Like Chernobyl all over again: Forest fires release plutonium particles into the air

by , 05/05/15
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Forest fire danger is taking on a new dimension in the Ukraine, where a raging wildfire near the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear disaster site is sending radioactive plutonium particles into the atmosphere. The Ecologist reports that as trees at Chernobyl burn, they are releasing radioactive plutonium particles that are being suspended in the air, which could pose a significant health danger in the form of radiation poisoning to people in the area.

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Kengo Kuma's new community center hides a hilly indoor landscape under its zigzag-roof

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Undulating German pavilion brings a "field of ideas" to Milan Expo 2015

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HOW TO: Grow an Avocado Tree from an Avocado Pit

how to grow a tree from a seed, grow an avocado tree, how to grow an avocado tree, grow an avocado tree from a pit, what to do with avocado pits, avocado trees indoors

Avocados are one of the wonderful fruits of summer. High in nutrition and flavor, nothing signals the start of summer like a zesty lime guacamole dip with tortilla chips. The next time you’re making guacamole or slicing an avocado for a salad, try saving your pits to grow into avocado trees. It’s surprisingly easy to grow your own avocado tree from seed, and it makes a great educational project for home and classrooms. Check out our handy-dandy guide below, complete with photos, to learn how to grow an avocado tree from seed.

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Did climate change make Rubbish the sea lion pup wander the streets of San Francisco?

by , 05/05/15
filed under: Animals, News

Rubbish, sea lion, San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore, The Marine Mammal Center, Climate Change, global warming, food scarcity, animals, news

‘Rubbish’ is the name of the adorable sea lion pup captured above in the image from KTVU’s Twitter feed. He was rescued last week after wandering the streets of San Francisco. This is not the first time The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, has rescued the pup. In March, they discovered him in Santa Barbara suffering from pneumonia and malnourishment. They nursed him to health and then released him at Point Reyes National Seashore. Last Thursday, the wandering pup made his way to San Francisco’s Marina District and then hid under a car on the corner of Marina Blvd and Divisadero Street, eluding rescue for 30 minutes, CBS San Francisco reports. Eventually trained rescuers scooped him up in a net and transported him back in a carrier to the rescue center in Marin Headlands, where they will “fatten him up” again. That’s the good news. The bad news? Rubbish’s adventures point to a troubling new trend, and climate change may be the culprit.

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Chevy lowers the 2016 Volt's price to $33,995, almost $1,200 less than the current model

chevrolet, chevy, chevy volt, chevrolet volt, volt, electric car, general motors, gm, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, electric motor, green car, green transportation

When Chevy unveiled the all-new 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, Chevy revealed everything from the Volt’s revamped exterior to its longer EV driving range, but one thing was missing—the price. Chevy has now revealed that the 2016 Volt will start at $33,995 when it arrives later this year, which is almost $1,200 less than the current-generation Volt.

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Daniel Libeskind's Vanke Pavilion cleans the air with pollution-scrubbing tiles

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City Library Bruges' new rusty facade gets more beautiful over time

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INFOGRAPHIC: Top 10 mobile apps for the building and construction industry

by , 05/05/15

Window and Door Guys, reader submitted content, infographic, mobile apps, construction industry, building industry apps, construction apps

Whether you work in the building industry or are a backyard hobbyist, chances are that you’d rather spend more time building and less time on calculations and estimates. Luckily, many mobile apps are now available to do those tasks for you. Window and Door Guys compiled a list of the top 10 apps for the building and construction industry that can do everything from completing layouts to calculating conduit bends and fills. Click through to see all the recommended apps.

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Yellow is the new green: researchers investigate 'peecycling'

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Pee is powerful stuff. It has been used to make false teeth, drinking water, brain cells, electricity, and yes, even whiskey and beer. Talk about a closed system! Urine is also great for growing plants, due to its rich nitrogen and phosphorus content. Researchers at University of Michigan are investigating best practices for application of urine as fertilizer on a large scale. In order for urine to be applied to crops safely, the team aims to identify pathogens and determine ways in which they may be eliminated. “A few questions we have are: What contaminants are applied onto the fields with the fertilizer, where do they go, and how can we get rid of the concerning contaminants before they are applied?” says Rebecca Lahr, one of the researchers in the Environmental and Civil Engineering Department at University of Michigan. The mass disposal of liquid waste down the drain is not only a missed opportunity for sustainable agriculture, it is damaging to the environment. Algae also love nitrogen and phosphorus and the resulting algal blooms often cause mass marine mortality events and shellfish poisoning. By implementing peecycling on a large scale, we will gain a powerful agricultural tool while eliminating a major source of water pollution.

Via Treehugger and University of Michigan Engineering

Image via Michigan Engineering

 

Solar Impulse is gearing up for five-day solar-powered flight across the Pacific Ocean

solar impulse cockpit

Solar Impulse, the experimental solar-powered aircraft with just enough room for a pilot, is still on its way around the world, despite a number of delays due to poor weather conditions. The project has been grounded in Nanjing, China, since April 21 where they landed after a one-day flight following a three-week weather delay. The sun-powered plane was originally planned to embark on the five-day trans-Pacific journey on May 5, now delayed to at least May 9. André Borschberg, co-founder of Solar Impulse, will pilot the record-setting Pacific Ocean crossing as soon as conditions are favorable. Borschberg has been gearing up for the challenge by fine tuning his yoga and meditation techniques and become more comfortable in the cramped cockpit of the solar-powered aircraft. He’s also used his time on the ground to comb over the aircraft, making sure that everything is in tip-top condition for the five-day flight to Hawaii. Solar Impulse is traveling around the world, powered entirely by the sun, as an ambassador of the #FutureIsClean movement, a global effort to raise awareness for clean energy.

+ Solar Impulse

Images via Solar Impulse

 

Watch Oregon's Lost Lake disappear down a bizarre hole

by , 05/05/15
filed under: News, Water Issues
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Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, the Lost Lake presents a highly unusual natural phenomenon; each winter the lake bed fills with water from nearby streams, and every spring it drains—rather like a bathtub—down a large hole. Jude McHugh, spokeswoman for the Willamette National Forest, told The Bulletin that the hole has been there for as long as anyone remembers, and that the mysterious phenomenon is most likely the result of the regions porous volcanic landscape—the hole itself is believed to be an open lava tube. As for exactly where the Lost Lake’s waters go each spring, no one is entirely sure, but it’s thought that it seeps into the subsurface where it recharges nearby aquifers.

Via Treehugger

Image screengrab via YouTube

 

Modular organic farming commune is topped with a green roof in Argentina

by , 05/05/15

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See five of Brooklyn's most interesting modern homes on Dwell's Home Tour this Saturday

by , 05/05/15
filed under: Inhabitat NYC

bklyn designs, dwell, dwell home tours, nyc architecture, nyc homes, nyc apartments, dwell magazine, nycxdesign

Don’t miss your chance to step inside some of NYC’s most interesting modern homes this Saturday on Dwell magazine‘s 2015 Brooklyn Home Tour. This year’s self-guided tour will provide ticketholders with access to five different homes including a LEED Gold multi-family building in Bushwick, a thoughtful townhouse renovation in Williamsburg, and an open and airy Park Slope row house redesign. Get your tickets to the tour here (tickets also include complimentary admission to Meet the Architects Night on Thursday, May 7).

+ Dwell 2015 Brooklyn Home Tour

 

Elegant Zero-Energy Furniture can store heat and regulate indoor temperatures

Raphaël Ménard, Jean-Sébastien Lagrange, Zero Energy Furniture, green furniture, energy-efficient table, green table, table design, Milan Design Week, Milan furniture fair, wooden furniture, heating and cooling

Heating and cooling are no longer exclusively an architectural issue, but one that can be tackled with smart furniture design. This elegant-looking Climatic Table can regulate indoor temperatures by storing heat and increases energy savings by up to 60% for heating and 30% for cooling . Designers Raphaël Ménard and Jean-Sébastien Lagrange created an entire series called Zero Energy Furniture that can “store a large quantity of thermal energy within a small volume.”

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Architect Todd Saunders' family home cantilevers with a swing set hanging underneath

Architect Todd Saunders' family home cantilevers with a swing set…

Building a home for himself meant that Saunders could tailor the designs to fit the desires and requests of his two children and his wife. The family sought to make the most use of…

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Win $5,000 in the 2015 NXT City Prize public space competition

Win $5,000 in the 2015 NXT City Prize public space competition

Have a brilliant idea to improve Toronto’s urban fabric? Submit your ideas to studio Distl and Oxford Properties’ 2015 NXT City Prize and you could win $5,000 to implement your…

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Monaco brings repurposed freight containers and vertical gardens to Expo Milan 2015

Monaco brings repurposed freight containers and vertical gardens to…

The Expo Milan 2015 is in full effect and the rest of the world is taking peeks at the breathtaking pavilions and their promising messages for the future. The Principality of Monaco has…

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Ikea imagines a refrigerator-free kitchen for 2025

Ikea imagines a refrigerator-free kitchen for 2025

From bio-refrigerators that cool food with gel to zero-energy clay alternatives, we see a lot of designs that look to make one of the home's most energy-hungry appliances more…

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In Milan, New Holland’s Earth Screening pavilion raises skepticism about big-ag and sustainable farming

In Milan, New Holland’s Earth Screening pavilion raises skepticism…

The Expo Milan 2015 is upon us and for the next six months the world will see varying incarnations of the future of sustainable agriculture. Notable is Holland’s contribution, named…

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