Can a high-profile company led by a celebrity CEO come within two weeks of bankruptcy without anyone noticing? In early 2013, ...Tesla Motors came so close to running out of cash that its brash leader, Elon Musk, approached Google about buying the company, according to a new Musk biography. A surge in sales of the company’s pricey Model S sedan staved off disaster. Musk broke off the Google talks, no longer needing a white knight. And no one outside the two companies knew about it. — SF Gate
[Mark Herrema] and Kenton Kimmel, a high school classmate, founded the Irvine, California-based company Newlight Technologies in 2003. After years of research, the team unveiled a way to produce plastic from carbon emissions that is actually more affordably priced than oil-based plastics.
The "secret sauce" is a biocatalyst that combines air and methane, and reassembles all of the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules into a thermoplastic the makers call AirCarbon. — Smithsonian
Newlight's work appears really interesting, addressing two separate but related issues: "first, oil dependency, by replacing oil with captured carbon emissions, and second, climate change, by creating a market-driven carbon capture platform." Basically, the technology comprises using a biocatalyst...
Place cells, which fire when the brain recognizes a corresponding geographical landmark (like your house, or the Space Needle) [offer] a two-dimensional map of familiar environments [...]
Grid cells ... are not tied to particular places — but are adjusted as needed to mark off the space around us [...]
Now, researchers from University College London have shown how grid cells help us combine mental maps, joining rooms into a house, blocks into a neighborhood and neighborhoods into a city. — nextcity.org
A Chinese construction company is claiming to be the world’s fastest builder after erecting a 57-storey skyscraper in 19 working days in central China.
Broad Sustainable Building, a prefab construction firm, put up the rectangular, glass and steel Mini Sky City in the Hunan provincial capital of Changsha, assembling three floors a day using a modular method [...].
The company now has ambitions to assemble the world’s tallest skyscraper, at 220 floors, in only three months. — theguardian.com
But supplementing that aesthetic of “the future” sketched in imaginary edifice, the full SF vision of the future city is a mosaic, constructed from fragments of the cities that we recognize, including symbols that are decidedly from the past. [...]
If SF functions by taking the world we know and altering it with a constructed future fantasy, the Statue of Liberty serves as the junction point, the axis where the speculative fantasy begins and ends. — motherboard.vice.com
It’s a Thursday morning in Beijing, and the world’s most famous living artist, Ai Weiwei, is sitting with one of the world’s most controversial technologists, Jacob Appelbaum, in the second-floor lobby of the East Hotel. [...]
On a whim, Ai suggests that they call Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living for the last two years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. [...]
Ai and Assange talk for several minutes about the mundanities of the dissident life. — fusion.net
James Biber can see Russia from his roof. Mr. Biber, the architect of the USA Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, the world’s fair that is racing to meet its opening date on Friday, also has a good view of Kuwait next door and Iran across the street.
“It’s really a kind of identity parade,” Mr. Biber, 62, said about the jumble. [...] “It’s every nation attempting to express itself in a building. It is the very best and very worst of design you’re going to see in its concentrated form.” — nytimes.com
Self-driving cars will certainly change our habits on the road. But truly autonomous vehicles will also affect how we work, says Tim Brown, chief executive officer and president of design consultancy IDEO...Without having to navigate city streets, people will be more productive during their commute. IDEO also envisions self-driving trucks...delivering everything from new jeans to grilled cheese. Most radical of all: Your workplace could be set on wheels to travel to you, rather than you to it. — Bloomberg
Since terrorism has become one of the guiding forces in urban design, the incorporation of immense fortifications into everyday streets has spawned an entire industry of defensive architecture [...]
The latest developments in this rising tide of urban paranoia are on display this week at the Counter Terror Expo in west London’s Olympia, a sprawling trade show that proudly claims to showcase “the key terror threat areas under one roof”. It is an enormous supermarket of neuroses [...]. — theguardian.com
A group of venture capitalists, architects, engineers, and marketing gurus, under the name Los Angeles World's Fair (LAWF), are brewing plans for a two-year fair showing off the technology and culture of the future—including a Hyperloop, “3D-printed gourmet delicacies,” and self-driving cars. Theme: "The Connected City." Right now, they're trying to pull together $100,000 on Indiegogo to support economic and architectural feasibility studies for their plans [...]. — citylab.com
In 2013, Copenhagen—a city of ebullient cyclists—launched the mother of all city bike schemes. Its white bikes were fitted with motors and GPS-enabled tablets—expensive, but designed for a place whose people and visitors truly believed cycling was the best way forward.
Now the city that pioneered its first shared bikes in 1995 is facing a stark possibility: no bike share scheme at all. — qz.com
[Researchers at Tsinghua University] discovered that an applied electrical current causes the gallium alloy to drastically alter its shape. Changing the voltage applied to the metal allowed it to 'shape-shift' into different formations. When the current was switched off, the metal returned to its original drop shape. [...]
they realized that bringing it into contact with a flake of aluminum caused a reaction creating hydrogen bubbles that allowed it to move of its own accord. — reuters.com
The metal alloy in question is made mostly of gallium, which is liquid at <30 degrees Celsius. Researchers think that the material could have profound implications for medical science, in particular the delivery of drugs into the blood stream. Professor Liu Jing, leader of the research team at...
We are told that the “architecture of tomorrow” needs to be networked, collaborative and inclusive, drawing its inspiration from crowdsourcing, open access and mass customisation. But to do this “architecture must be put into the hands of people themselves” and the architect possibly “guillotined”. [...]
This is inflammatory stuff [...]. — bdonline.co.uk
“The School of Architecture has a long history of helping to reshape and revitalize the South Florida community,” said Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. “We are pleased that Knight Foundation has chosen to support this unique project that will have a lasting impact on communities in need of assistance.” — University of Miami School of Architecture
The University of Miami School of Architecture today announced a plan to bring “third places” – community spaces, marketplaces, incubators and training centers – into two underserved Miami neighborhoods with $650,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.The Third Place...
The Four Level, or Stack as it’s sometimes known, was the first interchange of its kind when it fully opened in 1953. [...]
It may seem a cliche to simply associate LA with its freeways, but the connection between the infrastructure and the city’s image is strong. It’s not just about driving, it’s about a new form of urban living in the postwar era [...]
“LA kind of emerged at the forefront of that development and it became recognised as a freeway metropolis” — theguardian.com
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