Modpools turns shipping containers into amazing swimming pools

April 28, 2017 by  
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We’ve seen shipping containers transformed into homes , shops , and even urban farms – but Modpools gives these repurposed structures a whole new life as backyard swimming pools . Modpools are easy to install and transport, and they come with a series of cool features including heaters, jets, portholes, and LED mood lighting you can control with your smartphone. Modpools are available in 8′ x 20′ or 8′ x 40′ container sizes and they can be installed in no time. By adding a divider, users can even create a temporary or permanent hot tub section. These customizable all-in-one pool systems ship with ready-to-use, built-in pool equipment and a high-tech Ultraviolet system that keeps the water clean without the need for chemicals. Related: ScottWhitbyStudio transforms a shipping container into a pop-up cinema You can install Modpools above ground with raised decking, partially underground with retaining walls, or at ground level. This makes them versatile and easy to adapt to different topographies and backyard sizes. You can add a special touch to your prefab swimming pool by adding a window to the side of the shipping container. + Modpools Via Curbed

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Modpools turns shipping containers into amazing swimming pools

How to Keep the Earth Day Momentum Going

April 25, 2017 by  
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How did you spend Earth Day? Perhaps you planted a tree, volunteered, reduced your energy use for the day, or all of the above and more. Mother Nature thanks you! But why stop saving the planet on April 23rd? In our eyes, every day should be Earth…

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How to Keep the Earth Day Momentum Going

Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

April 14, 2017 by  
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A solar-powered device could make water worries a thing of the past. Nine scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology , and University of California, Berkeley designed a water harvester that can pull water from air even if humidity is just 20 percent. Chemist Omar Yaghi of UC Berkeley said, “We wanted to demonstrate that if you are cut off somewhere in the desert , you could survive because of this device.” Yaghi invented compounds known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) 20 years ago, and now is using MOF crystals to harvest water even in dry places. In the water harvesting device, around two pounds of tiny MOF crystals are compressed between a solar absorber and condenser plate to collect around 0.7 gallons of water in 12 hours. Related: World’s largest fog harvester produces water from thin air in the Moroccan desert That may not sound like all that much, but it’s plenty for a human trapped in the desert to survive. Yaghi said, “A person needs about a [330ml] can of water per day. That is something one could collect in less than an hour with this system.” Right now there’s no other way to harvest water in low humidity except to draw on extra energy , according to Yaghi. “Your electric dehumidifier at home ‘produces’ very expensive water,” he says. In contrast sunlight enables the new device to work. Rooftop tests at MIT have already demonstrated the device works in the real world. Even if you never find yourself stranded in the desert, you could benefit from such a water harvester. “One vision for the future is to have water off-grid , where you have a device at home running on ambient solar for delivering water that satisfies the needs of a household,” said Yaghi. “To me, that will be made possible because of this experiment. I call it personalized water.” Science published the team’s research yesterday . Via the University of California, Berkeley and The Independent Images via MIT/laboratory of Evelyn Wang and MIT/Hyunho Kim

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Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert

NASA announces alien life could be thriving on one of Saturn’s moons

April 13, 2017 by  
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In a live broadcast today, NASA researchers announced the agency has uncovered the existence of key ingredients for life as we know it on Saturn’s icy moon, Enceladus . Scientists already knew that the moon had liquid water on the surface, due to the presence of geysers spewing water near the moon’s south pole. Now, hydrogen has been detected in those jets of water, which suggests the strong possibility that Enceladus’s oceans could support microbial life. It may seem strange that an ice-covered world like Enceladus is being looked at as a potential source of extraterrestrial life, but beneath the planet’s icy shell spans a worldwide ocean over a rocky core. The ice is thought to act as a protective outer layer for the sea, the same way that our atmosphere protects Earth and makes life possible on our own planet. In fact, NASA is closely observing many of these “ ocean worlds ” for signs of life. While Enceladus’s geysers have been known to scientists since 2005, this is the first time the Cassini probe has been able to detect any traces of possible life within them. It’s believed that the plumes originate in a hydrothermal system within the moon’s core, estimated to be 2 1/2 times more powerful than the one that drives Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs. Despite the icy outer shell, the gravitational pull of Saturn provides heat for the water in the moon’s interior, another encouraging sign for the development of life. Related: Trump plans to strip NASA’s earth science division, promote mission to Mars This new information about the moon comes from October 2015, when the Cassini craft flew into the plumes themselves, a mere 30 miles above the moon’s surface. The probe was able to capture particles from the plume inside a piece of equipment called an Ion Neutral Mass Spectrometer, which can analyze the makeup of material encountered on its journey through space. The probe detected a number of interesting organic molecules, including molecular hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. The level of hydrogen , in particular, was surprising to researchers . This volatile gas isn’t easily captured on small, icy worlds like Enceladus, so there must be some chemical process beneath the surface producing the molecules. It may be that hot water from the ocean is flowing into iron-rich cracks in the sea floor, causing a chemical reaction that is constantly replenishing the ocean’s supply of molecular hydrogen. This is the same process that happens in Earth’s own hydrothermal vents , which helps fuel the strange and diverse ecosystems of the deep oceans. Because we’re familiar with exactly how this process supports Earth life, there’s a strong possibility that life could thrive on Enceladus in the same way. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have the instruments necessary to detect life directly on these watery worlds – only to look for the chemical indications of an environment that could potentially support it. Related: NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system NASA also today announced that they had found evidence of similar water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa , though less is known about their makeup. Unlike the Saturn Cassini mission, scientists don’t currently have an up-close view of Europa. Instead, they had to rely on data from the Hubble Space Telescope , which has been monitoring the moon to try to learn more about the makeup of its oceans. We may not know for certain until the 2020s, when NASA’s Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to launch. Via NASA Images via NASA/JPL

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NASA announces alien life could be thriving on one of Saturn’s moons

Tesla is now the second most valuable car company in the US

April 4, 2017 by  
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Environmental news hasn’t been very hopeful of late – except maybe from Tesla Motors . Elon Musk’s electric car company has surged in sales so far this year, delivering a staggering 25,000 vehicles to customers. That puts the company ahead of ahead of Ford as the second most valuable car manufacturer in the US—a clear indication that American consumers care about climate change and cutting air pollution. Part of that’s due to Tesla’s explosive growth as it enters its 14th year, but part of it’s also because Ford’s seen its sales slump by 7% compared to last year. Tesla’s lead is narrow: while it’s currently valued at $47 billion, Ford has dropped to $45 billion. That being said, Ford is still the larger and more established company, and Tesla is still taking losses as it continues to establish itself in the market. While Tesla saw about $7 billion in annual revenue in 2016, Ford blew it out of the water with $152 billion. Overall, Tesla also posted a loss of $773 million last year. Related: Elon Musk announces all new Teslas will be self-driving While it’s uncertain whether Tesla will continue to beat Ford in terms of market value, it seems Musk is banking on the company’s unique semi-autonomous technology to give him an edge. While Ford is planning to release fully autonomous vehicles by 2021 , Musk insists that semi-autonomous functionality will increase customer safety and improve drivers’ experiences long before fully-developed self-driving vehicles hit the market. Given the video that circulated a few months ago documenting Tesla’s Autopilot apparently predicting an upcoming accident , Musk may be on the right track. Via Recode Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Tesla is now the second most valuable car company in the US

Flying water taxis are hitting the rivers of Paris this summer

March 31, 2017 by  
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Parisians will soon have the opportunity to glide down rivers  in flying water taxis to get around the city.   SeaBubbles , a company creating flying water taxis, will debut their innovative mode of green transportation in Paris this summer on the River Seine. Instead of riding in polluting road vehicles, up to five people can hop aboard a SeaBubble and pay rather low fares – think Uber , but for rivers. SeaBubbles is pioneering the environmentally friendly transportation of the future with their flying water taxis, which are equipped with a battery driven propulsion system. Wings submerged below a waterway’s surface allow the vehicle, designed by Alain Thébault and Anders Bringdal, to appear as if it’s flying – and even at full speed the company says a SeaBubble doesn’t generate waves. The water taxis are silent, with around a 50 to 62 mile range, and can glide atop the Seine at speeds of almost 20 miles per hour. Related: Cal Craven’s CAT Aquatic Car Is the Water Taxi of the Future People will be able to climb aboard a SeaBubble via special docks along the river, and four people plus a driver will be able to travel inside. Prices comparable to Uber could make this eco-friendly option an affordable one as well. SeaBubbles also sees their creative vehicles as an answer to the trend of more people moving to cities . On their website they say by 2050 there could be around 10 billion people on Earth, and more than 75 percent could dwell in urban areas. To cut pollution generated by that amount of people residing in cities, and offer a clean, rapid form of transportation accessible for more people, SeaBubble taxis could offer a solution to a few issues at once. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is all for SeaBubbles. She said, “I really believe in the development of river transport. Most of the world’s big cities were built on riverbanks, an advantage we have to use to reduce our reliance on polluting cars.” . @SeaBubbles wants to be the Uber of water taxis, and we have the exclusive footage https://t.co/d9W7tZKsh0 pic.twitter.com/0w5rAk6vsx — Andrew J. Hawkins (@andyjayhawk) March 30, 2017 Watch for SeaBubbles this summer. + SeaBubbles Via My Modern Met Images via SeaBubbles

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Flying water taxis are hitting the rivers of Paris this summer

Episode 69: An inconvenient podcast; Bechtel engineers green infrastructure

March 24, 2017 by  
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On this week’s podcast: Inside Al Gore’s Climate Reality training, and a digest of our World Water Day stories.

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Episode 69: An inconvenient podcast; Bechtel engineers green infrastructure

9 VR videos that dive deep into water issues

March 24, 2017 by  
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Immersive experiences bring people face-to-face with our impact on marine ecosystems.

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Five changes agri-businesses need to make if they want to survive

March 24, 2017 by  
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For an industry that relies heavily on natural resources such as clean air, soil and water, becoming more environmentally friendly is not just a marketing ploy — it is a necessity.

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New York City’s "floating food forest" returns next month

March 22, 2017 by  
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If you missed it the last time around, Swale New York’s “floating food forest” will be giving visitors another chance to check out its vegetative bounty starting next month. Housed on an 80-foot-long barge, the 130-by-40-foot community garden will be making calls at Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Bronx’s Concrete Plant Park from April 20 through November 15. The garden is free to tour—and free to harvest. Guests will be able to help themselves to a share of the mini farm’s crops, which in past iterations have included perennial favorites like cauliflower, broccoli, squash, peppers, kale, bok choy, ramps, zucchini, radicchio, and scallions. You may even find boughs laden with persimmons, bushes plump with blueberries, or trees hanging with bananas. Part farm, part art project, Swale is a response to laws that prohibit foraging for food on public lands. By taking to the water, however, the garden is bound by a different set of rules. Related: Come eat free food from this floating edible forest before it sets sail again 70 percent of the plants grown on the barge are edible. The others are to attract pollinators—including the bees that live in a repurposed piano—or keep pests away. Mary Mattingly, the artist who spearheaded the project, says that Swale brings us “one step closer to transforming our city from dependence on large-scale supply chains with little accountability.” Related: NYC’s first floating food forest to hit the Hudson River this summer She describes Swale as a “call to action” and a vision of New York City’s potential future. “By bringing together groups from varying backgrounds, we will create an environment that works together to find new ideas and answers to food security,” she said. Visitors are welcome to contribute to the garden with their own plants and seeds. It’s a joint effort, after all. “Together, we are re-imagining our city,” Mattingly added. + Swale New York

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