Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

May 19, 2017 by  
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This minimalist bath house allows inhabitants of Karlshamn, Sweden, to enjoying the sea all year round. White Arkitekter designed the timber-clad building to age naturally for low-maintenance facilities that straddle both the water and the land. The town’s first bath house was carefully situated to soak up as much sunlight as possible all winter long, while protecting visitors from the chilly winter winds. Local organization Kallbadhusets Vänner (Friends of the Bath House) worked with local sponsors and the municipality to realize a project which would allow people to enjoy the sea all year round. Kallbadhus is located along a beach promenade, close to the public swimming hall . Sitting at a height of three meters above sea level, the sharply angled timber-clad volume straddles solid land and water while offering views of the sea. Related: Tiny Norwegian Prefab Bathhouse is Clad in Sustainable Kebony Wood Two glulam beams provide structural support for a small bridge that links the building to the beach. A common room with an adjoining terrace is flanked on one side by the women’s sauna and the by the men’s sauna on the other. The architects designed the saunas to receive optimal amount of sunlight while simultaneously offering protection from the wind. The exterior cladding is treated with a grey-pigmented oil which allows the wood to age naturally. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News

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Gorgeous year-round bath house in Sweden soaks up the winter sun

Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon

May 2, 2017 by  
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Are humans an endangered species ? Some scientists think so. Author Phil Torres wrote a piece for Salon detailing evidence from various sources – from climate change data to a recent article by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking – showing the possibility of an apocalypse that could occur in some of our lifetimes. Torres said, “We are in a unique moment of human history, one marked by an exceptionally high probability of disaster.” Climate change isn’t the only issue humanity must contend with today. Overpopulation , ocean acidification, antibiotic resistance , and the potential of a global pandemic threaten us. In a December 2016 article for The Guardian , Hawking said, “Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together…we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity. We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it.” And all of this while an anti-intellectual president sits in the White House. Related: Scientists say we have 10 years to save Earth Donald Trump’s election prompted The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists to move the Doomsday Clock’s minute hand 30 seconds closer to midnight – the closest it’s been since 1953. In a New York Times article , scientists Lawrence Krauss and David Titley wrote their organization made the move because Trump had pledged to impede progress on climate change action and nuclear proliferation. They aren’t the only scientists predicting disaster. Microbiologist Frank Fenner, whose work helped defeat smallpox, said in 2010 “humans will probably be extinct within 100 years, because of overpopulation, environmental destruction , and climate change.” Biologist Neil Dawe said it wouldn’t surprise him if the generation following him saw the end of humanity. Ecologist Guy McPherson went so far as to say humanity could be extinct by 2026 . But we don’t have to go the way of the dinosaurs just yet. Hawking said humanity must break down barriers inside and outside nations, and help equip people for a changing economy with training and financial support. He said he is an optimist for our species, but elites must learn lessons from 2016 – and “above all a measure of humility.” Via Salon Images via David Blackwell. on Flickr and Lwp Kommunikáció on Flickr

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Several scientists predict the apocalypse will occur uncomfortably soon

Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

March 23, 2017 by  
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Toronto-based superkül architects designed a vacation home for a family of six transitioning back to Canada after living abroad. Set on the grassy plains of Mulmur, Ontario, the 4,300-square-foot dwelling is a striking all-white building that prioritizes low maintenance, natural light, and energy savings. The energy-efficient home was built in two phases, the first of which was certified LEED Gold . Created as a spacious weekend home, the Compass House comprises two volumes arranged in an L-shaped plan with multiple bedrooms and an open-plan kitchen, dining area, and living room at the heart. The dwelling was constructed with locally sourced fieldstone and other low-maintenance materials such as the white cement-board siding, aluminum windows, and steel roof. In contrast to the hardy, weatherproof exterior, the interior emanates warmth with white oak and knotty white cedar floors and walls. Related: Superkül Designs Canada’s First Active House Skylights and large windows fill the home with natural light and ventilation. The ample glazing also frames views of the varied landscape, from the forests to the west to the 100 acres of fields in the north and east. An outdoor courtyard extends the indoor spaces out. “Through its siting, tectonics and materiality, it balances intimacy and expansiveness, light and dark, land and sky — orienting and heightening one’s experience of the surrounding environment,” wrote the architects. Use of geothermal -powered heating and cooling, natural daylighting, passive ventilation, and high insulation values help keep energy demands low despite the building’s large size. Construction waste was also kept to a minimum. + Superkül Images by Ben Rahn / A-Frame Studio

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Light-filled Compass House prioritizes low maintenance and energy savings

This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

February 2, 2017 by  
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The new station and city hall in the southern Swedish city of Växjö is an urban living room that gathers several functions under one striking, prismatic roof. White Arkitekter ‘s winning proposal for an anonymous competition, the building combines an expressive form with accessibility, and provides a series of public spaces for citizens, visitors and employees. The 150,000-square-foot wooden structure is topped with an elegant, sloping roof that ensures lower energy consumption . The three main entrances connect these spaces to the city and lead to a central space that functions as a public living room with a tourist office, exhibition area, waiting room, cafés and shops, meeting rooms  for various occasions and a modern workplace for municipal employees. While glass dominates the exterior of the building, the interior prominently features wood. Related: White Arkitekter wins bid to design Sweden’s tallest timber building “Our goal has been to create a building at the forefront of development in sustainable construction as well as to achieve the highest Swedish environment certification,” said Klara Frosterud, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter. “People are placed at the heart of this building which will be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable over time,” she added. + White Arkitekter Via World Architecture News Images by Tegmark

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This train station which doubles as city hall in Sweden will function as an "urban living room"

Trump inspires 400 scientists to run for office

January 27, 2017 by  
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It’s been a rough week for the scientific community, with President Donald Trump all but declaring war on evidence-based scholarship. Science is supposed to be nonpartisan, yet the White House has in a matter of days muzzled the National Parks Service , frozen grants at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, purged references to climate change from federal websites, and tapped a virulent anti-vaxxer to head an investigation into vaccine safety . Scientists have responded to this barrage of “alternate facts” and “fake news” with an upcoming march on Washington, D.C., and hundreds are even mulling a run for public office. #ThanksDonald ! That’s where 314 Action comes in. Named after the first three digits of pi, the political action committee is the scientist equivalent of Emily’s List , which encourages pro-choice Democratic women to take on the corridors of power, or Veterans Campaign , which does the same for former members of the military. “314 Action is concerned that STEM education in the United States is falling further and further behind the rest of the world, that our political leaders continue to deny scientific facts, and that Congress fails to fully fund scientific research so we can solve pressing environmental issues like climate change and social problems like gun violence,” reads the nonprofit’s website. Related: Scientists are preparing to march on Washington In the past two weeks, 314 Action has seen more than 400 people express interest in an online information session it’ll be holding for STEM workers who are considering running for office for the first time. If even a fraction of those people eventually get elected, it’ll be the intellectual shot in the arm Congress so desperately needs. Only 10 percent of lawmakers have any kind of post-high school STEM knowledge, according to a 2011 survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics . “A lot of scientists traditionally feel that science is above politics but we’re seeing that politics is not above getting involved in science,” 314 Action founder Shaughnessy Naughton told the Atlantic . “We’re losing, and the only way to stop that is to get more people with scientific backgrounds at the table.” + 314 Action Via the Atlantic Photos by Pixabay and Joye

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China announces aim to be a major space power by 2030

December 29, 2016 by  
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China is making up for lost time in the space race. The China National Space Administration recently released a white paper outlining their ambitious plans for the next five years, which includes launching a Mars probe by 2020, enhancing their satellite systems, developing pollution-free medium-lift launch vehicles, and searching for extraterrestrial life. China’s space agency started in 1956, but they didn’t launch their first satellite until 1970, the year after the United States put a man on the moon. Yet China’s audacious goals for the next five years reveal the country’s revitalized dedication to exploring outer space. Related: China completes world’s largest radio telescope to search for alien life In the white paper preamble, the agency said, “The Chinese government takes the space industry as an important part of the nation’s overall development strategy, and adheres to the principle of exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes…In the next five years and beyond China will uphold the concepts of innovative, balanced, green, open, and shared development, and promote the comprehensive development of space science, space technology, and space applications, so as to contribute more to both serving national development and improving the well-being of mankind.” A 2020 Chinese Mars probe could execute what the agency refers to as orbiting and roving exploration. From there they hope to bring Mars samples back to Earth, explore asteroids, and explore Jupiter. In a press conference, agency deputy chief Wu Yanhua said, “Our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world.” Yanhua also spoke of cooperation with other countries’ space agencies, but don’t look for NASA on that list yet. The United States Congress hasn’t allowed NASA to work with China since 2011, citing concerns over national security. While American politicians have feared militarization, other international agencies, like the European Space Agency, are already collaborating with China . The country mentioned peace – either peaceful space exploration or contributing to world peace – 14 times in the English translation of the white paper. Via China National Space Administration and CNN Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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China announces aim to be a major space power by 2030

BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW are planning an electric vehicle superhighway in Europe

November 30, 2016 by  
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Four major automakers recently announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. While electric cars like the new Chevy Bolt are curing some of the range anxiety issues that plagued earlier EVs, there’s still one other issue – charging times. Today it takes about 30 minutes to almost fully charge some electric cars, but BMW , Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen have announced a new partnership that will dramatically cut down that time. The goal for the charging network is to quickly build a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for electric vehicles, which will make them even more desirable. The idea of a charging network isn’t entirely new, since Tesla and Chargepoint have built similar networks in the U.S., but the big news is how much power these chargers will pack. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt Today’s DC Fast Chargers max out at 50 kW of power, which can charge an electric car’s battery up to 80 percent in as little as 20 minutes. The new chargers that will comprise this new partnership will pack up to seven times more power at 350 kW, which will significantly drop the amount of time it takes to recharge an electric car to around 10 minutes. The first chargers will arrive in 2017, with an initial target of about 400 charging sites in Europe. By 2020, the plan is to have thousands of high-powered charging points in operation. The announcement doesn’t include any networks outside Europe, like in the U.S., but this summer the White House announced that the Department of Energy is researching the feasibility of 350 kW fast chargers. + Daimler All images © Volkswagen and Daimler

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BMW, Daimler, Ford, and VW are planning an electric vehicle superhighway in Europe

President-elect Trump should heed these state mandates

November 9, 2016 by  
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As the climate denier heads for the White House, here’s how other energy and environmental ballot measures fared Tuesday.

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President-elect Trump should heed these state mandates

The biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years is coming this month

November 4, 2016 by  
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In just a few days, we will be treated to the largest supermoon to grace the night skies since 1948. For many, it will be the biggest they have seen in their lifetime, despite the fact that the supermoon phenomenon is not that uncommon. The next one this size isn’t expected to come along until 2034. Supermoons are not all that rare, but they are quite an incredible sight when they do roll by. The event takes place when the moon is closest to the Earth in its egg-shaped orbit called the perigee. If this happens at the same time the moon aligns itself just right with the Sun, a perigee-syzygy effect takes place and we see the satellite as an enormous presence in the sky. Related: Everything we thought we knew about the moon’s origins is probably wrong There was a large supermoon event in October, and another is projected for December, however neither are as large as the one taking place on November 14. In fact, the supermoon expected on December 14 will block the Geminid meteor shower – one stunning cosmic event obstructing another. Make plans to witness this month’s supermoon, because you won’t have a chance to see another one this massive for quite some time. Via Independent Images via Wikimedia , Bigtallguy, and Jonny White

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The biggest supermoon in nearly 70 years is coming this month

China criticizes Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of the Paris climate agreement

November 2, 2016 by  
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The Chinese government, in a break from its public position to not comment on the US election, has called out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump ‘s plan to withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement that is expected to enter into force on Friday. Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change , rejected the plans by Trump to back out of the global climate deal signed by nearly 200 nations. In a response to reporters on the question of how China would work with a Trump administration on climate change, Xie said that “a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends,” adding that “if they resist this trend, I don’t think they’ll win the support of their people, and their country’s economic and social progress will also be affected.” Related: Would a Trump presidency undo the UN climate change agreement? Trump in 2012 famously tweeted that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” At an oil and natural gas conference in North Dakota this past May, Trump previewed the pro-fossil fuel industry policies he would implement during his first 100 days in office. He pledged to cancel the American commitment to the Paris climate pact, saying that he would “stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs.” He also committed during his first 100 days in the White House to rolling back environmental regulations put in place by President Obama, including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule that allows the EPA to regulate land use to prevent water contamination. Related: Donald Trump has a yuge vested interest in the Dakota Access Pipeline China and the US — the world’s two biggest greenhouse gas polluters responsible for nearly 38 percent of global emissions — both ratified the Paris climate accord in September. China has pledged to peak carbon emissions by 2030 while the US has vowed to slash emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. China plans to implement the world’s largest carbon trading market in 2017 to cut emissions. While some experts believe carbon pricing is the best route to achieving emissions reductions, in the absence of legislation in Congress, President Obama and the EPA introduced the Clean Power Plan that sets a national limit on carbon pollution produced from power plants. Trump has said he would eliminate the Clean Power Plan if elected. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has praised the Paris climate deal and promised to keep America’s commitment if elected. Accepting her party’s nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July, she said that “I believe in science. I believe that climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good-paying clean energy jobs,” adding later in the address that “I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement — now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves.” Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia

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