Friday, 3 July 2015

Changes large and small causing recyclers to struggle

This year, we did a feature on how various factors had combined to make recycling an economic winner for major metropolitan areas in the US. The story argued that it was no single factor that drove this change; rather, a combination of automation and improved sensor technology, more effective use of recycled materials, and the economics of landfilling all contributed.

But recently, The Washington Post described how a similarly diverse set of changes has caused recycling companies to struggle. First and foremost has been the plunge in energy prices, which have dropped the cost of extracting raw materials or producing plastics. Another problem comes from the fact that companies are working hard to reduce the amount of packaging material they use, which means less raw material for recycling in the waste stream overall.

On top of those issues, one major consumer of recyclables—China—has implemented recent changes that add to recycling woes. These include new regulations on importing materials as well as a new emphasis on the use of domestic sources. A general slowdown of manufacturing in the country hasn't helped, either.

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Aritzia Fall 2015

Welcome back one of my favorite Canadian clothing chain Aritzia who have rolled South to Soho. Their fall 2015 line-up was preppy and cozy. There were a lot of classic autumn colors like maroon, charcoal, gold and midnight. However, there were muted pastels and creams added as well. 

Aritzia had a lot of traditional wool blends and corduroy that makes their collection practical for work and play. To add more flavor to the mix, were lots of furry textures and novelty knits. 
Short A-line skirts and cropped pants were meant to ease the transition from summer to fall to winter. (Canada's weather is very unpredictable). Warm coats and sweaters were key.

I really like their handbag collection. The structured, faceted silhouettes of their leather handbags always stand out in the store. They updated their purses with trendy colors this season.  Their over-sized scarves and shawls are a favorite of mine. They had more of an ethnic attitude with their rich dyes and patterns. I recently wore one for my (teeny background) role on Netflix's new television show.

Aritzia's fall 2015 collection is not stuffy or formal. Like most Canadians I know, the boutique represents a comfortable but put together esthetic that works for the office, but stylish or relaxed enough for the weekend, even at home. Maybe that's why I like visiting this store. It feels like a trip to see my hometown peeps.
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Handmade Ceramic Animal Planters by Cumbuca Chic


If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect ceramic capybara planter, look no further. Ceramicist Priscilla Ramos from São Paulo, Brazil, has a fantastic line of animal planters in the form of foxes, whales, anteaters, and yes, even the world’s largest rodent. She’s even working on a sloth! The handmade stoneware pieces are perfect for small succulents or cacti, and you can see more in her shop: Cumbuca Chic. (via NOTCOT)






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History of Technology: The NACA’s First Wind Tunnel

The Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory was the first facility built by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

The post History of Technology: The NACA’s First Wind Tunnel has been published on Technology Org.

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Magnetic mirror holds promise for fusion

Once upon a time, I worked at a research institute that was, for the most part, devoted to nuclear fusion. Although I was never involved myself, two things impressed me about the research. The first was the pure difficulty facing researchers: there are material, plasma physics, and control system issues that are enormously challenging. And, yet, progress is made—I am now, and will forever be, impressed by the achievements that I saw during my short stay among the fusion researchers.

On the other hand, I was also impressed (and not in a good way) by how locked in certain decisions were. This is a natural consequence of doing science that has an enormous infrastructure—once a facility is built, some decisions simply cannot be unmade. These constraints, understandable as they are, make me fear for the eventual success of tokamak fusion. I would rather researchers were given more money so that they had more flexibility in terms of repurposing facilities to try new avenues of research.

Given these thoughts, you would think that I would be enthusiastic about alternative fusion schemes. Yet, because I am vaguely aware of the challenges, and how robustly they are being addressed, I tend to greet alternative fusion schemes with some skepticism. So, it is with some interest and a bit of trepidation that I started examining new research on the Polywell fusion concept, where a group claims to have achieved grand new things in terms of plasma confinement.

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How the hawkmoth sees, hovers and tracks flowers in the dark

It’s difficult enough to see things in the dark, but what if you also had to hover in

The post How the hawkmoth sees, hovers and tracks flowers in the dark has been published on Technology Org.

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Urban Diversion: Playful Street Art Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak


Street artist OakOak (previously) continues to bring smiles and double-takes to his hometown of St. Etienne, France, an old industrial town with drab facades and cracked sidewalks ripe for his unique brand of visual jokes. He shares his love for superheroes, the Simpsons, Bruce Lee, and other pop culture references through mostly non-destructive, temporary interventions that interact with the immediate environment. Some of OakOak’s best works have been gathered into a new book, Urban Diversion (in French), and the artist had an exhibition earlier this year at le cabinet d’amateur earlier this year.







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A Bright Light for Ultrafast Snapshots of Materials

If you want to understand how novel phases emerge in correlated materials, including high-temperature superconductivity and nanoscale electronic

The post A Bright Light for Ultrafast Snapshots of Materials has been published on Technology Org.

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