New electric smart fortwo is ready to revolutionize car-sharing

August 31, 2017 by  
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Smart is planning to transition its small lineup of tiny cars to fully electric powertrains – in the not-too-distant future. The company has unveiled a preview of what the future smart fortwo could look like and how it could forever change the world of car-sharing. At first glance, the smart vision EQ fortwo concept looks like a more modern take on the current fortwo, but there’s more than meets the eye here. The EQ fortwo concept is smart’s vision of a future in which autonomous cars can improve the car-sharing experience in urban cities. Currently the car2go car-sharing service uses the smart fortwo, with over 2.6 million users worldwide. The vision EQ fortwo concept would build on this, since users wouldn’t have to search for a car or find a place to park it after they reach their destination. Instead, users summon the vision EQ fortwo, just like when they would request an Uber or Lyft ride. The vision EQ fortwo then drives autonomously to the pick up point and once the user reaches the destination the concept moves on its own to pick up the next user. It never actually parks on the street, like car2go , which will help reduce the amount of needed parking spaces. Related: From now on all Smart cars in North America will be electric On the outside, the smart vision EQ fortwo concept’s exterior communicates with users and pedestrians through a Black Panel Grille and LED displays, which replace traditional headlights and taillights. If the car is unoccupied, information about local events, the weather, news or the time can be displayed. The smart’s Black Panel Grille indicates whether the car is occupied by one or by two passengers. The smart vision EQ fortwo concept is powered by a 30 kWh battery. When its battery is depleted, it can automatically drive to a charging point to recharge its battery pack . Smart will debut the vision EQ fortwo concept next month at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. + smart Images @smart

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New electric smart fortwo is ready to revolutionize car-sharing

Arctic warming likely turned Harvey into "an extreme killer storm"

August 31, 2017 by  
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Melting Arctic ice and spiking temperatures don’t just affect the northernmost part of Earth. According to Cornell University professor Charles Greene, they can also impact storms , like Hurricane Harvey, that are thousands of miles away – prompting them to stall or meander. He said in a statement, “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. Just like Superstorm Sandy , Arctic warming likely played an important role in making Hurricane Harvey such an extreme killer storm.” Greene said warming in the Arctic slows jet streams, or global air currents, impacting the nature of big storms like Harvey, which so far has poured around 24.5 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana. Researchers can be reluctant to say exactly how climate change might have altered a certain storm, though many agree rising sea levels can cause higher surges, while higher temperatures in the air and sea surfaces will thrust more water into the atmosphere, which then falls as precipitation. Related: 7 ways you can help people affected by Tropical Storm Harvey Gizmodo spoke to several other scientists, and at least one, climate scientist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was unsure warming had a significant role in Harvey. Penn State University climate scientist Richard Alley told Gizmodo, “Mostly, this is weather – big, dangerous weather, but still weather. But, because of global warming the ocean is a little higher than it otherwise would be, and that made the storm surge higher.” Meanwhile Greene compared Harvey to Superstorm Sandy, which also lingered instead of swerving out to the ocean as he said 90 percent of most late-season hurricanes do. He said, “ Houston would have suffered much less damage if Category 4 Hurricane Harvey had just crashed through the city and petered out in West Texas. But instead, the storm system is stalled in place and just continues to dump record amounts of rainfall from the Gulf on the city.” Via Huffington Post South Africa and Gizmodo Images via NASA and Army National Guard photo by Lt. Zachary West

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Arctic warming likely turned Harvey into "an extreme killer storm"

Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day

August 31, 2017 by  
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Those who live in the Midwest United States understand how difficult it can be to eat local during winter. But for Russ Finch and his community, the task isn’t too difficult. A former mailman living in Nebraska , Finch designed a greenhouse that produces lemons, grapefruit-sized oranges, green figs, and grapes — all for just $1 a day. His magic trick? Geothermal heating. Finch calls his structure the Greenhouse in the Snow . The original, which he constructed more than 20 years ago, is connected to his home. Finch specifically grew citrus in the greenhouse to prove that it’s possible. “Any type of plant we saw, we would put it in and see what it could do. We didn’t baby anything,” said Finch. “We just put it in and if it died, it died. But most everything really grows well. We can grow practically any tropical plant.” NPR reports that the structure’s design is base don a walipini, or a pit greenhouse. The floor has been dug down 4 feet below the surface, and the roof has a slant toward the south to catch the sun’s rays. During the daytime, temperatures in the greenhouse can reach over 80 degrees F. At night, geothermal heat is relied on to combat the plummeting temperatures. Only warm air is used to heat the greenhouse — no propane or electric heaters. Warm air is obtained from perforated plastic tubing that is buried underground. The tubing runs out one end of the greenhouse and extends in a loop to the opposite side. It is circulated via a single fan. “All we try to do is keep it above 28 degrees in the winter,” said Finch. “We have no backup system for heat . The only heat source is the Earth’s heat, at 52 degrees at 8-foot deep.” Because the 1,200 square foot greenhouse is not dependent on fossil fuels , energy costs are down to just $1 a day. Particularly in midwestern states, low energy costs matter. “There have been hardly any successful 12-month greenhouses on the northern High Plains because of the weather,” said Finch. ”The cost of energy is too high for it. But by tapping into the Earth’s heat, we’ve been able to drastically reduce the cost.” Related: Russian ice skating rink doubles as a solar-powered outdoor cinema and geothermal spa Every year, the farmer grows a few hundred pounds of fruit which he sells at a local farmers market. His main business is selling the design for the Greenhouse in the Snow. A new version of his invention costs $22,000 to build. Finch says he has constructed 17 of them so far, throughout the United States and Canada. While Finch might not be able to supply a supermarket with the crops he grows, he can provide fresh produce to his local community. If more people in the rural midwest invested in greenhouses that rely on geothermal energy, carbon emissions from shipping fruit and vegetables all over the country would be reduced. This, in turn, would benefit the environment and people’s health as fresh, organically-grown food is more nutrient-dense and retains more flavor. + Greenhouse in the Snow Via NPR Images via Pixabay, YouTube

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Midwest greenhouse heated with geothermal energy produces citrus year-round for $1 per day

Explosions rock Houston-area chemical plant following Hurricane Harvey flooding

August 31, 2017 by  
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Several explosions at a Houston-area chemical plant were reported on early Thursday morning, reportedly related to its loss of power. Black smoke billowed from the Arkema Inc. chemical plant in Crosby, Texas as blasts rocked the site, which remains submerged under six feet of floodwater. The Arkema plant is one of many in the region; this part of Texas is home to the one of the densest concentrations of pipelines, refineries and chemical plants in the country. The storm damage is certain to exacerbate the public health threat of Hurricane Harvey long after the rain has stopped. On Tuesday, prior to the explosions, officials ordered a mandatory evacuation zone for a 1.5 mile radius surrounding the plant. The Arkema plant was shut down before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the Houston-area, though 11 employees remained behind to service the facility. As the unprecedented floodwaters pushed in, the remaining team was evacuated as fumes began to pour out of the powerless plant. Several deputies from the Harris County Sheriff’s office were hospitalized for inhaling toxic chemicals . Related: 7 ways you can help people affected by Tropical Storm Harvey Arkema produces organic peroxides, compounds with a wide variety of applications, from construction materials to pharmaceuticals. Usually the volatile chemicals are kept under control through cold storage. However, without power , there is no refrigeration. “As the temperature rises, the natural state of these materials will decompose. A white smoke will result, and that will catch fire,” Arkema spokesperson Janet Smith told press. Arkema was previously mandated by the EPA to produce a report outlining the potential risks of the plant and plans for worst-case scenarios, which, according to Arkema’s submitted report, could potentially impact 1.1 million residents over a distance of 23 miles. However, the company reports that it is incorporating “multiple layers of preventative and mitigation measures” to ensure that the worst does not come to pass. Via Time and Washington Post Images via Google Maps

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Student invents computer program to help Bedouin villages build better homes

April 11, 2017 by  
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Architecture student Nof Nathansohn is on a mission to provide decent living solutions for the marginalized Bedouin communities scattered throughout Israel’s Negev desert region. For her thesis project, Nathansohn created a computer program called Home Made that lets communities design affordable, environmentally-friendly housing without the need for an architect. The Bedouin villages are unrecognized by the Israeli government, so the shanty-like structures are under constant threat of demolition. Nathansohn’s Home Made software would allow the communities to build homes that are not only affordable and green , but easily assembled and disassembled. Related: Smart architecture app lets you turn almost anything into a digital stencil A major feature of the home-design application is that it is extremely user friendly. The software is designed to guide the user at every stage of the design process, from the initial design to the final construction. Users can choose from four different designs platforms with a variety of layouts. Each platform is designed according to different parameters such as sun direction, size and height, available materials, local topography, cost, etc. Although created for the Bedouin communities, the program enables the design and construction of low cost, green energy temporary housing easy for any location, under almost any circumstance. The flexibility offered by the application not only lets families construct a personalized living space, but can be used to create thriving villages as well. In fact, Nathansohn tested the application on the unrecognized village of Al-Sara, near the town Arad. She designed multiple structures for the village based on their current size as well as growth expectancy. She even designed a community center for the local children. + Nof Nathansohn

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Glowing cardboard pavilion pops up in a Gothic courtyard in Valencia

April 11, 2017 by  
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Spanish art collective Pink Intruder just installed a glowing cardboard building called Renaixement inside a beautiful Gothic cloister in Valencia. The golden cube features a mosaic facade made out of an intricate cardboard latticework , and it’s illuminated from within by lighting studio RADIANTE. The ornate structure made its debut at the 2016 Burning Man , but it was such a hit that the artists decided to bring it back home and rebuild it in the Gothic cloister of Valencia’s Centre del Carmen Museum. The location is fitting since the pavilion design was inspired by the creative geometric and sculptural techniques used in the city’s famed Fallas festival . Related: Pink Intruder Unveils Gorgeous Pixelated Cardboard Pavilion in Valencia, Spain The structure’s medieval-style facade is made out of cardboard pieces and molds used by a traditional Fallas guild. The structure was built over a wooden mosaic floor made up of more than 25,000 pieces assembled by social collectives, making the artwork a communal effort. The glowing tubes integrated into the cardboard frame give the ornate cube an intimate and spiritual atmosphere at night. + Pink Intruder Photography by Noel Arraiz

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Beautiful cedar-covered pavilion is a poetic rest stop in the English countryside

September 15, 2016 by  
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Commissioned by Surrey Hills Arts and the Mittal Foundation , Perspectives was created as one of many sculptural rest stops along a scenic walking path on the Hills of Surrey, south of London. The organic pavilion took inspiration from the words and messages etched into public places, such as on trees and benches. Giles Miller collected those messages, poetry, and other writings from local residents and transferred them onto the cedar shingles that clad the steel-framed structure. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London The shingles were installed by hand at different angles and overlap to emphasize the pavilion’s rounded shape. “At its core, the shingles overlap and the sculpture functions architecturally to protect and shield the user from the elements, but at its mouth the surface flattens and evocatively opens out in dissipation as the shingles appear to fly out towards the waiting valley,” write the studio. The cedar elements will develop a white patina over time. + Giles Miller Studio Via Dezeen Images by Richard Chivers and John Miller

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L’Oral’s wearable patch changes color to warn against skin cancer

June 3, 2016 by  
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When most of us hear the name L’Oréal, we think of makeup and hair products, not tech innovation. That may soon be changing . Many don’t realize it, but the cosmetics giant has been pouring its efforts in recent years into celebrating and supporting women in science and running its very own technology incubator. Now, those efforts seem to be coming to fruition as the company unveils its first wearable device , a skin patch designed to help prevent cancer. Named ” My UV Patch ,” the device is a wearable skin patch just a few centimeters in size and half the thickness of a human hair. The sticky, transparent film is meant to be worn for several days, absorbing sunlight whenever the wearer goes outside. The adhesive is loaded with light-sensitive dyes that change color when exposed to UV light, so it allows the wearer to see if they’re being exposed to too many damaging UV rays over time. Related: L’Oreal to begin 3D-printing human skin The color changes can be hard to decode, which is why the patch also comes with an Android or iOS app , which uses a mobile device’s camera to scan the patch, compare it to the user’s baseline skin tone, and then tracks how much sun the users have been exposed to over time. Since the patch is looking at long-term exposure to the sun, it isn’t intended to serve as a warning when the time comes to reapply sunscreen . The patch will be completely free and is set to launch in 16 different countries worldwide sometime this summer. Via IFLScience Photos via L’Oreal and Shutterstock   Save

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L’Oral’s wearable patch changes color to warn against skin cancer

The x2 jet pack lets you effortlessly soar underwater like a dolphin

October 15, 2015 by  
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If you’ve ever wanted to play the part of an underwater superhero, now may be your chance with the new x2 Sport Underwater Jet Pack . Resembling the pack from Disney’s The Rocketeer , the x2 straps onto your back and can propel the user forward with high-power hydra thrusters attached to each arm. The x2 isn’t going to scoot you past a speed boat anytime soon, but the jet pack can get you moving to 6 miles per hour, which is way faster than any human can swim. Read the rest of The x2 jet pack lets you effortlessly soar underwater like a dolphin

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Adidas unveils futuristic shoe that’s 3D printed for a custom fit

October 11, 2015 by  
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Your dream pair of custom-fit running shoes may finally become an affordable reality. Adidas recently unveiled the “Futurecraft 3D,” a revolutionary running shoe with a midsole 3D-printed to fit the exact contours of the user’s foot. The shape of the shoe will also be informed by the individual’s running style in order to help boost running performance. READ MORE>

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