Architecture: Where Psychology and Ecology Meet
An article from the New Scientist claims that people’s barriers to thinking more greenly are mostly psychological. People are more likely to adopt green attitudes if (1) they think their neighbors are greener than they are, (2) they are given money to act green and (3) they can see an immediate positive change in the world because of their green behavior.
This information may prove helpful as governments and businesses consider how to encourage people to go green. Agriculture, automobiles, and energy production are systems where resource efficiency is now highly sought after. Architecture too, that place where philosophers and aesthetes pick up a trowel, where theory and practice meet.
A preliminary study published by the “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin” finds that people with stronger and more frequent contact with nature place a higher value on community relationships and less on self-oriented goals. The findings have implications for urban developers who, in our future of mega-cities, must find ways for plants and animals to live alongside concrete and glass.
After our own Al Gore, Prince Charles of Wales is perhaps the most visible public figure with a history of promoting ecological awareness and sustainable development. The Prince invested heavily in Poundry, his project to build an environmentally sensible village, and while the Guardian evidently has an axe to grind against the Prince, he has been a forward looking proponent of sustainability.
The Guardian has been critical of Charles’ acerbic approach to getting the kind of architecture he wants. After orchestrating the removal of French architect Jean Nouvel from a project near St. Paul’s in London, he has threatened to quit as the president of the National Trust if his architectural views aren’t taken more seriously.
We have always looked to Nature for answers to our human problems (as though they were somehow distinct in the first place) which is one reason why a major idea of our day is sustainability. Since the buildings we inhabit are part of our nature, they are part of Nature. More and more we are realizing the interplay between architecture, nature, and our own well being. To quote Simon and Garfunkel quoting Frank Lloyd Wright: harmonize.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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