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Paint has not been applied, nor Photoshop engaged – this tree is all natural and totally wicked
The Eucalyptus deglupta, more commonly known as the ‘rainbow tree’ for obvious reasons, is worthy of a post if for no other reason that aesthetics.
From Environmental Graffiti: “the Rainbow Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) or Mindanao Gum is the only species of Eucalyptus tree found in the northern hemisphere. As if that weren’t extraordinary enough, the up to 70-m tall tree also shines in the colours of the rainbow: its bark can take on a yellow, green, orange and even purple shading!”
The tree’s unusual colouring is a result of patches of the bark shedding periodically, thus showing the age of the bark. “Freshly shedouter bark will reveal the bright green inner bark. This darkens over time and changes from blue to purple and then reaches orange and maroon tones.”
“Pulpwood’s here to stay though as it is considered a source of green energy, and demand has increased over the last few years. Currently though, trees cultivated specifically for pulp production account for only 16% of world pulp production. About 9% comes from old growth forests and the remaining 75% from second-, third- and more generation forests.” While it may be a waste of tree years for some pulpwood, the reforestation effort of specifically this tree is increasing, making the rainbow tree a source of renewable energy.
A long-awaited feature for the popular and extremely useful Google Maps.
With the click of a mouse, the new feature allows you to plot the best (and flattest!) ride from Point A to Point B. Several cities, including New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, have bike-specific mapping sites. But Google is rolling it out in 150 cities nationwide and announcing it Wednesday at the 10th Annual Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.
“This has been a top-requested feature from Google Maps users for the last couple years,” says Shannon Guymon, product manager for Google Maps. “There are over 50,000 signatures on a petition.”
The news thrilled bike advocates, who have for years been pushing — and petitioning — the search giant to include bike routes on Google Maps. No longer do they have to rely upon paper maps or open-source DIY map hacking or crazy-cool helmet-mounted heads up iPhones.
“This new tool will open people’s eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding,” says Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “We know people want to ride more, we know it’s good for people and communities when they do ride more — this makes it possible. It is a game-changer, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting.”
Cyclists will have to map their victory lap from their desks, because Google’s cool mapping tool is available only on a computer for now.
“Making the bike-route tool available on Google Maps for mobile devices is a high priority,” Guymon says. But it’s a priority without a launch date.
To create the mapping tool, Google developed an algorithm that uses several inputs — including designated bike lanes or trails, topography and traffic signals — to determine the best route for riding. The map sends you around, not over, hills. But if you really want to tackle that Category 1 climb, you can click and drag the suggested route anywhere you like, just like you can with pedestrian or driving routes. Users can suggest changes or make corrections to routes using the ever-present “report a problem” feature on Google Maps.
Google kicked its bike-mapping effort into high gear in October when it started using improved datasets that provided more specific information about trails, street details and more granularity on college campuses. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy provided Google with information on 12,000 miles of bike trails nationwide, and the League of American Bicyclists helped gather data on bike lanes and so forth.
“We’ve got a five-person team in Seattle that has spent the majority of its time working on this project since October,” says Guymon.
To test the tool, bike-commuting Google employees vetted suggested routes against their own experience, pointing out discrepancies on routes or time allowances.
Google Maps for bikes has a unique look and feel. Bike trails are prime cycling turf — “They’re like the highways for cyclists,” Guymon says — so they’re indicated in dark green. Streets with dedicated bike lanes are light green. And streets that don’t have a bike lane but are still a decent route because of their topography, light traffic or other factors are indicated by dotted green lines.
Don’t go looking for turn-by-turn GPS-based navigation though. That feature remains strictly auto-centric.
For other interesting findings on the service, go here.
These are more than just cool blinds with LED-powered lamps in them: they’re entirely solar powered and a great example of small solutions that can reduce power consumption and move homes to a lower carbon footprint. Sunlight is stored during the day time (with the added benefit of blinds being used in areas exposed to large amounts of sunlight) and LED lights provide mood lighting in the evening.
Designed by Yoon-Hui Kim and Eun-Kyun Kim
A few weeks ago we told you about the drowning island of Tuvalu. The small island only rises 4.5 meters above sea level is already starting to feel the effects of climate change, and is asking larger nations, like Australia for help.
Tuvalu is looking for help in constructing sea walls around the cluster of islands to prevent them from sinking. Tuvalu is aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020, but this will only have a small impact on climate change considering the size of the country. Australia could also play a bigger role when it come to reaching agreement on global emissions reduction targets. Oxfam Australia has called on Australia – one of the biggest polluters in the world – and New Zealand to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and by 95 percent by 2050. It also urged the two governments to contribute more money toward helping small island nations adapt to climate change.
Some villages in Tuvalu have already been abandoned. Aside from rising sea levels, Tuvalu also faces the danger of salt water is getting into the soil, making it difficult to grow crops. A report by Oxfam Australia warns that climate change could produce eight million refugees in the Pacific Islands, along with 75 million refugees in the Asia Pacific region in the next 40 years.
Other small, island countries are following Tuvalu’s lead in becoming carbon neutral. Fiji is taking steps to ‘climate-proof’ their villages. They are testing salt-resistant varieties of staple foods, planting mangroves and native grasses to halt coastal erosion, protecting fresh water wells from saltwater intrusion and relocating homes and community buildings away from vulnerable coastlines.
Tuvalu, the world’s forth smallest nation and one of the hardest hit by the effects of climate change, hopes to rely solely on clean energy by 2020.
The island, located between Australia and Hawaii, is seeing rapidly rising sea levels.
The country’s largest football stadium has already been covered in solar panels which now supplies 5% of the energy needed by the country’s capital.
After only 14 months, the first step in Tuvalu’s mission has reduced consumption of generator fuel shipped from New Zealand by 17,000 tons and saved 50 tons of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere.