This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams

August 11, 2017 by  
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The Slidavan Caravan is an ultra-compact, lightweight caravan with a handy telescopic roof that can be fully extended in less than a minute. The mini caravan , created by Wooden Widget , weighs a mere 300 kilos and comes complete with a living area that can be expanded to six-feet high, making it a dream home on wheels for any off-grid traveler. The Slidavan’s interior, although compact, provides all the basics of off grid living . The space-efficient design focused on creating a maximum interior volume, which led to the creation of an expandable roof. To provide the camper with flexible space options, a curved roof was designed to be placed on the camper’s box-shaped base. A handy lifting device installed directly underneath allows the roof to be raised in just under a minute, adding much more space to the interior. Related: Darling Tinycamper from Lithuania starts at just 7K The body of the caravan has two large windows on the side and the backdoor has a cutout to provide the interior with tons of natural light. On the interior, the built-in sofas on either side fold out to create a large double bed. A small table is mounted on the wall between the two sofas, and can be folded down when not in use. There is a small galley area on the left side, outfitted with a sink and a two-burner stove top. A hidden strip of LEDs provides the interior lighting. One of the most advantageous things about the Slidavan is its light-weight design. Constructed out of a sandwich of plywood over panels of extruded polystyrene, the caravan is a rigid, lightweight, durable, affordable, and well-insulated structure that can be towed by the smallest of cars. According to the designer, the Slidavan’s design was based on providing a practical camper van that was easily mobile, “In designing the Slidavan I confess I focused pretty much exclusively on practicality. The bottom line is, it’s all very well designing a fancy caravan with a nice flowing aerodynamic shape but it just adds complication to the build and the fitting out and at the end of the day you still have to drag this massive lump through the air at great expense and some trepidation.” + Wooden Widget  

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This mini caravan with a telescopic roof is the stuff of off-grid dreams

Scientists finally know what is causing the underwater ‘fairy circles’ and it’s not good

August 11, 2017 by  
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Have you — like many — been dumbfounded by the mysterious underwater “fairy circles” found in the Mediterranean and Baltic sea? If so, you’re not alone. Fortunately, scientists finally know what is causing the sea floor phenomena, though it’s not likely to cheer you up. It turns out the “bald patches” devoid of vegetation are actually caused by a foreign species which may put entire ecosystems at risk. In the paper “Fairy Circle Landscapes Under The Sea,” published by Science Advances , lead researcher Daniel Ruiz-Reynés wrote that the invading species are being driven into the areas by polluted waters and climate change : “The spatial organisation of vegetation landscapes is a key factor in the assessment of ecosystem health and functioning,” he wrote, adding, “Spatial configurations of vegetation landscapes act as potential indicators of climatic or human forcing affecting the ecosystem.” The scientific name for the seagrass is Posidonia oceanica, and its dwindling presence signals that the region it is located in is threatened. If large populations of the seagrass disappear, the planet’s larger ecosystem will be affected, the researchers concluded. Unfortunately, it appears the circles, which have been found around the Danish coast as well as the Balearic islands, are more prevalent than scientists realized. This is because they are located below water . “Satellite images and side-scan cartography reveals that complex seascapes are abundant in meadows of Posidonia oceanica, suggesting that self-organised submarine vegetation patterns may be prevalent but have remained thus far largely hidden under the sea,” wrote Ruiz-Reynés. Furthermore, because the seagrass has a very low growth rate, losses are “essentially irreversible.” Related: Strange “Fairy Circles” Appear in the Middle of Africa’s Namib Desert Using findings from previous studies and by creating a mathematical model based on seagrass growth rates and long-distance interaction between underwater plants, the team was able to determine the cause of the fairy circles . Long story short, the competition for resources changes the dynamics of seagrass growth and is largely propelled by both climate change and pollution . This discovery is both intriguing and frightening, considering enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the globe four times — and of that amount, 80 percent makes its way into the oceans . If humans collectively fail to curb carbon emissions and only haphazardly invest in sustainable initiatives, the effects of climate change will result in much of the planet becoming uninhabitable, as well as various species going extinct . + Science Advances Via The Daily Mail Images via University of Southern Denmark , Pixabay

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Scientists finally know what is causing the underwater ‘fairy circles’ and it’s not good

The Hoopy is a bicycle you can build yourself out of recycled parts and wood

September 12, 2016 by  
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If you’re looking for an affordable, lightweight wooden bike that will get attention wherever you ride, the Hoopy might be just what you’re looking for. A lightweight design that can be adapted for adults of almost any height, the Hoopy features a light plywood frame that can be used to store tools, spare tires, or groceries! The flexible frame can even be adapted easily to store a motor in the case of an electric bike. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOp58Ur-VOQ&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=WoodenWidget Now, you can’t simply walk into your local bike shop and pick up a Hoopy. Instead, you can buy a set of detailed instructions that walk you through the process of building your own, from finding the wood to assembling the frame. The entire process can be completed in just two days – the pieces are cut with a drill and a jigsaw, then assembled with a strong but light epoxy glue. All told, the finished frame weighs only 3 kilos (6.6 lbs). The completed bicycle ends up weighing in the 12-14 kilo (26-30 lb) range. The finished bike can be built to accommodate riders from 1.5 meters (5’2”) to 1.9 meters (6’4”), and can hold up to 200 kilos (440 lbs). Each bike can be further personalized during the design process, with instructions on how to create cut-outs of various shapes. And, of course, the wooden construction allows for a variety of paint or varnish finishes. Related: Beautiful birch AERO Bike is a testing ground for architectural techniques Most of the bike can actually be created using parts from salvaged bicycles , further cutting the cost of the build. Depending on the parts you choose to purchase, it’s possible to build a basic Hoopy for as little as £250 ($331). The plans for the Hoopy itself sell for a mere £30.  Wooden Widget , the company that sells the Hoopy plan, will even plant five trees on your behalf with any order. + Hoopy

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The Hoopy is a bicycle you can build yourself out of recycled parts and wood

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