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From Personalized Climate to Trash Trackers, Researchers Explore Radical Redesign of Cities – July 10, 2014

MIT's Senseable Cities Lab advocates using social media to build “open source,” sustainable urban spaces

Imagine a room “smart” enough to know just how hot or cold you’re feeling throughout the day. Better yet, imagine that this room is capable of regulating the bubble of air around you to the perfect temperature for maximum comfort. No more sweaty summer days or icy winter mornings at the office. It’s almost like a dream come true, right?

Santa Rita MountainsPhoto by Giulia Bruno/MIT The lab's "Local Warming" technology made its debut at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in Italy last month. Beams of infrared radiation from units in the ceiling follow each person in the room, creating personal climates.

MIT’s Senseable… more

by: Hanna Morris

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Planning a Day at the Beach? Check the Water Quality First – June 25, 2014

Ten percent of America’s beach waters fail to meet EPA’s new safety standards, says NRDC report

Towel, check! Sunscreen, check! Flip flops, check! Water quality testing kit, check? According to a report released today, summer getaways to the sandy shoreline may be more damaging to personal health than good.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s 24th annual beach report, Testing the Waters, has found that 10 percent of all water quality samples collected last year contained bacteria levels that failed to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new benchmark for swimmer safety. Samples were collected from nearly 3,500 US coastal and Great Lakes beaches. The findings confirm that serious water pollution persists at many American shores.

A busy beach scenePhoto by courtesy… more

by: Hanna Morris

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National Aquarium Considering Ending Its Captive Dolphin Exhibit – June 19, 2014

Move could be an industry game-changer

In hindsight, “good” ideas often fail to meet expectations. A 1980s-style perm, the 2013 Baz Luhrmann production of The Great Gatsby and, though still under intense debate, the exhibition of captive dolphins.

In May, John Racanelli, CEO of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, announced in an open letter that the aquarium is in the midst of some soul searching about the future of its captive dolphin exhibit. “We will host a summit to convene animal care experts, veterinarians, and biologists to determine the feasibility of a variety of potential solutions, including designing and building a dolphin sanctuary in an ocean-side setting and exploring in detail the requirements for operating… more

by: Hanna Morris

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New Technologies Key for Biodiversity Protection – May 29, 2014

Online databases, smartphone apps and crowd-sourcing are making it easier to collect data on at-risk species, says study

Picture a schoolyard in spring. Toddlers are at play on iPhones, elementary school children skillfully jostle through the realm of Angry Birds, teenagers master coding homework on their laptops. To the keen (and not so keen) observer, the fight against new technology is a steep, uphill battle. More time in the digital world and less in the natural one is often viewed by environmentally-minded folks as a threatening prospect. 

Rhino in Kaziranga National ParkPhoto by gnozef/FlickrA one-horned rhino grazes in Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India. The study also reveals that the majority of at-risk species are disproportionately located in biologically-rich, “hot-spot” regions across the… more

by: Hanna Morris

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