Smart walls react to human touch, sense activity in room ||

Date: April 23, 2018
Source: Carnegie Mellon University
Summary:  Walls are what they are — sizable, pulseless dividers. With a few applications of conductive paint and some electronics, however, walls can become smart infrastructure that sense human touch, and detect things like gestures and when appliances are used. Researchers found that they could transform insensible walls into smart walls at relatively low cost using simple tools and techniques, such as a paint roller. Read More:


Green buildings must go beyond conserving energy ||

Studies show that LEED buildings are typically 30 percent more efficient than other buildings and have other benefits like reduced air pollution indoors. And at least one study suggests people working in LEED buildings are more productive, according to Delmas. “There is an increase in rent for those that have LEED buildings—about 50 cents per square foot annually,” says Magali Delmas



GlobeBuildings are deceptively complex. At their best, they connect us with the past and represent the greatest legacy for the future. They provide shelter, encourage productivity, embody our culture, and certainly play an important part in life on the planet. In fact, the role of buildings is constantly changing. Buildings today are life support systems, communication and data terminals, centers of education, justice, and community, and so much more. They are incredibly expensive to build and maintain and must constantly be adjusted to function effectively over their life cycle.  wbdg logo

How Downtown L.A. Finally Arrived ||

Intercontinental HotelThe emergence of Downtown Los Angeles, dubbed DTLA, is no news flash: The area has been on the rise since the late 1990s. But that was the start of a long uphill climb. By 2009, it had already undergone the transition from bleak badlands to vibrant cultural mecca, thanks to early pioneers like the L.A. Live entertainment complex and the Standard Hotel. Since then, a slew of new hotels, restaurants, and museums have joined, and the neighborhood is showing no sign of slowing down.

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New studies back up early predictions that human-caused climate change increased the intensity of Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall ||

This week, results from two new studies on Harvey’s rainfall were announced at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in New Orleans. They back up early predictions that human-caused climate change increased the intensity of the precipitation.

In the first study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, authors looked at the hurricane’s total rainfall and calculated the chances of that volume of rain falling under present climate conditions. Then, they ran their calculations again, but this time looked at the likelihood of that same storm occurring during the 1950s, when there were lower levels of greenhouse gases in the environment.

They thought the increase in rainfall attributable to climate change might be somewhere around six percent. Instead, their analysis suggests that global warming increased the precipitation by at least 19 percent, with around 38 percent being the more likely figure.                                                   Read More:

How solar power can protect the US military from threats to the electric grid ||

The first threat to the electricity grid comes from nature. Severe weather disasters resulting in power outages cause between US$25 billion and $70 billion in the U.S. each year – and that’s average years, not those including increasingly frequent major storms, like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

solar military grid


Without electricity from civilian power plants, the most advanced military in world history could be crippled. The U.S. Department of Energy has begged for new authority to defend against weaknesses in the grid in a nearly 500-page comprehensive study issued in January 2017 warning that it’s only a matter of time before the grid fails, due to disaster or attack. A new study reveals the three ways American military bases’ electrical power sources are threatened, and shows how the U.S. military could take advantage of solar power to significantly improve national security.
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Workplace stress costs American businesses up to $190 billion every year in healthcare alone ||

Incorporating nature into the workplace can take many different forms including living green walls, indoor trees and planter boxes. Just being able to see nature has been shown to increase both self-esteem and mood, particularly among younger people.
[Attention and concentration is not the same thing. Concentration is exclusion while attention excludes nothing]
~Attention restoration theory suggests that looking at nature can cause the brain to shift into a different mode of processing. Researchers studied brain scans of people who were randomly assigned to look at pictures of a green meadow or a concrete roof for 40 seconds. Even this brief glimpse of nature was enough to shift the brain into a more relaxed mode.

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