THE PROBLEM WITH ROOFTOP SOLAR THAT NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT...

Jan 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Where does the green energy from your panels really go? —By Tim McDonnell   MOTHER JONES A couple of years ago, Steven Weissman, an energy lawyer at the University of California-­Berkeley, started to shop around for solar panels for his house. It seemed like an environmental no-brainer. For zero down, leading residential provider SolarCity would install panels on his roof. The company would own the equipment, and he’d buy the power it produces for less than he had been paying his electric utility. Save money, fight climate change. Sounds like a deal. But while reading the contract, Weissman discovered the fine print that helps make that deal possible: SolarCity would also retain ownership of his system’s renewable energy credits. It’s the kind of detail your average solar customer wouldn’t notice or maybe care about....

read more

THERE IS NO PLANET B: WE’RE NOT COLONIZING THE MILKY WAY ANY TIME SOON...

Jan 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Jenny McCarthy arrives at the American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, Nov. 22, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) Forget what you saw in “Interstellar.” The odds of our successfully relocating to another planet are virtually nil Kim Stanley Robinson, Scientific American   There is no planet B: We’re not colonizing the Milky Way any time soon This article was originally published by Scientific American. The idea that humans will eventually travel to and inhabit other parts of our galaxy was well expressed by the early Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, who wrote, “Earth is humanity’s cradle, but you’re not meant to stay in your cradle forever.” Since then the idea has been a staple of science fiction, and thus become part of a consensus image of humanity’s...

read more

DESERT TOWER RAISES CHILE’S SOLAR POWER AMBITION TO NEW HEIGHTS...

Jan 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   THE GUARDIAN Towering 200 metres above the desert, the Atacama 1 will harvest the sun’s energy from a surrounding field of giant mirrors. But the completion of the $1.1bn project, the first of its kind in Latin America, has been thrown into doubt by the financial difficulties of its Spanish owner Atacama 1 concentrated solar power plant being built by Spanish firm Abengoa in Chile. Photograph: Jonathan Watts for the Guardian Jonathan Watts in the Atacama desert Rising more than 200 metres above the vast, deserted plains of the Atacama desert, the second tallest building in Chile sits in such a remote location that it looks, from a distance, like the sanctuary of a reclusive prophet, a temple to ancient gods or the giant folly of a wealthy eccentric. Instead, this extraordinary...

read more

DESIGN FORECAST

Jan 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Anti-ownership, holography, and revisiting hippie values: Curators, critics, experts, designers, and Metropolis editors share their predictions for the year ahead. Metropolis editors and contributors Drawings by Danielle Chenette ​ The End of Ownership Access is the new ownership. It’s been coming for years, but I think in 2016 we will actually see a major shift in this direction. Do we need to own a home, a car, a boat? Things that were once available only after years of saving can now be easily accessible through the collaborative. With the focus shifting away from ownership of consumer things, access to unique experiences is the new goal. Learning to make sushi from a revered chef in Japan or skiing the backcountry with an expert—access to these types of experiences is becoming more and more...

read more

APP REVEALS THE SUGAR CONTENT OF 75,000+ PRODUCTS WITH A SIMPLE BARCODE SCANE...

Jan 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   BY MARNI FOGELSON-TEEL – INHABITAT Sugar is in basically every food and beverage these days, from obvious culprits like processed sweets to seemingly healthier treats like yogurts and even condiments. Public Health England, part of the Untied Kingdom’s Department of Health estimates that young children are eating three times more than the recommended sugar limit (which, by the way, is about the equivalent to one juice box for tots). To reduce this consumption and simply build consumer awareness of sugar, the organization launched their Change 4 Life campaign, which includes the new Sugar Smart app. Parents simply download the free app and scan the barcode of one of more than 75,000 products to reveal just how much sugar is lurking inside. The app also offers tips and hints for cutting down on...

read more

THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER IS ABOUT TO HAVE A RECORD FLOOD OUT OF SEASON...

Dec 30, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Tech & Science By Zoë Schlanger On 12/29/15 at 6:21 PM Volunteers stack sandbags on the banks of the River Des Peres on December 29, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. The St. Louis area and surrounding region are bracing for record flood crests of the Mississippi, Missouri and Meramec Rivers after days of record rainfall. Michael B. Thomas/Getty Tech & Science The Mississippi River is flooding in a big way right now, at the wrong time of year, and is forecasted to match or break 22-year-old crest records over the next few days. Meteorologists are calling it “insane.” Over the next three to four days, the Mississippi is predicted to reach a crest height of 49.7 feet at Chester, Illinois, one of several locations where the National Weather Service records data about the river. As...

read more

THESE SOLAR PANELS CAN CAPTURE SUNLIGHT FROM ALMOST ANY ANGLE...

Dec 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] With a special glass coating, these solar panels can capture sunlight from almost any angle Environment With a special glass coating, these solar panels can capture sunlight from almost any angle by Cat DiStasio  INHABITAT When it comes to boosting efficiency in solar panels—that is, increasing the amount of the sun’s energy each photovoltaic cell can harness—researchers have tried a lot of tricks. Many solar power systems are equipped with tracking devices that enable the solar panels to follow the sun, changing their angle so they are always attracting a maximum amount of solar energy. Now, researchers have developed a special glass coating for solar cells that capture sunlight from almost any direction and increase efficiency by as much as 46 percent. As an added bonus, the coating also repels dust, meaning the...

read more

SELF-SUSTAINING, RESILIENT COASTAL COMMUNITY NEAR BOSTON...

Dec 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Paul Lukez Architecture and team are designing a self-sustaining, resilient coastal community near Boston   by Cat DiStasio   INHABITAT The reality is clear: the global sea level is rising. Coastal cities are under threat of flooding during storms, and many areas are ill-equipped to sustain such an attack of nature. Increasingly, this is where technology and design converge, resulting in new approaches to city infrastructure and housing that is resilient enough to withstand or even benefit from the changing conditions. Paul Lukez Architects (PLA) brought together a multidisciplinary team to address this complex challenge in a Boston neighborhood which is surrounded by water on three sides, making it particularly vulnerable to the rising tides. Harnessing Energy from Rising Tides. In essence, the PLA-led team looked at the harsh reality of rising sea levels...

read more

7 SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGHS THIS YEAR THAT PROVE WE’RE ALREADY LIVING IN THE FUTURE...

Dec 18, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Health by Laurel RaymondTHINK PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock Ok, I admit, this type of cyborg is still mostly science fiction.   The 2016 spending bill is a welcome reversal for United States science after a decade of cuts, boosting the budgets of U.S. science agencies across the board. But the good news comes after years of fighting over funding that put the future of U.S. innovation at risk. Earlier this year, the House Science Committee fought to slash NASA’s funding by $300 million. Last year, National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Francis Collins said the agency was forced to reject half of the promising research proposals they received because of budgetary concerns. Two years ago, the U.S. budget sequester slashed funding for science across the board. This trend stretches back years. Though the United...

read more

TOMORROW’S WORKPLACE WILL HAVE VIRTUAL-REALITY PODS AND IN-OFFICE VEGETABLE PLOTS, SAY STUDENTS...

Dec 12, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Point of View  METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Tamy Cozier The day-long Workspace Invader event asked 16 students to design the office of the future. Renderings courtesy HÅG/ING Media Given the constant proliferation of new technologies, it’s hard to say with any certainty what the workplace of the future will look like. Undeterred, design professionals continue to do their best at speculating—often via competitions and workshops—and many of their radical creations often appear ripped from sci-fi storyboards. In November, as part of a one-day workshop, 16 London-based students were tasked with illustrating their ideal future-oriented workplace. The event, called Workspace Invader, paired students with eight leading architects from several U.K. practices who helped them draft their concepts for the offices of tomorrow. The results were fantastic—holograms, virtual-reality rooms, and in-office vegetable plots all figured into their collective vision. “It was amazing to see how diverse our ideas were and how optimistic...

read more

WHAT LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS CAN LEARN FROM HOLLYWOOD...

Dec 11, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT by Jared Green Hollywood studio backlots in southern California have been used to build whole worlds for the big screen for decades. While technologies have changed over time, the principles set designers use to create movie magic seems to be largely the same. Chip Sullivan, ASLA, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, author, and self-professed wanna-be film director, revealed how they do it and what landscape architects can learn from their approach at the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Why learn from Hollywood? Because they are “creating the landscapes we all want to be in.” Classic Hollywood set designs have created: An Illusion of Depth Movie set designers have long used visual tricks to create an “illusion of depth.” In the beginning of the...

read more

INFRASTRUCTURE ADVANCED IN THE REST OF THE WORLD WILL BLOW YOUR MIND...

Nov 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] By james321 REBLOGGED BY SciTech DK GreenRoots Climate Hawks While we’re “debating” torture, access to basic health care and the veracity of climate change, the rest-of-the-world is simply advancing transformational infrastructure like you would not believe. In Switzerland, the world’s longest rail tunnel — straight through the Alps — is about to open. At 57 kilometres, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, which will travel through the Alps between the northern portal of Erstfeld and Bodio in the south, will become the longest rail tunnel in the world once complete, stripping the title from Japan’s 53.85 kilometre Seikan Tunnel. Meanwhile, the ancient tunnels between New York City and New Jersey — dating from 1910 and about 4,400 meters long — are so old — and damaged from recent hurricanes — that they risk forced closure...

read more

THE ISOLATING EFFECT OF EVERYDAY TECHNOLOGY...

Nov 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   kamil kotarba pictures the isolating effect of everyday technology kamil kotarba pictures the isolating effect of everyday technology images courtesy of kamil kotarba       a few weeks ago, we featured a photographic series by eric pickersgill, which showed smartphones ‘removed’ from the grips and gazes of couples, families, and individuals. the images visually revealed a dependency on devices, and exaggerated the potentially isolating effect of everyday technology.   similarly, polish photographer kamil kotarba riffs on the theme with a series titled ‘hide and seek’. instead of deleting the devices, kotarba retains the smartphone in the frame and rather isolates the technology, removing the subject from the scene. floating hands holding iphones are pictured on park benches, in classrooms and waiting for trains, all places where devices distract from the world...

read more

DIGITAL DETOX

Nov 4, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Point of View Jeanne M. Mack Hotels are using deep, warm, and natural tones to create the feeling of a respite from technology’s far-reaching grasp for their guests. Photo Credit Formica Corporation The priority of any hotel is to serve its guests as best as possible. In recent years, that has meant concentrating on keeping them “plugged in.” As U.S. News reports, options such as mobile bookings, complimentary iPads for in-suite use, and smartphone apps for unlocking rooms have become standard fare in the hotel industry. Free WiFi is a given, and at some locations, guests can also adjust their room’s lighting, air conditioning, or window blinds using their smartphones. This infusion of technology into almost every aspect of hotel stays can make for an overstimulated and, at times, even stressful experience. To counter this, the...

read more

‘BACK TO THE FUTURE” NEVER PREDICTED THIS KICKASS SOLAR HOUSE...

Oct 22, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Blue Marble Three years ago next week, when Superstorm Sandy swept through the New York City area, the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., was right in the line of fire. The experience gave the school’s engineers and architects plenty of food for thought on how to design a storm-proof coastal building. So when the Obama administration launched the 14th annual Solar Decathlon—a contest to build the most badass, cutting-edge, solar-powered home—they put pen to paper and hammer to nail. The result is the Sure House (a take on “shore house”), which was awarded first place in the competition this weekend. The house, shown off in the video above, is custom-built for the Jersey Shore, hardened against hurricanes, and uses a fraction of the energy of a normal house. It has tons of...

read more

EPA RULE AIMS TO CURB TOXIC COAL PLANT POLLUTION IN WATERWAYS...

Oct 1, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Katie Valentine THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Matthew Brown This June 17, 2011 photo shows PPL Montana’s J.E. Corette coal-fired power plant along the Yellowstone River in Billings, Mont. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday aimed at curbing the amount of pollution that power plants dump into streams. The rule, known as the Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines, targets steam electric power plants — plants that use steam to drive the electric generator — that dump large amounts of toxic pollutants into streams every year. The rule, according to the EPA, marks the first time the federal government has set limits on the amount of toxic metals that power plants can discharge into streams. The EPA estimates that the rule will keep 1.4 billion pounds of toxic metals and other...

read more

THIS 12-METER TALL 3D PRINTER IS FOR MAKING HOUSES...

Sep 23, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Kif Leswing  FUTURISM In Brief An Italian engineering group called WASP has built a 12-meter tall 3D printer to demonstrate that houses can cheaply be printed using additive techniques. The Breakthrough The printer is called BigDelta and it’s the big brother to last year’s model, which was only 4.5 meters tall. It’s a metal printer, which works a lot like personal 3D printers, using a rotating nozzle/mixer to print structures by adding small bits of materials like clay or metal. Eventually, enough layers add up to form the core of a house. The Implications If engineers could 3D print houses then it would an address a major worldwide issue: by 2030 it’s estimated that 4 billion people will have inadequate housing. Automating building houses using a process like this could go a long...

read more

ULTRA CHEAP CLEANING PROCESS CONVERTS SEA WATER INTO DRINKABLE WATER...

Sep 22, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]  Written By Greg Candelario   FUTURISM 5 days ago water-filter_1024 In Brief This new technology uses a desalination technique that makes salt water into drinking water that sounds like it will be less expensive and more effective than reverse osmosis. The Breakthrough A team of researchers located at the Alexandria University in Egypt has recently developed a way wherein they can use a desalination technique known as pervaporation in order to eliminate salt from sea water and turn it into potable water. This process makes use of special synthetic membranes to filter the large salt particles including other impurities to allow their evaporation. The remaining fluid will then be heated up, vaporized and then converted back into drinking water. The Implications This new procedure can be a major positive impact for millions of lives...

read more

PLACEMETER MEASURES THE FLOW OF PEOPLE THROUGH URBAN SPACES...

Sep 18, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT by Jared Green Cities are increasingly loaded up with technology. Sensors now enable managers of urban water and sewage infrastructure to spot leaks as they happen. Meter maids no longer have to tromp around all day looking for violators — with new video and analytical tools, transportation departments can locate parking offenders in real-time. Cites prone to flooding now have robust-technology-enabled early warning systems. Ubiquitous security cameras can lead to rapid arrests. And smart phone apps enable citizens to report potholes and other problems in the urban environment as they find them. Many technologies aim to improve the responsiveness or resilience of city services. And while many of these new systems are sold as an easy, all-encompassing solution, like any software, they are high maintenance. Smart city technologies certainly can’t fix...

read more

CAN TECH COMBAT TECH ADDICTION?...

Aug 19, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Behavior There is a new software system called Phylter developed by a group of scientists at Tufts University. Phylter is meant as an accompaniment to wearable tech, which poses the risk of non-stop notifications of texts, emails, twitter updates and the like. The software uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy to monitor brain activity, which detects whether you’re deep in thought. The system restricts notifications accordingly–if you’re deep in thought, it’ll cut off notifications; if you’re not deep in thought, it’ll send away. As said in New Scientist, you could use the excuse, “SORRY I missed your call. My brain said I was busy.” It’s a nifty and logical idea, one that is meant to fight the scourge of multitasking. PSFK reported that a study found multitaskers “reported twice the anxiety,...

read more

THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS IN YOUR CLOSET...

Aug 13, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] By Adam Matthews Newsweek Approach the massive Orathupalayam Dam by road, and it quickly becomes clear that something has gone terribly wrong. Within 2 miles of the dam, the lush rice paddies, coconut palms and banana trees that have characterized this part of southern India suddenly give way to a parched, bright red landscape, dotted only with scrub forest. The Noyyal River, which used to be clean and clear, now runs foamy and green, polluted with the toxic runoff of the titanic textile industry 20 miles to the west, in Tirupur. At first glance, Tirupur, aka “Knit City,” appears to be an exemplar of how globalization can improve the developing world. The garment industry here in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu earns billions of dollars annually, employs about a half-million people...

read more

HYPERNATURAL: ARCHITECTURE EVOLVES...

Jul 26, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT   by Jared Green All living creatures employ technologies to gain evolutionary advantage. For example, bats have evolved the use of echolocation to find their way as well as things to eat. A tortoise has evolved a shell to protect itself. There are countless examples. These technologies are tools for survival. Humans are equally a part of nature and now harness new “hypernatural” tools to “amplify, extend, or exceed natural capabilities.” Novel approaches are resulting in advances in the most essential technologies: shelter, or, in its cultural form, architecture. These new hypernatural forms be the “very aim of evolution itself,” write University of Minnesota architecture professors Blaine Brownell and Marc Swackhamer, in Hypernatural: Architecture’s New Relationship with Nature, their brilliant new book. Although, they add that “evolution is a complex, messy process.”...

read more

THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE GOES DOWN: INSIDE THE DYSTOPIAN AFTERMATH...

Jul 12, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Molly Crabapple   TRUTHDIG I was met by fires in the streets, the screams of the dying tourists and the shouts of former traders offering sacrifices to their new gods Bull brought Wall Street down Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Stock trading closed on NYSE after glitch caused major outage – as it happened Wall Street trading ceased for more than three and a half hours, as stoppage coincided with glitch at United Airlines and sharp global market falls I wake up from my whiskey stupor to the scent of burning motherboards, and I know that something is wrong. Out the window in New York’s Financial District, two men in torn bespoke suits roast a body over an oil drum. It looks like Thomas Friedman’s, but I can’t be sure. “Brother can you spare a...

read more

STUFF IN SPACE HELPS VISUALIZE EVERYTHING ORBITING EARTH IN REAL TIME...

Jul 7, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] jul 07, 2015 stuff in space helps visualize everything orbiting earth in real time 0 stuff in space helps visualize everything orbiting earth in real time all images courtesy of james yoder         everyone knows there’s a lot of traffic in space, with satellites beaming mega amounts of data all around the globe. but it’s not like a simple linear traffic jam that you can find at a local highway, and that’s why future engineer james yoder created ‘stuff in space’, a website designed to visualize everything that is orbiting around our precious earth. it is meant to promote space flight safety, protection of the space environment and the peaceful use of space worldwide by sharing space services and information with satellite owners, operators, academia and other institutions.       the...

read more

THE NEW COLD WAR

Jul 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] In the Race to Control the Arctic, the U.S. Lags Behind By Bob Reiss  NEWSWEEK In offshore Alaska, Royal Dutch Shell is preparing to undertake a search for more oil reserves. But the development plans have struck fear in the Inupiat, natives of the state’s arid north coast, because the area is also a migration route for bowhead whales, and critical to the annual whale hunts that are a part of their ancestral traditions. Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux It was just after Christmas 2012, and the Kulluk, a 250-foot-high, floating oil-drill rig, swung like a metronome in gale-force winds blowing through the Gulf of Alaska. The tug that had been towing the rig bobbed helplessly in 50-foot waves, her four diesel engines flooded with seawater as the rig’s skeleton crew of 18...

read more

MOVE OVER CORN. CACTI CAN POWER CARS, TOO....

Jul 3, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock The little cacti that could By Grist staff Is prickly pear cactus, also known as a witch magic hangover cure, the next cheap, drought-friendly biofuel?There are major issues with using food crops like corn and sugarcane for biofuels, including the fact they eat up farmland that could be otherwise used for growing food. But emerging research shows that other types of plants, specifically plants that grow on arid land like prickly pear cactus, could be turned into gasoline, too. Up to 18 percent of the world’s landscape is made up of semi-arid land, much of it unusable for farming. With cactus, you’re not taking away prime food-growing land to grow fuel. And think about all that water conservation! Cacti don’t need much water to thrive (duh) because the plant stores carbon dioxide at night to...

read more

BABY, YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR

Jun 18, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Point of View Mason Riddle Nissan’s Autonomous Drive concept car The future of driving is changing, rapidly. So declared John Eddy in his persuasive keynote presentation at last month’s “Designing a Driverless World: The Future is Now” panel. The event, which was co-sponsored by Urban Land Institute Minnesota and the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) in Saint Paul, and held at the latter, saw a lively discussion about driverless technology and how it might change the fabric of our cities. Eddy, a principal at Arup in San Francisco, led the proceedings—which also featured opening remarks from SMM president and director, Dr. Eric Jolly and Patrick Hamilton, respectively—with  a stirring talk, in which he diplomatically disabused his audience of any preconceived notions about what a driverless world might look like. For Eddy, there isn’t a shortage of motivating...

read more

Our massive new monopolies: Amazon, Google and Facebook have the power to move entire economies...

Jun 9, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos (Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri/Beck Diefenbach/AP/Matt Sayles/AshDesign                                                   Shutterstock/Salon) Tech companies have amassed frightening economic power — and we handed over our data to make it possible Anna Bernasek and D.T. Mongan   SALON.COM   Excerpted from “All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets” The world of data has its own economics. If you know one thing about one person, you don’t have much. If you know one thing about nearly everyone or nearly everything about one person, you have a little. But if you know nearly everything about nearly everyone, you’ve got something priceless. Essentially, data giants are middlemen who connect buyers with sellers for a fee. Google, for example, takes a place among the premier content providers in the world. Every day, the...

read more

RECLAIM YOUR LIFE FROM TECH WITH THIS PEPPER GRINDER...

Jun 5, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]    LIFE EDITED Behavior It’s becoming harder to ignore the fact that pervasive technology use is having a corrosive effect on our ability to connect with other humans. Current research bears this out. One study found that the presence of a cell phone, even when not used, affected a subject’s ability to connect on a deep level and find empathy for others. Another study by the University of Maryland found that people who used a cellphone, even for a short period, were less likely to engage in behavior intended to benefit another person or society as a whole. And lest it seem like the problem is one rooted in youth culture, a Boston Medical Center study looked at parents and other caregivers cell phone use; they found that 40 out of the 55...

read more

THE FUTURE OF WIND POWER MAY NOT HAVE BLADES AT ALL...

May 20, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Walter Einenkel   DAILY KOS Wired put together a very interesting piece on the renewable energy company Vortex. They are now field testing bladeless wind energy turbines. Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind. And for good reason: With enough wind, vorticity can lead to an oscillating motion in structures, which, in some cases, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, can cause their eventual collapse Using the energy created by the oscillation in structures has been covered on Daily Kos long before I came here. As with previous...

read more