September 21, 2009
September 11, 2009
The panel has thus deemed the trajectory NASA is currently following “unsustainable” and calls for a “flexible path.” NASA was already hoping to reduce its operating budget by retiring its fleet of space shuttles in 2010 and — in a most radical step — ceasing operations on the International Space Station in 2015.
It’s not like NASA itself is about to shutter its doors, but what happens next is anyone’s guess. The review board proposed a series of alternatives along said “flexible path,” including going to one of Mars’s moons instead (and not by 2020), seeking more help from foreign nations, redesigning the Ares lunar rockets, or more seriously pressing the challenge of space exploration into the private sector.
los angeles based sander architects recently unveiled their design for a restaurant with an edible facade. grace restaurant will be located in the rectory of the decommissioned st. vibiana’s cathedral, LA.
the proposal features the addition of a triangular piece of property adjoining the rectory, which will include a new kitchen on the first floor with cooking facilities and a private chef’s table on the upper floor.
yesterday the conceptual masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015 was unveiled.
the challenging project is dedicated to the theme ‘feeding the planet, energy for life’.
the five architects stefano boeri, richard burdett, mark rylander, jacques herzog
and william mcdonough illustrated the development, stylistic lines and creative principles
that will shape the area where the expo is to be held.
the expo they envisioned will be a planetary botanical garden open to the citizens of milan
and the world. a place for a fresh encounter between farming and the city that will feed
milan literally, spiritually and intellectually. a vast agrofood park built on an orthogonal
grid, surrounded by water ways and punctuated by striking landscape architecture.
masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron
masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron
masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron
BMW have developed a concept for augmented reality glasses, which assist mechanics in performing maintenance on the company’s cars. the glasses point out the part that needs replacing, the screws that need turning, while an audio track talks the mechanic through the steps of the repair.
Players will get a nifty $3 million to start with, and will be able to put just about any type of building anywhere they want, thanks to the wonders of Google Maps. I particularly like the fact that the owner of the board above has erected a football stadium slap-bang in the the middle of Mayfair, probably London’s most exclusive barrio. This is definitely one for renegade town planners.
Industrial robots are nothing new, but they are getting more and more sophisticated. Watch the video above of the swarming robot warehouse pickers made by Kiva Systems. They are like orange industrial Roombas that go out and find inventory in a warehouse and bring it back to human workers to pack for shipping. Don’t fear them. Really, they are just here to help.
Zappos and Staples use the systems, which are dispatched and controlled by a central computer, and can also detect each other to avoid collisions.
Speaking of Roombas, Kiva Systems might soon have competition from MIT Robotics professor and iRobot co-founder Rodney Brooks. (iRobot manufactures the Roomba robot vacuum). Brooks recently got $7 million in funding from Jeff Bezos and others for his latest venture, Heartland Robotics. The company is still in stealth, but its homepage hints at what it is working on:
Heartland Robotics is combining the power of computers – embodied in robots – and the extraordinary intelligence of the American workforce, to increase productivity and revitalize manufacturing.
They sound so friendly!
When are they going to create a blogging robot so I can take day off?
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) may not sound snappy, but its long-term aim is easily expressed: to act as a vegetable ark. Part of the treaty requires the developed world to fund the preservation of diverse species of food crop around the world.
The funding is provided by richer nations, which have often become variety poor, and given to other nations, which are often poorer but have a wide range of plants which could act as an ‘agricultural insurance’ by maintaining biodiversity in essential crops.
The crops being preserved in this way include potatoes in Peru, corn and beans in Cuba and oranges in Egypt. The varieties need to be preserved to ensure that the planet has a range of foods that are more likely to be able to adapt to challenges ranging from climate change to pollution, from salination to the loss of pollinators like insects to the ability to resist diseases and predators.
Last week, the Internet celebrated its 40th birthday! Forty glorious years that saw not just the transition from ARPANet to the now popular Internet but also Web 2.0 and what not! The Internet has been a revolution–in the making! The Internet that we know of today has been around for a little over a decade. That is also the time period when awareness and action on the “global” climate crisis has been phenomenal. And the link, evident!
the elbe philharmonic hall, hamburg will include 2 concert halls, a 5 star hotel
and apartments. the design of the new building was produced by herzog & de meuron
in conjunction with höhler and werner kallmorgen
like a large glassy wave, the concert hall seems to float above the former
kaispeicher warehouse. two large auditoriums capable of holding 2,150
and 550 visitors will be created in the new glass structure. the almost 100 meter
tall performance place will host concerts of classical music, music of the 21st
century and sophisticated entertainment music.
Since the Renewable Portfolio Standard began in 2002, the California Public Utilities Commission has now approved contracts for more than 8,600 megawatts of new renewable energy, nearly all of it solar, signed with the state’s largest utilities. Most of the state’s renewable energy already on the grid till now has been wind power.
If your Velcro jacket fasteners were made of this German-engineered steel “Velcro”, you’d be able to withstand 35 tons worth of force—provided your skin and bones don’t tear first. (more…)
The Indian government released a report recently which predicted a fourfold increase in carbon emissions output in the next two decades. According to the government report, India’s carbon emissions would increase to 4 to 7 billion tonnes from last year’s level of 1.4 billion tonnes by 2031.
India’s environment minister, however, preferred to point out another finding in the report. The report predicts almost 100 percent increase in per capita emissions but the minister noted that even with a 3.5 to 4 tonnes per capita output it would remain below the global average. The globally agreed limit of per capita emission for sustainable development is 2 tonnes.
That is the argument that the Indian government has put forward frequently in order to dodge international pressure to reduce its carbon emissions. India maintains that its per capita carbon emissions are way below those of the developed countries and thus it would be unfair to ask it to set mandatory emission reduction targets.
Hungry buyers tempted by the scrumptious sizzle of meat cooking over a charcoal fire may want to think twice before buying a snack from one of these outdoor roasting vendors. What they think is chicken could actually be … vulture.
$130,000. That’s how much Waldo—an autonomous underwater robot from the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida—costs. Now they have to find it, and the bloody thing doesn’t even wear a white and red striped sweater. (more…)
Copenhagen-based BIG, in collaboration with ARUP and Transsolar, was awarded the first prize in the international competition to design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion, the regional headquarters for theShenzhen Energy Company.
Total US hybrid sales jumped 48.6% in August from last August, buoyed up by Cash for Clunkers.
We Americans did the right patriotic thing with our clunker money last month, it turns out. We bought more American. And we bought more hybrid cars. Ford was the big winner, making a big dent in Toyota’s hybrid sales.
Consumer reports tells us that 80% would rather buy US cars and 46% of us now prefer fuel efficient cars.
Rannou’s work has ranged from speculative building projects for spatially challenging sites in the city (seen below) to her work Colonisation 2041, featured in the exhibition. This latter project is “an installation reflecting the active and actual occupation that the development of scientific stations in Antarctica represents; energy dependence, waste management, roads and tunnels, planes, tractors, helicopters, and building materials all point to a form of ‘urbanisation’ that is clearly in progress.”
[Image: Parentheses, an “habiter dans les interstices de la ville,” by Catherine Rannou].
Meanwhile, Connie Mendoza produces diagrammatic artworks, analyses of the optical landscapes of mirages, and fascinating quasi-documentary photo-projects, including the stunning Moon Landscapes and Numerical Desert. Numerical Desert, which will be on display in Paris, explores the Atacama Large Millimeter Arraythrough black-and-white photos; it comes with “drawings based on the data of the astronomical observation of stars and galaxies in coverage of the whole southern celestial hemisphere.” She’s also got a blog.
[Image: Antarctic Village by Studio Orta].
Studio Orta’s work touches on political questions associated with empty landscapes – including the question of whether or not one could ever be a citizen of Antarctica. Their Antarctic Village, for instance, pictured above, falls somewhere between an experiment in extreme camping and a stab at temporary utopian space unaffiliated with national governments.
For more information about the exhibition, check out the website.
(Thanks to William Fox for the tip!)
Rather than modify a current engine, as General Motors is doing for the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Automotive is doing with the Karma, Lotus started from scratch and designed an engine specifically for series hybrids. Technical Director Simon Wood says the 1.2 liter three-cylinder Range Extender is better than anything the competition might have because it offers high thermal efficiency, low fuel consumption, multi-fuel capability and low cost. The aluminum engine also is super light, weighing just 123 pounds
the atnmbl by designers mike and maaike is a vehicle concept for the year 2040 that is an autonomobile,
a title that merges autonomy and automobile. the concept is an automated vehicle that instead of driving,
the user simply answers the question ‘where can I take you?’ while this seems futuristic, the technology
exists to have cars think for themselves. GPS, sophisticated sensor, and navigation databases will allow
driverless vehicles to operate on the same roads we have today. the vehicle is electric with solar cells on
the roof to assist in producing energy. inside there is a large wrap around seating bank for seven with no
driver’s seat or steering wheel. the car focuses on allowing users to enjoy quality time on the road,
with the option to socialize, watch movies, work, sleep or surf the web. the car has large windows that
allow the rider to enjoy the view and an interior that is designed more like a domestic space than
a traditional car interior.
A pair of French aeronauts touched down yesterday in western Portugal less than three miles from the Atlantic to win the oldest, and perhaps simplest, aeronautical race in the world.
The two men left Geneva on Saturday and traveled 984 miles in 85 hours and 12 minutes — an average speed of just over 11 mph — to win the 53rd running of the Gordon Bennett Cup. The race is straightforward: everyone departs from the same location and, once airborne, is free to go wherever the winds carry them. Whoever goes the furthest wins.
The Sigg Company recently admitted that its aluminum bottles, long touted as an alternative to chemical leaching plastics, actually contain bisphenol-A (BPA) in their liner. The announcement has left customers around the world outraged. Especially damning is evidence that the company knew as far back as 2006 that the bottle liners contained BPA, yet failed to disclose this fact to consumers.
The advantages of airless tires are obvious: they can’t be punctured and they never go flat. But it clearly takes a lot of science to get the proper material that can stand up to the pressure of a multi-ton military vehicle sitting on top of it. I look forward to when these things are the standard on normal cars we see on the highways.
The winners of the Paris 2009: Dance School for Moulin Rouge competition have recently been revealed. Competition organizer Arquitectum invited architects to design a reinterpretation of the ‘new Moulin Rouge’, the most famous cabaret in the world and a symbol of what is an important piece of Parisian life. The new facilities should enhance the quality of the show and the performance of the dancers. The competition presented an opportunity to propose a new vision for a long standing tradition.
The jury reviewed 290 proposals from all around the world and decided that the winner of the first prize was the team comprising Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, and Daniel Coll i Capdevilla from the UK. Second prize went to David Mulder Van Der Vegt and Max Cohen De Lara from The Netherlands, the third prize was awarded to Walter Sánchez and Dario Rodríguez from Argentina. The judges also selected nine honorable mentions.
An exhibition of the winning entries and honorable mentions will open to the public at the Moulin Rouge, 82 Boulevard de Clichy in Paris on October 6.
These are the three winning projects:
1st Prize: Andrew Fortune, Isaac Cobo i Displs, Daniel Coll i Capdevilla (United Kingdom)
2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)
3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)
Following are the nine honorable mentions:
Last Tuesday, EcoWorldly Staff Writer Bryan Nelson wrote an article on the suspension of dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan. The suspension came off of Japanese local media swarming on Taiji, after the award winning documentary film “The Cove” put the spotlight on the small Japanese village that slaughters thousands of dolphins every year.
Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer and activist who brought the location to the attention of filmmakers, returned to the site of the slaughter this week, just as the annual “hunt” would normally begin. However, this time with all of the media attention, no dolphins were killed in the first 2 days of the season.
August 21, 2009
chaoyangmen SOHO III – inner courtyard
chaoyangmen SOHO III aerial view rendering
I love NYC to bits. But when I see the millions of people shifting in and out Manhattan in a pretty pretty graphic like this, I feel vertigo. And then, when I see the subway statistics, I feel panic.(more…)
Speaking as a guy who rarely goes outside, this concept would be very much the same as a regular phone, but it is a neat looking flexible device that doubles as a watch when not in use.(more…)
Investigators in Germany are testing a satellite navigation system that promises faster, safer freight transport on Europe’s railways. All they needed to perform the trials were eight fake satellites and one mock 86-acre rail yard.
The European Union claims their Galileo satellite navigation system — a competitor and complement to the US’ Global Positioning System and Russia’s GLONASS – is so accuratethat it can be used to implement an automated train control (ATC) system at railyards. With ATC, individual freight cars can automatically be classified onto appropriate trains, saving time and decreasing the possibility of railyard accidents.
There’s only one problem: Galileo won’t be ready for another four years. As a result, engineers at Siemens had to create a reasonable facsimile of the system in order to test their ATC technology.
Siemens’ RailGATE project (GATE is an acronym for “application center for ground transportation” in German) is taking place on 17 miles of faux railway at the company’sWegberg-Wildenrath testing facility (shown above). “The aim is to explore potential applications for the future Galileo satellite system in rail-bound transportation and to make it even more reliable in future,” the company said in a statement.
In order to simulate the signals from the Galileo satelite, Siemens built eight signal generators they call “pseudolites” which transmit the same signals that trains would receive from Galileo. During the trial, trains are being shunted and classified in a series of test tracks that mimic real-world applications, such as in a busy depot with multiple arriving trains or in a wooded forest where reception may be blocked.
Should the tests be successful they may revitalize the EU’s rail freight, a sector of transport where Europe lags behind much of the rest of the world. Freight transit by rail has declinedfrom a high of 21 percent in 1970 to a low of 8 percent in 1998. The European Commission White Paper on Transit envisions a world where Galileo and ATC lead a shift in freight transit from funny-looking flat-front trucks to relatively more efficient trains.
Photo: Siemens AG. The Wegberg-Wildenrath testing facility now features eight “pseudolites” to test the EU’s incomplete Galileo global satellite navigation system.
Destructive and deadly ants are being attacked down-under from up above. As part of theNational Fire Ant Eradication Program (NFAEP), the Australian government is going high-tech to eradicate the fire ant. NFAEP, which began in 2001, is a national program used to control and eradicate fire ants. In 2001, 65,000 nests were discovered.
How do you make a better wind turbine? With lasers, of course.
The Manassas, Virginia-based Catch the Wind(TSX-V: CTW.S) has signed an agreement to work with the National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colorado, to test the company’s Vindicator laser wind sensor.
July 17, 2009
manhattan based firm axis mundi has unveiled a conceptual alternative design for MoMA tower.
founder of the firm john beckmann sees this as the time to rethink the tall buildings
that have become synonymous with new york city’s identity.
‘instead of disguising the rich potential of towers that have a mix of uses, we looked
for a way to express that diversity,’ beckmann noted. the firm used parametric computer
modeling software to test a wide range of possibilities. out of this iterative process they
proposes a new way to organize and express tall buildings: the vertical neighborhood.
June 26, 2009