Cloud lamp erupts into a frenzied lightning storm every time Donald Trump tweets

November 15, 2017 by  
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French artist Parse/Error has created an ingenious lamp that erupts into a miniature lightning storm whenever Donald Trump tweets. The lamp is connected to Donald Trump’s Twitter account, and it reacts in real time to his infamous “tweet storms” with flashes of light and rolling clouds. In its normal state, La Political Lamp is a simple light fixture filled with calming clouds . However, once connected to Trump’s account – or any account for that matter – each tweet precipitates a series of flashing lightning bolts, converting the lamp into a raging mini storm. Related: Dazzling Storm Cloud of Light Born from Ordinary Pot Scrubbers According to the artist, the lamp symbolizes the current rise of intolerance throughout the world when it comes to political leaders : “The choice of setting the Political Lamp to follow the tweets of Donald Trump is explained by the fact that he perfectly embodies a dangerous era. A world where the words of one man, released without reflection and with spontaneity on a global social network, can endanger the fate of millions by spreading the ghost of nuclear war on the planet.” + Political Lamp Via Notcot

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Cloud lamp erupts into a frenzied lightning storm every time Donald Trump tweets

New EV charging system lets Nissan Leaf owners sell power back to the grid

October 11, 2017 by  
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UK residents who plan to purchase an electric vehicle (EV) next year should hold out for a Nissan Leaf. Energy company Ovo has partnered with the automaker to allow anyone with a garage to receive a special charger that facilitates a “vehicle-to-grid” energy exchange. During off-peak hours, when electricity costs are low, the charger will power up batteries, and switch back to charging up a home or even selling energy back to the grid during peak hours. Essentially, this means EV owners may never have to pay to charge their eco-friendly car. In off-peak hours in the UK, electricity costs approximately 5 cents a kilowatt ($0.07). At peak hours, that increases to as much as 25 cents. “In other words, the value of the electricity that’s stored in the battery goes up by a factor of five,” said Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of Ovo. “It provides an economic benefit for electric vehicle owners, so they get more use of out of the vehicle that they’ve got parked in the driveway.” By no means is the Nissan Leaf inexpensive. The brand-new car costs £26,490, or $35,064. However, by taking advantage of Ovo’s new program, car owners could save thousands of dollars in energy costs in the long-term. According to Fitzpatrick, the “vehicle-to-grid” technology is not complicated, which is why “other electric car manufacturers are looking at this.” He said, “If it lowers the cost of vehicle ownership, if it lowers the cost of driving the vehicle per mile, I think there will be a lot of consumer demand for it, and that will translate into agreement on technical standards with other car manufacturers.” As FastCompany reports, using the battery automatically in this way — instead of leaving it plugged in, is also better for its battery life. Related: 2018 Nissan Leaf debuts with 150-mile driving range for just 30k By 2021, there will be approximately 1 million electric cars on the road in the UK. If every single vehicle were to be plugged in at the same time, there would be a demand for seven gigawatts of power — or the equivalent of 10 power stations. On the contrary, if the cars were plugged in and charging at a peak time, the power stations would be obsolete. Clearly, technology such as this is needed. And, not only will “vehicle-to-grid” tech help solve the challenge of providing enough electricity to the growing number of EVs, it will also save vehicle owners money. “The flexible use of car batteries is a perfect complement for renewable generation,” said Fitzpatrick. “You can imagine as we see more electric vehicles on the road, we can have more and more renewable generation without compromising the grid stability…renewable energy and electric vehicles are the perfect complement, just like oil and the internal combustion engine.” Via FastCompany Images via Pixabay , Nissan Leaf

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New EV charging system lets Nissan Leaf owners sell power back to the grid

Cow farts may be contributing more to global warming than we realized

October 4, 2017 by  
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When you hear the words ‘ cow farts,’ you probably giggle a little. But bovine flatulence and belches are pumping methane into the atmosphere, and contributing even more greenhouse gas emissions than scientists previously thought. According to new NASA -funded research, estimates of livestock emissions could have been off by around 10 percent. When we think of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change , carbon dioxide is typically the first one that comes to mind. But methane – even though it can break down quicker – is around 85 times more powerful in trapping heat. And guess who’s pouring methane into the air? Cows. Three scientists, from the United States Department of Agriculture , Joint Global Change Research Institute , and the United States Department of Energy , reevaluated data employed to calculate 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions factors. They created revised emissions factors and discovered livestock methane emissions were 11 percent higher in 2011 than other estimates arrived at using the 2006 guidelines. Related: How oregano could save the world by reducing bovine belching The journal Carbon Balance and Management published the research the end of September. Lead author Julie Wolf said in a statement , “In many regions of the world, livestock numbers are changing, and breeding has resulted in larger animals with higher intakes of food. This, along with changes in livestock management, can lead to higher methane emissions.” The way we deal with cow poop also influences how many emissions enter the air. Using manure as fertilizer on fields yields less methane than storing the poop in pits. Changes like that one have caused global methane emissions to increase by almost 37 percent. Between 2003 and 2011, livestock yielded around one fifth of methane emissions – but they were also responsible for between half and three quarters of the methane emissions increase researchers noted during that time period. Even if you’re not a farmer, and can’t control farming practices, Popular Science said it wouldn’t hurt to eat less red meat . Via Forbes and Popular Science Images via Ryan Song on Unsplash and Filip Bunkens on Unsplash

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Cow farts may be contributing more to global warming than we realized

New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

July 13, 2017 by  
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How do gallium and tantalum influence your daily life? Quite a bit, it turns out. Gallium is a component of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs , while tantalum can be found in mobile phones . Boeing software engineer Keith Enevoldsen designed the interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words to show just how much those seemingly-obscure elements on the periodic table play a role in our lives. Scandium is found in bicycles ; palladium is used for pollution control . These tidbits are just a few of the facts you can find out on Enevoldsen’s interactive periodic table, targeted towards kids but still informative for adults. Bet you didn’t know there’s krypton in flashlights, antimony in car batteries , or strontium in fireworks? Related: New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements Each element on the interactive table comes with a description and a list of a few different uses. The tables are color-coded to show how the elements are grouped together, and symbols indicate whether an element is a solid, liquid, or gas. Other symbols show whether the element is common in the human body or in the earth’s crust, and if it’s radioactive , magnetic, noble, and rarely or never found in nature . Enevoldsen updates his tables when new elements are added. For example, in November 2016 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved four brand new element names – 113 Nihonium (Nh), 115 Moscovium (Mc), 117 Tennessine (Ts), and 118 Oganesson (Og) – and Enevoldsen added them to his charts. He offers the tables in different formats, in words or in pictures, as posters available for purchase online . He also offers print-your-own element flash cards. Enevoldsen also runs a website called ThinkZone with miscellaneous thought experiments and resources for mathematics, language, science, history, geography, art, and music. + The Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words Images © Keith Enevoldsen and via Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

A colossal iceberg is breaking off Antarctica right now – and it’s big enough to fill Lake Michigan

July 6, 2017 by  
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A gargantuan iceberg is set to break away from an Antarctic ice shelf within days — or even hours. Initially discovered by UK researchers in 2010, the nascent iceberg has been rapidly calving since 2016. Once the crack in the continent’s Larsen C ice shelf is complete, the resulting iceberg will stretch an astonishing 277 cubic miles, and it’ll be an 620 feet thick. That’s enough mass to fill more than 460 million Olympic-size pools — or nearly all of Lake Michigan . The news was shared in a European Space Agency press release . Europe’s ice-monitoring satellite CryoSat took the most precise measurements to date to determine the iceberg’s thickness. Though a bounty of information has been obtained, researchers still aren’t sure what will happen when the iceberg breaks off. Said Anna Hogg, a glaciologist at the University of Leeds. “It could, in fact, even calve in pieces or break up shortly after. Whole or in pieces, ocean currents could drag it north, even as far as the Falkland Islands .” As a side note, the Falkland Islands lie more than 1,000 miles away from Larsen C. According to Adrian Luckman of Swansea University in the UK, once the iceberg breaks off, the rest of the shelf “will be less stable than it was prior to the rift.” In other words, there is a small chance the natural phenomenon’s formation could cause the entire Larsen C ice shelf to disintegrate and fall into the ocean over time. While some scientists are concerned the development may result in sea levels rising up to four inches, Amanda Fricker, a glaciologist who studies Antarctic ice for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, perceives the shelf breaking off as a natural — and expected — occurrence. In an opinion column for The Guardian , she wrote, “Large calving events such as this are normal processes of a healthy ice sheet, ones that have occurred for decades, centuries, millennia — on cycles that are much longer than a human or satellite lifetime. What looks like an enormous loss is just ordinary housekeeping for this part of Antarctica .” As for now, it is impossible to know when, exactly, the rift will snap. Satellite images show that it is likely to be soon, however. “New Sentinel-1 data today continues to show the rift opening more rapidly. We can’t claim iceberg calving yet, but it won’t be long now,” wrote Martin O’Leary, another glaciologist with Swansea’s Project MIDAS, on Twitter late June. The Sentinel-1’s measurements show that the crack just needs three more miles to cut off the giant iceberg . + European Space Agency Via The Guardian Images via John Sonntag/Nasa , Swansea University

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A colossal iceberg is breaking off Antarctica right now – and it’s big enough to fill Lake Michigan

Man creates spectacular topiary garden with plants saved from a compost pile

May 4, 2017 by  
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When Pearl Fryar bought his home in Bishopville, South Carolina forty years ago, his neighbors worried he wouldn’t be able to maintain the expansive grounds. Since then, Fryar’s gardening skills have put those fears to rest – he’s created a stunning topiary garden made up of plants rescued from a local compost pile . When Fryar was looking to buy his current house, he was met with resistance because some neighbors assumed that, as a black man, he wouldn’t be able to keep up the yard. Fryar took those words as a challenge, aiming to disprove the local racists with his talented green thumb, “I figured that if I won Yard of the Month, then the person who made that statement could understand that you can’t judge people by one person.” Related: This mobile transforming prep station helps urban foragers turn weeds into tasty meals Recently featured on CNN’s Great Big Story , Fryar began to collect his plants from the compost pile of a local nursery. Over the years, he has rescued over 300 trees and shrubbery – including a few trees that were over 30 feet high. The ambitious man tends to his garden every day, but he doesn’t use fertilizer, sprays, or any type of chemical in the upkeep. In fact, he doesn’t even use water. He says that the plants are all natural and grow organically. The amazing home garden became so popular, that Fyar opened it up to the public in 2006. Today, the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden sees an estimated 10,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Fryar enjoys the attention, explaining that his garden is all about love. In fact, the last thing visitors see as they leave the grounds are the words “love, peace, and goodwill” mowed into the lawn. + Pearl Fryar garden + Great Big Story Via Boing Boing Images via CNN video

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Man creates spectacular topiary garden with plants saved from a compost pile

What Donald Trump’s "Brder Wll" would look like if IKEA made it

February 8, 2017 by  
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Germany’s version of The Onion knows that President Donald Trump’s plan to wall off America’s southern border isn’t just a contentious proposition, it’s an expensive one, too. An “impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” that runs some 1,000 miles between the United States and Mexico would cost taxpayers anywhere between $12 million to $15 million, minus labor and maintenance costs. Research firm Bernstein estimated a price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion, while the number crunchers at MIT placed that figure closer to $40 billion. What’s a fiscally cinched nation to do? It clears the roof rack of its Toyota Camry and sets a course for the land of plywood, Allen wrenches, and köttbullar. In other words, it heads to IKEA . At $9 billion, the Börder Wåll, in all its presumably flat-pack glory, is a comparative steal. A satirical concept by Germany’s The Postillion , the faux product comprises 471,612 pressboard panels, 313,329 coils of barbed wire, 3,772,896 screws, and a single Allen key to pull everything together. Also included is a 12,000 page instruction manual with “easy-to-understand pictures makes construction child’s play—as long as there is not a single screw missing.” The basic Wåll is 33 feet tall and 1,954 miles long, according to The Postillion, although the “height and length can be extended as desired.” Related: Mexican designers envision Trump’s border wall in “all of its gorgeous perversity” Assembly, the site adds, requires two people: one to hold the panels and the other to screw them together. Since Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are pro-wall, we suggest starting with them. This isn’t the first time people have openly mocked Trump’s proposed wall. Mexican design studio Estudio 3.14 rendered the barrier in hot pink to underscore the “gorgeous perversity” of the idea. In July, an L.A.-based street artist by the name of Plastic Jesus erected a very wee wall —complete with barbed wire, warning signs, and a tiny American flag—around Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “In the U.S. you’ll interact with immigrants from all over the world and it’s one of the things that makes the U.S. so great,” the artist, who originally hailed from the United Kingdom, told BBC News last year. “Donald Trump’s policy proposals are a threat to all of the immigrants.” + The Postillion Via Cnet

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What Donald Trump’s "Brder Wll" would look like if IKEA made it

How to keep your head during a U.S. presidential transition

December 8, 2016 by  
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Watch these four indicators, and remember four words from Ancient Rome.

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How to keep your head during a U.S. presidential transition

Why IBM sees blockchain as a breakthrough for traceability

December 8, 2016 by  
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The tech giant is behind two intriguing supply chain projects, with more to come.

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Why IBM sees blockchain as a breakthrough for traceability

How Dow Chemical is taking on the SDGs

December 8, 2016 by  
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The chemical company formulates plans for “redefining the role of business in society.”

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How Dow Chemical is taking on the SDGs

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