Art, Environment

Aesthetic arrangements from garbage? Alejandro Duran’s site-specific dirty decorations

Derrame

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s gold, but artist Alejandro Duran gave a whole new meaning to that saying. Walking along the coastline in Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, he collects many bits of trash that wash up on the coast from all over the world and uses them for site site-specific installations for an ongoing project titled Washed Up. The

Environment, Green Living, News

HSBC advises caution when investing in fossil fuels, according to private note to clients

Divestment

Amid crashing oil prices and a divestment movement from fossil fuels, one of the most important banks in the world, HSBC, advised its clients to exercise caution when considering investing in fossil fuel assets. This was communicated through a private report, called ‘Stranded assets: what next?’, picked up by Newsweek. Inside, analysts warn that fossil fuel companies might become economically non-viable in the future, considering tightening emission regulations throughout the world. Considering HSBC’s portfolio, we can only take this as a sign that the fossil fuel industry is growing increasingly vulnerable, while renewables are shifting gears and growing at a fast pace driven by technological advances.

Animals, Environment, News

Coral disease threatens Hawaii reef

Image via Reef Builders.

A disease called black band coral disease is affecting nearly half of the reef sites researchers have surveyed in waters off Kauai and threatens to destroy Hawaii’s reefs, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Design, News, Renewable Energy

This beautiful stained glass window doubles as a solar panel

Current-Window-solar-panel-1

We’ve written several times that scientists have managed to develop colored glass usable as a solar panel; of course, the glass won’t absorb as much energy as traditional, black panels, but it’s still something – and it’s pleasant to the eye as well. Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel had an interesting take on how to use the technology, developing this beautiful stained glass window which generates electrical current by absorbing sunlight.

Environment, News, Technology, World Problems

EX-NASA Engineer Wants to Plant one Billion Trees a Year Using Drones

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Each year, we cut down 26 billion trees, for lumber, agriculture, mining and development projects. Every year, we plant about 15 billion trees, so that still leaves us with a huge deficit – something which is not sustainable and has to be addressed as soon as possible to avoid further problems down the road. Now, a former NASA engineer has found that drones could play a key part, and he plans to plant up to 1 billion trees a year using them.

News, Research, World Problems

Lowest science spending since WWII threatens US economy and security, MIT says

What the US needs is to spend more on science.

A report issued by a committee at MIT concludes that the decline in science funding will have drastic consequences for the country’s economy and security, making the US trail behind other countries like China which is spending immense amounts of money on science. In fact, one study estimates China will become the world’s leading science and innovation producer by 2020, outpacing the US. The MIT report identifies some 15 fields where inadequate budgets seriously hampers progress, from Alzheimer’s research, to nuclear fusion, to disease and agriculture.

Animals, Biology, News

Courtship in the animal kingdom: the amazing blue-eyed satin bowerbird

bowerbird

Endemic to Australia and New Zealand, the satin bowerbird is considered one of the most intelligent birds found in nature. Mature males are very easy to spot because of their bright blue eyes, while their bodies are uniformly covered in black, although sometimes light diffraction makes the bird’s feathers turn almost into a metallic sheen. What sets these birds apart is their remarkable courtship ritual, and the male’s seemingly obsessive fixation for blue.

Animals, Biology

What’s all the Buzz about Pollinators?

Photo credit: USFWS (Adult monarch butterfly by Tina Shaw/USFWS).

It’s been in all the headlines: monarch butterflies are in decline, honey bees are experiencing colony collapse disorder (CCD), and our future food supply appears to be in peril. The importance of preserving pollinators has even reached the White House, as President Obama issued a presidential memo in June 2014 that directed federal agencies to 1) develop a Pollinator Health

Green Living, News

Man cleans up entire river on his way to work

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We all see garbage in our daily routine, be it on the way to work, school, or just on the streets. But most people just choose to ignore it; after all, what difference could one man possibly do? Well, Tommy Kleyn didn’t think like that when he was walking pass a polluted river to work. He took a bag of garbage

Animals, Biology, News

The seemingly chaotic, but elegant movement of the octopus: how it pulls it off

octopus arms

Despite lacking a rigid skeleton, octopuses have a remarkable coordinated locomotion. Using high-speed cameras, a group at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem found the octopus achieves this by precisely and independently moving one or more of its eight legs to crawl its body, even when its facing a different direction. Moreover, there is no discernible rhythm or pattern to this undulating leg movement, making the octopus unique in this respect. It’s controlled chaos, and only the octopus itself completely knows how it pulls all this off.