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April 21 2014

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Reposted frombwana bwana viacontroversial controversial
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Red Moon, Green Beam 
Image Credit & CopyrightDan Long (Apache Point Observatory) - Courtesy: Tom Murphy (UC San Diego)

Explanation: This is not a scene from a sci-fi special effects movie. The green beam of light and red lunar disk are real enough, captured in the early morning hours of April 15. Of course, the reddened lunar disk is easy to explain as the image was taken during this week's total lunar eclipse. Immersed in shadow, the eclipsed Moon reflects the dimmed reddened light of all the sunsets and sunrises filtering around the edges of planet Earth, seen in silhouette from a lunar perspective. But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam's path is revealed as Earth's atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light. The laser's target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein's theory of gravity. Conducting the lunar laser ranging experiment during a total eclipse uses the Earth like a cosmic light switch. With direct sunlight blocked, the reflector's performance is improved over performance when illuminated by sunlight during a normal Full Moon, an effect known as the real Full Moon Curse.

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Play fullscreen
Grace Hopper on Letterman - YouTube
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April 15 2014

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April 13 2014

atanudey

Hemp Building Materials

One of hemp’s most innovative and applicable uses today is in building materials sector. Hemp can be used for all sorts of building materials, replacing or supplementing traditional materials including wood and concrete. There are a wider range of products, but the most important categories are: Hempcrete, Insulation, and Particle Board.

Hempcrete: Contemporary Uses of an Old Tech

Spraying hempcrete

Concrete is so ubiquitous, that most people take it for granted. While concrete can form naturally in nature, it was the Romans who first perfected a formula strong enough for mass building projects. This technology was lost and then rediscovered hundreds of years later. In the modern era, researchers in France found that hemp core fibers could be used to create a natural cement.

Today Hempcrete is drawing considerable attention among DIY crowd for its attractive properties, low cost and ease of use.

Hempcrete is commonly used in block form as a fill in wood frame construction. These hempcrete blocks are light, perhaps 1/8 the weight of a comparably sized concrete block. It’s not used as a structural element. Other builders eschew the blocks and apply hempcrete mix directly into the structure, held in place by temporary forms, like if they were working with stucco.

Some attractive reasons for building with hempcrete include:

  • Thermal properties — Helps regulate both high and low temperatures, very energy efficient. Keep the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Some home owners say as that their energy bills have been cut in half.
  • Acoustic properties — Concrete makes for quieter interiors and buffers the noise from street traffic.
  • Low maintenance — The lime helps keep both rodents, and mold away. The material’s breathability is also an added benefit. Repairs are easily done. Hemp houses have a long lifespan if properly maintained.
  • Sustainable — Using annually renewable biodegradable materials such as hemp is a plus. As a plant, hemp traps carbon dioxide as it grows and buildings made from hemp are effectively carbon sinks. Hempcrete compares quite favorably in this way with cement, which produces high amounts of carbon dioxide when it is cooked up.

The recent documentary “Bringing it Home” depicts one family’s efforts to build a nontoxic and healthy home using hemp hurd, lime and water.

In addition, Ireland’s Steve Allin, has written the definitive book on hemp building titled “Building with Hemp.”

Hemp Insulation Products

Hemp insulation

While hempcrete is in a sense a form of insulation, it requires its own building system. Hemp insulation is made from the hemp plant’s long bast fibers and are available as mats and rolls. There products can be used in new or old buildings as a substitute for fiberglass based insulation.

According to manufacturers, hemp fiber insulation has optimal moisture regulation and has a high thermal resistance. Lacking protein, it is highly resistant to mold growth, dust, and other pollutants. Soda added to the insulation adds to fire resistance values. There’s even a variety of manufacturing blends involving long fiber hemp insulation, including recycled cotton and polyester.

Hemp Particle Board

Hemp particle board

Particle board is engineered wood that is less expensive, and generally more uniform than wood and plywood. Wood scraps, fragments and even sawdust are commonly used, and agricultural fibers such as hemp can be used in a board making process, whether wholly or in blends. The short fiber and low density of hemp’s core fiber make up 70-75% of the total hemp biomass, making it suitable for a lightweight particle board. Hemp’s longer bast fibers can also be cut into strands for structural composite board manufacture.

While hemp and other crops have considerably different harvesting and storing logistics than wood, the use of agricultural fibers to supplement wood supply and in some cases displace wood materials has a lot of potential.

End of Life

Final note: two of the great benefits of using hemp in building is its longer lifespan as well as its ease of disposal at the end of life. Whether cleaning up a construction site, dismantling an old home, renovating an existing structure, all materials used can be returned to earth through recycling, composting or be used for carbon neutral biomass energy through incineration. The footprint and impacts are fairly light.







http://www.globalhemp.com/2014/04/hemp-building-materials.html

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April 12 2014

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April 10 2014

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mapsontheweb:

Name for the ‘@’ Symbol around Europe

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You had one job... and you did great, actually.
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