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Archive for the ‘habitats’ category

Aug 17, 2018

From pine cones to an adaptive shading system

Posted by in categories: habitats, robotics/AI

An adjustable shading system that adapts itself independently over the course of the day, without sensors or motors and largely maintenance-free? It really is possible: an ETH doctoral student at the Institute for Building Materials has developed an alternative to motor-driven sunshades.

It gets hot in the city in summer, and buildings in direct sunlight get particularly warm. At night, it can then be difficult to get rid of that accumulated heat. These days, many people dream of efficient air conditioning. Chiara Vailati had a different dream: after completing her studies in Italy, the pursued the idea of creating an adjustable and autonomous sunshade for houses, to reduce the amount of heat that enters a building and therefore the need for cooling. She had high requirements: “I wanted the system to be made of environmentally friendly materials, use very little energy and have low installation and maintenance costs,” remembers Vailati.

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Aug 16, 2018

How cancer cells communicate — and how we can slow them down

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats

When cancer cells are closely packed together in a tumor, they’re able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movement throughout the body. What if we could interrupt this process? In this accessible talk about cutting-edge science, Hasini Jayatilaka shares her work on an innovative method to stop cancer cells from communicating — and halt their fatal ability to spread.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

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Aug 15, 2018

Indonesia earthquake—how scrap tyres could stop buildings collapsing

Posted by in category: habitats

At the time of writing, 436 people have died following an earthquake in the Indonesian island of Lombok. A further 2,500 people have been hospitalised with serious injuries and over 270,000 people have been displaced.

Earthquakes are one of the deadliest natural disasters, accounting for just 7.5% of such events between 1994 and 2013 but causing 37% of deaths. And, as with all , it isn’t the countries that suffer the most earthquakes that see the biggest losses. Instead, the number of people who die in an earthquake is related to how developed the country is.

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Aug 15, 2018

How to conserve half the planet without going hungry

Posted by in categories: existential risks, food, habitats

‚Every day there are roughly 386,000 new mouths to feed, and in that same 24 hours, scientists estimate between one and 100 species will go extinct. That’s it. Lost forever.

To deal with the biodiversity crisis we need to find a way to give nature more space—habitat loss is a key factor driving these extinctions. But how would this affect our food supplies?

New research, published in Nature Sustainability, found it could mean we lose a lot of food —but exactly how much really depends on how we choose to give nature that space. Doing it right could mean rethinking how we do agriculture and altogether.

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Aug 14, 2018

From office windows to Mars: Scientists debut super-insulating gel

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, habitats, space travel

A new, super-insulating gel developed by researchers at CU Boulder could dramatically increase the energy efficiency of skyscrapers and other buildings, and might one day help scientists build greenhouse-like habitats for colonists on Mars.

The “aerogel,” which looks like a flattened plastic contact lens, is so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on your hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing. But unlike similar products on the market, the material is mostly see-through.

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Aug 13, 2018

From windows to Mars: Scientists debut super-insulating gel

Posted by in categories: habitats, space travel

A new, super-insulating gel developed by researchers at CU Boulder could dramatically increase the energy efficiency of skyscrapers and other buildings, and might one day help scientists build greenhouse-like habitats for colonists on Mars.

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Aug 13, 2018

The fastest-sinking city in the world

Posted by in category: habitats

With frequent floods, sinking markets and engulfed homes, by 2050 parts of Jakarta will be underwater.

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Aug 13, 2018

Flat-pack homes and profit-sharing retrofits are making sustainable housing affordable

Posted by in categories: habitats, sustainability

Wealth-generating, flat-pack solar houses and a profit-sharing scheme that incentivises retrofitting are bringing sustainable living to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

“One of the biggest problems that we see right now is (the creation of) a big gap between the lower and the middle classes. Everyone is talking about this growing inequality gap,” said Bart Glowacki, co-founder of SOLACE, a start-up based in Warsaw, Poland, set up with the aim of making sustainable housing widely affordable.

Tighter mortgage controls, job insecurity and high student debts in Europe has meant that it is increasingly difficult for young people to buy their own homes.

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Aug 11, 2018

V.S. Naipaul, Nobel-winning author who drew admiration and revulsion, dies at 85

Posted by in category: habitats

V.S. Naipaul, the Trinidad-born Nobel laureate whose celebrated writing and brittle, provocative personality drew admiration and revulsion in equal measures, died Saturday at his London home, his family said. He was 85.

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Aug 10, 2018

A Chance Encounter in a Graveyard – Part 1

Posted by in category: habitats

This is a fictional story about a man realizing for the first time, under rather unusual circumstances, that he has a deep desire not to age and die.

It’s been a few months already, yet that day still feels like yesterday. I am still not convinced that I didn’t lose my mind that day, and even if I didn’t, it’s changed my thinking quite a bit.

I was in a green grove in the local cemetery, sitting on a bench. As it is the piece of nature closest to home, I used to go there quite often. A small group of men, all at least in their 40s and wearing black suits and ties, had passed by just as the bells in the nearby church began ringing.

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