Author Archive: Martha Lee

All Made by Google Devices to Include Recycled Material thumbnail

All Made by Google Devices to Include Recycled Material

All Made by Google Devices to Include Recycled Material

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Starting in 2022, 100 percent of Made by Google products will include recycled materials (via Bence Boros/Unsplash)

Google this week announced a new initiative to integrate sustainability into its consumer hardware products.

The tech titan—set to turn 20 in September—jumped on the smart-device bandwagon just a few years ago.

But every Pixel phone and Home Mini speaker it makes requires a lot of resources and generates even more waste.

So Google is going green.

“It’s an ongoing endeavor that involves designing in sustainability from the start and embedding it into the entire product development process and across our operations, all while creating the products our customers want,” Anna Meegan, head of sustainability for consumer hardware, wrote in a blog post.

The woke company on Monday outlined its efforts to be more environmentally friendly, starting with the short-term goal of making all shipments to and from customers carbon neutral by next year.

(That’s far superior to Amazon’s hope of netting 50 percent zero carbon by 2030.)

And, starting in 2022, 100 percent of Made by Google products will include recycled materials, with a drive to maximize recycled content “wherever possible,” the firm announced.

Just how much of each device will comprise reclaimed parts remains unclear. Though even 1 percent is better than nothing.

“These commitments build on the foundation and progress we’ve already made,” Meegan said, pointing to a 40 percent decrease in Google’s carbon emissions from 2017 to 2018.

Last year, the company began publishing product environment reports, making public details about what products are made of, how they’re built, and how they get shipped.

“We’re always working to do more, faster,” Meegan wrote. “But today we’re laying the foundation for what we believe will be a way of doing business that commits to building better products better.”

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Humans may be able to live on Mars within walls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation thumbnail

Humans may be able to live on Mars within walls of aerogel – a wonder material that can trap heat and block radiation

Just build houses near the ice caps to produce water and grow food. Easy!


We may be able to survive and live on Mars in regions protected by thin ceilings of silica aerogel, a strong lightweight material that insulates heat and blocks harmful ultraviolet radiation while weighing almost nothing.

Researchers at Harvard University in the US, NASA, and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland envision areas of Mars enclosed by two to three-centimetre-thick walls of silica aerogel. The strange material is ghost-like in appearance, and although it’s up to 99.98 per cent air, it’s actually a solid.

Aerogels come in various shapes and forms with their own mix of properties. Typically, they are made from sucking out the liquid in a gel using something called a supercritical dryer device. The resulting aerogel consists of pockets of air, and is therefore ultralight and can be capable of trapping heat. It can also be made hydrophobic or semi-porous as needed.

The semitransparent solid, therefore, has odd properties that may just help humans colonize the Red Planet. The solid silica can be manufactured to block out, say, dangerous UV rays while allowing visible light through.

However, it’s the trapping of heat that is most interesting here. When the boffins shone a lamp onto a thin block of silica aerogel, measuring less than 3cm thick, they found that the surface beneath the material warmed up to 65 degrees Celsius (that’s 150 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans), high enough, of course, to melt ice into water. The results were published in Nature Astronomy on Monday.

Welcome to the Hotel Aerogel

The academics reckon if a region of ice near the higher latitudes of Mars was covered with a layer of aerogel, then the frosty ground would melt to produce liquid water as the environment heats up. It’d also be warm enough for humans to live and farm food in order to survive in the otherwise harsh, acrid conditions elsewhere the planet.


NASA boffins may just carve your name on a chip and send it to Mars if you ask nicely


“The ideal place for a Martian outpost would have plentiful water and moderate temperatures,” said Laura Kerber, co-author of the paper and a geologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Mars is warmer around the equator, but most of the water ice is located at higher latitudes. Building with silica aerogel would allow us to artificially create warm environments where there is already water ice available.”

The researchers hope to test their idea by conducting more silica aerogel experiments in the Atacama Desert in Chile or McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Both environments have subzero-Celsius temperatures and are as unforgiving as Mars.

“Unlike the previous ideas to make Mars habitable, this is something that can be developed and tested systematically with materials and technology we already have,” said Robin Wordsworth, first author of the paper and an assistant professor of environmental Science and engineering at Harvard University.

But there are obviously other challenges to making Mars habitable. The atmospheric pressure there is lower than Earth’s, and the undersides of aerogel walls will need to be pressurized to prevent water vapor seeping out. The dusty nature of the planet might also cut the amount of light that could penetrate such a shelter.

Also, there’s the problem of how to ship large quantities of the material to build settlements – aerogel is insanely light but also very bulky. Oh, and another thing: there’s also very little oxygen on Mars so we’ll have to work out how we can even breathe let alone water crops, unless we can crack Martian water into hydrogen and oxygen safely. ®

PS: Interestingly enough, it is believed a classified type of aerogel codenamed FOGBANK is used in American thermonuclear warheads as a filler between the fission primary and the fusion-stage secondary. The material is so hush-hush, the US military accidentally forgot how to make it at one point.

Balancing consumerization and corporate control

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The New York Times Has Some Very Arcane Tips On How to Get Your Fat Ass Into a Wedding Dress thumbnail

The New York Times Has Some Very Arcane Tips On How to Get Your Fat Ass Into a Wedding Dress

Illustration for article titled The New York Times Has Some Very Arcane Tips On How to Get Your Fat Ass Into a Wedding Dress

Image: Getty

When it comes to all the questionable material the New York Times has published this week, an article about workouts you should tackle based on the type of wedding dress you want to wear is, shockingly, not the worst offender. But it’s definitely worth a serious eye roll. The piece, titled “Getting Married? Get Strong,” certainly sounds more 1990s Cosmo than Times. It’s even worse once you dig deeper, and remember that, in the hellish world of wellness, strength building is a more palatable way of saying “lose fat, look toned, stay lean.” The whole piece feels bizarrely regressive for 2019.

Peppered throughout the piece are illustrations of women with thigh gaps and circles indicating zones that require targeted workouts. It’s… not a great look!

But wait, let’s get to the actual tips. Here’s what you need to do to perfectly rock a trumpet style wedding dress:

Targeted toning areas: core, hips, biceps, triceps

“This silhouette accentuates a small waist and wide hips,” said Ms. Posada of dresses that are form-fitting and gradually flares out at the bottom. “These exercises will help shape your hips and reduce the size of your waist, as well as tone your arms and abdomen.”

The piece goes on to suggest low-intensity exercises (squats, lunges) and high-intensity exercises (burpees, jumping rope) to accommodate these goals. I’m not a fitness expert, but this sure sounds a lot like spot reduction or targetted weight loss, which is a proven myth.

And there’s this, for a mermaid/fit-and-flare dress:

Targeted toning areas: core, waist, and buttocks

Focus on your waist, abdomen and buttocks to rock this dress. Standing ab exercises such as barre workouts help improve your shape for this dress silhouette and mix up your workout. “This Pilates-based workout will also work your triceps and shoulders while you’re toning your core,” Ms. Rich said.

“Improve your shape.” What does that mean? I mean, I know what it means. But I’d prefer that this article flat out tell me that the goal is to make my waist look absolutely fucking snatched then say that the goal is to “improve your shape.”

Obviously, there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to lose weight. The last three years of my life have been a near-constant state of attempting that very quest, with varying levels of success. But nobody wants to be condescended to. And while millions of women will be pressured to lose weight to try to fit into wedding dresses that do not fit them, the New York Times is under no obligation to feed into this increasingly antiquated standard. Especially under the guise of “strength.”

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There’s a simple way to ditch air-conditioning when it’s scorching hot. But we’re ignoring it thumbnail

There’s a simple way to ditch air-conditioning when it’s scorching hot. But we’re ignoring it

By aurore julien4 minute Read

The warmer it gets, the more people crank up the air-conditioning. In fact, AC is booming in nations across the world: It’s predicted that around two-thirds of the world’s households could have an air conditioner by 2050, and the demand for energy to cool buildings will triple.

But unless the energy comes from renewable sources, all that added demand will generate more greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global warming—and, of course, to hotter summers. It’s a vicious cycle—but buildings can be designed to keep the heat out, without contributing to climate change.

Windows and shading

Opening windows is a common way people try to cool buildings—but air inside will be just as hot as outside. In fact, the simplest way to keep the heat out is with good insulation and well-positioned windows. Since the sun is high in summer, external horizontal shading such as overhangs and louvers are really effective.

East and west facing windows are more difficult to shade. Blinds and curtains are not great as they block the view and daylight, and if they are positioned inside the window, the heat actually enters the building. For this reason, external shutters—like those often seen on old buildings in France and Italy—are preferable.

[Photo: Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash]

Paints and glazes

It’s now common for roofs to be painted with special pigments that are designed to reflect solar radiation—not just in the visible range of light but also the infrared spectrum. These can reduce surface temperatures by more than 10°C, compared to conventional paint. High performance solar glazing on windows also help, with coatings that are “spectrally selective,” which means they keep the sun’s heat outside but let daylight in.

There’s also photochromic glazing, that changes transparency depending on the intensity of the light (like some sunglasses) and thermochromic glazing, that becomes darker when it is hot, which can also help. Even thermochromic paints, which absorb light and heat when it’s cold and reflect it when it’s hot, are being developed.

Building materials

Buildings which are made of stone, bricks, or concrete, or embedded into the ground, can feel cooler thanks to the high “thermal mass” of these materials—that is, their ability to absorb and release heat slowly, thereby smoothing temperatures over time, making daytime cooler and nighttime warmer. If you have ever visited a stone church in the middle of the Italian summer, you will probably have felt this cooling effect in action.

Unfortunately, modern buildings often have little thermal mass, or materials with high thermal mass are covered with plasterboard and carpets. Timber is also increasingly used in construction, and while making buildings out of timber generally has lower environmental impacts, its thermal mass is horrendous.

[Photo: Flickr user Francesco]

Hybrid and phase change materials

While concrete has a high thermal mass, it’s extremely energy intensive to produce: 8% to 10% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions come from cement. Alternatives such as hybrid systems, composed of timber together with concrete, are increasingly being used in construction and can help reduce environmental impacts, while also providing the desired thermal mass.

Another, more exciting solution is phase change materials (PCMs). These remarkable materials are able to store or release energy in the form of latent heat, as the material changes phase. So when it’s cold, the substance changes to solid phase (it freezes) and releases heat. When it becomes liquid again, the material absorbs heat, providing a cooling effect.

PCMs can have even greater thermal mass than stones or concrete—research has found that these materials can reduce the internal temperatures by up to 5°C. If added to a building with AC, they can reduce electricity consumption from cooling by 30%.

PCMs have been hailed as a very promising technology by researchers and are available commercially—often in ceiling tiles and wall panels. Alas, the manufacture of PCMs is still energy intensive. But some PCMs can cause a quarter of the CO₂ emissions that others do, so choosing the correct product is key. And manufacturing processes should become more efficient over time, making PCMs increasingly worthwhile.

Water evaporation

Water absorbs heat and evaporates, and as it rises, it pushes cooler air downwards. This simple phenomenon has led to the development of cooling systems, which make use of water and natural ventilation to reduce the temperature indoors. Techniques used to evaporate water include using sprayers, atomizing nozzles (to create a mist), and wet pads or porous materials, such as ceramic evaporators filled with water.

The water can be evaporated in towers, wind catchers, or double skin walls—any feature which creates a channel where hot air and water vapor can rise, while cool air sinks. Such systems can be really effective, as long as the weather is relatively dry and the system is controlled carefully—temperatures as low as 14°C to 16°C have been reported in several buildings.

But before we get too enthusiastic about all these new technologies, let’s go back to basics. A simple way to ensure AC doesn’t contribute to global warming is to power it with renewables—in the hot weather, solar energy seems the obvious choice, but it takes money and space. The fact remains, buildings can no longer be designed without considering how they respond to heat—glass skyscrapers, for example, should become obsolete. Instead, well-insulated roofs and walls are crucial in very hot weather.

Everything that uses electricity in buildings should be as energy efficient as possible. Lighting, computers, dishwashers, and televisions all use electricity and inevitably produce some heat—these should be switched off when not in use. That way, we can all keep as cool as possible, all summer long.

Aurore Julien is senior lecturer in environmental design at the University of East London. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

The Conversation

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Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA

Studio Tour: Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry in Seattle, WA | Design*Sponge

For the past five years, jewelry designer Valerie Madison has been busy building her business Valerie Madison Fine Jewelry (@valeriemadisonjewelry). What initially started as a hobby has grown into a busy and fulfilling career of creating pieces that commemorate meaningful events in her clients’ lives. From statement rings for women who want to celebrate significant career milestones, to special gifts and wedding bands, Valerie pours her heart into turning her clients’ ideas and wishes into truly special treasures.

Valerie and her assistant Liz work from Valerie’s studio near Seattle’s Central District. The two-floor workspace, located in a turn-of-the-century industrial building, offers everything the duo need work-wise. In addition, the space also serves as Valerie’s showroom. “It’s always been important for me to curate a space that feels inviting, cool, calm, and interesting. In decorating, I’ve learned that those are my own personal traits that I want people to feel around them so they can quickly understand me and the passion I have in my career,” Valerie explains. When stepping foot in the studio, clients are able to see Valerie’s personal touches everywhere. It’s filled with plants and various curiosities, such as crystal and mineral specimens, fossils, and dinosaur paraphernalia — all things that bring Valerie joy to collect and take care of.

With a growing business and a true passion for her career, Valerie sometimes finds herself spending more time in her studio than at home. She’s learned to understand how the space works, and how she can work best in it. “My studio is a representation of me and my work in a way that can’t be expressed at home,” she says. “As a solo business owner, my business is what takes up most of my energy and time. When I walk into my studio every morning and slide open my heavy door, I immediately feel gratitude for the beauty and brightness that greets me.” For Valerie, her workspace is a daily reminder of how hard she has worked to grow and cultivate business relationships with new and repeat customers alike — for that alone, her studio is a true gem among gems. —Sofia 

Photography by Valerie Madison@valeriemadisonjewelry

Image above: This view of the downstairs parlor room is the first thing that Valerie sees when entering her studio each morning. It is also the space where Valerie welcomes her clients for jewelry consultations, and where she and Liz host the occasional open house events. The exposed brick walls allude to the building’s industrial history. “I recently learned that this space was partially constructed with leftover steel beams from a waterfront pier that was torn down in the early 1900s. The beams were hauled by horses all the way up from the waterfront and recycled into usable building parts. The building owner continues with the recycling efforts, always preferring reusing old materials that still have life in them and quality restoration over new materials,” Valerie tells us. 

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What's up with the glowing orb in Fortnite? thumbnail

What’s up with the glowing orb in Fortnite?

What you need to know

  • The live event of Fortnite’s Season 9 introduced a glowing orb to the game.
  • Ever since its introduction, the orb has grown more unstable, with cracks starting to appear in it.
  • With Season 10 right around the corner, the orb may play a large role in just how the Fortnite map changes for next season.

The live event of Fortnite’s Season 9 saw the Polar Peak monster and a gigantic pink robot fight for the fate of the Fortnite island. While the robot was victorious, it did leave behind many things, including a giant glowing orb that appeared in Loot Lake. Ever since the fight, the orb has been slowly changing, becoming more and more unstable as each day passes.

The orb first made itself known when Cattus – the giant robot – pulled it out of the vault from Loot Lake, using its energy to deliver a punch to the monster. Since then, the orb has been sitting in Loot Lake and doesn’t do much except lift players in the air if they go near it. As we get closer to Season 10, the orb has slowly begun to change, with cracks appearing along it. A quick look at just how much the orb has changed over the last week gives us a great look at just how unstable it’s become.

How the Orb has changed over the past 8 days!

— FortTory – Fortnite Leaks & News (@FortTory) July 27, 2019

What started as a seemingly innocent orb has changed drastically, with the orb now developing a large, purple aura surrounding it and glowing strings of light emanating from it. Season 10 is set to start on August 1, and players seem to think that something drastic will be happening to the map when the new season begins.

Combined with our observations and the evolution of the orb, this mysterious object is likely to either explode or cause some form of change. Whatever happens, this orb may usher in the newest season of Fortnite. Thankfully for all of us, we don’t have too much longer to wait and find out.

Game on

Fortnite Battle Royale

Get the Fortnite experience

For those looking to play the worldwide phenomenon, Fortnite Battle Royale is available for free and can be played right now. Jump into some games, start collecting and building material, and compete against others to earn the coveted Victory Royale.

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Dragon Quest Builders 2 Review - Building On A Strong Foundation thumbnail

Dragon Quest Builders 2 Review – Building On A Strong Foundation

Fun from the ground up.

By on

The old adage of “don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t just apply to printed matter. When you first see images and screenshots of Dragon Quest Builders 2, it’s easy to write the game off as yet another blocky-building sandbox game. But Dragon Quest Builders 2 is more than just your run-of-the-mill material-gathering, object-crafting, block-laying game. Its virtual community-creating gameplay stands out among the crowd, jam-packed with the warmth, joy, and charm that makes the Dragon Quest series so delightfully memorable.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 begins with your player character, a Builder with the ability to move and create objects, winding up stranded on a strange archipelago. Long ago, these islands flourished with a great civilization–up until a cult called the Children of Hargon gained power, destroying all that existed and forbidding those in its thrall from creating anything new. It’s up to you and your mysterious friend, a snarky, aggressive boy named Malroth, to destroy the cult’s hold on the people and restore these islands to their former glory, one block at a time. Much like how the original Dragon Quest Builders was a take on a what-if ending for the original Dragon Quest, Dragon Quest Builders 2 takes the ending of Dragon Quest II and turns it on its head–but you don’t need to be familiar with that game to get a lot of enjoyment out of this one. (You will appreciate several of the callbacks, though.)

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The core gameplay loop in Dragon Quest Builders is immensely satisfying. You have a central island, the Isle of Awakening, that acts like one big sandbox, along with several other islands both large and small that you can visit to gather materials and advance the main story. The larger islands all feature a big, overarching quest to restore a destroyed population center, which you’ll accomplish by completing numerous smaller sub-quests to build facilities, find new materials, help individual NPCs, and explore different areas. Completing these quests rewards you with the gratitude of those you’ve aided, which in turn yields new item-creation recipes, improves the skills of the NPCs at the base, and brings more characters to the area to help with building, farming, mining, and monster-slaying. When you finally complete the lengthy main quest on each of the bigger islands, several of the NPCs will return with you to the Isle of Awakening, eager to aid you in building your own unique city and letting you run absolutely wild with your creative town-building concepts.

Part of what makes this gameplay loop so fulfilling is that doing these dozens upon dozens of small errands for NPCs rarely becomes tedious. The characters you meet in Dragon Quest Builders 2 are lively and full of personality (and funny accents), and helping them out with their needs to receive their heartfelt thanks just feels really, really good. You also get the joy of watching a town transform from a barely-functional series of ramshackle hovels into a thriving community thanks to your persistence and kindness. When you finish a new building or complete a task, the populace gathers around to showcase their elation and shower you with gratitude points–a simple reward that nonetheless feels wonderful to get.

It also helps that the world itself is tremendously fun to explore. The varied settings you encounter in your quest offer a variety of things to discover: towering hills, sandy beaches, secret underground caverns, ancient ruins, waterlogged bogs, and so on. You’ll find plenty to do out in Dragon Quest Builders 2’s expansive environments, and by exploring, you’re amply rewarded with rare materials, optional side quests, some new NPC companions, and even a few simple puzzles that yield nice rewards upon completion. There are even a few randomly generated small islands you can sail out to that offer fresh experiences every time you visit, allowing you the chance to see interesting procedurally-made environments, collect lots of unique, rare materials and bring them all home to build the city of your dreams.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dragon Quest game without many of the series’ beloved monster designs. While a few non-humans are friendly to you, most of the monsters you encounter are strict adherents of the Children of Hargon and want nothing more than to destroy you and everything you’ve made. You’ll have to fight them off if you want to keep on building. Unfortunately, you’re a Builder, not a fighter, so your combat prowess for a lot of the game feels quite lacking.

No Caption Provided
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As a result, combat winds up being the weakest part of the game. While it’s a marked improvement over the original Dragon Quest Builders, offering you a lot more control over your character and bringing NPCs into the mix to aid you in fighting, it still feels quite bland most of the time–you’ll just run up to enemies, whack them with a few basic weapon strikes, and hope they die sooner rather than later. The NPC warriors that join you on expeditions and when your bases and city need defending are far more useful for fighting off enemies than you are most of the time, particularly Malroth, who is an absolute beast when it comes to monster-mashing. I frequently found myself just waiting for Malroth to whittle down enemies’ health before I went in to finish them off and collect EXP and loot. The boss fights utilize some gimmicks involving your Builder abilities that make them significantly more interesting than normal fights, but they’re few and far between. At least combat isn’t a primary focus of the game, and new abilities and items you build as you progress help with enemy destruction–but combat never really stops feeling like an annoying distraction to what you want to do most: explore and build stuff.

But whatever problems the game has are quickly negated by everything else Dragon Quest Builders 2 does well. Characters are quirky and memorable with wonderfully written dialogue (though they’re sometimes a smidge too chatty), you get lots of cool materials to work with over the course of the game to build and customize your city, and everything, from the controls to the visuals and audio to the interface, feels inviting, engaging, and fun. Occasionally there’s a bit of tiny text that’s hard to read (a problem made worse when playing in handheld mode on Switch), but the vast majority of the time you’ll be too busy building away to care about the game’s small irritations.

No Caption Provided

Online co-op play opens once you have cleared the game’s first major quest. Unfortunately, while you can’t play the campaign in a co-op session, you are still allowed to build on the Isle of Awakening alongside a buddy or three. Working together to build your island is as fun as playing solo—maybe even more so—and the various customization items you can craft to wear during these sessions add a lot of goofy charm to the proceedings. In our testing, sessions with other players located in North America went smoothly, with few noticeable lag hiccups. If you want to show off but don’t feel like having a virtual block party, there’s also a bulletin board where players from around the world can post, tag, and share screenshots of their creations in-game.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is a great game, combining exploration, sandbox-building, questing, and town-management into a delightful package that will gladly suck up your time and put a big smile on your face. It’s the sort of game that you’ll intend to play for a little while, only to find that hours have flown by once you manage to actually put it down. Don’t dismiss this one when you see big square blocks on the box–you’ll be missing out on a very fun twist on an excellent gaming foundation.

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Recycled mortars for building construction thumbnail

Recycled mortars for building construction

Recycled mortars for building construction
Credit: Fuente/pixabay

A study carried out by researchers from the School of Building at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has shown how mineral wool waste can be a suitable alternative to the reinforced fibers currently used in building materials.

Besides, they improved mechanical and thermal properties of the added products, avoiding their storage in landfills. The result is a new cement mortar that reuses insulating materials and reduces the use of sand, what it helps implement the criteria of circular economy in the .

Building construction generates a serious environmental problem so the resulting construction and demolition waste (CDW) can be used to replace part of the raw . In particular, mineral wool waste from the insulation of homes has increased in recent years due to the increment in thermal and acoustic requirements. Up to 0.2 percent of the volume of all CDW generated are mineral wool, accounting for 60 percent of the insulating materials used in construction. It is also estimated that in 2020, more than 2.5 million mineral wool waste will be generated in the EU-28 zone, characterized by its difficult reuse, low recycling rate and forms of recovery.

A team of UPM researchers has been studying for years how to recycle from construction materials to build houses. In this way, they found out that both the chemical structure and the microstructure of mortars that add recycled fibers are similar to the mortars without such fibers. That is, there is no significant change caused by the adding fibers that affect the functionality of the so this recycled material would be suitable for .

Recycled mortars for building construction
Wool fibers waste and fracture energy test of mortars reinforced with mineral wool fibers waste. Credit: Carolina Piña Ramírez

They also verified that the properties of the recycled fibers are not affected although they come from a landfill. Additionally, “it has been scientifically proved the mortars incorporating recycled mineral wool wastes are lighter so they could improve their insulating properties,” says Mercedes del Río, an expert involved in this project.

In a previous study, they concluded the obtained compounds have similar to other commercial compounds used today, and they also have an improved flexural strength due to the adding of this waste. Such resistance is also similar to those that incorporate commercial polymeric fibers however, the commercial fibers are not sustainable since they need a large amount of energy for their manufacturing.

In their latest work, the UPM researchers, in collaboration with the Bialystok University of Technology, proposed to reduce the aggregate −sand− used for the production of cement mortars by waste to the maximum, since the sand is the most demanded natural resource worldwide, followed by water and ahead of fossil fuels.

Carolina Piña, the main researcher of this study, explains “it is possible to replace up to 50 percent of the volume of the sand using these sustainable mortars, which means a large amount of raw material savings and high-volume recycling of mineral wool.”

The results obtained point out that the use of fibers in cement mortars reduces the because they reduce the use of aggregate and revalue this waste that currently ends up in a landfill.

More information:
Carolina Piña Ramírez et al. Analysis of the mechanical behaviour of the cement mortars with additives of mineral wool fibres from recycling of CDW, Construction and Building Materials (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2019.03.062

Carolina Piña Ramírez et al. Feasibility of the use of mineral wool fibres recovered from CDW for the reinforcement of conglomerates by study of their porosity, Construction and Building Materials (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2018.10.026

Recycled mortars for building construction (2019, July 15)
retrieved 10 August 2019

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Pats exec Caserio addresses Texans’ overtures for first time


Published 12:08 p.m. ET July 27, 2019


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Nick Caserio, the New England Patriots’ director of player personnel, took the high road Saturday, saying he is happy to be with the team and remains fully committed to its goals.

Whether the veteran team executive harbors any resentment over being denied a chance to interview for the Houston Texans’ general manager position may not be known until his current contract expires after the 2020 NFL draft.

Caserio, who joined the Patriots as a personnel assistant in 2001 and assumed his current position in 2008, has been courted twice by the Texans, only for them to be rebuffed by a clause in his contract that does not allow him to interview with other teams. The Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans after the most recent attempt, and the Texans backed off.

Caserio shed little light upon the situation other than to reaffirm his devotion to his current team.

“I’d say I’m pretty honored and privileged to be in the position I’m in, to work for this organization,” Caserio said. “I’m thankful for the opportunity that I have each day to come to work and come into this building. We’ve got a lot of great people. I’m fortunate and honored to work with Bill (Belichick) on a day-to-day basis and a lot of other people in this organization.

“My job is really just to serve the people that are in this building,” he said, echoing a familiar refrain in Foxborough. “My focus is in trying to do the best that I can every day and be the best version of myself for this team and this organization.”

Caserio would not speculate on what might happen after his contract expires.

“My focus is on this football team and that’s where it’s always going to be,” he said.


More AP NFL: and

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Lisbon Wood Residential Building / Plano Humano Arquitectos thumbnail

Lisbon Wood Residential Building / Plano Humano Arquitectos

Lisbon Wood Residential Building / Plano Humano Arquitectos

Lisbon Wood Residential Building  / Plano Humano Arquitectos, © João Morgado

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

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  • Architects

  • Location

    Av. António Augusto de Aguiar 86, 1069-413 Lisboa, Portugal

  • Category

  • Lead Architects

    Pedro Ferreira, Helena Vieira

  • Design Team

    Pedro Ferreira, Helena Vieira, Ana Figueiredo, João Martins, Manuel Dinis, Nuno Roque, Vanessa Ferrão

  • Area

    3882.0 m2

  • Project Year


  • Photographs

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

Text description provided by the architects. Rebuild to revive. Renew to continue. To give a new life to an existing building, within its story and excellent location. The pre-existence was a state service, the tourism general offices. The project intended to provide the building with features of the current architecture. New materials, new spaces, new connections, thus creating new experiences for the newly established use, to inhabit.

Front Elevation

Front Elevation

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

Inhabiting the city center. Take advantage of the centrality, with the required privacy and retreat. Living in larger and connected spaces, full of light. We opened the building to the outer space. We extend it on balconies that increase the space of habitation, which thus also happens outdoors, in contact with the open air, a relic in the center of the city. Interior and exterior are in constant dialogue.

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

We worked the materiality according to its characteristics of comfort, robustness, and longevity. the minimalist interior contrasts while connects with the powerful exterior in thermo modified wood. A disused building gained a new life, and give new lives through its 15 apartments and 2 shops, connected by common leisure spaces, such as gardens, a gym, and a SPA. Wood is the hallmark of the building. A traditional and noble material, allied to the current technology, in the cladding of facades that will always be dynamic, different for each moment of the day and for each apartment.

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

Second and Sixth Floor

Second and Sixth Floor

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

The facade is dynamic, it has constant movement, which makes it a mutable, almost living building, that transcends its inner life to the exterior. The wood is applied in automated shutters, that while privatizing the interior spaces, increase the building´s energy efficiency. They limit or allow the interior solar incidence, depending on if it is summer or winter, what in a Mediterranean city like Lisbon has a great preponderance in thermal comfort.

© João Morgado

© João Morgado

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Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.

Cite: “Lisbon Wood Residential Building / Plano Humano Arquitectos” [Edifício Lisbon Wood / Plano Humano Arquitectos] 23 Jul 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed .



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