01. Urban Insect Hotel

“Winning London’s recent Beyond The Hive competition, the “Insect Hotel” is a five-star refuge for bugs living in urban environments. Architecture firm Arup Associates designed individual compartments in a mathematically-derived pattern known as a Voronoi tessellation to house an array of species spanning spiders, beetles and moths.” (ch)

02. PaperMate Biodegradable Mechanical Pencil Review

“A biodegradable mechanical pencil? Like many industries, the writing instruments industry is trying to get greener these days, and this pencil is part of Paper Mates efforts. Much of the pencil, but by no means all of it, is moulded from Mirel, a biodegradable plastic made from plant derived sugar feedstock, which is currently primarily corn sugar. Now just in case you are worried, the pencil should not deteriorate from contact with skin, moisture, etc. It needs a high level microbial environment like that found in soil to degrade.” (dmp)

03. Bernhard Hopfengärtner: Hello World (a visual code for Google Earth)

“Hello, world! is a real installation for the virtual globe of the software Google Earth. A Semacode measuring 160×160 metres was mown into a wheat field near the town of Ilmenau in the Land Thuringia. The code consists of 18×18 bright and dark squares producing decoded the phrase “Hello, world!”. The ambition was to have an areal view of the code integrated in Google Earths’ regular database. The project was realised in May 2006 and photographs were taken of it during a picture flight in the following month.” (int)

04. Studio 804’s Real Estate Woes (above)

“Depressing news from Kansas City: USA Today reported on Friday that Dan Rockhill’s celebratedStudio 804 design-build program has been unable to find buyers for its last two houses. As we reported in a feature story last February, Studio 804’s previous houses had attracted waiting lists of potential buyers. Unfortunately, the program moved into more expensive cutting-edge sustainable design—its 2009 house (pictured) earned Platinum LEED certification, and its new passive house is expected to do the same—just as the housing market imploded.” (mpov)

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