Global Collapse, Human Survival & the Planet’s Boundaries

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

A new study by nearly 30 of the world’s best scientists concludes that we have crossed three of the world’s nine thresholds. It is not only about climate change.

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Biofuel to be Made from Tuberculosis Bacteria

from Green Options by Bryan Nelson

researcher examines biofuel-producing microbes

A team of researchers at MIT are engineering a strain of bacteria, which is similar to the type that causes tuberculosis, to produce biofuel.

The researchers say that the bacteria are useful because they are hungry for a number of sugars and toxic compounds and produce lipids that can be converted to biodiesel.

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Harvard lawn goes organic

from Feed

imageThe results have so astounded university administrators that what started as a one-acre pilot project in Harvard Yard has spread organic practices through 25 acres on the campus. Read more at the NYT. To help laypeople unravel the mysteries of the soil in their own yard, Harvard has posted a kind of mini-course on its Web site.

Years of caste system belie Indians’ shared ancestry

from New Scientist – Online News

Inbreeding within the Indian caste system could have led to a rise in genetic disease

Firefighter Boots Leave Goopy, Glowing Trail Of Firefly Carcasses

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

I can’t pretend to have experienced the danger of firefighting first-hand, but it seems like losing a partner while a burning building crumbles around you is a very real possibility. And these boots, while just a concept, might help. (more…)

India heading for worst drought since 1972: weather data

from Earth News, Earth Science, Energy Technology, Environment News

india-farm-drought-2009-afp-sm.jpgNew Delhi (AFP) Sept 23, 2009 – India’s monsoon was about 20 percent below strength just over a week before the official end of the rainy reason, putting the country on course for its worst drought since 1972, weather data showed Wednesday.

Water-short Iraq faces new peril: the sea

from Earth News, Earth Science, Energy Technology, Environment News

shatt-al-arab-iraq-sm.jpgBaghdad (UPI) Sep 23, 2009 – Iraq’s water crisis is getting worse by the day, adding to the political uncertainty sweeping the country ahead of potentially incendiary parliamentary elections in January.

10 Global Cities & Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

A new report ranks ten leading world cities on their greenhouse gas emissions. It also examines how and why the emissions differ.

As the report says, over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Leading cities of the world, global cities, are the places where greenhouse gas emissions really need to be cut. The greenest city from the study is Barcelona and the worst is Denver.

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Ice Road Truckers Could be Replaced by Airships

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

skyhookIn a search for alternatives to the famed ice roads of the Arctic, Canadian officials are looking to use massive airships for moving freight across the frozen north.

“We have a duty as Canadians not to abandon the North,” University of Manitoba professor Barry Prentice told the Calgary Sun. “We’re at the tipping point — once there’s one airship in the sky, there’ll be a stampede towards airships.” If such a shift occurs, large cargo could be moved via airship economically. Unlike trucks or planes, airships can operate in all but the most extreme weather.

With such promise, it’s no surprise that cargo airships are the focus of the fifth annual Airships to the Arctic conference, to be held next week in Calgary.

As anyone who’s watched Ice Road Truckers on the History Channel could tell you, trucking companies are extremely limited in their access to northern communities, some of which include vital oil and mining outposts. Additionally, according to Prentice, airships will become even more valuable as climate change further reduces the already short ice road season.

Luckily for Canadians, Calgary might be the world headquarters for airship research and development. Calgary-based SkyHook International, together with Boeing, is developing a massive cargo airship that’s capable of carrying over 80,000 pounds of freight over 200 miles. The HLV — for Heavy Lift Vehicle — is powered by helicopter engines and may take to the sky as soon as 2014.

“In the oil and gas industry, there are significant pressures on cost, speed, safety and environmental impact,” SkyHook director Rob Mayfield said in a statement. “The Skyhook HLV represents solutions to each of these challenges in various applications.”

In addition to the hometown heroes at SkyHook, Prentice told the Calgary Herald that 16 companies worldwide have airships in the test phase. Thirteen of those companies will be at next week’s conference. “It isn’t just us that are interested in airships,” he said. “There’s a worldwide race to get into this technology.”

Image: Boeing. Someday, airships could transport vital freight to isolated Arctic communities.

Google Earth Shows Climate Change Effects

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

A new tool in Google Earth shows you the “effect” of climate change in your area.

Using Google Earth, you can look at climate effects under three different scenarios — 1) Confronting Climate Change — “with Al Gore”, 2) IPCC High Emissions Scenario, and 3) IPCC Low Emissions Scenario. Other new tools let you examine other aspects of climate change and how to adapt to climate change.

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Trends in Food prices

from New graphics: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <>

Trends in Food pricesFAO Food Price Index


Trippy 10.6m Interactive Screens Decorate Microsoft Campus

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Made from transparent LED tubes, the hanging banner-like screens display Max/MSP-generated visuals that never look the same. A combination of thermal sensors, camera-tracking, weather conditions—even local traffic—all affect how images are mixed in real-time. (more…)

7 Groundbreaking Electric Vehicles Built Before the 1900s

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

One might be surprised that the EV dates all the way back to the 1800s. In fact, in its heyday, there were 4,192 cars made in the U.S. and 28-percent of them were electric! Here are some defining moments from New York City’s first fleet of electric taxis to setting the very first land speed record.

Carriage Built in 1830s Uses Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Robert Anderson built a crude electric carriage in the 1830s using non-rechargeable batteries. It eventually became the rechargeable Detroit Electric (1907 – 1939) which in one test run achieved a 211.3 mile range and a top speed of 20 MPH. It was mainly marketed to women who didn’t want to bother with hand cranking an engine.

850 New Species Found Underground

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan

In the Australian outbacks, 18 scientists have just discovered over 850 new species living underground.

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mosstika: living wall

from Designboom – Weblog

mosstika is the studio of edina tokodi a hungarian artist living and working in brooklyn, new york who
creates artwork from plants. as the name suggests mosstika works with the green plant material known as
moss. for her artwork, tokodi uses the growing material to create silhouettes and other designs that she often
installs on the street. her latest project moves in a new direction, integrating a wood frame and irrigation
system to create a living wall. the project was installed in brooklyn earlier this year and features a large
wooden frame that is layered over a field of green succulent plants. the effect creates an image of a woman
when viewed from afar. up close, you can see the plant material, which is ideal for growing on a vertical
surface. while this piece was installed outdoors, perhaps we will someday have living art inside our homes.

olivier pitot and damian gernay

from Designboom – Weblog

image © designboom

olivier pitot and damien gernay are presenting their works at diito gallery in brussels, belgium.
the show is still on view until october 2nd, 2009.

World-record bridge and causeway will be 24 miles long

from DVICE by Charlie White

World-record bridge and causeway will be 24 miles long

If you live in the Middle Eastern countries of Qatar or Bahrain, apparently there are no worries about a world economic crisis. That’s because those countries are teaming up to build the Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Causeway, a $3 billion bridge that’ll be a jaw-dropping 13.6 miles long, with 11.2 miles’ worth of causeway interspersed. Wow. That crossing will be nearly 24 miles long, which would make it the world’s longest marine causeway.

EXTRASTUDIO’s Awarded Proposal at Fundación COAM, Madrid

from News by Vanilla Hustler

If you’re in Madrid this week, hurry to see the remaining days of the exhibition of the competition entries forMadrid’s Valdebebas Urban Park at the Colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid. The exhibit will remain open to the public until October 1st at the Fundación COAM.

One of the exhibited entries is the proposal by Portuguese EXTRASTUDIO in collaboration with landscape architects Oficina dos Jardins that reached an honorable mention. Here is a description from the architects:

Valdebebas Urban Park Madrid - EXTRASTUDIO

Click above image to enlarge
EXTRASTUDIO’s awarded proposal for Madrid’s Valdebebas Urban Park

The joint venture between EXTRASTUDIO and the landscape architects Oficina dos Jardins, was awarded an Honorable Mention on the International Competition for Madrid´s Valdebebas Urban Park. The competition, developed in two phases, selected 6 proposals for a second phase. EXTRASTUDIO’s proposal was ranked 4th among 163 international practices.

Valdebebas new urban park, with an area of 80 hectares, is part of Madrid´s largest expansion plan, which includes Real de Madrid’s new Sport City, the new IFEMA extension (Madrid’s Trade Fair Centre), the new Barajas airport terminal and Campus de Justicia, with projects by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Foreign Office Architects and Zaha Hadid.

Valdebebas Urban Park Madrid - EXTRASTUDIO

Click above image to enlarge
Aerial View

Big plans for 220mph trains could forever change the way Americans travel

from DVICE by Charlie White

Big plans for 220mph trains could forever change the way Americans travel

There’s a lot of big talk about high-speed rail, but French railroad operator SNCF submitted a detailed proposal for 220mph trains zipping around the United States that could really work. The company has earned the respect of the transportation community because of its awesome 357mph TGV system currently rocketing through France.