Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

May 23, 2017 by  
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Cleantech pioneer Elon Musk wants you to drive a Tesla electric car or truck, power your home with SolarCity solar panels and store renewable electricity with Tesla Powerwall battery packs. Oh yeah, he also wants to zip you from DC to NYC in less than 30 minutes via Hyperloop pods that can reach speeds of more than 600 miles per hour racing through evacuated tubes. Now Musk has revealed that part of the reason he started The Boring Company , besides finding a solution for LA’s “soul-destroying traffic,” is to launch and test Hyperloop by using his new Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to dig underneath the City of Angels . “Fast to dig, low cost tunnels would also make Hyperloop adoption viable and enable rapid transit across densely populated regions, enabling travel from New York to Washington DC in less than 30 minutes,” the company’s new FAQ page states regarding its specific goals, adding that “the electric skate can transport automobiles, goods, and/or people. And if one adds a vacuum shell, it is now a Hyperloop Pod which can travel at 600+ miles per hour.” Related: Elon Musk’s Boring Company video envisions underground LA as a crazy slot car race The FAQ page mentions that The Boring Company aims to fix congestion in major cities by building an underground network of road tunnels “many levels deep” with the ability to keep adding levels. The key to making this work would be “increasing tunneling speed and dropping costs by a factor of 10 or more.” Costs would be mitigated by reducing the tunnel diameter, which the site claims can be accomplished by placing vehicles on a “stabilized electric sled.” Speeding up tunneling is another way to reduce costs, with the stated goal for the TBM to defeat the snail in a race. Hyperloop One has already built a full-scale test track at the company’s development site in Nevada. Countries from India to South Korea  to the United Arab Emirates  to Russia  have expressed interest in Hyperloop technology. It is clear that the race to build the first Hyperloop rapid transit system is underway and similar to his other ventures, Musk is eager to take the lead. + The Boring Company + Hyperloop One Via Archinect Images via The Boring Company

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Elon Musk reveals boring tunnels are for Hyperloop

Inhabitat is hiring: morning news writer + social media editor

April 28, 2017 by  
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Calling all writers and editors with a passion for design and the environment! Inhabitat is hiring for two positions right now: Social Media Editor and Morning News Writer . Both are freelance, part-time, work-from-home positions. They could potentially be combined into a larger commitment for the right candidate, or two separate jobs for separate people. For more about each position and how to apply, please read on: MORNING NEWS WRITER Inhabitat is hiring a dedicated morning writer to cover breaking developments in the fields of environmental news , design , technology , and policy . We’re offering the right candidate first-rate story opportunities, 20 hours of work per week, and a platform to broadcast your voice to millions of monthly readers around the globe. Candidates must be available every weekday at 8am ET, and you should be able to source and quickly turn around breaking news stories with clarity, precision and wit. If you think you’d make a great new addition to the Inhabitat team, send the following information to editor [at] inhabitat.com with the headline “ Inhabitat News Writer “: 1. A cover letter telling us a bit about yourself, what your interests/specialties are, and why you would make a fantastic news writer for Inhabitat. 2. Your weekly availability. 3. Three breaking news stories that you would like to write for Inhabitat. 4. Three published story clips or links to online articles you have written. SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Inhabitat is hiring a part-time social media editor for a weekend shift, (4 hours) as well as additional hours as needed during the week. Familiarity and expertise with current social media trends is a must, particularly including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit and Flipboard. Brownie points for experience or interest in live video (Facebook live, Instagram, Snapchat) or other new forms of publishing. If you think you’d make the perfect social media editor for Inhabitat, send the following information to editor [at] inhabitat.com with the headline “ Inhabitat Social Editor “: 1. A cover letter and resume telling us a bit about yourself, your background, experience and interest, and why you would make a great Social Media Editor for Inhabitat. 2. Your weekday and weekend availability. 3. Two published story clips or links to online articles you have written or edited. 4. Links to social media accounts you have managed (can be your personal account or for a brand). Examples: pinterest, twitter, instagram, facebook, etc

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Inhabitat is hiring: morning news writer + social media editor

IKEA unveils plan to lift 200,000 people out of poverty

April 19, 2017 by  
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When most people think of IKEA , they most likely think of affordable furniture and trendy home accessories. But many people are unaware of the company’s lofty social goals. In addition to their efforts to promote sustainability , it turns out IKEA is also working on a plan to alleviate poverty for Syrian refugees and other disadvantaged people around the globe. IKEA recently announced it’s building new production centers in Jordan this summer, as part of a plan to create employment for 200,000 disadvantaged people around the world. The facilities will be open and running by August, and will provide jobs to refugees producing rugs, cushions, bedspreads, and other handmade woven items. These particular facilities are the result of a partnership with the Jordan River Foundation , a non-governmental organization founded by Jordan’s Queen Rania. To start out, these particular plants will only employ 100 people, rising to 400 within two years. About half will be local workers and the other half will be Syrian refugees . Related: IKEA’s Lena Pripp-Kovac talks to Inhabitat about their sustainability program The new production centers are just one of many projects the furniture giant is working to establish around the world. Already, they’ve launched programs to help Indian women and Sweden’s immigrant population, which employ about 2,000 people collectively. The ultimate goal is to eventually employ about 200,000 people around the world through these initiatives. Rather than lead the projects themselves, IKEA is teaming up with local social entrepreneurs – organizations that help use business solutions to alleviate poverty, rather than simply distributing aid. Not only does this help provide jobs for people who desperately need them, it also helps organizations that would normally be too small to meet IKEA’s supplier guidelines to get their work into stores around the globe. Related: IKEA is launching a whole range of “no waste” products made from recycled materials This isn’t the first time IKEA has used its clout for social good. The company also recently established the IKEA Foundation to help children in poor communities, and unveiled an award-winning flat-pack refugee shelter design . So the next time you buy a new bookshelf or visit just to sample the Swedish fare at the restaurant, you can feel good knowing your purchase is helping others around the world. Via Dezeen Images via YouTube/Screenshot

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IKEA unveils plan to lift 200,000 people out of poverty

Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction

March 6, 2017 by  
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Life without honeybees would be less than sweet – it’d mean a lot fewer fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. But honeybees aren’t the only bees we need to worry about. The future of many Native North American and Hawaiian bee species is also in peril: a new study found that more than half of the region’s native bee species are declining , and nearly one in four native bee species is imperiled and at risk for extinction. Image © Dominik Scythe via Unsplash A new report by the Center for Biological Diversity entitled “Pollinators in Peril: A systematic status review of North American and Hawaiian bees” outlines the importance of these native bee species by valuing their financial importance as well as their ability to help ecosystems thrive. As fruit-pollinators, native bee species are worth more than three billion dollars, yet their work pollinating wild flowers and plants is equally important in maintaining diverse and colorful flora. As if the information regarding known declining populations wasn’t cause enough for alarm, the author warned that this study and other bee studies simply don’t have enough data on thousands of native bee species – many of which are found in areas of “great environmental degradation” – to determine if they are at risk. Image © Jenni Peterson via Unsplash Related| This could be the United States’ first endangered bee species The study cites loss of habitat due to agriculture, heavy use of pesticides , climate change, and urbanization as large drivers of the native bee populations’ decline and endangerment. Lead author Kelsey Kopec said, “It’s a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming.” The report includes case studies of five distinct bee species around the country that are in great peril, including the wild sweet potato bee, which is the only known species in the world in its genus, and the sunflower leafcutting bee, which is the largest and most distinctive leafcutting bee on the continent. While a casual eye might be tempted to group these bee species together, their unique habits and contributions to varied ecosystems highlight their individual importance and fragility. Via Time Lead image © Jenna Lee via Unsplash

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Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction

New details of feathered dinosaur could elucidate the origins of flight

March 2, 2017 by  
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A small red-crested dinosaur from the Late Jurassic era could help us unlock the origins of flight, now that we have a better idea of what it looked like. Using high-powered lasers, scientists from the University of Hong Kong have illuminated previously invisible soft tissues of the foot-tall Anchiornis , providing, for the first time, a detailed outline of the avian-like creature. The quantitative reconstruction of Anchiornis , which was first discovered in northeastern China in 2009, show that the animal possessed drumstick-shaped legs, long forearms connected by wing-like membranes, foot scales, and a slender tail. “The detail was so well lit that we could see the texture of the skin,” said paleontologist Michael Pittman, who described the discovery in a paper published in Nature Communications this week. These traits, Pittman added, could help us understand how dinosaurs eventually took to the skies as birds. As a field of science, paleontology is riddled with mysteries. The skeletons scientists dig up from the ground are seldom complete, and soft tissues like organs, muscle, or skin almost never survive into the present. On the rare occasion that tissues have endured the test of time, they’re unobservable with the naked eye. Related: Scientist finds dinosaur tail trapped in amber and it is covered with feathers That’s where a technique known as laser-stimulated fluorescence comes in. By bouncing wavelengths of light aimed a fossil sample in a dark room, Pittman and his team were able to manifest high-fidelity features that offer clues to how Anchiornis attempted, or even achieved, aerodynamic flight 160 million years ago. Anchiornis didn’t necessarily fly, of course. Even modern birds with wing folds, like the weka of New Zealand , never escape the pull of gravity. Nevertheless, the research remains vital to our understanding of where birds came from, since they appeared around the same time, Pittman said. “What our work does underscore,” Pittman told National Geographic , “is the broad extent to which bird-like dinosaurs were experimenting with their anatomy and functional capabilities before we had the first unequivocal gliding and flying birds.” + Nature Communications + University of Hong Kong Via National Geographic

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New details of feathered dinosaur could elucidate the origins of flight

Go way, way off grid at this amazing tiny house Airbnb in Oaxaca

March 2, 2017 by  
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Located near Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Tiny Casa is an ultra tiny Airbnb cabin perfect for those looking for a completely off-grid getaway . Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”, the compact concrete casita is a simple one-bedroom, one-bath retreat surrounded by complete serenity. Raw concrete covers the tiny Airbnb escape on the interior and exterior. Sliding wooden shutters are used to cool the house in the hot summer months, and they open up to stunning panoramic views of the natural surroundings. Related: 8 inspiring tiny Airbnb homes for a taste of living small Although the casita only offers the basics in terms of amenities, it comes with a lovely outdoor pool and is just steps away from a pristine stretch of beach. Visitors can also make use of a pizza oven and read the day away in the swinging hammock . The owner says that the simple, austere ambience of the home, which was inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, is meant to bring people back to the basics of simple living , “Casa Tiny is a place to escape from society. Enjoy a simple life for a couple of days, a week or a month in this minimal, low-impact, isolated abode.” + Casa Tiny Airbnb Via Gardenista  

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Go way, way off grid at this amazing tiny house Airbnb in Oaxaca

Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

February 8, 2017 by  
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https://youtu.be/OVRI7pEmKkg At just 22-inches-tall, Gita (meaning “fast trip” in Italian) can move at speeds up to 22 miles per hour, with the capacity to carry up to 40 pounds and a zero turning radius that lets it navigate easily through even the most complex environments. It also has a communicative personality along with the ability to learn and navigate both indoors and out, provided it has the guidance of a human. When on the move, it can either follow you as you walk, or navigate independently in places it is familiar with. Related: Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car “designed by millennials for millennials” In terms of its design, it features a sleek and shiny surface, with compartments that barely show their presence. It has large rubber tire treats, with LED lights embedded that illuminate in various colors, along with cameras positioned throughout the body to help Gita navigate. According to Kris Naudus at Engadget, Gita’s main compartment was big enough to store his work backpack and contents, including a 14-inch notebook computer laid flat, with some room to spare on the edges. For those seeking to lug larger loads, Piaggio is currently working on Gita’s sibling, Kilo, which will be able to carry up to 200 pounds. Gita is currently not available to purchase, but Piaggio Fast Forward is in the process of sending the helpers out on business-to-business missions, with an eye toward consumer applications. + Piaggio Fast Forward Via Businesswire and Engadget, Images via Piaggio Fast Forward

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Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

February 8, 2017 by  
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Sustainable outdoor gear company Patagonia is putting their popularity, and revenue, towards defending conservation in Utah . After Republican governor Gary Herbert urged Donald Trump’s administration to snatch away protection for the newly created national monument Bears Ears, Patagonia announced their boycott of Outdoor Retailer , a show that rakes in millions of dollars for Salt Lake City. Founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in a recent opinion editorial , “If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home.” President Obama created the Bears Ears National Monument in December. But Utah’s governor recently signed a resolution calling on the new administration to yank away protection for Bears Ears, and Patagonia isn’t happy about it. CEO Rose Marcario announced in a February 7 press release Patagonia would withdraw from Outdoor Retailer, and felt confident other retailers and manufacturers would “join us in moving our investment to a state that values our industry and promotes public lands conservation.” Related: Obama creates two new western national monuments in last minute effort In his opinion piece, titled “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?” Chouinard said outdoor recreation supports 122,000 jobs in Utah, and generates $12 billion in consumer spending. He described Outdoor Retailer as a cash cow for Salt Lake City, noting hundreds of companies spend loads of money to show off products at the event, and USA Today said the show brings in $45 million in annual direct spending for Utah. But due to the new overture to rescind public land protection, Chouinard accused Herbert of creating “a hostile environment that puts our industry at risk.” “The outdoor industry creates three times the amount of jobs than the fossil fuels industry, yet the Governor has spent most of his time in office trying to rip taxpayer-owned lands out from under us and hand them over to drilling and mining companies,” wrote Chouinard. He said Bears Ears contains archaeological treasures from thousands of years of Native American history, and beautiful red rocks cherished by rock climbers worldwide. “Politicians in the state don’t seem to get that the outdoor industry – and their own economy – depend on access to public lands for recreation.” Via Patagonia Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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Patagonia boycotts huge Outdoor Retailer show to protest Utah Republicans

MIT researchers invent an ingestible battery powered by stomach acid

February 8, 2017 by  
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MIT researchers have developed a new safe-to-swallow battery powered by stomach acid. The technology could significantly aid in the powering of ingestible electronic devices currently being used for drug delivery and internal medical procedures like colonoscopies – as well as other wearable technology . MIT drug delivery device As New Atlas reports, “safe-to-swallow batteries” are currently being developed to power these ingestible electronic devices, but up until recently they have posed problems. This recent development out of MIT is expected to provide a cheaper and safer alternative to those batteries currently on the market. The battery was the result of a study by a team of MIT researchers led by senior authors, Giovanni Traverso and Robert Langer who have developed a number of internal devices, for which they wanted a safe, reliable power source. “We need to come up with ways to power these ingestible systems for a long time,” Traverso told New Atlas . “We see the GI tract as providing a really unique opportunity to house new systems for drug delivery and sensing, and fundamental to these systems is how they are powered.” They started with the fact that the majority of batteries are powered by acid, and realized they could take advantage of acid in the stomach. Their concept is based on the simple battery concept that involves putting a piece of zinc and copper into a lemon, where the citric acid becomes an electrolyte that can carry a current between the two metals – creating enough power to run an LED . Related: MIT designs innovative wearable tech that makes it easier to network As New Atlas explains, “The researchers scaled that principle down by attaching their own zinc and copper electrodes to the outside of a small, ingestible device containing a temperature sensor and a 900 MHz transmitter. Like in the lemon, the stomach acid can carry the electric current from the zinc to the copper and power the device, which, when tested in pigs, was able to take temperature readings and then send that data wirelessly, every 12 seconds, to a receiver up to 2 m (6.6 ft) away.” According to senior author Anantha Chandrakasan, this design solves problems with internal medical devices, such as energy generation , conversion, storage and utilization, opening up new horizons for the technology. “This work allows us to envision new medical devices where the body itself contributes to energy generation enabling a fully self-sustaining system.” Via New Atlas Images via MIT

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MIT researchers invent an ingestible battery powered by stomach acid

Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft

February 8, 2017 by  
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Living in a garage isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but an open-minded couple manages to pull it off with style in Lisbon. Local design studio Fala Atelier was asked to convert a 200-square-meter windowless garage into the couple’s new abode. The result is a dramatic transformation from a lifeless gray garage into a bright and contemporary house that still retains a parking spot for the couple’s car. Since the architects weren’t able to add windows on any of the walls besides the entrance, they painted the walls white and created an open-plan living area to create a sense of spaciousness. The ceiling is also painted white and punctuated with large redesigned skylights. The floor is covered in polished concrete to create a neutral base to balance the vibrant pops of colorful furniture. Decoration is kept to a minimum to reduce clutter and large aquamarine curtains allow the homeowners to cordon off spaces as needed. Related: Old garage is transformed into a daylit, treehouse-like library “The proposed intervention intended the clearest reading possible of the existing structure, emphasising its strength,” write the architects. “While the garage was careless and grey, the house is clean and white; its materiality is flat, its light is abstract.” The L-shaped home is entered through a long hallway that then opens up to a large living area. Two bathrooms are tucked behind a curved wall built to replace a broken corner. Limited furnishings and freestanding elements allow the homeowners to easily rearrange the interior space. + Fala Atelier Via ArchDaily Images © Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

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Small and windowless garage in Lisbon transformed into an elegant modern loft

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