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Giant solar-powered traffic-directing robot strikes fear into rude drivers’ hearts

Grist.org - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 15:41

Traffic lights are easy to ignore. It’s not like they’re gonna hassle you for sliding through on a yellow. A giant robot, on the other hand, could morph into a Transformer or give you a trash compactor-style death hug or something. Some version of that thinking is behind two new solar-powered robots in Kinshasa, Congo, where the ’bots direct cars and pedestrians.

The robots stand over eight feet tall, with little faces and sunglasses and everything. They’re even outfitted with video cameras in order to creep people out record traffic violations. (There appears to be no tie-in to the new RoboCop movie.)

If you speak French or just wanna watch it swivel around and raise its robot-arms, check out this video:

According to the Washington Post, the robots are performing well:

Commuter Demouto Mutombo told CCTV Africa through an intrepreter: “As a motorcyclist I’m very happy with the robot’s work. Because when the traffic police control the cars here there’s still a lot of traffic. But since the robot arrived, we see truly that the commuters are respectful.”

But does it eat donuts?!


Filed under: Cities
Categories: Environment

Teslas drive L.A. to N.Y. in three days, guzzle no gas

Grist.org - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 15:17

In the wee morning hours on Thursday, just a few days after Tesla had installed its 70th Supercharger (it’s pretty much what it sounds like — an electric-car charger that works super fast), a team of the company’s employees departed from Los Angeles for an epic drive to New York City.

By Sunday morning, despite snow and freezing conditions, both Tesla Model S electric sedans had reached their destination.

Tesla LA to NY Supercharger rally just completed in 76 hours across northern route in dead of winter thru heavy snow!—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 02, 2014

The Tesla team was aiming to break a world record — not a record for speed, for one for shortest charge time for an electric vehicle traveling across the U.S.  Guinness officials have yet to rule on whether the team succeeded. While awaiting that verdict, Tesla found other things to brag about.

“By normal standards, most people would have considered the conditions that the Model S cars faced [on] Day Three as extreme,” the company wrote on its blog. ”Heavy snowfall turned to sleet; morning ice gave way to afternoon slush; fog restricted visibility. In Ohio, the cars sped on in driving rain. In all cases, the Model S prevailed with ease, as did the newly installed Superchargers along the way in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ohio.”

Maybe Consumer Reports was right.


Filed under: Business & Technology, Living
Categories: Environment

You can rent a hot tub and get it delivered by bike

Grist.org - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:45

Portland residents, we now have one more reason to gloat. Not only is our city the best in general, but we can now rent a wood-fired hot tub and get it delivered by bike. Can YOU say that about YOUR city?

Granted, “Nine months out of the year, the weather in Portland, Oregon, sucks,” as the guy in the Clever Cycles ad attests. (Still, not the way the weather in Chicago sucks, am I right?) Which is all the more reason to dip your toes into some toasty water as the drizzle comes down. Watch and see if it doesn’t just make you wanna change into your swimsuit:

Sounds like a Portlandia sketch, right? Sadly, the hot tub does not come with a free Carrie Brownstein, but it does include wood and more. Here are the deets:

The rate is $400 for 3 nights, plus a $50 deposit refundable upon clean return. This fee includes the following:

• The tub, complete with cover, fire coil shield, ash tray, wok, fill and drain hose with fittings and bung, leveling shims, stir paddle, custom bicycle trailer doubling as a hand cart

• Delivery and pickup by Clever-certified bicycle tubbist* within our delivery area

• Setup at your site, with instruction, tips for a successful first heating

• 60 lbs dry wood for 1 heating; additional 60 lbs @ $15

• Approved cleaning products

Now the only question is, my place or yours?


Filed under: Living
Categories: Environment

Propell Technologies to Exhibit Proprietary Enhanced Oil Recovery...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Propell Technologies Group, Inc., today announced that the Company will display its proprietary, licensed, Enhanced Oil Recovery Technology, the “Plasma-Pulse”, at the Winter North American Prospect...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11547111.htm

Categories: Environment

LIFE Foundation Seeks Applications For 2014 Life Lessons Scholarship...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

46 Scholarships will be awarded to provide tuition assistance to young people who have endured the loss of a parent or guardian.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/01/prweb11536422.htm

Categories: Environment

Acoustifence Reduces Construction Noise at Two Large-Scale Santa...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Two large-scale projects in Santa Monica, CA are utilizing Acoustifence sound barriers to reduce construction noise for the local communities. One is the $1.511 billion Transit Corridor Phase 2 to...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11540078.htm

Categories: Environment

Summit Evolution by DAT/EM Systems International Deemed Technology for...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Geospatial World highlighted Summit Evolution™, a product of DAT/EM Systems International®, in the January 2014 edition, naming it a “technology for tomorrow” (p.20). Summit Evolution is a...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11542077.htm

Categories: Environment

2014 Prom Dresses Presented Now By Bellasdress.com

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Today, Bellasdress.com presents its new prom dresses for 2014 on its website, and the collection is named as “BellasDress Prom Gowns Collection”.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11546859.htm

Categories: Environment

Norix Furniture Awarded GREENGUARD Certifications For Low-Emitting...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Recognized throughout the world, UL Environment’s GREENGUARD Certification recognizes products with low chemical emissions, which can contribute to healthier indoor environments.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/norix/greenguard/prweb11539329.htm

Categories: Environment

International Society of Sustainability Professionals Welcomes Maureen...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Leadership Team Bolstered Further as ISSP's Long-Time Education and Marketing Managers Move Into Director Roles

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11544872.htm

Categories: Environment

Timmons Group's Ben Snyder Achieves Wetland Professional in...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

The Wetland Professional in Training (WPIT) certification is considered a preliminary step for becoming a Professional Wetland Scientist (PWS), which requires a combination of wetland-related...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11545294.htm

Categories: Environment

Video on Demand (VOD) Market (TVOD, SVOD, NVOD) Worth $45.25 Billion...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Video on Demand (VOD) Market Research report majorly focuses on drivers, restraints and opportunities. The report also focuses on VOD Architecture by Centralized, Distributed and Hybrid....

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/video-on-demand/vod-market/prweb11547507.htm

Categories: Environment

Solar Encapsulation Market Worth $1,357.2 Million by 2018 - New Report...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

The Solar Encapsulation Market research report majorly focuses on research and development, technologies used, and factors driving the market....

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/solar-encapsulation/market/prweb11547668.htm

Categories: Environment

South Africa’s Most Promising Startups Advance to 1776’s Challenge Cup...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Cape Town region winners include Squirrelthat, Khaya Power, Anasodiabitiz, and Mellowcabs.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11547960.htm

Categories: Environment

No Better Time Than Now to Invest in Knoxville Luxury Homes According...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

It’s a good time to invest in Knoxville luxury homes, according to Lucas Haun and Sharon Laing, two of the region’s most prominent Realtors. They cite the upwards trend in home prices, strong sales,...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/KnoxvilleFineHomes/LucasHaunSharonLaing/prweb11537054.htm

Categories: Environment

Ablation Technologies Market (Radiofrequency, Cryoablation,...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

Ablation Devices Market report categorizes the global market by Technology, by Products, by Applications & by Geography -...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/ablation-devices-market/02/prweb11547626.htm

Categories: Environment

APAC Smart Homes Market (by Products - Security, Access, Lighting,...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 14:39

APAC Smart Homes Market report categorizes the APAC market by products being used in combinations for different needs such as security, comfort, entertainment, medical care, and communication:...

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/apac-smart-homes-market/02/prweb11547645.htm

Categories: Environment

Ask Umbra: What kind of wood floors should I buy?

Grist.org - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 12:10

Send your question to Umbra!

Q. From an environmental point of view, is installing an acacia wood floor a good or bad idea? It’s from the tropics — that’s a long way for wood to travel, hence a bigger carbon footprint. It’s also hard to find from a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) source.

On the other hand, from what I read, this is a fast-growing plantation tree that improves the soil because it fixes nitrogen. It’s also more durable than many local species, so the chances my acacia floor would be replaced within the next 100 years is lower than if I go with softer local species.

So, should I get over the fact that it’s exotic and not FSC?

Rich G.
Bellingham, Wash.

A. Dearest Rich,

After spending the last few hours looking at photos of rich, lustrous acacia flooring, I must say that style-wise, you’ve made a lovely choice. And as one of the hardest woods in the world, acacia also passes muster on the durability front. But there’s certainly more to consider when it comes to filling your home with this tropical timber.

The last part of your question is also the easiest, so let’s start with that. No, you should not gloss over acacia wood from a non-FSC source. The Forest Stewardship Council is a trusted, independent certification program that lends its label to products that manage forestry sustainably and protect locals’ rights. FSC isn’t perfect, but it’s our best bet for ensuring our wood floors aren’t walking all over the environment.

This is especially true for tropical hardwoods like acacia. Deforestation of the tropical rainforests remains a major issue in southeast Asia and South America, so much so that any tropical hardwood without FSC certification probably contributed to rainforest destruction, whether through straight-up logging or the razing of virgin forest to plant tree plantations (more on those in a bit). The good news is that a quick search of the FSC database confirms there is some sustainable acacia flooring to be had. The bad news is that, as you note, it’s not always easy to find.

Now Rich, say you’re able to track down certified acacia — should you then get over the fact that it’s traveling from exotic southeast Asia and Australia to your living room? This one isn’t so (forgive me) clear-cut. This report from the Union of Concerned Scientists goes into the issue of tropical hardwoods in depth, but I’ll sum up its takeaway points.

Tree plantations like the ones that produce much of our acacia are a bit of a mixed bag. In the plus column, they reduce logging pressure on pristine forests, and they’re very high yield (producing three to 10 times more wood than their natural counterparts). But these plantations are usually monocultures, with all of their attendant ills: reduced biodiversity of the forest, depleted soil quality, and vulnerability to pests. And tree plantations are particularly harmful when growers raze untouched rainforest to make way for them; the replacement tree farms do still help sequester carbon, but to a lesser degree, and the species diversity of the area plummets. One reason FSC certification is so important is that it ensures the wood product didn’t come from a clear-cut native forest (it’s much better to farm on previously disturbed lands, as some producers do).

On the other hand, there’s the argument that we should support sustainable tropic hardwood outfits because, if we don’t, that forest land will be converted to something perceived as more profitable — such as treeless agricultural fields.

Flipping back over to the con side, there’s also the carbon tax you pay on far-flung lumber in the form of carbon emissions from shipping long distances. But this isn’t crystal-clear, either, as ocean shipping is far more efficient than truck shipping — with your oceanfront location, a cargo ship from Vietnam could be competitive with lumber trucked in from New England.

You know what I’d do, Rich? Before you get too dizzy with all these variables, look into reclaimed lumber. It might not have the “positive energy and exuberant flow” of acacia, but salvaged wood from old buildings and bridges will have its own unique, historic charm — and it’ll divert materials from the landfill while reducing the need to log a living tree. And if you can reclaim said wood locally, you can kiss all those transport issues goodbye. You never know just what you’ll find on the salvage front, but I’ll bet you can ferret out some nice, durable hardwoods, too. Any decision that results in beautiful floors and happy orangutans is a good one in my book.

Sawfully,
Umbra


Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Living
Categories: Environment

Wagner Meters Introduces WFP200 – Concrete Flooring Package: The Rapid...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:38

Wagner Meters now offers a new combo kit for flooring installers and building inspectors who require accurate moisture measurement tools for concrete floor installations.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11543286.htm

Categories: Environment

SeaSnake Inspection System - New Versatile Viewing Device at...

PR Web - Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:38

New, Cost-Effective Inspection Camera SeaSnake Offers Great Quality-Price Ratio and Intuitive Operation.

(PRWeb February 03, 2014)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/02/prweb11543971.htm

Categories: Environment

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