As a creative response to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuous destruction of the planet’s natural resources, Nicolas Abdelkader presents a series of photo montages that question our relationship with mobility. By turning planes, ships and trucks into huge green planters, ‘the urgency to slow down’ imagines an alternative future after lockdown, one in which these symbols of excessive energy consumption have been left behind, only to become something beneficial for the environment.
+++ Via Designboom
The meat industry is one of the top contributors to climate change, directly and indirectly producing about 14.5 percent of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, and global meat consumption is on the rise. People generally like eating meat—when poor people start making more money, they almost invariably start buying more meat. As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic.
Attempts to reduce meat consumption usually focus on baby steps—Meatless Monday and “vegan before 6,”passable fake chicken, andin vitro burgers. If the world is going to eat less meat, it’s going to have to be coaxed and cajoled into doing it, according to conventional wisdom.But what if the convincing were the easy part? Suppose everyone in the world voluntarily stopped eating meat, en masse. I know it’s not actually going to happen. But the best-case scenario from a climate perspective would be if all 7 billion of us woke up one day and realized that PETA was right all along. If this collective change of spirit came to pass, like Peter Singer’s dearest fantasy come true, what would the ramifications be?
Read Full Article at SLATE
Proximity Designs is a Myanmar-based social enterprise that designs products to improve poor people’s lives. Some of the affordable creations they’ve made include foot-powered water pumps, drip irrigation systems, solar lanterns and even infrastructure projects like bridges.
An integral part of their design and manufacturing process involves putting prototypes through trials with robots that use them until they break. The group says their line of farming aids all get pushed to failure by their lab’s robot farmers, which helps improve how they’re made.
Building a reliable product is important if it is to be used under the strain of daily life in rural Myanmar. A product like a manual water pump relieves farmers of the backbreaking work of carrying up to 10 tons of water a day on their backs from distant wells.
The country’s farmers are showing their approval by opening up their wallets—Proximity Designs reports that they will sell 31,000 irrigation products in fiscal year 2013. They say their work has also resulted in a 10 to 15 percent increase in rice yield.
“Including the newest one I bought, I have three treadle pumps,” said farmer Aung San. “I made about $1,200 last year, so I bought more land to expand my plot. That’s why I bought another pump.”
W.H. Auden is a Greek poet, at least when it comes to nature. No, I don’t mean that he is all about olive trees and white sand beaches: I mean there is something fundamentally classical in his attitude toward the natural world, something that puts him at odds with the two dominant modes of nature poetry of our time—something that, indeed, casts light on the outlines of those norms.
The two most common attitudes toward non-human nature in contemporary poetry are the Romantic (or sentimental—if we can use that word without condescension) and the ecopoetic. The first of these dates back more than two centuries, and receives its most powerful theoretical articulation in Friedrich Schiller’s great essay of 1795, “On Simple and Sentimental Poetry.” Here, Schiller begins by describing the longing for the realm of nature among self-conscious and sophisticated people:
There are moments in our life, when we dedicate a kind of love and touching respect to nature in its plants, minerals, animals, landscapes . . . not because it is pleasing to our senses, not even because it satisfies our understanding or taste . . . but rather merely because it is nature. Every fine man, who does not altogether lack feeling, experiences this, when he walks in the open, when he lives upon the land . . . in short, when he is surprised in artificial relations and situations with the sight of simple nature.
Excerpt from a text written by Robert Archambeau at the Boston Review. Continue THERE
This house is located in the mountains of Almaty, among the forest of fir trees. He created for that would feel more fusion with nature and give up some unnecessary conditions and things. The house has to be something that can only develop your spiritual and creative development.
Text and Images via A. Masow. A project by A. Masow.
With millions of tons of garbage dumped into the oceans annually and repeat incidence of oil spills like the Deepwater Horizon Disaster, it’s the Ocean which has taken the brunt of unsustainable methods from man. In effect, it’s estimated almost 100,000 marine animals are killed due to debris entanglement and continually rising pollution.
To a degree, individual lessening of consumerism and utilizing sustainable methods to re-use and eliminate waste is very beneficial. However, reducing the already-toxic state of the Earth is the biggest concern of environmentalists and engineers, seeking to utilize the technological advances already available. To this avail, it was 19-year-young Boyan Slat that ingeniously created the Ocean Array Plan, a project that could remove 7,250,000 tons of plastic from the world’s oceans in just five years.
Slat’s idea consists of an anchored network of floating booms and processing platforms that could be dispatched to garbage patches around the world. Working with the flow of nature, his solution to the problematic shifting of trash is to have the array span the radius of a garbage patch, acting as a giant funnel as the ocean moves through it. The angle of the booms would force plastic in the direction of the platforms, where it would be separated from smaller forms, such as plankton, and be filtered and stored for recycling. The issue of by-catches, killing life forms in the procedure of cleaning trash, can be virtually eliminated by using booms instead of nets and it will result in a larger areas covered. Because of trash’s density compared to larger sea animals, the use of booms will allow creatures to swim under the booms unaffected, reducing wildlife death substantially.
Excerpt from an article written by Amanda Froelich at True Activist. Continue THERE
Designer Michal Marko created a disposable food bowl concept (with minimum environmental impact) while teaching society about new biodegradable materials. On the label it states: “Enjoy your food. Then put the seeds from under the label with gravel into the bowl and let it grow. After a week, plant bowl with a herb into the ground. The bowl will degrade and you can grown your own herb.”
Anarchic eco-charity Fuck for Forest wants you to get horny, get naked and save the world. Dedicated to the belief that personal sexual liberation can radically alter humanity’s relationship to the earth, Fuck for Forest’s modus operandi is to mix the serious business of survival with pleasure—they sell self-produced erotica online to benefit the environment. Despite enormous success (with over 400,000 euro in the bank) the members live a largely frugal existence, wandering through Germany without a cent in their pockets, playing music, converting passersby and exuberantly staging public sexual demonstrations. But the Western privilege that enables the group’s excess and devil-may-care optimism is precisely what throws their project into turmoil when the time comes to turn beliefs into actions. Fuck for Forest is a barely believable real-world story from director Michał Marczak (winner of the Emerging Artist Award at Hot Docs 2011) detailing a calamitous meeting of optimism and reality.
Written by Eli Horwatt. Via HotDocs
Australian scientists made headlines last month when they revealed that they were close to cloning a frog, Rheobatrachus silus, last seen in the wild three decades ago. If they succeed, it may take another emerging technology to keep that frog alive.
Synthetic biology aims to endow organisms with new sets of genes and new abilities. Along with cloning, it has been portrayed in the press as a hubristic push to do fantastical things: bring back woolly mammoths or resurrect the passenger pigeons that darkened the skies of North America before they were eradicated by nineteenth-century settlers.
But at a first-of-its-kind meeting, held on 9–11 April at the University of Cambridge, UK, leading conservationists and synthetic biologists discussed how the technology could be applied in less fanciful ways to benefit the planet: to produce heat-tolerant coral reefs, pollution-sensing soil microbes and ruminant gut microbes that don’t belch methane. Also on the list were ways to help frogs to overcome chytridiomycosis, the fungal disease threatening amphibians worldwide that is thought to have contributed to the extinction of R. silus.
Excerpt from an article written by Ewen Callaway, at Nature. Continue HERE
Before the Florida Keys meant sun, sea, and Jimmy Buffet, they were famous for mosquitoes—dense, black clouds of them that hummed and bit without pause, spread malaria, dengue, and yellow fever, and drove visitors temporarily insane with irritation.
In the 1920s, hordes of mosquitoes were the major obstacle standing between Richter Clyde Perky, a real estate developer from Denver, and the success of his fishing resort on Lower Sugarloaf Key. The construction manager Perky had hired to oversee the project complained that “in the late afternoon, you would just have to rake the bugs off your arm” and that “they’d form a black print on your hand if you put it against a screen and suck all the blood right out of it.
In his search for a solution, Perky came across a book called Bats, Mosquitoes, and Dollars by Dr. Charles Campbell. A doctor and “city bacteriologist” based in San Antonio, Texas, Campbell had been experimenting with attracting bats to artificial roosts since the turn of the century, in the belief that they were the natural predators of mosquitoes. As an article in BATS magazine explains, Campbell initially thought that the design of bat architecture would be a simple matter:
“Can bats like bees be colonized and made to multiply where we want them?” he wondered. “This would be no feat at all!…Don’t they just live in any old ramshackle building? They would be only too glad to have a little home such as we provide for our song birds…”
After a handful of expensive failures, followed by several months spent in the caves of West Texas, observing bats in their natural environment, Campbell came up with his pioneering design for a Malaria-Eradicating Guano Producing Bat Roost, “built according to plans furnished by the greatest and only infallible of all architects, Nature,” and equipped with “all the conveniences any little bat heart could possibly desire.”
Excerpt from an article via VENUE. Continue THERE
“According to UNESCO, Ecuador has the world’s highest level of biodiversity based on it’s geographical size. In the Amazonian rainforest of this small South American country, more species of trees grow within one hectare (2,5 acres) than in the entire North American continent. Ecuador also boasts 460 species of amphibians, almost 9 percent of the world’s total.”
“One third of Ecuador’s amphibian species are endangered. This prompted the creation of a research and conservation program at the Catholic University of Quito in 2005. The program, named ‘Balsa de los sapos’, spanish for ‘Life raft of the frogs’, aims to collect, reproduce, and return endangered amphibians to their natural habitat.” — Peter Lipton
Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that for the last two years has been creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts. The GVCS lowers the barriers to entry into farming, building, and manufacturing and can be seen as a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, in urban redevelopment, or in the developing world.
The omnipresence of electromagnetic fields is implied just by simple current flow. We are surrounded by electromagnetic fields which we are producing for information transfer or as a byproduct. Many of those fields are very capacitive and can be harvested with coils and high frequency diodes. Accordingly, I built special harvesting devices that are able to tap into several electromagnetic fields to exploit them. The energy is stored in an usual battery. So you can for example gain redundant energy from the power supply of a coffee machine, a cell phone or an overhead wire by holding the harvester directly into the electromagnetic field whose strength is indicated by a LED on the top of the harvester.
Depending on the strength of the electromagnetic field it is possible to charge a small battery within one day. The system is meant to be an option for granting access to already existing but unheeded energy sources. By exploring these sources it can create a new awareness of the invisible electromagnetic spaces while giving them a spatial dimension.
There are two types of harvester for different electromagnetic fields: a smaller harvester that is suitable for lower frequencies below 100Hz which you can find in the general mains (50/60Hz, 16,7Hz) and a bigger one that is suitable for lower and higher frequencies like radio broadcast (~100MHz), GSM (900/1800MHz) up to Bluetooth and WLAN (2,4GHz).
Text and Images via Dennis Siegel
The margins of philosophy are populated by non-human, non-animal living beings, including plants. While contemporary philosophers tend to refrain from raising ontological and ethical concerns with vegetal life, Michael Marder puts this life at the forefront of the current deconstruction of metaphysics. He identifies the existential features of plant behavior and the vegetal heritage of human thought so as to affirm the potential of vegetation to resist the logic of totalization and to exceed the narrow confines of instrumentality. Reconstructing the life of plants “after metaphysics,” Marder focuses on their unique temporality, freedom, and material knowledge or wisdom. In his formulation, “plant-thinking” is the non-cognitive, non-ideational, and non-imagistic mode of thinking proper to plants, as much as the process of bringing human thought itself back to its roots and rendering it plantlike.
“Life expectancy for a healthy American man of my age is about 90. (That’s not to be confused with American male life expectancy at birth, only about 78.) If I’m to achieve my statistical quota of 15 more years of life, that means about 15 times 365, or 5,475, more showers. But if I were so careless that my risk of slipping in the shower each time were as high as 1 in 1,000, I’d die or become crippled about five times before reaching my life expectancy. I have to reduce my risk of shower accidents to much, much less than 1 in 5,475.
This calculation illustrates the biggest single lesson that I’ve learned from 50 years of field work on the island of New Guinea: the importance of being attentive to hazards that carry a low risk each time but are encountered frequently.
I first became aware of the New Guineans’ attitude toward risk on a trip into a forest when I proposed pitching our tents under a tall and beautiful tree. To my surprise, my New Guinea friends absolutely refused. They explained that the tree was dead and might fall on us.”
Excerpt from an essay by Jared Diamond at NYT. Continue HERE
TAAK is an international platform that develops innovative art projects and educational programmes relating to social issues such as ecology, urbanisation, social design and human rights. TAAK places topics of public interest on the agenda and develops innovative strategies and perspectives for a changing world. Art and culture shape and express values that can unite different groups in society. By using art to mobilise artists, commissioners, citizens and organisations around specific themes, TAAK investigates how new types of social initiatives and citizenship may arise.
Fly and be Damned gets underneath the well-known facts about the unsustainable nature of the aviation industry and argues for fundamental change to our traveling habits. The first book to transcend the emotional debate between the entrenched positions of those who are either for, or against, flying, this groundbreaking work argues that aviation is stuck in a stalemate between misguided policy and a growing imperative to deal with its environmental impact and that there is now little possibility that the transition to sustainable flying can be a smooth evolution. A book by Peter McManners.
‘All human societies have had to face challenges of one sort or another. But today’s challenges are perhaps greater than any faced in the whole of recorded history. Failing to rise to the climate challenge has very serious consequences as to avoid irreversible climate chaos we must hold average global temperatures to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, which requires immediate, rapid and widespread action. We long-industrialised nations have a historic obligation to set a lead. Although many of us are already doing a great deal, there remains however a curious phenomenon of ‘airflight carbon blindness’ where individuals who meticulously change light bulbs, use the bus and recycle, still find it just too easy to hop on an cheap air flight. Similarly national and even international frameworks often ignore flying. We urgently need to talk about flying and this book certainly gets the conversation started!’ – Paul Allen, Project Director, Zero Carbon Britain
‘McManners could have titled his important new book ‘Fly and Be Sustainable’, with its bold and provocative vision for transforming the aviation industry from a laggard of the fossil fuel age to a linchpin industry of the future. Building on the industry’s rich entrepreneurial tradition, his proposals could very well usher in a third golden age for the industry and provide a crucial step for a sustainable future. Whether this book disturbs, enlightens, angers or provokes into action, it provides a much-needed jumpstart to the debate on sustainability and deserves a wide audience.’ – John E. Reardon, Editor, International Journal of Pluralism and Economics Education
‘For those who live by air travel, McManners sets out a tough agenda for a sustainable aviation industry.’ – Nigel Winser, Executive Vice President, Earthwatch.
When a seed is planted in the ground, the roots tend to grow downward in search of water and nutrients. But what happens when there is no “down” for the roots to grow? Scientists sent seeds to the International Space Station and were surprised to see what plants did without gravity to guide their roots downward.
The scientists ran their experiment on Arabidopsis plants—a go-to species for plant biologists. The control group was germinated and grown at the Kennedy Space Center (A), while the comparative group was housed on the International Space Station (B). For 15 days, researchers took pictures of the plants at six-hour intervals and compared them. Their results surprised even them: the plants in space exhibited the same growth patterns as those on Earth.
The researchers were looking for two specific patterns of root growth: waving and skewing. With waving, the root tips grow back and forth, much like waves. Skewing occurs when a plant’s roots grow at an angle, rather than straight down. Scientists don’t know exactly why these root behaviors occur, but gravity was thought to be the driving force for both.
This experiment disproved the widely accepted gravity-based theory. Although the orbiting plants grew more slowly than their terrestrial counterparts, skewing showed up equally in both groups of plants. Waving was much less pronounced in the roots of the ISS plants but still present. These results [pdf] published in BMC Plant Biology last week, demonstrate that gravity is not necessarily the key component in determining a plant’s growth pattern. In fact, gravity doesn’t even seem to be necessary for these patterns to occur at all. Scientists are now looking to other forces such as moisture, nutrients, and light avoidance to explain why roots grow the way they do.
“Surveying a vast range of topics and practices—from humans as dominant geomorphic agents, to forces and time scales that challenge the very limits of an anthropocentric worldview—Making the Geologic Now argues for the central place of a geological imaginary in contemporary culture. From metaphor to material, the “geological turn” in art, design, architecture, and poetry, a result of the increased presence of geological realities in everyday life, is shown to be a catalyst for new considerations of how the human and non-human, the ecological and the ethical, are increasingly intertwined. The volume’s engaging selection unpacks the layers of our urgent relationship to the geologic, with its deep time and prospective futures, from our destruction of coral reefs and the storing of nuclear waste, to meteoritic dust that fall on us daily, and the hundreds of man-made satellites now in geostationary orbit around the earth.” ~ João Ribas, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center
Professor Joseph Giacomin is the director of the Human Centered Design Institute. In this book he takes the readers on a visual journey into the world of perception enhancement. The term expresses the multiplicity of new technologies acting to augment human sensory abilities, permitting us to see, hear and feel the world through technological eyes, ears and hands. Enhancing human perception is not new even the Greeks and the Romans regularly used their magnifying lenses but humanity has never before had at its fingertips the range of sensor, signal processing and cognitive technologies flooding the market today. Can we see in the dark? Can we see through walls? Can we see heat? Of course we can. This is the 21st century! As we embark on this short picture tour of what our world looks like through artificial eyes, emotional and thought provoking images of the well known and of the unusual provide a brief glimpse into what the world around us looks like when we are willing to transcend our normal perceptual abilities. This visual diary will be an inspiration for future artists, designers and scientists.
The premise of the author’s research group at Brunel University in the UK, Perception Enhancement Systems, is that leveraging our sensory systems through the use of advanced technology can enhance our understanding.
Text and Image via Amazon UK
Under Tomorrows Sky is a fictional, future city. Speculative architect Liam Young of the London based Tomorrows Thoughts Today has assembled a think tank of scientists, technologists, futurists, illustrators, science fiction authors and special effects artists to collectively develop this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains.
In online and live discussions held during the past months the think tank came together to design this future city and discuss the possibilities of emerging biologies and technologies. This time there are no dystopian visions of the future, we’ve seen enough of those. Under Tomorrows Sky imagines a post-capitalist urbanity full of optimism and joy, full of life and aspiration.
It is a city of extraordinary technology but at first glance appears indistinguishable from nature. It is an artificial reef that grows and decays and grows again as the city becomes a cyclic ecosystem. A city as a geological formation of caves and grottos covered by a thick layer of soil and slime, a biological soup of human and non-human inhabitants. The city and us are one, a symbiotic life form. The city grows and we grow with it. Together we form a giant complex organism of which ecology and technology are inseparable parts.
At this moment the phase of creation has begun. An intricately detailed miniature model of this future city will rise under tomorrows sky and come into being at MU in the upcoming weeks. Between August 10 and October 28 all involved with the creation of the model will develop a collection of fictions based in the city. The model will be the backdrop for animated films and a stage set for a collection of stories and illustrations. The audience will also be invited to contribute their own narratives to the city through a series of workshops. Under Tomorrows Sky will be the starting point of a new ecological urban vision. The city of the future is not of a fixed time or place but it will emerge through the help of many.
Text and Image via Under Tomorrows Sky
1. Some places are built on swamps. You feel it most in the summer, when the air turns murky, rancid, darkly potent. And some places are fabricated out of thin air—from blood and sweat, and perfected ideologies. Dubai is among the latter, existing at the interstice between speculation and the geography of a dream. It’s a funny, beautiful, futuristic place to grow up in, where announcements become architecture within a matter of months. At the same time, it’s a difficult city to read. Even after several decades, its denizens can feel like they’re still waiting for it to make sense, become legible. When we left Dubai, we thought that our only relation had been to its people, and not to the city itself.
In our inaugural issue, we wondered whether cultural production could have terror. We asked how you might speak a place, and also how you speak from a place, or non-place. When we returned to Dubai, however, we realized something else was at play. Perhaps cities and places had anterior lives, and could speak for themselves.
2. This time around, we selected 15 projects that interrogate the futures of place. Together, they present diverse interpretations of ‘speculative geography,’ realized across urban, rural and temporal fabrics. Topics range from psychogeographic meanderings through Kathmandu and the psychic topography of New York, to displacement and belonging in Accra and the Spanish Canary Islands. Others look to planned cities in Brazil and in a mysterious totalitarian state, Indonesian arts education, the cartographic sonics of mortgaged real estate, and placehacking London’s skyline. A third category considers virtual terrains, with pieces on the socially mediated red carpet, and the need for a new politics to go with our increasingly weird techy futures. And lastly, the purely speculative: a corpus of networked lighthouses in New Zealand, an Afghan agricultural belt-made-machine, a carnivalistic, biosynthetic robot zoo and what would have happened if the atomic bomb was dropped on Berlin.
3. In this volume, designed by Lejla Redja, we continued to experiment with design. How else might we be able to suggest a reverse skeuomorph, and implicate the screen on a page? Does navigating the bookform insist on mechanical gestures, like the page flip? Must the leaves be attached, glued, or stitched? Or can we extend the metaphor of tabbed browsing, and store data—characters and pixels—within the covers of a book? We thought about the accordion, the folder, Spaces, paint and paper swatches, the address bar, and the favicon in various states of unzip. The result is a printed constellation of places—those that are, or will be, or could have been.
— The text was written by the Editors of The State. Continue HERE
FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE:
Jansen Aui, Nick Roberts and Henry Stephens — Syndromes and a Sentry
Nick Axel — Metric | Space
Khairani Barokka — Indonesia’s Double Mountain
Greg Barton—Marja || Marja
M.F. Benigno — Dériving KTM
Frances Bodomo — The House at Haatso
DEMILIT — They Came to the Desert and were Consumed by a Flickering Fortress
Daniel Fernández Pascual — Displaced Soils
Bradley L. Garrett — Edgework: Getting Close, Getting Cut, Getting Out
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi — A New City for a New Man
Karen Gregory — Geography of Intimacy
Sarah Handelman — Faded Maps, Fleeting Histories
John Krauss — Let’s Map!
Justin Pickard — Chalice Flag, Hydroelectric Sublime
Adam Rothstein — New Politic
A Summer School focused on the future of food consumption, its new urban landscape, environments of novel culinary exploration, hybridization of traditional practices, rites and festivals with contemporary digital design technologies, prototyping protocols and bio-gardening techniques.
The teaching model of this Summer School is grounded on the experimental tradition of the Architectural Association and on the design philosophy of ecoLogicStudio, that will curate the event and co-run the design workshop. After setting up our Urban LAB in the SPAZIOFMGperl’architettura gallery [sponsored by Active], we will embark in a series of exploration trips and “gardening” experiments around the emergent bio-farming network of Milano Parco Sud, site to 2015World Expo; inspired by the achievements of the Slow Food movement, we will radicalize their efforts through the deliberate contamination of the traditional and the futuristic, the natural and the bioengineered. Our ambition with AA Italy ‘cyber-GARDENing the city’ is to enjoy 10 intense days within the country with the highest concentration of culinary traditions and learn new cutting edge design techniques to manifest the possibilities of a radical interpretation of such traditions as new global bio-lifestyles. The aspiring cyber-gardeners will be able to explore and invent new hybrid design practices by combining Applets design with distributed urban sensing and mapping, computational parametric design with hydroponic cultivation, and cutting edge digital animation with journalistic and critical narrative. These tree design clusters will be interfaced and interrelated during the workshop giving to all participants the opportunity to experiment with multiple techniques and challenge different aspects of the brief. This final outcome will be a single 1:1 prototypical space to be set up within the lobby of our urban LAB; a space embedded with biological life, sensing potential, ecosystem narrative and real-time social networking interface; a space for the discussion and re-definition of urban agricultural services and supply chain.
Text and Image via cyberGARDENS
Kevin Langan: 100 Wild Huts is an experimental challenge I’ve set myself to build 100 small survival shelters on any piece of ground that harbors enough natural resources for the build. I intend to sleep rough in each shelter for one night and blog about the experiences. I intend to experiment with the huts form, structure and materiality in the hope that in due course this site will become a useful resource for budding adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Utøya 22 July 2011, Fantastic Norway have been working closely with the Labor Youth Party with designing a strategy for re-establishing a political camp on the island of Utøya. Our ambition has been to reflect and reinforce values such as commitment, solidarity, diversity and democracy, both through form and function. In short we have done this by establishing a small village with small streets, bellfry and a town square on the very top of the island. The village consists of many small units that together ad up to a bigger community: A symbol of unity and diversity.
In recent months we’ve seen a spate of articles, reports, and op-eds claiming that peak oil is a worry of the past thanks to so-called “new technologies” that can tap massive amounts of previously inaccessible stores of “unconventional” oil. “Don’t worry, drive on,” we’re told.
But as Post Carbon Institute Senior Fellow Richard Heinberg asks in this short video, what’s really new here? “What’s new is high oil prices and … the economy hates high oil prices.”
Torresol Energy has overcome one of solar energy’s biggest challenges: operating when the sun doesn’t shine. The 19.9 MW Gemasolar concentrated solar power plant in Spain’s Andalucia province has two tanks of molten salt (MSES) that store heat energy generated throughout the day. Unlike normal plants that have less thermal storage or none at all, this stored energy enables Torresol to satisfy peak summer energy demand long after sunset. A joint venture between Spanish giant Sener and Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s Future Energy Company, the Gemasolar plant has hurdled one of alternative energy’s biggest obstacles.
The MSES consists of 60% potassium nitrate and 40% sodium nitrate. This mixture has the amazing ability to retain 99% of the heat energy generated by the CSP plant to be reused later. Essentially what Forbes calls a “battery” that lasts for about 15 hours – more than double Andasol I’s 7 hour capacity – the MSES is not considered especially toxic to the environment.
Gemasolar is expected to produce approximately 110,000 MWh of energy each year – enough to power 25,000 homes. Although a 19.9 MW plant is relatively small, this functions on par with a 50MW plant that lacks decent storage since it can feed the grid all of the time.
Text and Image via Inhabitat
“Aeroponic” is a method of growing plants in a soil-less environment, essentially in the air. Unlike traditional farming where plants are grown in soil and unlike hydroponics, where the plant root systems are immersed in a nutrient rich water bath. The patent pending AirGrown is a vertical aeroponic plant growing system in which the plant roots are allowed to grow in a hollow manifold that uses a programmed misting cycle to provide nutrient rich water directly to the plant roots. The AirGrown system also controls other essential growing elements such as water temperature and pH levels.
This book explores the relationship between living, code and software. Technologies of code and software increasingly make up an important part of our urban environment. Indeed, their reach stretches to even quite remote areas of the world. Life in Code and Software introduces and explores the way in which code and software are becoming the conditions of possibility for human living, crucially forming a computational ecology, made up of disparate software ecologies, that we inhabit. As such we need to take account of this new computational environment and think about how today we live in a highly mediated, code-based world. That is, we live in a world where computational concepts and ideas are foundational, or ontological, which I call computationality, and within which, code and software become the paradigmatic forms of knowing and doing. Such that other candidates for this role, such as: air, the economy, evolution, the environment, satellites, etc., are understood and explained through computational concepts and categories.
Introduction: What is Code and Software?
Code Literacy (‘iteracy’)
Text and Image via Life in Code and Software. Content edited by David M. Berry