The Geneva auto show this month rolled out the latest bio- and flex- fuel vehicles, but only one was awarded best concept: the Saab 9-X. Although I often view “the next generation” vehicles with skepticism, this model deserves special mention.
The engine is designed to run on E-85 ethanol and it gets some extra juice from the hybrid powertrain that turns braking energy into battery power. But these aren’t the reason the 9-X is special. Saab – which is owned by GM – put a solar panel on top of the car to collect energy both while driving on the parkway and parking in the driveway. The only other car that I can recall using solar is the Aptera (which is still miles beyond the Geneva concepts).
Upon seeing a website called “Panettiere’s Closet”, I thought the young actress/activist was planning to make an announcement about her personal life. But according to my favorite news source, Star Magazine, it seems the “Heroes” hottie and Milo Ventimiglia are still going strong.
So, what exactly is in Hayden’s closet? Items she’s worn to award shows (and some still-wrapped items she hasn’t) that she’s selling to aid her “fight to raise awareness about the threats dolphins and other whales face worldwide.”
The word “life” connotes health and vitality, among other things. Not the sort of word I’d generally use to describe a car, but the designers at The Morgan Motor company apparently have a different opinion. And why not, given that their slogan is “traditional meets cutting edge” and that the car in question is poised to breathe new life into the eco driving experience?
Expected to be unveiled at this month’s Geneva Auto Show, the hydrogen powered Morgan Life Car promises to be both fun to drive and forward thinking. According to the company’s website, the Life Car’s “combination of performance, range and fuel economy will allow a sporting driver of the future to demonstrate a concern for the environment.”
If living in an apartment is your excuse for not having a garden, you can always move to China and take up residence in Knafo Klimer’s Agro-Housing. It’s about as sustainable as a building concept can be, from the construction materials to the design. Plus each unit has its own greenhouse.
Your own personal greenhouse. In an apartment.
Designed to make multi-complex living more enjoyable and self-reliant, even in crowded cities, Agro-Housing was among the winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. It’s basically a high-rise apartment building with plenty of personal space for the growing of food — which is good news for the Chinese, since a UN report estimates that 50 percent of their population will be fighting for city space by 2010.
“If people are going to change their lifestyles to be more green, I think the alternatives have to be exciting and fun,” says artist and designer Michael Jantzen when asked about the frequent use of wind in his work. It’s a comment that immediately jumps out, and then later strikes me as an apt thesis of sorts for his vast body of intriguing work, whether wind-utilizing or not.
Jantzen’s designs have gained national attention for their exploration of alternative energy as a standard architectural feature; his projects have graced the pages of Newsweek, Wired, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful and other publications. While all environmentally beneficial, forward-thinking concepts merit mass public attention in my mind, something about Jantzen’s projects always manage to stand out.
Despite my strong aversion to clutter, I’d hardly consider myself a minimalist. Conceptually, I’m all for it as I like basic and I like fundamental. But in terms of design, I find that most minimalism is just too darn minimal for my taste.
Take for example, Curiosity Inc.’s C-1 House in Tokyo. It’s an amazing structure with custom furnishings so minimal that the entire house and its innards seem to fade effortlessly into one another. It’s like a house you might visit in a dream if you were a character in a Fellini movie. So seamless is it all that it’s almost as if none of it exists. (If I’m sounding philosophical here, it’s no accident.)
Growing up in a capitalist society, it’s hard to understand that some countries don’t rely on markets to make economic decisions.The Soviet Union’s collapse was due in a large part to relying on the government to make all the economic decisions. Well that and the fact that the government owned everything, basically making slaves of their population. But giving all the keys to the corporations isn’t the answer either, which has been made very clear lately.
What’s the best accessory for the modern green home office?
Designed by Yves Behar and more than three years in the making, the Leaf Light from Herman Miller is a sensually designed LED table lamp that, according to Behar, fuses “technology with humanity.” And while I would normally dismiss such an assessment as highly portentous, in this case I think it’s entirely fitting.
While most lights simply illuminate their surroundings (let’s face it: you turn it on and you turn it off, it either lights up the room or it doesn’t – there’s not a lot of gray area there), the Leaf actually enhances your personal space. Dimmable by a simple hand move, its thin, compact design allows for maximum lighting concepts: the lower part swivels 180 degrees, providing a wide range of local coverage, while the upper part can be folded down to light up your desk or raised up and aimed at the wall to create an ambient mood throughout the room.
If you believe the conventional widsom that prison sentences are for designed solely for rehabilitation (as opposted to retribution), Austria’s Leoben Justice Centre may very well be the leader in turning lives around. If you believe that those responsible for heinous crimes deserve to suffer in squalor, wretched conditions, however, you might want to stop reading this and go rent a Linda Blair prison movie.
Those of us who’ve toured Alcatraz in San Francisco can imagine the cold, harsh, unfeeling reality facing years of hard time. You committed a crime and now you must pay for it by enduring isolation, bad food, prison fights and being somebody’s bitch for twenty-five to life. If you exhibit good behavior, you might one day see the sun again. But is the system doing you any favors? Is the daily misery of life in the slammer inspiring you to make better, more law abiding choices in the future?
The crabs are gearing up for a takeover. Not of humans, thankfully, but of other species in the Antarctic Peninsula. Which could lead to serious consequences.
While crabs and other swift predators were once stymied by the Arctic Ocean’s cold temperatures, millions of years of climate change have heated the waters, giving them an open door to make their way back.
As scientists explain it, crabs aren’t able to handle the high levels of magnesium that build up in their bloodstream while traversing cold water. Too much magnesium in the system causes them to pass out and pass away. On the other hand, those species that aren’t affected by the excessive amounts have been able to travel freely. But as the temperatures warm, crab populations have been able to move into more shallow areas, threatening the lives of such magnesium-immune dwellers as ribbon worms and sea stars.
Has TrailerWrap bitten off more than they can chew? The concept of environmentally responsible housing re-fabricated from abandoned mobile homes is one thing, but their aim to alter the public’s opinion of trailer parks through design seems quite another undertaking.
But not to me. Having been raised in a cozy Midwestern college town, I grew up with a bit of a trailer park fantasy. It seemed the perfect alternative to overly spread-out suburbia – its own tiny encapsulated world within another, bigger world. I also liked the notion that you could enjoy the comfort of your home just about anywhere on the continental land mass so long as your vehicle had a hitch on the back.
Depeche Mode frontman, Dave Gahan, journeys inward on his brooding sophomore album, Hourglass. The harrowingly candid opus offers an unfettered glimpse into the artist’s tormented and, often, volatile psyche, revealing a flawed man battling inner demons and salacious desires while coming to terms with maturity, Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos