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Ecosystem

Environment

Plastic islands being used to restore African lake

As the ever-growing giant flotilla of floating refuse known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch will show us, we shouldn't be putting plastic waste in our waterways. A new project, however, is aimed at helping the environment by doing so ... in a roundabout way of speaking. The participants plan on taking several artificial floating islands made from post-consumer plastic, planting papyrus on them, and then using them to help rebuild the ecosystem of Africa’s Lake Naivasha.Read More

Science

NASA's Perpetual Ocean animation turns ocean currents into art

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is an unlikely entrant in the SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival. Its “Perpetual World” animation may have failed to appeal to the judging committee of the 2011 edition of the competition, but it sure succeeded in catching our eye. The jaw-dropping animation visualizes the flow of surface ocean currents around the world. The raw data regarding the currents from June 2005 through to December 2007 has been turned into a work of art reminiscent of van Gogh.Read More

Games

Turning a sandbox into an ecosystem with the Xbox Kinect

The Xbox Kinect has certainly become a useful tool for innovation, with modders finding applications in medical imaging, robotics, and even aids for the visually impaired, to name just a few. Now it looks like you can add "topography" to that list with the development of the SandyStation. Created by two students in the Czech Republic, the SandyStation projects a realistic ecosystem over an ordinary sandbox, which can be altered in real-time. Read More

Environment

i-Tree software puts economic value on trees

Trees make a huge contribution to the green infrastructure of our towns and cities, both in carbon sequestration and aesthetics, yet the economical value of them is often forgotten leading them to be undervalued or seen as a nuisance. The i-Tree tool aims to change the way people see trees – it is a freely available software suite from the US Forest Service which provides analysis, benefit-calculations and assessment tools to quantify the contribution made by trees in the urban environment to allow communities to understand the economic benefit of protecting our urban forests. Read More

Around The Home

Fishy Farm combines horticulture, aquaculture, and vermiculture

Oh, choices, choices... do you grow vegetables, raise worms or raise fish? Well, the just-released Fishy Farm is designed to do all three in one hit. The small-scale aquaponic set-up is based around an ecosystem in which fish-waste-infused water fertilizes the veggies and feeds the worms, which in turn filter the water before it returns to the fish. All that users need to do is feed the fish, top up the water, and gobble up the bounty... except for the worms. Read More

Environment

North America's largest living wall completed

Not content with having the largest non-industrial living roof in Canada and North America, designers in Canada have gone one step further with the completion of the largest and most biologically diverse living wall in North America. Green wall designers Green Over Grey recently completed work on the living wall at the Semiahmoo Public Library and Royal Canadian Mounted Police Facility in Surrey, British Columbia, which consists of a unique design covering nearly 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) and consisting of over 10,000 individual plants. Read More

Environment

Mushrooms – the new Styrofoam alternative?

In an age where many oil fields are in terminal decline and our dependence on petroleum reaches critical proportions, it is simply crazy that with every Styrofoam-packaged item consumers purchase, one cubed foot of Styrofoam representing 1.5 liters of petrol is thrown away. Moreover, in the U.S., Styrofoam is said to take up 25 percent of the space in landfills. A much better-sounding alternative is to use naturally-produced EcoCradle. It's created from useless agricultural by-products and mushroom roots, has all the same properties as other expandable polystyrenes (EPS), and is fully compostable. Read More

Environment

Oil field brine proposed to treat Hungary's red sludge spill

It might sound like fighting fire with fire, but geologist Chen Zhu proposes the application of another industrial waste to the Hungarian bauxite residue spill, with the aim of reducing toxicity via a technique called carbon sequestration. While he says it wouldn't render the residue completely harmless, it would at least minimize the environmental damage. Read More

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