Woven bamboo pavilion offers shelter to passion fruit farmers in China

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A team of students at the University of Hong Kong is exploring the limitless potential of bamboo as a sustainable alternative to conventional building materials. After completing a glowing pavilion in their hometown, they designed another innovative bamboo structure– this time in China– using traditional weaving techniques and digital technologies. The 215-square-foot Sun Room pavilion is located in the village of Peitian, amidst a passion fruit plantation. The structure references the area’s cultural history, and it provides shelter from storms and sun while serving as a tea house where farmers can rest and relax. Related: Elegant bamboo bridge adds unexpected beauty to ancient Chinese town In an attempt to revive the ancient craft of bamboo weaving, the design team worked with the last remaining bamboo weaver in the village. They also used digital software and CNC machines to come up with an optimal wave-like form. The outer shell of the pavilion is made from woven bamboo, while the pine load-bearing structure was sourced regionally and cut by local carpenters. Related: Gorgeous bamboo gridshell combines Cambodian design with mathematical forms “Tools and jigs were developed and then digitally fabricated at HKU using the faculty CNC and robotic equipment,” said HKU architecture course leader Donn Holohan. “These elements along with the pattern maps allowed the villagers to achieve the complex form without a prior training in the craft of bamboo weaving ,” he added. + University of Hong Kong (HKU) Via Dezeen

Original post:
Woven bamboo pavilion offers shelter to passion fruit farmers in China

Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

August 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

There’s a new contender for the continent with Earth’s biggest volcanic region: Antarctica . Researchers found 91 previously unknown, massive volcanoes , ranging in height from around 328 to 12,631 feet. A University of Edinburgh third-year undergraduate student tipped the researchers off to the incredible discovery. Third-year student Max Van Wyk de Vries had the idea to analyze radar mapping data of the continent, and proposed a study to the university. Scientists were then able to verify there are indeed many volcanoes, concentrated in a region called the West Antarctic Rift System, and concealed by West Antarctica’s ice sheet. They say the newly discovered volcanic region is quite similar to East Africa’s volcanic ridge, which currently holds the title for the region with the world’s densest concentration of volcanoes. Related: Colossal landforms discovered under Antarctic ice sheet are 5X bigger than any on Earth Scientists drew on ice-penetrating radar measurements, satellite records, and geological information from aerial surveys to confirm Van Wyk de Vries’ concept. Van Wyk de Vries said in a statement, “Antarctica remains among the least studied areas of the globe, and as a young scientist I was excited to learn about something new and not well understood. After examining data on West Antarctica , I began discovering traces of volcanism. Naturally, I looked into it further, which led to this discovery of almost 100 volcanoes under the ice sheet .” Researchers say the discovery could help them better understand how Antarctica has changed during the varying climates of history, and how volcanoes influence ice sheet fluctuations. They have not determined if the volcanoes are active or not, but the awareness of their presence could help scientists researching seismic monitoring in Antarctica. The research has been published in the Geological Society Special Publications series. Via the University of Edinburgh Images via Cassie Matias on Unsplash and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center on Flickr

Go here to see the original: 
Undergrad student leads scientists to discover nearly 100 unknown volcanoes – in Antarctica

Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

August 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

We may be one step closer to finding a “second home” for humans, thanks to research conducted by an international team of astronomers. By observing wobbles in Tau Ceti, a sun-like star 12 light years away, scientists discovered that four Earth-sized stars are orbiting it. Two of the planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass (which is rare), while the other two are super-Earths — meaning they could potentially support life. To monitor the wobbles of the sun-like star, the team employed techniques sensitive enough to detect variations as small as 30 centimeters per second. “Our detection of such weak wobbles is a milestone in the search for Earth analogs and the understanding of the Earth’s habitability through comparison with these analogs,” said lead author Fabo Feng, from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. “We have introduced new methods to remove the noise in the data in order to reveal the weak planetary signals.” While the outer two planets around tau Ceti are the right size to be habitable worlds, massive amounts of debris around the star likely reduce their habitability due to the intense bombardment of comets and asteroids . Nonetheless, the discovery is an exciting one. “We are now finally crossing a threshold where, through very sophisticated modeling of large combined data sets from multiple independent observers, we can disentangle the noise due to stellar surface activity from the very tiny signals generated by the gravitational tugs from Earth-sized orbiting planets,” said co-author Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire, added, “We are slowly learning to tell the difference between wobbles caused by planets and those caused by stellar active surface. This enabled us to essentially verify the existence of the two outer, potentially habitable planets in the system.” Related: Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon The team wrote that sun-like stars are believed to be the best targets for finding habitable Earth -like planets. Tau Ceti is, indeed, very similar to our solar system’s Sun in both its brightness and size. Additionally, both stars host multi-planet systems. The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal and is available online. + Astrophysical Journal Via Phys.org Images via Colourbrand, Pixabay and J. Pinfield/RoPACS/University of Hertfordshire

Read more here: 
Four Earth-sized planets discovered orbiting the nearest sun-like star

Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

For eighteen months, scientists and concerned citizens waited for a giant iceberg to break off the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica. On July 12, the highly-anticipated event finally occurred . Because the iceberg, named A68, was predominantly submerged in the water before it detached, the event did not dramatically raise sea levels — phenomena which would propel natural disasters. While this is fortunate, it turns out the iceberg saga isn’t over: cracks are spreading towards a location that is paramount to the stability of the remaining ice shelf . For months, satellites have been capturing footage of the region to track the effects of climate change . After A68 broke off the shelf, satellites continued to track its movements. According to new data published by the University of Leeds, the structure has drifted approximately 3.1 miles (5km) away from its initial location. When the event finally took place, Larsen C lost about 10 perfect of its area; at least 11 smaller icebergs — some up to 8 miles (12 km) long — were also formed. NewAtlas reports that as the network of cracks continues to sweep across Larsen C, the number of icebergs will keep increasing. Related: Dubai firm wants to tow icebergs from Antarctica for fresh water Said Anna Hogg, a researcher at the University of Leeds: “The satellite images reveal a lot of continuing action on Larsen C Ice Shelf. We can see that the remaining cracks continue to grow towards a feature called Bawden Ice Rise, which provides important structural support for the remaining ice shelf. If an ice shelf loses contact with the ice rise, either through sustained thinning or a large iceberg calving event, it can prompt a significant acceleration in ice speed, and possibly further destabilization. It looks like the Larsen C story might not be over yet.” As Inhabitat previously reported, A68 is not a direct result of climate change . In fact, the process happens quite naturally during the life cycle of ice shelves. However, it is possible that it is breaking away progressed faster than normal due to changing environmental conditions . “Although floating ice shelves have only a modest impact on of sea-level rise, ice from Antarctica’s interior can discharge into the ocean when they collapse,” said Hilmar Gudmundsson, a researcher from the British Antarctic Survey. “Consequently we will see increase in the ice-sheet contribution to global sea-level rise. With this large calving event, and the availability of satellite technology, we have a fantastic opportunity to watch this natural experiment unfolding before our eyes. We can expect to learn a lot about how ice shelves break up and how the loss of a section of an ice shelf affects the flow of the remaining parts.” The findings were published in the journal Nature Climate Change . + University of Leeds Via NewAtlas Images via Pixabay

Read the original post:
Antarctica’s newest iceberg may destabilize the entire ice shelf

Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

August 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

A top senior official at the EPA resigned this week with a scathing letter  aimed at Trump and his anti-environmental agenda. Elizabeth Southerland has been with the EPA for over 30 years, and in that time she has battled cancer-causing water contaminants, toxic pollution and a host of other threats to our natural resources. But working under climate deniers Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt is a bridge too far. “Today the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth. The truth is there is NO war on coal, there is NO economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change IS caused by man’s activities,” she said in her letter. Southerland isn’t the first scientist to quit to protest the administration’s policies, which has also seen key scientists demoted in an attempt to drive them out of their roles. Southerland is particularly critical of Trump’s oversimplified policy of cutting two regulations for every new one. “Should EPA repeal two existing rules protecting infants from neurotoxins in order to promulgate a new rule protecting adults from a newly discovered liver toxin?” Related: Trump’s EPA moves to kill Obama’s Clean Water Rule Southerland was the director in the Office of Science and Technology. Already eligible for retirement, she cites the need to focus on family as a key decision to quit, in addition to her outrage at the hostile policies pushed by Trump. “[T]he President’s FY18 budget proposes cuts to state and tribal funding as draconian as the cuts to EPA , while at the same time reassigning a number of EPA responsibilities to the states and tribes,” she says in her letter. She also comments on a speech given by the Administrator in which he admonished the EPA for running roughshod over state’s rights. “In fact, EPA has always followed a cooperative federalism approach since most environmental programs are delegated to states and tribes who carry out the majority of monitoring, permitting, inspections, and enforcement actions.” Via Huffington Post Images via Flickr  and Wikimedia

See the original post here: 
Top scientist quits EPA, torches Trump administration’s environmental neglect

Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

Don’t toss your bagel wrapper in the trash just yet; scientists at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland say they have discovered a way to turn used aluminum foil into a catalyst to create cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels . Working with engineers from the university, Ahmed Osman, an early career researcher at the school of chemistry and chemical engineering, has developed a technique that extracts 100 percent pure single crystals of aluminum salts from contaminated foil, without creating harmful emissions or waste. The salts can be used to kickstart the preparation of alumina catalyst, which can then be used to produce dimethyl ether, a nontoxic, clean-burning fuel that is typically manufactured from plant-based biomass. This process has a couple of distinct advantages, Osman said. Current methods of creating this type of alumina involves bauxite ore, the mining of which causes appreciable environmental damage in countries such as West Africa, the West Indies, and Australia. Related: Breakthrough algae strain produces twice as much biofuel There’s also the abundance of aluminum foil packaging waste. Because grease in used foil can muck up recycling equipment, nearly 20,000 tons of the stuff—enough to reach the moon and back—is either landfilled or incinerated in the United Kingdom alone. Osman plans to fine-tune his research so he can explore opportunities for commercialization, whether for biofuel production or the use of the modified alumina catalyst in the catalytic converters of natural-gas vehicles. “This breakthrough is significant as not only is the alumina more pure than its commercial counterpart, it could also reduce the amount of aluminum foil going to landfill while also sidestepping the environmental damage associated with mining bauxite,” Osman said in a statement . + Queen’s University Belfast Via New Atlas Photo by blikss/Flickr

More here:
Researchers turn recycled aluminum foil into cheaper, eco-friendlier biofuels

Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

Madrid’s dry heat may not bode well for lush flower gardens, but the hundreds of cacti in the city’s new cactus park are sure to thrive. Designed by GarciaGerman Arquitectos , the massive 54,000-square-feet Desert City is an educational, sustainable , and ecological complex aimed at educating visitors about the vibrant world of the xerophytic plants. Located on a formerly vacant lot in the Madrid suburb of San Seastián de los Reyes, the expansive complex includes a large garden space as well a massive indoor greenhouse . The park – one of Europe’s largest spaces dedicated to cacti – grows over 400 xerophytic species. The complex also includes exhibition space as well as a shop and a restaurant. Related: Cactus Park in Taiwan draws architectural inspiration from prickly succulents At the heart of the complex is an extended glazed “billboard building,” which is elevated over the ground level. It connects the greenhouse space to a cloister-like outdoor garden with a shallow water pond. Additional spaces located in the greenhouse will be used for presentations, exhibitions, workshops, etc. The architects used a number of green building strategies in the park’s construction such as prefabricated materials, photovoltaic glass, and geothermal power. The greenhouse and gardens were also installed with a high-tech water recovery system that helps the park reduce its water usage. + Desert City + GarciaGerman Arquitectos Via Curbed Images and video courtesy of Imagen Subliminal

The rest is here: 
Madrid’s new ‘Desert City’ is a spectacular home for over 400 species of cacti

The Tesla Model 3 is now on the road! Here’s everything we know

August 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on The Tesla Model 3 is now on the road! Here’s everything we know

Tesla delivered the first batch of Model 3 sedans Friday night, finally revealing many of the big details we’ve been waiting to hear about. For example: the cheapest Tesla Model 3 still starts at $35,000, but a new Long Range version gives the Model 3 a Chevy Bolt -beating range of 310 miles. While Tesla has received over 500,000 reservations for the Model 3, many buyers may be disappointed to learn that many of the first Model 3 sedans will have a higher starting price than the base $35k the company originally boasted about. The “ electric car for the masses” will initially only be offered with a long-range battery, which carries a $9k premium over the base Model 3. This brings the starting price to $44,000 – before you add any other options. Related: Tesla’s new Solar Roof is actually cheaper than a normal roof Want an exterior color other than black? That will cost you an extra $1,000. The price will keep going up from there with the $5,000 Premium Upgrades package that adds power front seats, a tinted glass roof, plus a few other options. Enhanced Autopilot adds another $5,000 and “Full Self-Driving Capability,” adds another $5,000. With all the available options and even the fact that you have to pay a hefty premium for a color other than black, most Model 3 buyers will easily spend more than $35,000. Either way, the Model 3 is one of the most significant new entries in the EV segment. The base Model has a driving range of 220 miles, which is longer than any other EV currently on the market (besides its brother, the Model S). Just like the Model S, the Tesla Model 3 is no slouch. The base Model 3 will reach 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, while the Long Range version is even faster with a 0-60 mph time of only 5.1 seconds. If you want an even faster Model 3, a performance version will arrive in about a year, which will feature dual motors and a 0-60 mph time closer to three seconds. While Tesla delivered 30 Model 3 sedans, it will be a while until production is fully up and running. Over the next few months, production of the Model 3 will slowly ramp up to Tesla’s goal of producing 5,000 units a week, which should happen by December. If you place a reservation now, Tesla predicts that you’ll get your Model 3 in the second half of 2018 or by early 2019. Of course, if you already own a Tesla, you’ll get priority. Images @Tesla + Tesla

Read more here:
The Tesla Model 3 is now on the road! Here’s everything we know

Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

This 100% solar-powered home has been sitting in Michigan’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens for the past ten years – but the tiny aluminum structure will soon serve a new role as a permanent home. The net-zero MiSo House was built for the 2005 Solar Decathlon , however it will soon be home to Lisa and Matt Gunneson, who are moving the 660-square-feet green energy machine piece-by-piece to their property in north Michigan. Designed by architecture students and faculty from Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan , the compact, aluminum-clad home is completely powered by solar energy . The aluminum-clad exterior and rounded shape were inspired by the monocoque designs from the aircraft and automobile industries. After debuting in the 2005 Solar Decathlon, the MiSo House was installed as an exhibition in the university’s botanical gardens, but after ten years on-site the home is being shipped to its new location. The home features a number of solar energy systems including rooftop PV panels, solar thermal panels connected to radiant flooring, and even an energy recovery ventilator system. One unique feature is the home’s “solar chimney”, which heats air in glass spaces along the home’s south facade. The heated air is then circulated through the curve of the roof to provide heat for the interior in winter time. Excess energy is stored in batteries installed underneath the structure’s flooring. The MiSo’s solar systems provide enough power for 100% of the home’s electricity needs – from appliances and lighting to heating. Many of the home’s furnishings, such as the eco-friendly sunflower-board kitchen cabinets, were constructed using low-chemical processes , which further reduced the home’s overall footprint. After purchasing the home at auction, the Gunnesons hired remodeling contractor Meadowlark Design + Build to break down the home’s modular components in order to transport it to their home in Evart, Michigan. In a fun twist of fate, two students who worked on the home’s original design now work on the Meadowlark team. + The MiSo House + Meadowlark Design + Build Via Homecrux

Read the original post: 
Couple buys 100% sun-powered home built for the Solar Decathlon

Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

July 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

Keepers and animal rights activists are mourning the passing of the last orca bred in captivity under SeaWorld’s breeding program, which ended in 2016. The calf, named Kyara, was just three-months-old when she perished at the establishment’s San Antonio, Texas, park due to an unknown illness. Regrettably, she is the third killer whale to die at a SeaWorld park in 18 months. According to a statement made by SeaWorld on July 25, the exact cause of Kyara’s death is presently unknown. Additionally, the results of the post-mortem will take several weeks to be completed. Leading up to the calf’s death, however, she was being treated for a serious case of pneumonia . The marine park establishment is adamant the illness is not a result of living in captivity. In a statement , SeaWorld wrote that pneumonia is “the most common cause of mortality and illness in whales in dolphins, both in the wild and in zoological facilities.” “We’ve also had a lot of questions about how the orca pod in San Antonio is doing. We’ve checked in with the trainers, veterinarians and staff who all say that Takara and the orca pod are doing well,” the statement added. “They have been active all day and are engaging with the trainers, and we will continue to monitor any changes in their behavior.” SeaWorld announced it would end its controversial captive breeding program three years after the controversial documentary Blackfish was produced. The BAFTA-nominated film informed the public of the serious ethical concerns which result from keeping orcas in captivity and the questionable tactics used by employees to “train” orcas. Due to public outcry and plummeting ticket sales, the enterprise had no choice but to shut down the program. It is assumed that Kyara’s mother, Takara, became pregnant with the calf around the same time, as gestation in an orca lasts between 12 to 18 months. Because Kyara was the last killer whale bred in captivity, she was a treasure at SeaWorld . However, there is a reason the public requested SeaWorld end its breeding program, and that is because the mammals have been known to thrive beyond 100-years-old in the wild . Sadly, the young calf survived only three months in captivity. Related: Meet the 103-Year-Old Granny Orca That Spells Bad News for SeaWorld’s PR Upon hearing the news, John Hargrove, a former orca trainer at SeaWorld who appeared in Blackfish, tweeted : “I am grateful Tiki’s calf only lived for 3 months in a concrete box deprived of all things natural. For Takara, my heart is broken in pieces.” He added , “It’s an absolute insult to every one of us that they keep saying ‘healthy and thriving’ as they are dying from disease right in front of us.” Via NBC News Images via SeaWorld , Pixabay

See the original post here: 
Last orca bred in captivity at SeaWorld dies, aged 3 months

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 2946 access attempts in the last 7 days.