'Plyscrapers,' created out of material similar to Ikea's wooden furniture, may be the future of high-rise buildings.
In 2023, Swedish architecture firm C.F. Møller will transform the Stockholm skyline—and perhaps the very notion of skyscrapers. Last December, the designers won a competition organized by HSB Stockholm to honor the local real estate titan’s upcoming centenary with an ostentatious new high-rise. Møller submitted three designs, but the public latched onto one in particular: a thirty-four story tower made almost entirely out of wood, save for a spindly concrete core and a few steel poles on the ground floor. If constructed, the tower will be the largest mostly-wooden structure in the world. But rather than a one-off, it could be the clarion call needed to rouse the public around a new architectural trend.
Think you have it tough at work? Consider the plight of the Midwest's corn and soybean farmers. They churn out the basic raw materials of our food system: the stuff that gets turned into animal feed, sweetener, cooking fat, and even a substantial amount of our car fuel. What do they get for their trouble? According to a stunning analysis (PDF) by Iowa State ag economist Chad Hart, crop prices have fallen so low (a bumper crop has driven down corn prices to their lowest level since 2006), and input costs (think seeds, fertilizers, pesticides) have gotten so high, that they're losing $225 per acre of corn and $100 per acre of soybeans. So if you're an Iowa farmer with a 2,000-acre farm, and you planted it half and half in these two dominant crops, you stand to lose $325,000 on this year's harvest.
If you're an Iowa farmer with a 2,000-acre farm, and you planted it half and half in corn and soy, you stand to lose $325,000 on this year's harvest.
Over on Big Picture Agriculture—the excellent blog that alerted me to Hart's assessment—Kay McDonald wonders: "Is organic corn the way to go next year?" She points out organic corn receives a large premium in the market, and key input costs—seeds, fertilizers, and insecticides—are much lower, making the economics better.
Another possibility is one I've been banging on about for years: why not take some of the Midwest's vast stock of farmland—say, 10 percent?—and devote it to vegetable and fruit production? And take another slice of it and bring it back to perennial grass for pasture-based beef and pork production? Both vegetables and pastured meat deliver much more income pre acre than commodity corn and soybeans, once the systems are up and running and the infrastructure in place. And considering how much of our produce comes from drought-stricken California, that would likely be a wise move from a food security standpoint.
Alas, none of this is likely to happen, at least not anytime soon. That's because crop subsidies, enshrined by the farm bill signed in February, will likely wipe out much of the huge gap between farmers' costs and what the market gives them. According to Bloomberg, taxpayers are set to pay "billions of dollars more to subsidize farmers than anticipated just months ago," before crop prices plunged.
I don't begrudge federal support for farming. As I argued in a post last year, large-scale commodity farming is a vicious business—farmers are caught in a vice between a small handful of buyers (Archers Daniels Midland, Cargill, Bunge) that are always looking to drive crop prices down, and a small handful of input suppliers (Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, etc) always looking to push the price of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides up. It's no wonder, as Iowa State's Hart has shown, that the "long run profitability" of such farming is "zero."
But as it's structured now, the subsidy system keeps farmers chugging along on the corn-soy treadmill. Meanwhile, transitioning to organic ag and diversifying crops to include vegetables and pastured meat would also require much more hands-on labor and a new set of skills for Midwestern farmers, who have been operating in a corn-soy-chemical system for decades. It would also require the rebuilding of infrastructure—small-scale slaughterhouses, canneries, cold storage, etc.—that were dismantled as corn and soy came to dominance. Supporting such a transition, and not propping up an unhealthy food system suffused with cheap corn and soy, seems like a good use of the billions of federal dollars that are about to be spent
There's more nutrition information available to all of us than ever before, but consumers seem more confused about what to eat....
A new study, published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, should give you more reason to pile your plate with fresh produce picks. The study used data from more than 65,000 free-living English adults (at least 35 years old) and monitored their dietary habits and health status for an average of 7.7 years. During the course of the study, some 4,399 subjects died. Using the available dietary intake and mortality data, the researchers found an association between fruit and vegetable consumption and reduced risk for death from all causes, as well as risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Results? Subjects who reported eating seven or more servings of produce daily were 42 percent less likely to die from any cause during the study. In addition, those eating seven or more servings per day reduced risk of dying from cancer by 25 percent and from heart disease by 31 percent, compared to those who reported eating less than a serving per day. Vegetables were found to provide more disease-preventing benefits than fruit. For example, those eating 3+ servings of fruit reduced risk of death by 16 percent but eating 3+ servings of vegetables reduced risk of death by 32 percent.
Make a double boiler by placing a half-pint glass jar in the middle of a small pot of water. Bring water to a simmer. Add coconut oil and shea butter to the jar and let melt. Turn off the heat, add baking soda and cornstarch, and stir until completely smooth. Mix in the essential oil of your choice. Let cool.
At room temperature (which is about 67 degrees Fahrenheit in my house) the deodorant is hard. I scrape out ~1 tsp, roll it into a ball with my fingertips, and apply it directly under my armpits, where it melts and soaks in. In the summer, I’ll keep the jar of deodorant in the fridge, since coconut oil liquefies at 76 F. Some people transfer the deodorant to an old anti-perspirant tube to make application easier.
The U.S. State Department is preparing a report that will probably disappoint environmental groups and opponents of the Keystone pipeline, according to people who have been briefed on the draft of the document.
People need to realize that trying to stop this pipeline from being built won't stop the oil from being produced. You have to ask yourself is it better to transport this south through the US in a pipeline or west across the Canadian Rockies (either by rail or pipe) because that is the alternative they will seek out if this thing isn't built.
German architect André Broessel, of Rawlemon, has looked into his crystal ball and seen the future of renewable energy. In this case it’s a spherical sun-tracking solar energy-generating globe — essentially a giant glass marble on a robotic steel frame. But this marble is no toy. It concentrates both sunlight and moonlight up to 10,000 times — making its solar harvesting capabilities 35 percent more efficient than conventional dual-axis photovoltaic designs.
The rise of the sharing economy has created a new class of entrepreneur. Their startups are monetizing everything from tool swaps to unused parking spots in cities, and one of them might be the next Airbnb.
Inhabitat's Week in Green: eco-friendly Christmas trees, Kingdom of Erebor ... Engadget Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.
It is complicated; unfortunately I believe the organic movement is doomed now that it is being hijacked by the same industrial ag machine that brought us patented viral crops that can grow in a sterile environment.
Many of the top researched cancer-fighting foods are easy to find and simple to incorporate into your diet. Here are 5 foods to eat for cancer prevention.
1. Foods Rich in Lycopene
A recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute specifically looked at the effects of lycopene on angiogenesis in prostate cancer. They found remarkable results, determining “lycopene was associated with reduced risk of lethal prostate cancer and with a lesser degree of angiogenesis in the tumor.”
So, what foods give you the most lycopene? Tomatoes are a great source and are widely available. Other good sources of lycopene include: watermelon, guava, papaya, red bell peppers, asparagus, mango, and red cabbage.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful, researched anti-cancer foods out there. Its active component curcumin has been found to reduce certain types of tumors by 81%! Researchers at UCLA found that curcumin is the component harnessing the ability to actually block cancer growth. Not surprisingly, the cancer-fighting ability that turmeric possesses makes up only a single facet of the many benefits of turmeric.
The United States will celebrate one of its most prized national treasures at the next World’s Fair: the food truck. In honor of the theme of the 2015 Milano Expo—“Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”—the American Pavilion, called American Food 2.0, includes street-level food trucks that will serve up some favorite American dishes.
The pavilion’s most visually distinctive feature, is its hydroponic facade—or, a football-field-length,vertical farm that is planted with harvestable crops. “It is as though a typical horizontal field was rotated (think Inception with a farm field standing in for Paris) to become the side of a building,” said Biber Architects in a statement. “It’s not our proposal for serious urban or vertical farming, which is usually indoors, but a didactic display talking about the past, present, and future of the American farm, and the American diet.”
By Jim Marston The assault on successful renewable energy legislation continues, long after the facts have proven that state renewable policies deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy solutions that the majority of Americans support.
"Biomimicry provided the inventive spark for the latest, and most promising, revamp of the rechargeable battery. The rechargeable battery, which so often lets us down at the worst moments, has been due for an overhaul for some time now. Indeed, scientists have been slaving away for years on a lithium-ion battery with a longer lifespan. But who would’ve thought that the inspiration for the most promising new design would come from inside a pomegranate?"
Often deemed a "perfect food", the avocado is considered one of the healthiest foods available. Here is why you should be eating this fabulous food.
Often deemed a “perfect food”, the avocado is considered one of the healthiest foods available. It’s important to understand that a body needs fats, as long as they’re healthy ones. Omega 3 fatty acids are missing in the average western diet, and this missing fatty acid is just one reason for the ‘bad health epidemic’ . It just so happens that avocados are high in omega 3 and omega 6 fats. Avocados are a rich source of wholesome unsaturated beneficial fats with lots of oleic acid, which is good for heart health.
The avocado provides all 18 essential amino acids needed by a body to create complete protein. But instead of going through the effort of breaking down complex animal proteins for usable amino acids, avocados offer complete amino acid kits for your body to use according to its needs.
Avocados are bursting with enzymes, phytonutrients, and are rich in minerals, including the usually deficient master mineral magnesium, which is involved in over 300 cellular metabolic functions. They also help the liver manufacture glutathione, the important master antioxidant that replenishes spent antioxidants.
Vitamins A, much of the B complex, K, E, and C are also available in avocados. The nutrient order of importance is enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Vitamins won’t work without minerals, and neither minerals nor vitamins get into your cells without enzymes.
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