The Smog Free Tower Helps Turn Smog Into Jewelry
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Not only is Rotterdam's Smog Free Tower the "largest smog vacuum cleaner in the world," it's also a jewelry manufacturer. Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde created this tower after a 2014 trip to Beijing left him shocked by the amount of air pollution he saw. Roosegaarde designed a seven-meter-tall tower that can clean around 30,000 cubic meters of air every hour. It does so by running on just 1,400 watts of power, which is no more than a tea kettle requires. Besides creating pockets of air that are 75% cleaner than they were initially, the tower collects smog that is later turned into jewelry. Roosegaarde's team takes the smog and compresses it for 30 minutes before sealing it within a resin cube that can be worn as a ring or cufflinks. The first 1,000 sold out quickly due to high demand. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
Paris Is Going "Car-Free" Once A Month To Tackle Air Pollution
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Major world cities are facing serious pollution issues, because with more people almost always comes more pollution. The "Paris Breathes" campaign is looking to reverse some of the air pollution caused by its high volume of cars by instituting one car-free day a month in many neighborhoods. The campaign launched in May 2016 after a very successful test run on September 27, 2015. On that day, there was a 40% drop in nitrogen dioxide levels in some parts of Paris. As part of the campaign, more than a dozen sections of the city go car-free the first Sunday of every month. Certain zones will be car-free for specific periods of time, ranging from four to 10 hours on those days. A few of the neighborhoods will only go car-free once a month for the summer months. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo hopes the campaign will significantly decrease the air pollution and smog in the city. These first Sundays also coincide with free admission days to the city's national museums. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.
Toronto's Corktown Common Park Recycles Its Rainwater
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One park in Toronto is doing more than its share in recycling natural resources. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. designed the Corktown Common park, which takes water recycling to the next level. As Emily Mueller De Celis, project manager of Corktown Common park, told Popular Science: "Every drop of water hitting the park is reused at least two or three times before it's absorbed or evaporated away." For example, rainwater that drains from the playground flows through an ultraviolet filter as well as a constructed marsh before feeding into the park's irrigation storage. According to the design firm, the park saves about 550,000 liters of rainwater per day in the peak season. This system also prevents flooding of the surrounding residences during heavy storms.
Eco-Friendly Six-Pack Rings That Marine Life Can Eat
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Plastic six-pack rings from cans of soda or beer end up in the oceans all too often. As a result, each year hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine mammals find themselves either entrapped in the plastic or dying after ingesting it. In an effort to address that problem, Saltwater Brewery, along with WeBelievers, developed an eco-friendly six-pack ring for its products that is completely edible. Saltwater Brewery's edible rings are made from the barley and wheat remnants that are created during the beer brewing process. The resulting rings are 100% biodegradable, compostable, and edible, and they are also strong enough to support the weight of a six-pack of beer. This innovation marks the first time an entirely edible and biodegradable six-pack ring has been implemented in the industry.
Would You Wear Clothing Made From Hagfish Slime?
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The hagfish is an eel-like creature that does two things really well: burrowing into live animals to eat them from the inside out, and excreting bucketfuls of suffocating slime when threatened. That slime is made up of gooey mucus and microscopic threads. The threads are there to clog the gills of any attacking predator, and it's these tiny fibers, each of which is narrower than a human blood cell, that has scientists interested in the animal. In 2012, researchers at the University of Guelph were able to create fibers from hagfish slime threads that had qualities similar to spider silk, another fiber from nature that is sought after for its incredible tensile strength. Another breakthrough came in 2014, when they created similar fibers not from the threads themselves, but from a protein related to those found in the threads. That could make for a more sustainable material, since scientists wouldn't have to harvest slime from the hagfish themselves. The hope is that one day, these fibers could play a role in eco-friendly performance materials that would replace less sustainable fabrics like Kevlar, which is made from petroleum.
from Gross Science
Key Facts to Know
Hagfish are eel like creatures that live on the ocean floor. 0:15
When attacked, the hagfish can release about a liter of slime which clogs the mouths and gills of their assailants. 0:25
Scientists hope to turn the super strong fibers within the hagfish slime into high-performance clothing material. 0:41