Conceptual shelters that will protect us all from the perils of our rapidly changing environment: rising waters, extreme heat, rampant pollution and overpopulation
By Suzanne LaBarrePosted 10.18.2010 at 12:40 pm 27 Comments
Environmental disruptions and technological advances have always influenced where and how people live. Early humans may have left Africa after rapid fluctuations in rainfall destroyed their food supply, and the opening up of the American Southwest occurred roughly in parallel with improvements in air-conditioning technology. In the decades ahead, a warming planet and a booming population will again alter where we live and how we construct our homes.
David Keith believes strong-arm strategies could soon be our last resort for reversing record levels of carbon in the atmosphere
By John Bradley Posted 07.02.2010 at 10:00 am 22 Comments
In the 1992 film Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood spends most of the movie slowly and methodically avoiding violent confrontation with the bad guys before finally turning things around with a bloody burst of gunslinging. That’s something like the approach of Canadian physicist and environmental scientist David Keith. Except that his villain is climate change, and while he’s still doing everything he can to avoid a fight, Keith is also stockpiling ammo.
It would be easy to dismiss Mitchell Joachim’s fantastical vision for ecological supercities, with their flocks of jetpacks and mass-transit blimps that look like flying monster jellyfish, as science fiction—if he wasn’t actually building them
By John Bradley Posted 06.23.2010 at 10:45 am 14 Comments
Architect Mitchell Joachim points out, frequently and without prompting, that his futuristic proposals are always based on existing technologies. No wonder he feels the need to say it. Consider some of his ideas: jetpacks tethered together in swarms, houses grown from living trees, low-altitude blimps prowling New York City with chairs hanging below them for pedestrians to hop on and off (24/7 ski lifts on Broadway!), and WALL-E-like machines that erect buildings and bridges from recycled waste.
For environmentalist Jesse Ausubel, going green means land conservation and energy efficiency—and forgetting “boutique” renewables like windmills and biofuels
By John Bradley Posted 06.22.2010 at 11:18 am 43 Comments
It’s 2070. You’re on a train from New York to Boston. If you could see outside, it would be mostly open landscape. Maybe a nuclear plant or two, but otherwise green space—none of the urban sprawl, wind farms, solar arrays or biomass operations we’ve been taught to expect from an ecologically responsible future. But you can’t see outside, because you’re underground, traveling 300 miles an hour on a maglev train alongside superconducting pipes transporting the energy from those nuclear plants.
With the Sahara desert rapidly encroaching on livestock-nourishing grassland, architect Magnus Larsson proposes a 3,728-mile-long barrier wall—built by bacteria
By John Bradley Posted 06.02.2010 at 3:00 pm 0 Comments
Could a student architecture project help save millions of Africans from the relentless advance of the Sahara desert, a phenomenon that’s fueling drought, starvation and poverty? There’s one that has people talking. Borrowing from an experimental solution for firming up building foundations in earthquake-prone areas, Swedish architect Magnus Larsson, 34, has proposed solidifying the sand dunes at the leading edge of the Sahara to create a habitable 3,728-mile-long desert-blocking wall.
An American architecture professor in Abu Dhabi has come up with a new generation of sustainable bricks -- grown by bacteria using sand, calcium chloride, and pee.
Rather than being fired in a kiln, the bricks are formed at room temperature, according to Metropolis Magazine, which honored the invention with a Next Generation Design award.
Recycling is often too bothersome of a task for the average person. Enter Dustbot, an adorable Segway-powered robot that travels from home to home hauling out people's garbage on request. When notified by mobile phone, Dustbot uses GPS and motion sensors to locate the caller's address. Upon Dustbot's arrival, the caller selects the type of garbage he wants to give the robot. Dustbot then carries the trash or recycling to the appropriate location.
Small acts of eco-kindness can make people more likely to cheat and steal.
In a recent paper by a pair of researchers at the University of Toronto, entitled "Do Green Products Make Us Better People?" the answer seems to be, eh, not completely. Although you may have done Mother Earth a favor, your unconscious might sway you to be less ethical with your fellow man.
Who said green's gotta be dull? A scooter, hot tub and robot lawnmower are just some of our top eco-friendly picks.
By Abby SeiffPosted 10.17.2007 at 2:00 am 0 Comments
In each issue of Popular Science, our renowned What's New section keeps you up to date with the most innovative consumer products currently on the market. Here on PopSci.com, we bring you a special expanded and eco-conscious edition of "The Goods."
Helping the environment shouldn't always demand a sacrifice. Click "View Photos" at left to launch the gallery and see our picks for the computers, phones and even barbecues that will ease your conscience in style.