Tourists on the Koh Lanta island of Thailand made a disturbing discovery while walking along the beach recently: baby chicks dyed bright colors and many lumped into sealed plastic bags on a sweltering 95 degree F (35 C) day. The tourists say it was a “very upsetting experience” to think of the fate of said chicks. While this story is shocking, would you be surprised to know this happens to millions of chicks every year, right here on American soil?
Over 4 million Syrians have been displaced by the civil war, and it’s a crisis that’s only getting worse. However, a new innovative and low-cost construction system could bring positive and lasting change. Pilosio Building Peace collaborated with architects Cameron Sinclair and Pouya Khazaeli to develop RE:BUILD, a revolutionary building process that uses scaffolding tubes and locally available natural materials, like sand and gravel, to construct modular structures. The local community can easily build a RE:BUILD structure in as little as a fortnight and adapt it for use as a home, school, or clinic with solar power capabilities.
Recently, a Long Island restaurant worker discovered a lobster the size of a small child in a shipping crate. The crustacean weighs in at 23 pounds and, judging by its size, could be as old as 95 years. Luckily for him, he will be sent off to live out the remainder of his golden years in an aquarium, instead of succumbing to the taste buds of all the hungry press and customers who have swarmed to catch a glimpse.
The west African Ebola epidemic may soon be fizzling out, thanks to the speedy development of a vaccine that has shown 100% effectiveness against the virus in clinical trials. Normal vaccine trials can take decades to produce results, but thanks to 4,000 people in Guinea who volunteered for the trials, along with a combined effort by multiple countries and organizations, the life-saving vaccine will be saving lives right away.
A cherished Milan landmark has been restored to its original splendor. In honor of Expo 2015, the Milan City Council partnered with the Rete Ferroviaria Italiana Gruppo FS Italiane railway authorities to clad the famous Torre Arcobaleno (Rainbow Tower) at Porto Garibaldi with 100,000 colorful ceramic tiles. The Marazzi tiles are certified LEED for their incorporation of recycled materials in the production process.
The new Oita Prefectural Art Museum, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects, defies the traditional white-box architecture of many art museums to create a space that is a work of art in itself. The architects considered local climate when designing the structure, opting to use 20-foot-high glass panels on the street level, which can be opened to embrace the local environment. On the second level, a timber lattice facade honors local materials and building techniques while adding visual warmth to the structure.
Today President Obama unveiled the strongest climate action plan in US history, and the first to set Federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants. Under the new Clean Power Plan—which will undoubtedly face legal challenges from the coal industry—power plants will be required to cut emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 to help curb climate change. States can also avail themselves of new initiatives to increase renewable energy generation. The plan amounts to the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road and could reduce premature deaths due to power plant emissions by 90 percent.
The largest of 23 major wildfires currently burning in drought-stricken California has destroyed two dozen houses and 26 outbuildings, while over 12,000 people have been advised to flee their homes in the Lower Lake region. Called the Rocky Fire, the blaze is burning less than 100 miles north of San Francisco, and over 3,000 firefighters are working to contain the fast-moving blaze, which has so far consumed 93 square miles.
If simple living means living happier, you’ll find bliss in the 186-square-foot POD-Idladla, a compact prefab home for two that can move almost anywhere you wish. South Africa-based architect Clara da Cruz Almeida collaborated with local design firm Dokter+Misses to create the modular nano-home, which is powered by solar energy and can be customized off-site to the client’s specifications. The minimal and charming mobile pod ships flat-pack and assembles onsite in a snap.
In countries where smartphones are popular, it’s common to see folks walking down the street, tiny screen in hand, as they navigate to a new cafe, text with a buddy, or read an email from their boss. Smartwatches, although not so pervasive, essentially help people do the same things. But you never see a blind person transfixed to their iPhone or honed in on their smartwatch, because the technology simply isn’t compatible with the vision-impaired way of life. Enter the Dot—the world’s first Braille smartwatch—which could close the gap that precludes many blind people from interacting with information the way sighted folks can.
As if the Tesla Model ‘S’ wasn’t already cool enough with its semiautonomous autopilot mode, now it’s even cooler. The vehicle’s ultrasonic radar system can already sense obstacles, change lanes for you, and avoid vehicles and pedestrians – and Elon Muskjust announced that the car will also be able to steer for you on the highway and parallel park.
A $13.8 bn railway project, linking Nairobi to Mombasa, will cut right through Nairobi National Park in Kenya. The Chinese-funded railway line is set to replace the colonial-era Lunatic Express, so-named for the dangerous building process that exposed workers to disease, drought, and man-eating lions. Though the park and the wildlife within it attracts tourists from all over the world, the government has said this should not keep Kenya from building much-needed infrastructure.
The Love IT Pavilion for Copagri at Expo Milano 2015 is a pair of open-slatted wooden domes that can be re-used and reconfigured into an endless number of open, airy gathering spaces. Designed by EMBT, the beautiful structures sit around a large circular pool, creating a scenic meeting place. The open walls of the domes and open plan space inside allow visitors to meander in and out, visiting vendors and presentations at their own leisure.
What would happen if a multitude of voices, voices like yours, started to demand a greener tomorrow? The GREENWILL organization has launched a campaign to develop GreenAdvisor, a TripAdvisor-inspired app that would allow consumers to rate the eco-friendliness of the companies and stores they frequent. Those ratings can be shared online and can empower consumers to pressure businesses and institutions into greener decisions. You can help support the app by backing the project on the GreenAdvisor Kickstarter.
French architecture firm PAN Architecture just unveiled a low-cost prefabricated addition to Marseille’s Architecture School that is clad in vertical metal strips and corrugated iron. These particular materials were chosen to reference the colors of the site's soil, pines and surrounding plant life. The perforated canopy shelters a sort of indoor street, which branches out towards the other buildings on campus and allows for horizontal growth of the new extension.