Swallows Nest: Vincent Callebaut unveils glittering zero-carbon Möbius strip cultural center for Taiwan
The Swallows Nest cultural center has a system of moats in the basement level between the floors and walls that stabilizes the building in case of earthquakes. Glass overhangs provide further protection against typhoons. Three vertical gardens climb up the pillars in the vegetated entrance area called the “Endless Patio.” These pillars are separated by slabs with glass-covered joints that allow visitors to see the cores from the ground floor to the roof, which is crowned with a solar array.
All of the interior galleries and reading rooms are oriented either towards the Endless Patio or the surrounding city, so there is a constant interaction between the indoors and outdoors. At the same time, the half opaque facade helps to protect the cultural relics housed inside. A host of other state-of-the art renewable communication and information technologies have been incorporated into this complex design, which aspires to be a zero carbon emission structure that will transform Taichung.
For India’s poor, a school under a railway bridge
NEW DELHI (AP) — Their classroom is a flattened patch of dirt and rocks under the elevated rail tracks. Their blackboards are rectangles painted on a chipped concrete wall. Their teacher is a shop owner with no formal training, but a conviction that education is their only hope.
For some of these dozens of children of poor migrant workers in India’s capital, this makeshift, open-air school under the rumble of mass transit is the only school they have. Others who attend overcrowded and dismal government schools come here as well — to actually learn.
India’s Right To Education Act promising free, compulsory schooling to all children ages 6 to 14 was supposed to take full effect March 31, but millions of children still don’t go to school and many who do are getting only the barest of educations.
So every morning, more than 50 children gather under the bridge for two hours of lessons at Rajesh Kumar’s informal school. They sweep the dirt flat and roll out foam mats to sit on, just meters (yards) from the bushes were several men had been squatting and defecating minutes earlier.
The students, ages 4 to 14, study everything from basic reading and writing to the Pythagorean Theorem.
[Photos: Altaf Gadri]
Sydney has recently become home to the biggest green wall installation in Australia, amid a wider campaign to green the cityscape.
Currently 15.5 per cent of Sydney is blanketed in green canopy, but the city council wants to increase coverage to 23.5 per cent by 2030.
There are similar campaigns in other Australian capitals and an even wider global trend to boost the number of green spaces in urban centres.
Green roofs and walls project officer at City of Sydney council, Lucy Sharman, says the city is on track to reach its green canopy target, but more green roofs and walls need to be installed.
New machine expected to cut TB diagnosis time dramatically, enabling speedier treatment
A new machine that should speed up diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis is being rolled out across Mozambique.
The GeneXpert machine, which has been trialled in hospitals in Maputo and Tete following pilot schemes by NGOs, should speed up TB diagnosis from two to three months to two hours. More machines will be rolled out around the country over the next few weeks. Every province will have at least one machine, while areas with high rates of TB will have more.
The new test, which has been implemented successfully in South Africa, uses cartridges to automate diagnosis. The patient spits in a cup, and the sample is fed into the machine to identify any TB bacteria. These machines mean people can be tested, diagnosed and started on multi-drug resistant treatment on the same day – a significant improvement on current waiting times. The sooner patients are diagnosed, the better their prognosis. The new test will be subject to delays only if the patient has not supplied enough sputum.
US government to end effort to restrict morning-after pill
New York Times: The Obama administration told a U.S. District Court judge it would stop trying to block the over-the-counter availability of Plan B One-Step for all women and girls.
The reversal by the government means that anyone, no matter how young, will soon be able to walk into a drugstore and buy the pill, Plan B One-Step, without a prescription.
The Justice Department had been fighting to prevent that outcome, but said late Monday afternoon that it would drop its appeal of a judge’s order to make the drug more widely available. In a letter to Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the administration said it would comply with his demands that the Food and Drug Administration be allowed to certify the drug for nonprescription use.
Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images via nytimes.com
When he was 14 years old, gang members destroyed his Cleveland home because he refused to join their group. He and his siblings were then split up, because his mother couldn’t afford to buy a new house and he ended up spending many nights sleeping on park benches.
But now? David Boone is Headed to Harvard.
Prince Harry ‘saved gay soldier from homophobic attack’
Prince Harry rescued a gay soldier who feared he was going to be murdered in a homophobic attack by troops from a rival regiment, it has been claimed.
The prince stepped in to save Trooper James Wharton after he was confronted by six soldiers who were threatening to ‘batter’ him
The third-in-line to the throne confronted the men and told them they would face severe disciplinary action if they continued to make threats, he said.
Trooper Wharton describes Prince Harry as ‘one of my greatest protectors’, and claims the royal’s acceptance of his homosexuality made him realise that he was right to be open about it, despite another attack which left him hospitalised.
He revealed he had gone to find the prince – who was his tank commander in the Blues and Royals – and tearfully told him what had happened after being confronted by the soldiers.
‘I told him: “I think I’m going to be murdered by the infantry.” He had a complete look of bewilderment on his face. ‘I couldn’t stop the tears from welling up in my eyes. He said: “Right I’m going to sort this s*** out once and for all”.
‘He climbed out of the tank and I poked my head out of the turret a few moments later to see him having a go,’ Trooper Wharton said.
After taking on the gang, Prince Harry briefed a senior officer before returning to assure Trooper Wharton the situation had been ‘sorted’.
The soldier, who quit the Army earlier this year, said: ‘I will always be grateful to Harry and I will never forget what happened. Until he went over and dealt with everything I was on track for a battering.’
Details of the incident, which happened during a training exercise in Canada in 2008, have emerged after Trooper Wharton wrote about his experiences during his ten-year military career, called Out In The Army, which is being serialised by the Mail on Sunday.
News of the 28-year-old prince’s actions have been met with widespread approval.
Conservative MP Colonel Bob Stewart, who led British troops in Bosnia, said: ‘Well done Harry. It’s typical of him and of young officers in the British Army today, really superb.’
Ben Summerskill, of the gay and lesbian charity Stonewall, added: ‘I take my hat off to him for protecting James Wharton.’
Born Without a Windpipe, Now Breathing A Full Life
Hannah Warren has become the youngest person to ever receive a bioengineered tissue transplant, receiving a windpipe created from her own stem cells grown around a special plastic scaffold. This “proto-windpipe” is then recognized by the body, and (through processes that aren’t entirely clear) a fully developed windpipe, complete with the many layers of specialized cells, is formed with the scaffold and stem cells as its guide.
I’ve posted about these bioengineered transplants in older patients before, but I think this captures the amazement we all feel:
Dr. Macchiarini described a look of befuddlement on the child’s face when she realized that the mouth tube was gone and she could put her lips together for the first time. “It was beautiful,” he said.
Yes. Beautiful, indeed. Way to go science.
(via New York Times)
(Photo: Wilson Rothman / NBC News)
It won’t be out until the fall, but Apple’s reinvented Mac Pro stole the show Monday when it was previewed at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
An Olathe infant who was diagnosed with an extremely rare medical condition is showing signs of a full recovery after doctors used medical superglue for a groundbreaking treatment
UK increased recycling rates fastest in Europe over past decade
Recycling rates in the UK rose faster in the first decade of the millennium than any other country in Europe, according to official statistics published on Tuesday.
Although the UK started from a low base in 2001 – recycling rates were just 12% for all municipal waste – it increased by the greatest amount by 2010, reaching 39%, on a par with the average for the EU.
But the European Environment Agency, which released the figures, warned that many countries will fail to meet a European directive of recycling 50% of waste by 2020. Some countries, such as Germany, Austria and Belgium, already recycle more than half of their waste.
Nova Scotia lobster fisherman Sheldon Trenholm, his sister and his cousin wrangled themselves a small, vibrant lobster off the coast of Monks Head, N.S., in the early morning hours of June 7.
When Mr. Trenholm first lifted the lobster trap into the boat with eight or so lobsters inside it took a moment before he saw the misplaced colours of bright blue. “At first I couldn’t figure out what was in there, it was like a blue flashlight flashing on and off.”
According to the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute, the rare blue shells are the result of a genetic defect, which causes the lobster to produce an excessive amount of a particular protein that gives the lobsters the exceptional colours.
(Photo: Sheldon Trenholm)
Motor neurons like the one pictured above, found in the crab Cancer borealis, underlie the walking, swimming, breathing, flying and other rhythmic behaviors found in most creatures, including humans.
Award recognizes ‘the best neuroscience research being done anywhere’
The Gruber Foundation today awarded its 2013 neuroscience prize to Eve Marder ’69, a pioneering researcher who has dedicated her career to understanding the nervous system’s basic functions. The Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis, Marder studies a relatively simple network of some 30 large neurons found in the gut of lobsters and crabs — a small yet elegant window into humans’ unfathomably rich nervous system, home to billions of neurons and trillions of interconnections.
The $500,000 prize recognizes and rewards “the best [neuroscience] work being done anywhere in the world,” according to the Gruber Foundation website.
“Eve Marder has made a number of remarkable and groundbreaking discoveries that have fundamentally changed our understanding of how neural circuits operate and produce behavior,” says Carol Barnes, chair of the selection advisory board to the Neuroscience Prize. “She has also been an exceptional leader outside the laboratory, working tirelessly to bring people together to improve scientific research, policy, and education.”
MySchool and Biblionef Work Together to Provide Storybooks to Children in South Africa
Children are constantly learning about the world around them and one of the ways is by reading storybooks. It’s an accepted fact that the benefits of reading are multitude such as the development of communication skills and enhancing concentration ability, to name a few.
In South Africa many schools in under-resourced communities and rural areas have great difficulty making storybooks available, especially in a mother language, or can only do so in a limited way.
For the past 14 years Biblionef has played a leading role in making storybooks with a focus on African culture and heritage available to children and adolescents, providing a foundation for literacy. To date the organisation donated over one million books to 6,148 children’s organisations countrywide benefitting more than three million children.