to the bathroom. The RTA press release did not mention if Dubai will offer those services. Al Tayer said of the pods, “It echoes the Dubai Autonomous Transport Strategy aimed at converting 25 percent of mobility journeys in Dubai to autonomous transportation by 2030…The success of initial tests of these units will bring about a breakthrough in transportation systems that offer innovative mobility solutions and ease snarls in the city.” + Next Future Transportation + Roads and Transport Authority Via Gulf News and India Today Images via Dubai Media Office Twitter

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Dubai tests the world’s first autonomous mobility pods

BEEcosystem observation hives can be installed inside or outdoors

February 12, 2018 by  
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Today in the United States there are 3.5 million fewer beehives than there were in 1947, a worrying decline given that bees pollinate one out of every three bites of food. Addressing the need for more bees, and in general new awareness about their crucial role as pollinators, Dustin Betz and Mike Zaengle teamed up to design the hexagonal BEEcosystem observation hive . Safely installed either inside or outdoors, the modular beehive can be stacked for growth in much the same way honeybees expand their combs. The pair first introduced BEEcosystem in 2015 , and now, for 2018, they’ve improved upon the original design with nifty new features. Zaengle told Inhabitat that while customers who received BEEcosystems have been thrilled with their purchase, many wished the hive would open from the front, rather than the back. “This slight change would make the hives that are situated outside easier to maintain,” he said. Instead of having to remove the hive from the wall, it can now be maintained in place. Zaengle adds that they “have already worked through this design modification with our current manufacturer and have started our initial production run for the 2018 beekeeping season .” Another limiting factor for potential BEEcosystem owners is lack of experience. People who are unfamiliar with apiculture may be intimidated to bring bees into their homes, while business owners who want to support the pollinators may simply lack the necessary expertise. In response, Betz and Zaengle have set up a new ambassador program. Betz says the Beekeeper Ambassador Program will allow them to build a network of beekeeping experts who can provide services to B2B customers such as farm-to-table restaurants, vineyards and hotels. “We feel the BEEcosystem hive can add tons of value to eco- and agri-tourism businesses,” he said, “and the Ambassador Program will allow more of those businesses to purchase our product without having to have someone in-house manage the hive – this network will also help to educate the next generation of beekeepers, and greatly increase the reach of our social impact.” Related: The world’s first observation hive to ship with an established colony BEEcosystem has forged a partnership with the Clift hotel and beekeeper Roger Garrison in San Francisco, according to Zaengle, as part of a broader effort to expand their mission with “other hotels with a sustainable and eco-driven mission .” Another new feature that facilitates hive expansion includes unique patent pending vent-to-passageway magnetic connection points. “Because both the hive’s side vents and additional hive bodies attach magnetically, by simply sliding out any one of the four side-ventilation screens, another BEEcosystem hive body can be attached to create a more spacious hive interior—giving your colony room to grow and thrive,” according to information detailed in their latest crowdfunding campaign . “By using magnetic alignment, BEEcosystem units connect together effortlessly—and because we use powerful magnets, they also connect together securely—delivering both peace of mind and ease of installation.” A new mason jar top feeder allows budding beekeepers to supplement feeding when necessary, and removable top bar frames makes it easy to harvest honey. A detachable red acrylic piece ensures bees, which, similarly to humans, operate on a circadian rhythm, can enjoy light-free sleep. And the transport tube, like a bee version of a dog door that allows pollinators to travel outdoors to forage, is sealed in with a magnetic safety clasp. Betz and Zaengle have finessed what was already an elegant, minimalist design to ensure maximum comfort for both bees and their human caretakers. They call theirs the most “user-friendly observation hive ever built.” If you would like to support their efforts to scale up manufacturing and expand their educational initiatives, feel free to check out their Indiegogo campaign . They have lots of worthwhile gifts to share. + BEEcosystem + BEEcosystem on Indiegogo

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BEEcosystem observation hives can be installed inside or outdoors

Hanergy’s thin solar panels break multiple world records for efficiency

February 12, 2018 by  
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The China-based international energy corporation Hanergy was recently lauded for its newest solar production module, the highest efficiency single-junction solar module ever created. Hanergy’s US-based subsidiary Alta Devices produced a module, with a 25.1 percent conversion efficiency, capable of powering drones, electric vehicles and sensors that were once out of reach for solar power. Solar modules from subsidiaries Solibro and MiaSole have also broken efficiency records – double glass CIGS solar modules at 18.72 percent and sputtering CIGS solar modules on flexible substrate at 17.88 percent. “As we move toward a world of autonomous machines, developing sources of power that can be replenished without interruption is increasingly important,” Alta Devices Chief Marketing Officer Rich Kapusta told PR Newswire . “Each time our technology achieves a new world record, it has been designed with a clear focus on this goal.” The ultra-efficient, thin, flexible solar panels from Hanergy are possible as a result of gallium arsenide (GaAs), a semiconductor that is moisture and UV radiation resistant. The panels are constructed by growing a thin layer of GaAs on top of a single crystal GaAs wafer using a process known as metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). The thin layer is then peeled off the wafer to produce a flexible, lightweight solar cell. These thin solar panels can then be applied in a variety of situations, including as part of a solar-charging backpack featured above. Related: Solar record-breaking China aims for 50GW installed in 2017 The GaAs modules produced by Hanergy achieve efficiency up to two times that of traditional flexible solar cells and have broken conversion efficiency records four times since 2010. They currently hold the world record for the highest conversion efficiency rate (in a laboratory setting) of 28.8 percent. Hanergy has collaborated with European automakers to apply their ultra-efficient solar modules in panoramic vehicle roofs, seamlessly integrating solar power with style. Their modules are also well-suited for drone applications because of their light weight and flexibility that does not affect a drone’s aerodynamic profile. Via PR Newswire and China Daily Images via Miasole and Hanergy (1)

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Hanergy’s thin solar panels break multiple world records for efficiency

World’s highest bridge is now open for vehicular traffic

December 30, 2016 by  
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Acrophobes beware, the highest bridge in the world is open for business. After three years and over $140 million, the Beipanjiang Bridge in southwest China just opened. At 1,854 feet, the suspension bridge is either maniacal, or an engineering marvel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBWddXUCBsY The recently-completed bridge stretches across the Beipanjiang Valley, connecting the Yunnan and Guizhou provinces. What once was a five hour journey between the two places has been slashed to a quick hour and a half trip thanks to the new bridge. The engineering feat is an astounding 4,400 feet long, and is about the height of a 200 story building. According to CNN , the bridge is the highest due to the enormous distance between the ground and the bridge’s deck. Related: World’s tallest and longest glass bridge closes after only 13 days Beipanjiang project director Zhou Ping told CCTV, “In October 2013, the Ministry of Transport approved the Beipanjiang Bridge and gave us 8.9 million yuan in scientific research funding. Our project provided match-funding of around 6.1 million yuan, bringing the research fund to around 15 million. Many institutes, including Jiaotong University, Guizhou Highway engineering group, and the Guizhou office of transportation joined together to conduct research and development. We developed a new kind of technology called cantilever erection by longitudinal launching, and this significantly shortened construction time.” Wind affected construction, so builders had to be especially precise, assembling bridge sections on site. CCCC Highway Consultants deputy chief engineer Liu Bo said one of their main challenges was discerning where to place bridge piers, as the gorge beneath the bridge is around 1,640 feet deep. They were eventually able to work around these issues to build the bridge, which has overtaken the 1,627-foot-high Sidu River Bridge as the world’s highest. Guizhou province also boasts seven of China’s 10 highest bridges. Via CCTV and CNN Images via screenshot

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World’s highest bridge is now open for vehicular traffic

UK government endorses controversial Heathrow airport expansion

October 25, 2016 by  
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The Heathrow Airport expansion may finally receive a green light to progress. After years of delays, the UK government endorsed a vision to add another runway to the airport in west London . A sixth terminal designed by Grimshaw Architects is also part of the expansion vision. In agreement with the Airports Commission’s recommendation, the UK government offered their endorsement of the Heathrow expansion over adding a second runway to Gatwick Airport south of London. The UK Department for Transport said the government’s decision would boost the economy, and the government said the project could create 77,000 jobs. They proposed a night flight ban and noise restrictions to combat noise pollution . Related: Exciting new designs for Heathrow Airport’s expansion unveiled Heathrow Airport had already chosen Grimshaw Architects as the designer for a sixth terminal, hoping to send the signal they would be ready to start the project once they obtained government approval. It was Heathrow’s opinion that after uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union, the government could show confidence in the UK’s economy and future by expanding the airport. Grimshaw Architects says their vision for the new terminal is affordable and sustainable . But not everyone is thrilled with the decision to expand the airport. A new runway could bring in thousands more flights each year, increasing air and noise pollution in London according to Mayor Sadiq Khan. Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley told The Guardian, “The decision to expand Heathrow tramples over the concerns of local people and puts a wrecking ball through the government’s claim to be concerned about climate change .” The village of Harmondsworth will be at least partly demolished to make room for the expansion, and residents feel upset and betrayed . Parliament will vote on the airport expansion next year or in 2018 and if granted approval the new runway could be completed in 2025. + Grimshaw Architects Via The Guardian Images via Grimshaw Architects

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UK government endorses controversial Heathrow airport expansion

Social housing project with two "faces" channels Parisian duality

October 25, 2016 by  
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The design of the building reflects the dual nature of its surroundings and uses different materials to eliminate borders. It channels the dynamism of the urban development zone of Batignolles and connects two different urban conditions. Its southwest facade reflects the numerous brick buildings of Clichy-la-Garenne, while the southeast facade with perforated metal and louvered shutters echo the activity of the city. An array of ornamentation on the brick facade connects the two expressions of the city-its center and the suburbs. Related: Modern Green Social Housing Complex Rises East of Paris Large glass surfaces dominate the ground floor dedicated to commercial spaces. The hall acts as a transition between the exterior and interior, establishing visual connections from the sidewalk into the garden at the heart of the lot. The 38 social housing units have double exposures thanks to balconies and loggias either hidden behind perforated metal or cut into the brick facing the street. + Avenier Cornejo Architectes Photos by Takuji Shimmura / Avenier Cornejo

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Social housing project with two "faces" channels Parisian duality

Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

September 29, 2016 by  
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Research on chimpanzees , the great ape thought to be most closely related to humans, is at last coming to an end. Last summer the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared captive chimpanzees endangered, which effectively made most chimpanzee research illegal. Now nine chimpanzees have moved from a Louisiana lab to a Georgia mountain sanctuary . Hundreds more are set to follow, and the sanctuary needs your help. Samira, Buttercup, Latricia, Charisse, Jennifer, Emma, Gracie, Gertrude, and Genesis were born at a lab. The New Iberia Research Center used these animals for medical testing for around ten years. Now they’ve been set free, and have been placed in a new home at Project Chimps . Related: NIH promises to retire remaining research chimps Tucked into the Georgia mountains, Project Chimps is a 236-acre sanctuary. Chimpanzees who live there will reside in groups, and be able to play with toys and puzzles. The chimpanzee sanctuary offers indoor cooled and heated spaces for the animals and ” acres of outdoor space ” so the chimps can explore and climb trees. There’s even a “water feature” meant to imitate streams chimpanzees would experience in Africa. Right now the sanctuary has room for 80 chimpanzees. But with over 200 more on the way, Project Chimps will be expanding to include room for 300 chimps. To accomplish this exciting feat, they could use the help of supporters. Caring for each chimp costs the sanctuary around $20,000 every year. If you want to help Project Chimps, you can donate money on their website. The sanctuary also has an Amazon Wish List if you’d like to know exactly what you’re giving to the chimpanzees and staff. You can also donate money specifically to help the sanctuary move the chimps the 16-hour drive from the lab to the sanctuary. For $200, you can send the sanctuary a picture or letter they’ll put in the transport trailer to give the chimpanzees ” something interesting to look at during their trip .” + Project Chimps Via The Christian Science Monitor Images via Project Chimps Facebook and Pixabay

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Help move hundreds of chimpanzees from labs to a safe haven in Georgia

The London Underground completely shuts down for the first time in 13 years

July 9, 2015 by  
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At 18.30 BST on Wednesday, the entire staff of the London Underground went on strike, and thus the city erupted into a distinctly organized form of chaos which is expected to last until around 21.30 on Thursday. With the tube network shut down, Transport for London has added extra cycles to its bike share program and around 200 extra buses on major routes—wheeling out vehicles that were first put into use over fifty years ago. And yet, lines for buses stretch for several blocks, Uber prices are surging and spectators have been forced to leave Wimbledon early . Read the rest of The London Underground completely shuts down for the first time in 13 years Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: #tubestrike , bike share , Boris Johnson , Green Transportation , London Underground , public transit , transit strike , transport for london , tube london , tube strike

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The London Underground completely shuts down for the first time in 13 years

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