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Recycled materials make up this quirky solar-powered hotel in West Africa

A beautiful sun-soaked retreat on Cape Verde’s island of Sao Vicente prides itself on sustainability. Ramos Castellano Arquitectos designed the Terra Lodge Hotel using recycled and found materials, water recycling systems, and a rooftop solar array. The hotel draws the eye with its gridded timber frame, constructed from unfinished African wood, that partially encloses private verandas.

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Built predominately from lime-plastered concrete, the Terra Lodge Hotel’s five structures are rotated to optimize views and cross breezes. The hotel includes 12 rooms and a suite, a breakfast room, a lap pool, and a large outdoor terrace on the roof of an old green colonial house that now houses the owner’s tourist agency. The architects used found materials in construction, such as the recycled metals from petroleum barrels for the gate and the locally sourced rocks for the walls.

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Terra Lodge Hotel, Terra Lodge Hotel Sao Vicente, Terra Lodge Hotel Cape Verde, Terra Lodge Hotel by Ramos Castellano Arquitectos, solar -powered Sao Vicente hotel,

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Related: Hotel Shabby Shabby: Pop-Up Hotel Offers Recycled Rooms Built for Under €250

“Every solution is simplified adapting to the island lack of material and resources, simple and essential for satisfying basic needings, not for ephemeral fashion,” wrote the architects. “Almost everything is handmade, employing people from the neighborhood, from the floor finishing to the furniture, trying to distribute the economy of the building construction in the social environment.” The architects also designed the furnishings and light systems with locally handcrafted and recycled wood.

+ Ramos Castellano Arquitectos

Via ArchDaily

Images © Sergio Pirrone

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Revolutionary Tesla Semi Truck arrives with a whopping 500 mile driving range

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It’s here: the semi truck that we’ve all been waiting for. Tesla just unveiled its new electric 500-mile-range Semi Truck, which could revolutionize the transportation world. Semi trailer trucks move goods all over the country, and without them we’d never get our stuff as fast as we do now, but they come with one big disadvantage – emissions. Today’s trucks are powered by dirty diesel engines that emit a large portion of the harmful pollutants in our air, but that could soon change.

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Not only does the Tesla Semi have a driving range of 500 miles, but it can also reach 60 mph in five seconds without a trailer, which is a fraction of the time that it takes for a comparable diesel truck. With an 80,000 pound load, Tesla estimates that the truck will reach 60 mph in 20 seconds, which normally takes a diesel truck about a minute. The Tesla Semi requires no shifting or clutching for smooth acceleration and deceleration, and its regenerative braking recovers 98% of kinetic energy to the battery, giving it a basically infinite brake life.

Even with a 500 mile driving range, drivers will need to find a place to recharge their Tesla Semi, so Tesla has announced new Megachargers that will add about 400 miles in 30 minutes.

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Inside the Tesla Semi’s cabin is designed specifically around the driver, with full standing room inside, and a centered driver position for better visibility. The driver also has two touchscreen displays positioned symmetrically on both sides that provide access to navigation, blind spot monitoring and electronic data logging. The Tesla Semi can also travel in a convoy, where one or several Semi trucks will be able to autonomously follow a lead Semi, making it even easier for the driver to travel long distances.

Related: Cummins beats Tesla with a fully-electric semi truck

The truck is also much safer than traditional semi trucks. According to Elon Musk, jackknifing is impossible thanks to independent motors on each will that can adjust torque as needed, and the roll risk is greatly reduced. It can even function of two of the motors fail for some reason. They are also more reliable, because Tesla guarantees them for a million miles, and the brake pads don’t need replacing. There is also no transmission to worry about. Best of all, according to Musk, is his favorite feature: thermonuclear explosion-proof glass.

Tesla changed the auto industry when it debuted the Model S, but can it do the same thing with its Semi Truck? When the Model S debuted, Tesla didn’t really have any big rivals, but the Tesla Semi Truck already has a growing list of competitors, including Bosch, Cummins, and Daimler. There are even a few start ups that are trying to get into the segment.

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At the event, Musk also revealed that Tesla is releasing an updated Roadster. It will be the fastest production car ever made and will have a top speed of 250 miles per hour with a range of 620 miles.

You can reserve the Tesla Semi for $5,000 and production is expected to start in 2019.

Images @Tesla

+ Tesla

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Fisker patents EV battery with a range of 500 miles that can be charged in 1 minute

It might sound too good to be true – but Fisker is working on an electric vehicle battery that can charge up to 100% in just one minute. They’ve reportedly made a breakthrough in solid-state batteries – and their technology could allow an EV to travel 500 miles after a single charge.

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Designer Henrik Fisker relaunched his EV venture last year, and since then he has teased the 2019 EMotion and started accepting pre-orders this past summer. Now the company has filed a patent for a groundbreaking solid-state battery.

Related: Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion EV

Green Car Congress reports that the patent includes claims about manufacturing processes and novel materials, saying, “Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.” Recharging such a battery, they pointed out, would take less time than filling up a tank of gas today.

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Electrek said while they’ve been dubious about some of the claims attached to the EMotion, there could be some credibility behind the battery as the effort has been helmed by Fabio Albano, co-founder of Sakti3 and Fisker’s vice president of battery systems.

Albano said, “We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings.”

The first EMotions will employ lithium-ion batteries similar to those in other EVs, but Fisker aims to have their solid-state battery production grade ready sometime around 2023. The company could show their first working prototype of the technology at CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January.

+ Fisker

Via Electrek, Green Car Congress, and HuffPost UK

Images via Fisker

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Fisker patents EV battery with a range of 500 miles that can be charged in 1 minute

It might sound too good to be true – but Fisker is working on an electric vehicle battery that can charge up to 100% in just one minute. They’ve reportedly made a breakthrough in solid-state batteries – and their technology could allow an EV to travel 500 miles after a single charge.

Fisker, Henrik Fisker, Fisker EMotion, EMotion, electric car, electric cars, electric vehicle, electric vehicles, battery, batteries, solid-state battery, solid-state batteries, EV, EVs, car, cars, automotive

Designer Henrik Fisker relaunched his EV venture last year, and since then he has teased the 2019 EMotion and started accepting pre-orders this past summer. Now the company has filed a patent for a groundbreaking solid-state battery.

Related: Fisker is back with the $130,000 400-mile range EMotion EV

Green Car Congress reports that the patent includes claims about manufacturing processes and novel materials, saying, “Fisker’s solid-state batteries will feature three-dimensional electrodes with 2.5 times the energy density of lithium-ion batteries.” Recharging such a battery, they pointed out, would take less time than filling up a tank of gas today.

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Electrek said while they’ve been dubious about some of the claims attached to the EMotion, there could be some credibility behind the battery as the effort has been helmed by Fabio Albano, co-founder of Sakti3 and Fisker’s vice president of battery systems.

Albano said, “We are addressing all of the hurdles that solid-state batteries have encountered on the path to commercialization, such as performance in cold temperatures; the use of low-cost and scalable manufacturing methods; and the ability to form bulk solid-state electrodes with significant thickness and high active material loadings.”

The first EMotions will employ lithium-ion batteries similar to those in other EVs, but Fisker aims to have their solid-state battery production grade ready sometime around 2023. The company could show their first working prototype of the technology at CES 2018 in Las Vegas in January.

+ Fisker

Via Electrek, Green Car Congress, and HuffPost UK

Images via Fisker

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Long Story Short hostel is a modern escape tucked into a historical building in Moravia

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A 17th century brick building in the historical capital city of Moravia, Czech Republic, now houses a gorgeous hostel that preserves the story of the place. Named Long Story Short, the hostel infuses the original building with a contemporary feel and combines raw materials with vintage furniture. Prague-based Denisa Strmiskova Studio renovated the building by highlighting its history, while enriching it with contemporary design.

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The horseshoe-shaped building sits in the historical center of Olomouc, the ecclesiastical metropolis and historical capital city of Moravia. The architects’ main idea was to create the whole concept of the hostel from scratch, including all its equipment and visual layout.

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Related: Almáa Sintra Hostel Is An Idyllic Eco-Retreat on a Historic 12th Site in Portugal

An organically arched hall, which leads from the reception to all the rooms, is different from every perspective and surprises you constantly when walking through. The team enhanced this shape with sophisticated use of light, black details and pastels that contrast the pure white plastering.

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Most of the furnishing, including beds, mirrors, lamps, shelves and bathroom equipment, was custom-made in cooperation with local producers and craftsmen. The architects collaborated with Miroslav Bednář from Prague’s shop Retroobjects in selecting turn-of-the-century modernist designs. Some parts of the hostel are also decorated by original works by Czech artist David Minařík.

+ Denisa Strmiskova Studio

Via The Spaces

Photos by Josef Kubicek

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Denisa Strmiskova Studio, Long Story Short Hostel, green renovation, historic building, Czech Republic, modernist furniture, vaulted ceiling, green interior, local craftsmen, natural materials

Denisa Strmiskova Studio, Long Story Short Hostel, green renovation, historic building, Czech Republic, modernist furniture, vaulted ceiling, green interior, local craftsmen, natural materials

Denisa Strmiskova Studio, Long Story Short Hostel, green renovation, historic building, Czech Republic, modernist furniture, vaulted ceiling, green interior, local craftsmen, natural materials

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Swytch is revolutionizing the e-bike conversion system

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Wheels like the GeoOrbital and Copenhagen Wheel will turn your standard bike into an electric one, but their weight can make it impossible to pedal far in non-electric mode. That’s why we’re so into the new Swytch eBike conversion kit. Swytch puts the electronics and battery on your handlebar, leaving your wheel light and easy to pedal, even when you aren’t in e-bike mode.

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Electric wheel conversion kits are heavy because they have to carry the battery, motor and electronics all within in the wheel structure. That makes it difficult to pedal when you aren’t using the electric assist. But Swytch claims to eliminate that problem by putting the battery and electronics in a pack that attaches to your handlebars, leaving just the motor on the wheel. That makes it so you can leave the wheel on full-time and still use the bike in non-e-bike mode. The pack can also be mounted in a few seconds (after the initial installation), so you can switch back and forth as needed.

More: Swap-in wheel converts any bike into an electric within 60 seconds

The pack also includes a light to improve visibility, and riders can control the amount of electric assistance and check range using a control panel on the top of the pack. It also weighs in at a scant 8.6 pounds (10.6 if you choose the larger battery). That’s half of the weight of the electric wheels out there, which typically weigh around 20 pounds. It’s also more versatile, fitting on any size wheel. That means you can now electrify your Penny-farthing, Kickbike or recumbent bike. The small battery has a 25-mile range, while the larger one can take you 50 miles.

If you want to snatch up a Swytch, they are running and Indiegogo campaign (which has already surpassed its goal). You can get a kit for $299 right now, over half off the retail price of $650. That’s cheaper than other wheels, which sit in the $1,000 – $1,500 range.

+ Swytch Indiegogo

Via New Atlas

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Harrison Ford: The greatest threat is that people in charge don’t believe in science

Take it from Indiana Jones (or Han Solo, or Rick Deckard) — doubting climate change is dangerous. The actor who played all of these characters, Harrison Ford recently gave a speech at the 30th anniversary gala for Conservation International (CI). After receiving the Founders’ Award at the ceremony in Culver City, the outspoken advocate for ecological and environmental protection expressed his frustration with Trump — albeit indirectly.

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The vice-chair of CI said, “We face an unprecedented moment in this country. Today’s greatest threat is not climate change, not pollution, not flood or fire. It’s that we’ve got people in charge of important shit who don’t believe in science.”

As IFLScience points out, it is hard to disagree with his assessment. Though 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is a real phenomenon that poses great threats, the Trump administration — led by President Donald Trump — has downplayed the veracity that global warming is real and worrisome. To make matters worse, the administration hasn’t just ignored the science — it has outright attacked scientists and the field’s various branches.

Related: Major climate science denial group admits to using false temperature data

“I’m here tonight for one reason: I care deeply for the natural world. It’s not about me, it’s not about me at all, it’s about this other world we’re going to leave behind,” Ford continued. “If we don’t stop the destruction of nature, nothing else will matter. Jobs won’t matter, our economies won’t matter, our freedoms and ethics won’t matter, our children’s education and potential won’t matter, peace, prosperity.”

“If we end the ability of a healthy natural world to sustain humanity nothing else will matter, simply said.

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For decades, Ford has advocated for sustainable change. He has met with lawmakers, businesses, and communities to discuss how improvements can be made to conservation policies and practices, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Now, he’s fed up with politicians dragging their feet and is using his platform to speak out and raise awareness.

Ford concluded, “Other than my family, doing this work has been the most important thing of my life. Nature doesn’t need people, people need nature.”

Via Hollywood Reporter, IFLScience

Images via Wikimedia Commons, Flickr

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Suspicious radioactive cloud over Europe may have originated in Russia

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A radioactive cloud of pollution sounds like a plot point out of the worst B movie – but that’s what multiple European monitoring stations recently detected. Official monitors in Germany and France detected ruthenium 106, a nuclide, in late September, and some people suggested it originated in Kazakhstan or southern Russia.

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Multiple European monitoring stations confirmed the presence of ruthenium 106, according to France’s Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety, in the atmosphere of the majority of countries in Europe. The cause for alarm appears to have drifted away for now: the institute said since October 13, they have not detected ruthenium 106 in France. They said in a recent statement, “The concentration levels of ruthenium 106 in the air that have been recorded in Europe and especially in France are of no consequence for human health and for the environment.”

Related: UNEP chief: Polluters should pay for environmental destruction, not taxpayers

But there is some question over how much ruthenium 106 leaked in the first place. The institute said the amounts at the source would have been significant. If such an accident had occurred in France, authorities would have had to implement measures to protect populations for a few kilometers around the point of release.

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Where did the ruthenium 106 come from? Germany’s Federal Office for Radiation Protection said on October 11, “Recent analyses as to the source of the radioactive substance suggest a high probability of a radioactive release in the Southern Ural, although other areas in the South of Russia still cannot be ruled out.” Just a few days earlier, on October 8, they’d said in a statement “Russia must be assumed to be the region of origin” and called on Russian authorities to provide information.

The German and French agencies did not think the ruthenium 106 came from a nuclear reactor accident, as other nuclides probably would have been detected in such an event. France’s institute said the source could have been “nuclear fuel-cycle facilities or radioactive source production.”

French agency senior official Jean-Christophe Gariel said he talked to counterparts in Russia last week, and “they told us that our results were coherent and correct, but that they were not aware of any event that could have caused that.”

Via The New York Times, the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety, and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (1,2)

Images via Depositphotos and Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety

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The world’s first space nation officially in orbit with new satellite

Space is now officially home to the known universe’s first “space nation”. Asgardia launched its very first satellite, Asgardia-1, into orbit on November 12, 2017. Only about the size of a soccer ball, the satellite traveled aboard a NASA commercial cargo vehicle to make its two-day journey from NASA’s

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Shigeru Ban honored with Mother Teresa award for dedication to disaster relief architecture

Prolific architect and Pritzker Prize recipient, Shigeru Ban has been selected as one of the winners of the Mother Teresa Memorial International Award for Social Justice. Often referred to as Architecture’s First Responder, the Japanese architect is known for his dedication to creating humanitarian designs that combine the needs of refugees with sustainability.

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Established by the Harmony Foundation in 2005, the Mother Teresa award recognizes individuals and organizations that promote peace, equality and social justice. The award has been given to several notable world figures such as Sam Childers, Malala Yousafzai, and the Dalai-Lama.

Related: Shigeru Ban designs 20,000 homes for severely overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya

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Rarely has an architect been chosen for the award, but Ban’s dedication to building disaster relief shelters out of basic materials is more than deserving. Known for creating temporary structures out of repurposed materials such as his signature paper-tubes, he has built refugee housing around the world in crisis-hit areas such as Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti and Kenya.

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His material of choice is often seen in his shelter designs, including the stunning cardboard Christ Cathedral, which was built after the devastating 2011 earthquake. He also used the paper tubes, as well as shipping containers, for relief housing built for the Japanese town of Onagawa in 2011.

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In 2004, Ban designed 100 small homes made with earth bricks for Sri Lankan villagers displaced by a tsunami in Kirinda. And most recently, the architect worked with the UN-Habitat to build 20,000 homes for severely overcrowded refugee camp in Kenya.

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Ban joins a number of deserving honorees this year such as the Hellenic rescue team, recognized for its work during the refugee crisis in Greece, and the Christian priest, Father Tom Uzhunnalil, who was held captive by Islamic extremists in Yemen.

+ Shigeru Ban

Via Archinet

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