Trade is critical for generating economic growth and reducing poverty. Without good quality infrastructure roads, rail, and ports the cost of trade and transport rises. In Southern Africa transport costs are 73% higher than in the EU and US, limiting the ability of the region to trade competitively. Landlocked countries such as Zambia are especially affected, facing transport costs around 50% higher than coastal countries. As a consequence their trade volume is some 60% smaller .

On the 6th April, DFID announced £100 million for the implementation of an innovative and comprehensive transport and cross-border trade reform programme along the North-South Corridor combined with a broader package of regional trade-related reforms. The initiative is also supported by other donors and will transform Southern and East African trading opportunities.

The North South Corridor will involve upgrading 4000 km of road, rehabilitating 600 km of rail track and help to accelerate the generation of 35 Giga Watts of new power capacity through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP, and to enable a better system for power transmission power across the region by 2015. Improvements on the NS Corridor could lead to transport cost savings to African based businesses in the order of US$50 million per year.

12 Million Homes Powered By German Off-Shore Wind

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Germany’s position as the world wind leader was consolidated today with an announcement of 40 offshore wind farms to be built in German waters more than 12 miles off the coast. The goal is to get a total of 25,000 megawatts just from ocean-sited wind power by 2030. This would provide the first half of that; from a 12,000 MW wind farm. Germany is only just starting to dip its toes into off-shore wind production. It signed its first offshore wind project of just 15 megawatts a few months ago with the Alpha Ventus project that was co-financed by German energy giants Vattenfall, E.on and EWE and subsidized by the German government. Read more of this story »

In Seoul, Subway Riders Learn a New Way to Walk

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry
subwayseoul Starting October 1, riders of  Seoul Metropolitan Subway must walk on the right through stations, ending the longstanding Korean habit of walking on the left. The move is aimed at reducing pedestrian congestion and traffic accidents, though we had to check to make sure there’s no Korean equivalent to April Fool’s Day anytime in mid-September.

Environmentalism as a Step in Individual Evolution

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Environmental care is a practical, worldly thing. But it is also a step in one’s personal evolution. On the one hand, it is a practical response to the environmental problems we are facing. It is also a foresighted response to the issues (economic and environmental) that we might be facing if we don’t think more about the environment we live in and rely on. But, on the other hand, it is much more than that. Read more of this story »

Australia is #1 — New World Leader in Global Warming Emissions

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan
Australia has passed the US as the new world leader in CO2 emissions per capita. That is not the only climate change problem in Australia, though. Read more of this story »

Arizona Project Uses Algae to Turn Coal Pollution Into Biofuel

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electricity provider, has secured $70.5 million in stimulus funds toexpand an innovative project that turns carbon dioxide emissions from a coal power plant into biofuel using algae. While part of the funds will be used to scale up the algae processing portion, some of the funds will also be used to investigate the potential benefits of turning the coal into a gas prior to burning it for power. The concept of creating two products — electricity and fuel — from the same process is known as cogeneration. In this case, the cogeneration also helps to reduce environmental pollution. It’s an idea that has been gathering support as a way to make coal less polluting while finding an additional revenue source to pay for the pollution control itself. In fact, a while back I reported on a similar pilot project in Oregon. Read more of this story »

off architecture: jean moulin high school

lycee jean moulin will be built into the hilly landscape of revin in france all images courtesy of off architecture the architectural reconstruction project of lycee jean moulin in revin, france is to be completed by off architecture in association with duncan lewis scape architecture and jeans giacinto. located within a vast and undulating terrain with many curves, the architects want to install the new building into the topography of the landscape. they will utilize the constraints of the slope, so the school is elevated and recedes upwards, creating a pattern of movement. through incorporating the architecture into hilly surroundings, they want to ensure that the users of this new college will benefit from the natural qualities of the surrounding environment. the project is set to be completed for 2012. an aerial view of the architecture’s receding layers grass will be placed on the roofs of each level so that the building blends in with the green landscape appearing like a hill itself

It’s the end of the world as we know it

image
Dubai’s mega-project The World – a series of man-made islands in the shape of the major landmasses on the planet – is officially canceled, reportsTimesOnline.com

GreenSun Develops Colorful Solar Panels that don’t need Direct Sunlight

from Green Options by Jeff Kart
Solar power comes in many forms, from rigid to thin film. The panels are shiny, gleaming and ready to harness the power of the sun. They’re also usually silver. Yet they also come in colors, not just for looks, but for efficiency. Read more of this story »

Li�ge-Guillemins train station: a ticket to tomorrow

image Photo by Neil Pulling It is majestic, daring � and a destination in itself. This glorious new station in Belgium is the future of train travel, writesJonathan Glancey.

Prefab Resources, Tiny House Ideas, and Small Dwelling Design Links

from Green Options by Lucille Chi
Check out the prefab community blooming online these days! Tiny House Village is trying to connect communities of creative small dwellings. Ideas are abound for these eco communities with Resources For Life’sSmall House Society. Tiny House design has a great set of resources all linked here as well. Check out the plethora of architectural resources, Read more of this story »

loop.ph: sonumbra

as part of the ‘in praise of shadows’ exhibition at the V&Aloop.ph will be exhibiting sonumbra inside the jones gallery. sonumbra is an experimental body of work which explores how alternative sources of energy and low cost lighting can be crafted to provide light and shade for a community of people. parasols constructed from strands of lights laced together, have the potential to offer shelter from the sun by day and provide light for a local community at night through energy which has been collected from solar cells that have been embedded within its canopy. the use of the low cost, flexible, organic solar cells is a collaboration with riso DTU, the national laboratory for sustainable energy in denmark. the installation runs during london design week from september 19th to september 27th. the parasol-like form hanging down from the ceiling display of the architectural textile’s flexibility the form behaves like a fabric and can be draped, bent and folded

NBBJ: dalian stadium

image credit: li fang NBBJ has finalized their proposal for the new dalian shide football stadium in dalian, china. the structure is designed with principles of organic architecture in mind, modeling itself after a garden by having only what is needed to thrive. the design imagines if the ground were folded open to create two garden walls to contain the venue. this concept creates a strong visual impact and leaves both ends open to overlook the ocean and mountains nearby. the exterior of the walls are clad with living plants that naturally change colour throughout the year, while the inside features giant LED panels. a roof made from a flexible cable system covers the stadium and is interwoven with fabric to shield the fans from the elements. the design is an attempt to improve the in-stadium experience, rather than focus on the exterior form like many other modern stadiums. the stadium will have 40,000 seats and intends to set a new standard for sustainable stadium architecture. http://www.nbbj.com image credit: li fang

How Straw Bale Building Will Go Mainstream

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer
Building houses out of straw is as old as, well, as old as the medieval nursery story about the Three Little Pigs, and their houses; one of Bricks, one of Straw and something… it’s been a while. Straw building has a long long history. It is a great natural insulator. But it’s not so easy for the average builder to access straw, these days. You’ll not find straw insulation at your local hardware store. Read more of this story »

Google Reveals Plans to Develop More Efficient and Cost-Effective Solar Thermal Technology

from Green Options by Beth Graddon-Hodgson
Solar Thermal As if Google isn’t already doing enough for the world of technology, they’re actually joining the solar technology movement in order to help increase the progress, which they believe has been disappointing to date.  Their goal is to use mirror technology for solar energy that will be cheaper and therefore more accessible to the masses, so cost isn’t such a contributing factor to why many are unable to make their homes a little bit greener. Read more of this story »

Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gap

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water withdrawal and consumption: the big gapFreshwater use by continents is partly based on several socio-economic development factors, including population, physiographic, and climatic characteristics. Analysis indicates that: – Annual global freshwater withdrawal has grown from 3,790 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,070 km3 or 61%) in 1995, to 4,430 km3 (of which consumption accounted for 2,304 km3 or 52%) in 2000 (Shiklomanov, 1999). – In 2000, about 57% of the world’s freshwater withdrawal, and 70% of its consumption, took place in Asia, where the world’s major irrigated lands are located (UNESCO, 1999). – In the future, annual global water withdrawal is expected to grow by about 10-12% every 10 years, reaching approximately 5,240 km3 (or an increase of 1.38 times since 1995) by 2025. Water consumption is expected to grow at a slower rate of 1.33 times (UNESCO, 1999). – In the coming decades, the most intensive rate of water withdrawal is expected to occur in Africa and South America (increasing by 1.5-1.6 times), while the least will take place in Europe and North America (1.2 times) (Harrison and Pearce, 2001; Shiklomanov, 1999; UNESCO, 1999).

Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Renault unveils space buggy-style Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle Renault rocked the auto world today by showing off the new Twizy Z.E. concept vehicle. The car’s futuristic design brings to mind visions of a space exploration surface buggy, sporting hexagonal wheel coverings and headlights as well as neon yellow trimmings. The company’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, said, “[Twizy’s] distinctive layout combines advantages of both two- and four-wheel vehicles, offering maximum agility with stability.” Renault won’t commit to releasing this exact vehicle design to the public, but hopes to use the 15kW (20hp) electric motor that powers the Twizy in vehicles scheduled to hit the market in 2011. Via Renault

White House Unveils Landmark Fuel Economy and Emissions Standards

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Today the Obama Administration released a 1,200 page document of proposed regulation changes that will drastically alter the fuel economy and emissions standards that auto manufacturers are required to meet in the US. Although it could be an incredibly contentious topic, it seems that so far the proposal has gained wide support from all sides of the spectrum including environmental organizations and industry lobby groups. The changes — which would alter both the Department of Transportation’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules — call for what amounts to about a 5% increase in fuel economy standards per year from 2011 to 2016 starting with 27.3 mpg in 2011 and ending with 35.5 mpg in 2016. In addition to the new economy standards, the White House has outlined the first ever greenhouse gas emissions limits for new cars sold in the US. Starting with model year 2016, each manufacturer’s new car fleet would have to meet an average limit of 250 grams of carbon emitted per mile driven. Read more of this story »

Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolis

from DVICE by Adario Strange
Dubai 2010 video depicts a futuristic Arabian metropolisThe ever-growing state of Dubai recently took the wraps off its new, 7.6 billion-dollar Dubai Metro project. Other than its whopping price tag, what makes the project special is that it claims to offer the longest driverless metro system in the world.

Along with Dubai’s new metro system and adventurous architecture, the city’s residents also hope to make the city one of the world’s first truly sci-fi metropolises. Perhaps the most ambitious vision of the area’s future comes from Dubai-based post-production house Rolling Thunder via its “Dubai 2010” trailer that features everything from flying cars to the requisite mirror maze of sci-fi-style buildings. You can check out the full trailerhere.

Via The National

Dead Forests to Fuel Vehicles

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Here’s a resource we’ll have plenty of as ever wider swathes of our forests get decimated by pests like the Pine Bark Beetle. Dead trees. In an adaptation eerily reminiscent of Thomas Edison’s dictum We live like squatters, not as if we owned the property” a university has invented a technology to harvest one of the horrific effects of climate change.

The University of Georgia Research Foundation has developed an innovative way to turn dead trees into a liquid fuel and has licensed it to Tolero Energy in California. We could be driving on our dead forests as soon as 2010.

The technology represents a leap forward for the biofuels industry. Not only does the resulting biofuel need no additional refinement before blending with diesel fuel, but it is a naturally very low-sulphur biofuel.

And it would prevent additional CO2 from being released if the forest was left to decay.

But the biggest leap is in thinking of using a non-food source (at least for us humans) of biomass that we will have an ever increasing abundance of, as our climate gets worse and worse. And it doesn’t take scarce water resources to grow. Quite the contrary. Droughts and rising temperatures are all it needs.

Dead trees are one of the major sources of waste biomass, says Tolero CEO Chris Churchill.

Read more of this story »

Skyscraper Bridges

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Skyscraper Bridges” by Raymond Hood (1929), as seen in the project PDF for Rael San Fratello‘s Bay Line].

$1.1 Trillion to Cut Carbon Emissions in India

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


The United Nations stated a couple weeks ago that developed (rich) countries need to provide developing countries with about $500-600 billion a year to control global warming. This was a big increase from other predictions.

Big portions of these funds need to go to India, a large developing country that includes about one sixth of the world’s population. A new study shows what is needed to significantly cut growth in greenhouse gases in this top country.

Read more of this story »

Mercury-Laden CFLs to Overwhelm Minnesota’s Recycling Program

from Green Options by Dave Dempsey

A surge in the number of mercury-bearing energy-efficient light bulbs in use in Minnesota is expected to overwhelm recycling programs in the next few years and there’s no plan yet on how to recycle more of them.

Fluorescent light bulbs use only one-fourth as much energy per unit of light produced as incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. One CFL bulb contains 5 milligrams of mercury, about one-fifth the amount in a watch battery.

Read more of this story »

Extreme agricultural statuary

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

I mentioned a recent issue of Mark Magazine the other day, but I deliberately saved one of the articles for a stand-alone post later on. That article was a long profile of the work of Philip Beesley, a Toronto-based architect and sculptor, whose project the “Implant Matrix” BLDGBLOG covered several years ago.

In issue #21 of Mark, author Terri Peters describes several of Beesley’s projects, but it’s the “Endothelium” that really stood out (and that you see pictured here).

[Image: “Endothelium” by Philip Beesley].

Celebrating the Life of a Scientist that “Fed the World”

from Green Options by Steve Savage

Norm Bourlag (center) consulting with IRRI researchers

Dr. Norman Borlaug passed away this weekend at 95.  He left behind an amazing legacy of contribution to humanity.  It is likely that he saved more human lives than any other person in history.  He did it by developing far more productive wheat than had ever been grown.  His “short stature” wheat had shorter, thicker stems so that it could hold bigger heads of grain that would otherwise “lodge” (collapse over on to the ground where it can’t be harvested).  It was also resistant to the devastating wheat disease called “Stem Rust.”  This wheat ended up feeding millions of people around the world, particularly in Pakistan and India in the 1960s.  Borlaug’s breakthrough was a key part of the “Green Revolution” and it did much to address the hunger and poverty issues of the time.  For this, and his life-time of additional work Bourlag recieved the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Metal .  Only Martin Luther King, Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa have received all of these commendations.  He was also awarded theNational Medal of Science and a host of other awards from around the world.  There is an excellent article about the life and career of this remarkable man in the Des Moines Register.

Read more of this story »

Liquid-Filled LED Bulbs: 360 Degree Light

from MetaEfficient Reviews by Justin
Liquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLuxLiquid-Filled LED Light Bulbs: HydraLux

I’ve been testing a new LED bulb called the HydraLux. These unique bulbs are filled with a clear liquid coolant (a non-toxic paraffin oil). Other LED bulbs use large metal fins or fans for cooling purposes. The advantage of using a liquid coolant is that the LED bulb can produce 360° light like a regular incandescent bulb. (more…)

Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module

from DVICE by Stewart Wolpin
Control4 readies first smart grid energy/home control module
Local power companies all over the country are helping to built a 21st century smart grid, complete with smart meters, which talk back to the grid, attached to your home. Control4 is getting ready to deploy its home Energy Management System (EMS) EC-100 so you can monitor and control not only your home’s energy consumption via data provided by the smart meter, but your A/V system, security, lights, HVAC, etc.

In March 2010, the EC-100, which has a 5-inch LCD touchscreen, will be initially deployed by the Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative in Austin, TX, in 35,000 homes in the first wave and an additional 30,000 in a second wave. The control module actually displays your energy use in a variety of sub-categories (lighting, kitchen, air conditioning, etc.) in dollars, and lets you automate your home to conserve energy. For instance, as the sun comes up, an expanded EMS Control4 Home Area Network (HAN) system could automatically lower the shades or, when you leave a room or your house, the system automatically adjusts the thermostat to use less power – in other words, your house could run on energy-saving cruise control.

In case you’ve never heard of them (honestly, I hadn’t until I got to Atlanta for CEDIA), Control4 sells arguably the most affordable and simplest home automation system around, along with a whole bunch of inexpensive modules to control everything from your A/V system to window blinds, all controlled using the ZigBee wireless control spec from your HDTV via one simple remote.

As the smart grid/smart meter trend grows, Control4 will supply the EC-100 to local power companies to distribute or sell at a subsidized price to their customers, or perhaps sell them directly to consumers. All to be decided.

1.27 million displaced by China’s Three Gorges Dam: report

Beijing (AFP) Sept 13, 2009 – China has relocated 1.27 million people to make way for the controversial Three Gorges dam development, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, state media reported

$900 Billion to Cut China’s Emissions with Wind Power

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


As mentioned in previous posts, the United Nations is calling on rich (developed) countries to provide developing countries with $500-600 billion a year in support to tackle climate change. A recent report declares that India needs $1.1 trillion in the next several years to cut emission growth by 50-60% by 2030. Another report from the last week says that China could cut its emissions by 30% by 2030 as well with $900 billion of investment in wind energy.

Read more of this story »

Volkswagen’s Diesel-Hybrid L1 Concept Gets 170 MPG, Available by 2013

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

Volkswagen will display an updated version of its 1-Liter concept this week at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show. The diesel-hybrid car which only weighs around 800 lbs gets an jaw-dropping 170 MPG. So who wants one?

It was seven years ago when VW first announced the idea. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch–currently the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Volkswagen Group–drove a prototype of the car from Wolfsburg to Hamburg. It was the world’s first car to travel 100 kilometers on just a single liter of fuel. But the concept wasn’t ready for production as the body’s carbon-fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) was too costly for consideration.

Read more of this story »

Finalists of the UPTO35 Competition Revealed

image In June 2009, OLIAROS, a young Greek property development company, issued a call for architects up to 35 years old to submit proposals for the design and construction of a model, affordable student housing complex in Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio (KM), an area in the historic center of Athens, Greece. Finalists have just been announced – view them at Bustler

Dirty coal is here to stay

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Dirty coal is here to stayCoal producers are already taking advantage of the oil shortage and might even more in the future. In 2004 43 % of the electricity produced in the world came from coal.

Certified Emission Reductions

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Certified Emission ReductionsOne certified emission reduction unit is equivalent to a one-tonne reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (measured in CO2 equivalent). Circles have only been drawn for countries that have issued more than 50,000 CERs. Certified Emission Reduction units issued by host parties.

NASA’s return to the moon ‘unsustainable,’ says review

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
NASA's return to the moon 'unsustainable,' says reviewThe budgetary review of NASA ordered by President Obama has found that the program needs quite a bit more money than previously thought to reach its goal of getting back to the moon by 2020: $3 billion more yearly is needed, the panel of experts say, on top of NASA already contested annual budget of $18 billion. The goal of “back to the moon within the next decade” was set during the Bush administration.

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.

News.com.au, via redOrbit, via Fast Company

sander architects: edible restaurant

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.

Tilt Shift Photograpy

from Design + Build by Jordan

Tilt Shift photography refers to taking photographs using a tilt/shift lens – a lens that can change angle in relation to the sensor/film in a camera, rather than being parallel to it. Traditionally the lens is used to take full length photos of buildings without having the lines in the building converge towards the top. The lens would adjust to bring the lines into parallel again.

In recent times there has been a shift towards use of the lens to force the focus onto a specific spot within the photo, and also provide really, really shallow depth of field. The result of this is photographs in which the scene actually looks like a miniature model of the scene.

It has even become so popular there are various tutorials showing you how to fake the effect in photoshop for those who can’t afford the (admittedly expensive) lens.

Here’s  few examples of the effect… what do you think of it? Does it have potential as a graphical presentation technique for architectural work?




jacques herzog, ricky burdett, stefano boeri, william mcdonough: milan expo 2015 – conceptual masterplan


masterplan for the milan world exposition 2015
image © herzog & demeuron

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: augmented reality to help with car repairs

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.

Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnation

from DVICE by Addy Dugdale
Monopoly board game uses Google Maps in its latest incarnationMonopoly, perhaps the most time-consuming board game in the history of board games, is about to go online. On September 9, Hasbro is launching Monopoly City Streets, a live, worldwide version of what may or may not be what The Donald used to play as a nipper.

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.

Monopoly City Streets Via Daily Mail

Workers Of The World, Meet Your Robot Replacements

from TechCrunch by Erick Schonfeld

Popout

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?

(Hat tip to Hizook. Video by IEEE Spectrum Online).

International Treaty Establishes Plant Arks around Globe

from Green Options by Kay Sexton

corn varieties

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.

Can the Internet Help Fight Climate Change?

from Green Options by Govind Singh

Internet and Climate Change

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!

herzog & de meuron: elbe philharmonic hall in hamburg

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.

California Adds 8,600 MW New Renewable Power: Meets RPS Goals

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer

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.

Read more of this story »

Steel ‘Velcro’ Made By Germans Supports 35 Tons, 800 Degree Heat

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

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…)

La Grande Architecture of Hollywood

image Curbed LA talks to Morphosis’ Kim Groves about their design for the Hollywood extension campus of Emerson College. Curbed LA

Total population: access to an improved water source

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Total population: access to an improved water sourceThe 2004 global image sadly shows that the lack of access to clean water remains a burden for the poorest countries, preventing them accelerating their development. Essentially handicapping most sub-Saharan African countries, the map shows some curious trends, such as Romania, which remains far behind all other European countries.

India Continues to Argue Against Emission Cuts Even as Emissions are Set to Quadruple by 2030

from Green Options by Mridul Chadha

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.

Read more of this story »

Vultures Killed and Sold as Roasted Chicken

from Green Options by Rhishja Larson

Barbecue chicken image for roasted vulture article

A disturbing incident in Eket, Nigeria reveals that unsuspecting roadside barbecue patrons may have been eating vulture meat instead of chicken.

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.

Read more of this story »

Where The Hell Is Waldo, The $130,000 Red Algae Hunting Robot?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

$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…)

BIG to Design Shenzhen International Energy Mansion

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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.

Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG

Click above image to enlarge
Rendering of the competition-winning design for the new Shenzhen International Energy Mansion by BIG, ARUP, and Transsolar

Americans Want More Fuel-Efficient Cars, US Hybrids Up 48%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


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.

Read more of this story »

Extreme Environments

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
Opening today in Paris is a new exhibition called Uninhabitable? Art of Extreme Environments. Featured artists include Catherine RannouConnie Mendoza, and Studio Orta, among many others.

[Image: From Numerical Desert by Connie Mendoza].

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 DesertNumerical 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.

    Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites. The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people.

For more information about the exhibition, check out the website.

(Thanks to William Fox for the tip!)

Lotus Has Big Plans for a Small Engine

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

lotus_range_extender

The guys at Lotus Engineering have built an itty-bitty engine that runs on just about anything and is, they say, perfect for range-extended hybrids.

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

mike and maaike: atnmbl

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.

http://www.mikeandmaaike.com

Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Freshwater alkalinity: 1976-2008Alkalinity is commonly used to indicate a water body’s capacity to buffer against acidity; that is, the ability to resist, or dampen, changes in pH. Thus, alkaline compounds in water, such as bicarbonates, carbonates, and hydroxides, lower the acidity of the water and increase the pH. Alkalinity (as CaCO3) was analysed for all sampling stations available at the continental level. Concentrations remained reasonably steady between the two decades for Africa, Asia, South America and Australasia, but significant increases were noted for European and North American rivers, which may indicate a shift towards reduced acidic impacts at the continental scale. Overall, during the last 30 years , alkalinity has decreased in North America and Europe, but has significantly increased in Asia. Examination of the outflow stations in 82 monitored river basins indicate a decrease in bicarbonate concentrations between the two decades , in the northern latitudes, including North America, Europe and Asia. For the period 1976-1990, European rivers displayed the highest concentrations of calcium at a continental level, with concentrations varying between 2 mg and 50 mg per litre for major rivers. Comparing the two decades, observations of surface water showed an increase in calcium concentrations in the Laurentian shield region of North America, and in the rivers of the north central European region.

This Is The World’s Oldest, And Perhaps Slowest, Air Race

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

bennett_cup

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.

Sigg Company Shamefully Admits Its Aluminum Sigg Bottles Contain BPA

from Green Options by John Chappell

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.

Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer

from DVICE by Kevin Hall
Radical BMW Land Yacht uses a sail to steer From designer Stefan Radev comes a wind-powered vehicle called the BMW Blue Dynamics Land Yacht. It’s got a huge sail in back for steering, seats one and all-in-all is appropriately reminiscient of a boat. We have to say, we’re loving the concept vehicles flying the BMW flag this week — not to mention that swanky “augmented reality” space for mechanics.

Military testing out fancy new airless tires

from DVICE by Adam Frucci
Military testing out fancy new airless tiresWhat you’re looking at might just be the tire of the future. At least that’s what the military thinks, as it’s testing out prototypes of this new airless tire.

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.

Scientific American via Make

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris Presents the Winners

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

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 FortuneIsaac 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)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
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)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
2nd Prize: David Mulder Van Der Vegt, Max Cohen De Lara (The Netherlands)

3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
3rd Prize: Walter Sánchez, Dario Rodríguez (Argentina)

Following are the nine honorable mentions:

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Stanislas Elluin, Clemence Gauchet, Stephane Girard, Catherine Segonzat (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Alfredo Favio De León Méndez, Carolina Gisella Patino Acosta (Ecuador)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention:Juraj Karasek, Viktor Fucek (Slovakia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Anton Shatalov, Boris Shatalov, Evgeny Kovalev, Artyom Elli, Anton Kulakovsky (Russia)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention:Jean Baptiste Andre, Remy Poux (France)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Denise Ampuero Carrascal, María Fé Aguirre Alvarez, Gloria Andrea Rojas Oliveros (Peru)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Everardo Riestra, Jaime Salas, Eder Martínez, Isabel Ortega (Mexico)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Hideaki Nishimura, Sarah Takemura (Japan)

Moulin Rouge Competition Paris

Click above image to enlarge
Honorable Mention: Calabro Manuel (France)

Images: Arquitectum

Japanese Dolphin Slaughter to Continue Despite Current Suspension

from Green Options by Daniel Hohler

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.

Read more of this story »

Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scale

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Historical trends in carbon dioxide concentrations and temperature, on a geological and recent time scaleThe most recent geological history, in the last hundred thousand years, has been characterised by cycles of glaciations, or ice ages. The historic temperatures, through these times, have been low, and continental ice sheets have covered large parts of the world. Through ancient air, trapped in tiny bubbles in the Antarctic ice, we have been able to see what the temperature cycle was at that time, and also the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2). The more recent history, from the middle ages and up until now, show increasing temperatures, rising as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age (LIA), around 1850. With the industrial era, human activities have at the same time increased the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases, and scientists have been able to connect human activities as one of the drivers to climate change and global warming. The top part of the CO2 measurements, the observations, are what is referred to as the ‘Mauna Loa curve’ or the ‘Keeling curve’.

Lazy Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Picture by: fnc777. Submitted by: fnc777 via Fail Uploader

VeruTEK’s Got the Green Nano-Clean for Toxic Dumps

from Green Options by Tina Casey

VeruTEK\'s patented plant extracts can dissolve and oxidize toxic substances.

Cleaning up a toxic dump the conventional way is a messy business, and VeruTEK Technologies, Inc. is one company that offers a more sustainable path to remediation.  Instead of excavating and trucking the contaminated soil to landfills, Connecticut-based VeruTEK has developed plant extracts, nanometals produced from plant extracts, and other natural substances that dissolve and oxidize contaminants in place.

Last summer VeruTEK announced the latest in a string of successful remediation projects.  The site was contaminated with up to an inch of toxic chemicals such as volatile organic compounds and petroleum hydrocarbons.  Three months after completion of the project, the contamination was reduced to non-detectable limits.  With an estimated 294,000 more toxic sites in the U.S. waiting for remediation, alterna-clean companies like VeruTEK have their work cut out for them.

Read more of this story »

Stunning Shanghai Corporate Pavilion Made From Used CD Cases

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

With the Shanghai World Expo 2010 fast approaching, architects are jumping in on the “Better City, Better Life” theme with concepts like this Shanghai Corporate Pavilion. The plans include many green features, including a structure made from recycled CD cases. (more…)

Reality-Augmenting Terminator Vision Contact Lenses Nearly Here

from Gizmodo Australia by Matt Buchanan

Amazing and terrifying all at once, reality augmenting contact lenses are nearly real. Like, they’re almost here. Circuits and antennas and LEDs in a contact lens, generating virtual imagery, Predator style. In your eyeball. (more…)

John Wardle Architects and Office dA to Design Melbourne’s New Architecture School Site

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

John Wardle Architects and Office dA have been named the winners of the competition to design thelandmark new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning site at the University of Melbourne.

Architecture Faculty Building University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Click above image to enlarge
Winning design for the new Architecture Faculty Building of the University of Melbourne by John Wardle Architects and Office dA

Japan To Spend $US21B On A Power Plant In F%#king Space

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Holy shit, Japan is getting prepped to drop $US21 billion on a solar power station in space, one that will beam enough energy back to Earth to power 294,000 homes. With no cables. (more…)

Mercedes Launches its First Ever Production Fuel Cell Vehicle

from Green Options by Andrew Williams

Mercedes has dipped its toes into the world of hydrogen power (video) with the launch of its first-ever production fuel-cell vehicle, the B-class F-cell.

An initial fleet of 200 zero-emission models will be finished by the end of the year and delivered to lease-only customers throughout the US and Europe in early 2010.

Speaking about the launch, a Mercedes spokesman said, “2009 is the year in which we are establishing further milestones where sustainable mobility is concerned. The B-Class F-cell is taking on a pioneering role as the world’s first fuel cell powered automobile to be produced under series production conditions.”

Read more of this story »

BMW’s New Vision: 155-MPH Plug-In Hybrid

from Wired: Autopia by Tony Borroz

bmw_concept

We were as shocked as anyone when BMW announced it was quitting Formula 1 to devote more resources to developing cleaner, greener automobiles. There was some skepticism, but BMW wasn’t blowing green smoke. It’s serious about building eco-friendlier pavement-peeling cars.

First up is a slick 356-horsepower all-wheel-drive plug-in diesel-hybrid concept that BMW claims accelerates like an M3, sips gas like a Toyota Prius and can go 31 miles on battery power alone. It’s called the Vision Efficientdynamics Concept, and we’ll see it later this month at the Frankfurt auto show.

No, Vision Efficientdynamics Concept doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But the name aside, BMW has a dynamite idea on its hands here.

The EfficientDynamics is a 2+2 four-door hybrid that combines M Series performance with better fuel efficiency and less emissions than you see in many compacts. BMW performs this magic by marrying its ActiveHybrid technology with an extremely economical engine and excellent aerodynamics. The result is a concept car with a top speed governed at 155 mph and a zero-to-62 acceleration time of 4.8 seconds. More impressive, the car gets 62.2 mpg and emits a Prius-like 99 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Power comes from a 1.5-liter direct injection 3-cylinder turbodiesel engine and an electric motor on each axle. The engine was small to squeeze in between the rear seat and the rear axle, which should make the Efficientdynamics Concept very agile. The diesel puts out 163 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque. Add in the motors and total output is 356 ponies and a stump-pulling 590 pound-feet, though you can only get that much power in short bursts. The car has all-wheel-drive when running in electric mode. BMW says the car can run on the diesel engine, either one of the electric motors or any combination of the three.

The lithium-polymer battery pack sports 98 cells. It delivers 8.6 kilowatt-hours for driving the car, and BMW says the serial arrangement of cells has gross storage capacity of 10.8 kilowatt-hours. The pack weighs 187 pounds and BMW says it doesn’t need an active cooling system. BMW says the battery recharges in 2.5 hours at 220 volts.

All that tech is housed in a body designed with some serious inspiration from BMW’s Formula 1 cars. BMW says the Vision has a drag coefficient of 0.22, aided in part by the myriad vanes and ducts. People are going to love it or hate it, but you’d expect nothing less from BMW even without controversial designer Chris Banglearound anymore.

So far the Vision is just a concept. Still, BMW has made it clear it plans to make sustainability a cornerstone of its lineup, so we’re sure to see some of the technology in road cars before long.

Images and video: BMW

Pump Hydro Underground to Store Wind Power

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


Pumped hydro storage is a simple technology already in wide use. Pump water up a hill when you have available energy, let it fall when you need its power.

But Riverbank Power; a new start-up founded by a former wind developer who wants to develop large-scale energy storage, is trying out a new idea. Instead of using hills for the height, it will go the other way. Down into the ground.

Their Aquabank would let gravity drop water underground to turn turbines and make hydro electricity. That electricity would be sent from underground to the grid day time. At night, when excess wind is available; wind powered electricity would gently push the water back up to replenish its surface source.

Video after the jump:

Read more of this story »

Sep 2, 2009 (yesterday)

LAVA Architects Win Masdar Eco City Center Competition

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

German-Australian practice Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) recently won the first prize in theMasdar Eco City Center Competition for Masdar, United Arab Emirates.

LAVA already succeeded in the first stage of the competition earlier this year, and collaborated with Kann Finch GroupArupTranssolar, and a team of international experts for the second stage challenge.

This is how LAVA explains its concept for ‘Masdar Plaza, The Oasis of the Future’:

The City of the Future

The future well being of cities around the globe depends on mankind’s ability to develop and integrate sustainable technology.

Masdar City is the city of the future; positioned at the forefront of integrating sustainable technology into modern architectural design. Rome, Athens, Florence; most great historical cities have had the plaza, forum, or square at their epicenter – where the life, values, ideals, and vision of the population evolved. Equally, the center of Masdar must be an iconic beacon that attracts global attention to sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Day (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Evening (Image: MIR)

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Perspective Plaza Night (Image: MIR)

Oasis of the Future

We see Masdar Plaza as “The Oasis of the Future”: a living, breathing, active, adaptive environment; stimulated by the social interaction of people, and spotlighting the use and benefits of sustainable technology.

Masdar Plaza by LAVA

Click above image to enlarge
Bird’s View Masdar (Image: Simon)

How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Power The World?

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

After seeing how many nukes would it take to obliterate humanity instantly, I wanted some good news. Like, how many solar panels would it take to power the entire world? The entire surface of Africa, maybe? Actually, it’s surprisingly less.(more…

cox architects: melbourne rectangular stadium

the melbourne rectangular stadium by cox architects is the latest sports facility to go up in the sports
capital of australia. the stadium will have a capacity of 30,000 spectators when complete in 2010, when it
will house the melbourne victory soccer team and melbourne storm rugby club. designboom was lucky
enough to get a tour of the building under construction back in july. the building’s key design feature is
its bubble-like bio-dome which will be covered with thousands of LED lights. the roof is inspired by
buckminster fuller’s geodesic dome and its unique cantilevered design will provide excellent sightlines
while covering the seats. the stadium will also house a sports medicine facility and administration complex
for many of the city’s sports organizations.

Trends in capture fisheries and aquaculture

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Trends in capture fisheries and aquacultureThe levelling off of the global fisheries catch reflects a growing decline in most major fishing areas. Today, these fishing areas are producing lower yields than in the past, and it is unlikely that substantial increases will ever again be possible (FAO, 2000). Inland and marine aquaculture production grew by about 5% annually during the 1950s and 1960s, by about 8% per year during the 1970s and 1980s, and by some 10% per year during the 1990s (FAO, 2000). Most aquaculture is developed in freshwater environments, primarily in Asia. The development of inland aquaculture is seen as an important source of food security in Asia, particularly in land-locked countries.

Equilibrium Concept Makes Our Hearts Beat Faster

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

equilibrium1

A new concept aims to create an “intense” ownership experience by using emerging technologies to strengthen the emotional bond between man and machine.

Bob Romkes, a designer at Britain’s Royal College of Art, penned the Equilibrium concept as a luxury car for the future. In an era when customization equals personalization, Romkes sees a chance for an emotional connection with a vehicle that’s mass-produced.

“I wanted to create an emotional connection with the vehicle without using customization,” Romkes told Autopia. “So that even though it will be mass produced and your car can look the same as your neighbor’s car, you still feel strongly connected with yours.”

To achieve a strong attachment between car and driver, Romkes used sensors to connect with and respond to the driver’s heartbeat from the moment he or she approaches the car in the parking lot. On initial approach, the car’s interior lights begin to glow and the door opens slightly to invite the driver to step inside.

“The vehicle needs you to operate, by using your heartbeat as the driving source,” Romkes told Autopia. A database of user inputs help the car to nurture the relationship. “Over time it studies your driving characteristics and adapts itself to make the experience even more smooth and natural.”

The glowing, “breathing” light on Apple laptops and the startup sequence of Romkes’ Sony VAIO laptop were both subtle rituals that he observed as inspiration for the Equilibrium. “It is amazing how such small elements can bring an extra dimension to a product,” he told Autopia. “It moves the product from static to dynamic and it brings a human factor as well. It is very subtle and I think most people experience this unconsciously.”

Far from a kinder, gentler Christine, the Equilibrium is a technical tour de force that mimics animate objects using technology from the not-so-distant future. Romkes pointed out the paradox that so many would-be supercar owners face: at the time in your life when one has the means to buy a dream car, one is also constrained by the priorities of family and functionality.

With the Equilibrium, “it is possible to have best of both worlds: a spacious interior and still an aerodynamic and relatively compact exterior. I decided to emphasize these two points by making a ‘one volume’ architecture without a shoulder-line and with covered wheels.”

Floating seats allow for easy customization of the car’s interior and seats that absorb impact. It is with “Rubber Metal,” a  flexible mixture of rubber and glass made through nanotechnology, that the wheels can simultaneously be covered and connected with the steering mechanism.

“This made me think of an external steering mechanism, where the exterior ‘skin’ can function as ‘artificial muscle structure’ and pull the wheels from the center around their axes,” Romkes told Autopia. “This way, the body can be placed close to the wheels. Because the material is flexible and attached to the wheels it can function as an external suspension system as well.”

Images: Bob Romkes. The Equilibrium concept uses technologies from the near future to forge a connection between car and owner.


equilibrium2equilibrium3equilibrium4

Swiss Zinc-Air Battery Company, ReVolt, Chooses Portland, Oregon For US Headquarters – Wants $30M in Stimulus Funding.

from Green Options by Nick Chambers

Setting its sights on the burgeoning US market for car batteries, cutting-edge Swiss zinc-air battery company,ReVolt, has decided to take advantage of Oregon’s generous business tax credits for development of next generation car technologies.

Announcing that it has selected Portland, Oregon as the location for its US headquarters and manufacturing center, ReVolt said it expects to create as many as 250 new jobs there. The partnership represents a coup for Oregon and Portland in the race to be the future electric car capital of the world.

Read more of this story »

Reconnecting North and South Korea a Win For Foster+Partners

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer


With a startling green master-plan that will one day connect North and South Korea, Foster+Partners has won an international competition to design an extensive mixed-use scheme for two Korean islands near Seoul.

That it is bold, green and innovative is no surprise. Foster+Partners is known for visionary sustainable architecture – such as their Teatro Del Agua. It harvests sea spray and wind to naturally cool an outdoor amphitheater.

But this is perhaps their most extraordinary scheme ever. How often does an Architectural firm get to connect a communist and a capitalist country? With the world’s longest bridge? Incredible.

Read more of this story »

Water Scarcity Started 15 Years Ago

Canberra, Australia (SPX) Sep 02, 2009 – New analysis shows that the water scarcity being experienced in southeast Australia started up to 15 years ago. While the results from the work by senior CSIRO researcher, Dr Albert van Dijk, may not surprise many people, it provides scientific evidence of the shift.

Water requirements for food production 1960-2050

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Water requirements for food production 1960-2050The requirements for water in agriculture in developing countries will need to increase in order to meet the Millennium Development Goal 1, target 2 ‘Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger’. To decrease hunger the outputs in agriculture will need to increase, and thus the water use. The data has been calculated for developing countries with minimum set of calories.

Growth in America’s ‘Dying Cities

image
Anne Trubek at Good Magazine has penned a piece on feral houses, inspired by James D. Griffioen’s beautiful photosFeral houses are no longer domesticated, having reverted to a different state, like horses in the west who roam free of any rider, stable, or whip. They are not, nor are their neighborhoods, as many like to call them, �dead.� These cities, as Griffoen shows us, are teeming. Growth is everywhere. – Good

Boeing Says 787 Will Fly This Year

from Wired: Autopia by Jason Paur

boeing_787_construction

It’s a headline we’ve read before, but Boeing says the oft-delayed 787 Dreamliner will fly before the end of the year and the first of them will be delivered to customers by the end of 2010.

Boeing claims this timeline will allow it to reinforce the area where the wing joins the fuselage. A structural problem was uncovered earlier this year during stress tests of the composite airframe, and it looked like it mightdelay test flights until next year. But Pat Shanahan, general manager of Boeing’s commercial airplanes business, says the problem has been solved, according to the Wall Street Journal. Boeing says the new timeline also adds “several weeks of schedule margin” to the testing and certification margin.

“This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work,” Jim McNerney, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement. “The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing.”

Boeing says the static test that uncovered the problem will be repeated to ensure the fix works, and fatigue testing will be conducted to ensure the long-term durability of the solution. Installation of the modification is expected to begin “within the next few weeks,” the company said.

The 787 has continued ground tests at Boeing’s Paine Field facility in Everett, Washington. One of test planes (Serial No. 2) seen taxiing around the field is painted in the livery of All Nippon Airways, Boeing’s first customer for the plane. But because of extensive testing and an “inordinate amount of rework and unique and extensive modifications,” Boeing says the first three aircraft off the assembly line will have no commercial value. Those airplanes must therefore be written off as an R&D expense.

Zaha Hadid’s Futuristic Burnham Pavilion for Chicago

from Bustler.net News by Vanilla Hustler

As part of the Burnham Plan Centennial celebrations, the Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architectstriggers the visitors’ curiosity and encourages them to consider the future of Chicago. The design merges new formal concepts with the memory of Burnham’s bold, historic urban planning. Superimpositions of spatial structures with hidden traces of Burnham’s Plan are overlaid and inscribed within the structure to create unexpected results.

Zaha Hadid Architects - Burnham Pavilion

Click above image to enlarge
The Burnham Pavilion by Zaha Hadid Architects, Photo: Michelle Litvin

Inside A Fish Hospital. Yes, A Fish Hospital

from Gizmodo Australia by Adam Frucci

Patit Paban Halder runs a hospital solely for fish in Chandannagore, India. Basically, he has 32 aquariums in his home, and he treats ailing fish with his wife and son. (more…)

INDEX design awards at code 09 preview


traditional stoves in india

the aim of the INDEX: award is to generate more design to improve life and enable
a higher quality of life all over the world.

based in denmark, the award comprises five categories – body, home, work, play
and community that together span the spectrum of human activity and are relevant
and understandable to people all over the world. as the biggest design award in the world,
the total award sum amounts to 500,000 euros financed by the state of denmark. this year,
there are 72 finalists chosen from 720 nominated designs from 54 countries.

the winners will be announced at a gala ceremony on 28 august 2009 at the newly
opened koncerthuset (concert house) of the danish national broadcasting corporation.
followed by an international traveling exhibition of winners and finalists.


‘chula’ smokeless stove

one of the finalists include ‘chulha’ a smokeless stove by philips design team in india
and the netherlands.

New Shipping Rules Agreed To Protect The Antarctic

from Green Options by Chris Milton

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed new rules which ban the transportation and use of heavy grade oils by ships in the Antarctic Ocean.

MAD architects: ‘hutong bubble 32’, beijing


‘hotong bubble 32’
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

old beijing is composed of hutongs, alleys of communal courtyard homes.
MAD architects has suggested a type of new urban lifestyle by inserting the modern
architectural structure ‘hutong bubble 32’ into a traditional hutong building.
‘hutong bubble 32’ includes a bathroom since residents of hutongs usually have limited space
with no indoor bathroom, and includes a staircase to the roof garden.
taking the shape of a bubble, it is attached to the wooden column and brick structure
of the old building.


the bubble latching onto the side of the old hutong building
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the bubble’s reflective surface
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


the walk-out to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


stairwell to the rooftop garden
image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © shuhe
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects


image © fang zhenning
courtesy MAD architects

patrick morris: sky planter


‘sky planter’

designed by central saint martins graduate patrick morris, ‘sky planter’
provides a solution to fussy plants in small spaces or a way to use
plants as design elements. the ‘sky planter’ made of ceramics locks the
plant and soil into the place and hang from a ceiling or wall-mount.
a reservoir hidden in the top waters plants gradually.

World’s Most Efficient Solar Technology Coming Early 2010

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

The long-awaited commercial deployment of the world’s most efficient solar technology looks like it will now be near Phoenix, in a 1.5-megawatt, 60-unit deployment of Stirling Energy Systems’ solar thermal collectors.

Announced late last week, the 60-dish Maricopa Solar project will be the first commercial-scale solar facility built using Stirling Energy Systems/Tessera Solar’s SunCatcher concentrating solar technology.

The SunCatcher consists of a solar concentrator in a dish structure that supports an array of curved glass mirrors. Iterations of the SunCatcher have been among the world’s most efficient machines for solar-to-grid electric conversion for twenty years, most recently breaking the record last year with the highest-ever conversion rate of 31.25%.

Read more of this story »

Philips Biotower Puts Farming In The Kitchen (With Style)

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

According to Philips designers, if you’re the type who grows a bit of basil on the windowsill, you’ll be addicted to raising your own crustaceans in no time. (more…)

Robot Bear Holds You In Its Arms, Only To Rip You Apart Afterwards

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

Yes, that’s how these bots roll. I mean, look at it. All cute and nice, dressed up as a nurse bear, designed to hold you in his soft-skinned arms. And then tear you apart in little tiny bits. (more…)

City of Fees and Services

from BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh
[Image: A parking meter photographed by shooting brooklyn, via a Creative Commons license].

A story I missed earlier this summer reports that Oakland, California, is making up for falling tax revenue by “aggressively enforcing traffic violations.”

    The decision is driven by the city’s budget woes, which deep cuts to city services alone did not solve. Falling sales and property, property transfer and hotel taxes have contributed to a $51 million decline in revenues.
It’s worth asking, though, whether paying “aggressively” increased fees and fines for our everyday use of the city – whether this means road tolls and garbage collection fees or suddenly unaffordable parking meters – is the best financial model for a post-taxation metropolis.

How Many Folding Bikes Does It Take To Fill A Parking Space?

from Gizmodo Australia by Sean Fallon

Forty-two. It takes forty-two Brompton folding bikes to fill a parking space. One of the world’s great mysteries is finally solved. [Boing Boing Gadgets(more…)

BIG: new national library in astana, kazakhstan


the new national library astana, kazakhstan by BIG architects
all images courtesy BIG architects

BIG architects were awarded first prize in an open international competition to design
kazakhstan’s new national library in astana, named after the firstpresident of the republic
of kazakhstan, nursultan nazarbayev, encompasses an estimated 33.000m2. the winning
proposal was chosen by the prime minister of kazakhstan k. masimov together with
astana’s  akim i.tasmagambetov and a council of architects. the circular organisation
of the archive at its inner core combines the clarity of a linear organisation
with the convenience of an infinite loop.

Climate Change Performance Index 2008

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library by UNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Climate Change Performance Index 2008The Climate Change Performance Index developed by Germanwatch is calculated using three weighted indexes: *Emissions trends for energy, transport, industry and residential account for 50 % of total rating; *A country’s current emissions level (CO2 emitted per primary energy unit, primary energy unit per GDP, primary energy unit per capita) is given a 30 % weight in the overall evaluation; *Climate policy (national and international) weighs 20 %.

Acacia Trees to Save Africa, and the World?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


Acacia trees, excellent for Africa’s depleted soil and helpful in counteracting climate change, may be the trees of the future for Africa. A very unique tree, it may help Africa in many other ways as well.

Read more of this story »

ensamble studio: house hemeroscopium


house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio
image courtesy ensamble studio

built in just seven days, house hemeroscopium by ensamble studio consists of seven
prefabricated elements. the combination creates an architectural space of alternating
heaviness and lightness, balance and instability.

house hemeroscopium embraces a domestic space and a distant horizon. this is done
through a combination of facilities, which contains the living spaces, bedrooms and kitchen.

based on the basic principle of the lever, the design reinterprets the concept of weight.
the counterweight is a 20-tonne block of granite which is entrusted with the task of
balancing the whole system, which also is an aesthetic characteristic.


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio


construction of house hemeroscopium
image courtesy ensamble studio

HFCS and Mercury: An Interview with an FDA Whistleblower

from Green Options by Cate Nelson

I first heard of Renee Dufault through Mother Jones print magazine back in June. In their “Children of the Corn” article, they named her as the researcher who first uncovered mercury in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Even before this news came out, you may have already cut the HFCS from your family’s diet. But manufacturers are sneaky. There is the corn sweetener in things you wouldn’t even suspect: ketchup, yogurt, salad dressing. Actually, condiments are the biggest culprits when it comes to the mercury/high fructose corn syrup link.

Beautiful Glass Shard Spire Set To Dominate London Skyline

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Feast your eyes on these latest visualisations of The Shard (aka London Bridge Tower), a 310-metre skyscraper currently under construction. When finished in 2012, it will be the tallest building in the UK, and one of the tallest in Europe.(more…)

Russia’s Northeast Passage Open to Commercial Shipping

from Green Options by Tom Schueneman

Two cargo ships set out last week from the port of Vladivostok to traverse Russia’s Northeast Passage, marking the first time commercial ships have attempted the normally ice-bound route across Russia’s Arctic shore without the aid of icebreakers.The two ships, Fraternity and Foresight, owned by German shipper Beluga Shipping GmbH, received permission to travel the route last Friday.

Bound for the Netherlands from South Korea, the route will cut 4,000 nautical miles from the typical 11,000-mile route through the Suez Canal, helping realize a “considerable” reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, said Niels Stolbert, president and CEO of Beluga.

Read more of this story »

Are There Any Risks In Building Green?

from Green Options by Chris Bacavis

In a stark contrast with how construction used to be thought of, the green building movement has been a shift away from the traditional concerns about money and time. The betterment of our planet, as it turns out, is quickly becoming a bigger priority. Since March of this year, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program has seen around 20,852 new LEED registered and certified projects.

Most of this can be attributed to the fact that builders view green buildings as more economical in the long run, and recent incentives on the part of the government have added an extra encouragement.  But while these positives have been talked about pretty often, there are some risks associated with going green that still leave many builders wary.

Read more of this story »

Concept Urbanistan: Void deck

void deck typically found under apartment blocks in Singapore. The void deck occupies the ground level, while apartments are usually on the second floor onwards. Sometimes, events like Malay weddings, Chinese weddings or even funeral wakes are held in such places. Void decks also facilitate the travelling through the apartment buildings on the ground level, rather than travelling around them. via
images via arkitera

artificial trees to cut carbon

imageEngineers say a forest of 100,000 “artificial trees” could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world’s carbon emissions. BBC

Eye Protection Fail

fail owned pwned pictures

Picture by: dunno source. Submitted by: dunno source via Fail Uploader

kevin cyr: camper cart


‘camper kart’ concept by kevin cyr
all images courtesy
kevin cyr

we recently featured the work of kevin cyr, here is another project of his titled ‘camper cart’.
the pop up camper is affixed to a shopping cart which can be pushed to a chosen location
and opened to serve as a functioning habitat for an urban camper.  the project investigates
habitats and housing, recycling and ecology; exploration and mobility.

How Much Water are You Really Using?

from Green Options by Zachary Shahan


In a press release by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) today, we can see that people in developed countries actually use several times more water than they “use” — the water used indirectly to create our products is several times more than the water we use ourselves. According to the WWF, “German households use 124 litres of water a day directly, individual Germans use 5288 litres of water a day when the water requirements of producing their food, clothes and other consumption items are included.”

Read more of this story »

Australia Award for Urban Design 2009

image Award Winner: Sydney’s Paddington Reservoir Gardens The winners of Australia�s most prestigious award for excellence and innovation in urban design were announced. The Australia Award for Urban Design highlights the best of design in the built environment and acknowledges the critical role of good urban design in the development of Australia�s towns and cities. Bustler

a.asadov architectural studio: olympic rings island, sochi

russian architecture studio a.asadov have designed a series of island complexes to be built in the city of sochi ahead of the winter olympic games there in 2014. among the proposals is this one made up of five round ‘islands’ each with a tower in the middle. from a bird’s-eye view they make the olympic rings emblem.

the dark blue tower is europe and the ‘cold of scandinavian winter’. the black ring africa ‘is based on african sculpture’. the shape of the red tower uniting south and north america ‘resembles brazilian carnivals, aztec sacrifice and indian conquest’. the tower of the yellow ring, asia ‘is like a chinese pagoda’. the last continent on the emblem, noted by green color, is australia and ‘it’s nature’.

Australian Parliament OKs 20% by 2020 Renewable Energy Target

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Compromise plan has some Greens opposing passage

The Australian government’s ruling coalition has come to terms on an agreement that would quadruple the renewable energy target set by the previous government in 2001 and is in line with the renewables target set by the European Union in 2008. The coal-centric Australia currently gets eight percent of its electricity from renewables, including hydroelectric power.

Read more of this story »

Gargantuan NOAH ‘Arc’ Proposed To New Orleans With Straight Face

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

How do you know when your building plan has gotten unnecessarily crazy and pretentious? When it’s named after a Biblical figure who was fabled to save life as we know it…that might be a clue.(more…)

Driverless Taxi System To Make Air Freshener Trees Obsolete

from Gizmodo Australia by Mark Wilson

We’ve heard about automated transport pods for years, but London’s Heathrow Airport has just opened the first complete system, a $US41 million network to take air travellers to their cars.(more…)

emmanuelle moureaux architecture & design: ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design designed offices and showrooms of
nakagawa chemical CS design center, in tokyo which displays 1100 colors in the space.
the ‘kaleidoscope’ exhibition which was recently held at the center focused on
one color at a time such as yellow, red, green, blue or black. every month, the space
displayed a different color, changing hues like a kaleidoscope. the exhibition
aimed to rediscover ordinary colors.


photo by hidehiko nagaishi

U.S. Energy Use Drops in 2008 [Infographics]

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

Americans used more solar, nuclear, biomass and wind energy in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Read more of this story »

4 Million Pounds of Space Junk Polluting Earth’s Orbit

from Green Options by Timothy B. Hurst

space junk

Millions of nuts, bolts, pieces of metal and carbon, and whole spacecraft from thousands of missions and launches form an orbiting garbage dump spinning around the Earth at speeds up to 22,000 mph.

After the recent collision between a Russian and U.S. satellite, concern for the growing hazard of space junk is becoming even more acute within the international space community. In recent months, NASA and the European Space Agency have both diverted resources into monitoring space debris and researching ways of mitigating and—some day—removing it.

Read more of this story »

Handsome and thoughtful

image Jonathan Glancey provides his verdict on the proposed design for the new Terminal 2 at Heathrow airport, to be designed by Norman Foster Guardian. He also takes the opportunity to celebrate dashing designs of the jet age in this slideshow.

State Takes Lazy Way to Cut Carbon 13%

from Green Options by Susan Kraemer



Utah’s move to a four-day workweek of 10 hour days for government workers has cut energy usage by 13 percent, and once they figure out how to turn off giant office air conditioning and heating units while they’re out of the office, it could rise to the hoped for 20%. Out of a state budget of $11 billion, they have saved $3 million on electricity and gas for 125 state-owned buildings.

Read more of this story »

This Is Why They Make Travel Adapters

from Gizmodo Australia by Danny Allen

Future Darwin Award nominee or desperate genius? Maybe both. But shoving things into what looks like a UK 220V outlet is probably not going to end well. Just ask the guy in this retro UK electrical hazards PSA: (more…)

zaha hadid architects: chaoyangmen SOHO III


chaoyangmen SOHO III by zaha hadid architectszaha hadid architects recently unveiled plans of their project chaoyangmen SOHO III,
located in the city center of beijing. with the headquarters building of the ministry
of foreign affairs on its east and chaoyangmen soho I and II on its north, it is surrounded
by different urban amenities including outdoor space, offices and residential spaces.
the total construction area of the project is 334,000 square meters, of which 166,000
and 86,000 square meters are designated for offices and retail uses respectively.the project is designed based on the traditional chinese courtyard, an inner space within
a building. chaoyangmen SOHO III  was conceived as a series of continuous and flowing
volumes that coalesce, which fuse and pull apart as stretched bridges to create a world
of continuous mutual adaptation.


chaoyangmen SOHO III – inner courtyard


chaoyangmen SOHO III  aerial view rendering

Manhattan Population By Day, Manhattan By Night

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

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…)

Solar Phone Concept Charges On Your Wrist

from Gizmodo Australia by Jason Chen

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…)

European Freight Train Trials Use Faux Satellites, Railways

from Wired: Autopia by Keith Barry

siemens

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.

jun yasumoto: phyto purification bathroom


‘phyto purification bathroom’
image courtesy jun yasumoto
japanese born, paris based designer jun yasumoto developed ‘phyto purification bathroom’
together with alban le henryolivier pigasse and vincent vandenbrouck.

formodesign: house on the water


house on the water by formodesign
image courtesy formodesign
house on the water by polish firm formodesign is a proposal for a single family home.
designed with sustainability in mind the house takes into consideration water desalination,
energy accumulation, ventilation methods, water recycling, heat and energy consumption,
tidal and solar energy.

Indian land ‘seriously degraded’

At least 45% of Indian land is environmentally “degraded”, air pollution is rising and flora and fauna is diminishing, according to a report.

Orbis is like a Segway that actually fits on city sidewalks

from DVICE by Michael Trei
Orbis is like a Segway that actually fits on city sidewalksSegways have had a tough time in big cities, mostly because the city planners can’t seem to decide whether they should be ridden on the street or the sidewalk. Here in New York City they remain banned, as their wide stance would be a nightmare on our jammed sidewalks.The Orbis Urban Mobility Vehicle might be one answer. Looking kind of like a one wheeled Segway, the Orbis’ handle can be folded around the wheel, making it somewhat portable. This means that you can hide away your geeky transportation device once you get to work. Unfortunately, you’ll still look like a total dork when riding it.

Killer Ants Under Attack in Australia!

from Green Options by Jace Shoemaker-Galloway

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.

Read more of this story »

Lasers to Help Whip Wind Energy into Shape

from Green Options by Jeff Kart

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.

Read more of this story »

Animal proteins: the good, the bad and the ugly

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library byUNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Animal proteins: the good, the bad and the uglyMeat imports in 2005 and Meat consumption displayed as kilograms of CO2 equivalents per 100 kilocalories of product for major countries around the world.

chris boardman: intelligent bike concept

cyclist chris boardman unveiled his latest cycle concept to the world’s media yesterday. the new ‘intelligent’ bike counts calories as you pedal, plays music and uses a solar-powered motor when you get tired.

The Pentagon’s War Against Carbon

from Green Options by Joe Walsh

There is a good conversation going on over in another corner of the web about the key hurdles that the White House faces in getting climate change legislation through the Senate. One of the issues I raised in that context is that outside of the Northeast and West Coast, climate change is still a “granola” issue and that supporters will need to grab on to some other arguments (i.e., national security, peak oil and the economy, etc.) if they are going to get a win. That change in tone began in earnest with Sunday’s NYT front-pager, but just because it is smart politics does not make it good policy.

Read more of this story »

Cloud-Generating 1900-Ship Armada To Sink Climate Change

from Gizmodo Australia by Jesus Diaz

The Copenhagen Consensus Centre—a respected European think tank which used to be skeptic on climate change—is now advising that we should spend $US9 billion in building 1900 cloud-generating ships like the one above. Why? To cool down Earth: (more…)

RMJM architects: green development, istanbul, turkey


green development atasehir district, istanbul turkey by RMJM architects
image courtesy RMJM architects
international firm RMJM architects unveiled plans of their 1 billion USD development
in istanbul, which will be one of the ‘greenest’ projects in turkey.

UK Supermarket Turns 5,000 Tons Of Meat Into Energy

from Green Options by Jerry James Stone

It’s an odd week for fuel sources. On the heels of a Mountain Dew powered engine, UK supermarket Tesco is getting flack for turning meat into energy–yah, you read that right.

The food chain is burning 5,000 tons of inedible meat for fuel. The biomass processing is being handled by the Cheshire-based PDM Group. The meat-energy is then used to power UK homes via the National Grid.

In fact, Tesco says they dispose of enough old meat to power 600 homes a year!

Read more of this story »

Number of extra skin cancer cases related to UV radiation

from Random graphic of the day: UNEP/GRID-Arendal Maps and Graphics Library byUNEP/GRID-Arendal <mapmaster@grida.no>
Number of extra skin cancer cases related to UV radiationThe most widely recognised damage occurs to the skin. The direct effects are sun burn, chronic skin damage (photo-aging) and an increased risk of developing various types of skin cancer. Models predict that a 10 per cent decrease in the ozone in the stratosphere could cause an additional 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 (more dangerous) melanoma skin cancers worldwide annually.

(more…)