Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Artificial Energy Islands to Produce Energy & Water, Energy Islands, Energy-generating islands, Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, OTEC, George Claude, Alex Michaelis, Dominic Michaelis, Trevor Cooper-Chadwick

"Ocean waves are already being used as a source of renewable energy, but could differences in water temperatures in the sea be our next source of green power? A decade old idea to generate renewable electricity for the globe with offshore, floating ‘Energy Islands’ could soon become a reality. The concept - creating artificial islands to collect wind, wave and solar power in the tropics - is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist, who envisioned the idea of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.

"Their goal is to build a network of “energy islands”: floating hexagonal-shaped platforms of reinforced concrete and corrosion-resistant metals that would generate electritict via wind, wave, and solar in addition to having an OTEC plant. It’s estimated that each island complex could produce about 250MW, and that 50,000 “energy islands” could meet the world’s energy requirements (as well as provide two tons of fresh water per person per day for the entire world population — desalinated water is one byproduct of the OTEC process). OTEC plants work best when there’s a temperature difference of 20°C between water at the surface and the water below, making tropical and sub-tropical seas the best candidates for energy islands."

The Other Ultimate Archive

Svalbard Global Seed Vault  vault in Norway opens this week. From Andrew Revkin's posting at NYTimes Dot Earth:

"The new repository is intended to be an insurance policy for individual countries and also for humanity more generally, should larger-scale disaster strike (anything from pestilence to an asteroid impact).

The Norwegian government put up more than $7 million for construction. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing money to help developing countries package and ship seed samples, as part of a broader $30-million project to protect the genetic diversity of the world’s main food crops.

The ongoing operation of the seed vault will be paid for through the Global Crop Diversity Trust, which is maintained by contributions from countries, international agencies, and foundations.

A secure supply of thousands of varieties of keystone crops like rice and wheat will be ever more important, experts say, as populations grow, climate changes, and people keep moving species around the global, both intentionally and accidentally."

The Ultimate Archive

As reported in today's NY Times, scientists are putting together a Book of All Species online at www.eol.org. The archive will eventually have an entry for every species known. If printed as a book, the known 1.8 million species would be over 300 feet long....and that's not counting the fact that it's estimated that 10 times that number of species are still waiting to be discovered. 

What's especially interesting is that the entries are compiled using an algorithm that searches through scientific databases and publications. As libraries and their content go digital through new media and the scanning and digitizing of old media, we may be looking at a prototype for a new kind of knowledge infrastructure.

Thursday, February 21, 2008





Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How bizarre is this?!

The structural engineers over at Hyder Consulting have announced that they are planning what will be, by an overwhelming margin, the world's tallest skyscraper, coming in at double the height of the Burj Dubai – or very nearly one vertical mile. The firm has "confirmed that the tower would be located in the Middle East region," we're told, "but would not give any further details." So is it just a media stunt? I decided, nonetheless, to alter an old BBC diagram about the world's tallest buildings to give myself a sense of what this might mean, size-wise; the results appear above. I have to assume that the building's actual profile will not resemble what I've created... but you never know.
Note the comparative size of the Empire State Building

Monday, February 18, 2008

Review 2-18-08

diagram of branching script

diagram of sectional spring script

frame stills of mass and stiffness/damping acting on the spring

qualifications of desirable traits within results of branching script

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vertical Farming: Food Production of the Future

The Vertical Farm Project is a concept developed by Columbia University's class of Medical Ecology in 2004. It is meant to provide enough food for a minimum daily caloric intake of 2200 calories/per person for 50,000 people. Their research includes figures for growing not only plant life, but raising livestock as well.

You can view design concepts proposed by various architecture firms here

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Unbearable Lightness of Being?

One of the entries of a recent ideas competition hosted by NYC's Office Emergency Management featured on bldgblog.
This entry is by Studio Lindfors.

Network Hydrology

History Channel's recent "City of the Future" competition winner by San Francisco architects IwamotoScott.
More details at bldgblog.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Spring Based Script 1

Spring based script explained

Spring Based Script Text

Branching Nodes

By: Natasha Harper, Katie Adee, James Baldauf

Manual diagram of node/ground interaction (plan view)

Source Code created in Processing
(requires the physics library)

stills created while running the script

diagram explaining how the script works

studies of "caterpillar" motion in model form