Laurie Balbo

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration.She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at www.fibermeister.comLaurie can be reached at [email protected]

Is this staple salad Moroccan or Turkish or Sephardic? Any way you chop it, it’s divine.

Is this staple salad Moroccan or Turkish or Sephardic? Any way you chop it, it’s divine.

Tomatoes are full of lycopene, the cancer-busting carotenoid responsible for the reddish colorations in vegetables and fruits. Red peppers are packed with phytochemicals and beta-carotene, which flood your system with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Meet a delicious concoction that combines both in an ancient Middle Eastern recipe with decidedly modern health benefits. Science says the sense[.....]

Amman Design Week spotlights Jordanian creativity

Amman Design Week spotlights Jordanian creativity

Three public spaces in downtown Amman have been temporarily re-purposed as platforms to promote contemporary design from Jordan and the wider region. This is Amman Design Week, a first-time consolidation of the kingdom’s artistic capabilities, established and emerging, and the excellent choreography of its exhibits rivals that in any world-class city. Supported by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al[.....]

Build an ecological homestead for 1/10th the cost of a trad home!

Build an ecological homestead for 1/10th the cost of a trad home!

It’s coming up on two years since Cameron Sinclair announced the shutdown of Architecture for Humanity, probably the best thing to ever emerge from an architect’s imagination.  That San Francisco-based nonprofit brought pro-bono architecture to the world’s neediest communities. Now a young husband/wife team have stepped into the void, launching a venture to make affordable, ecological housing accessible to[.....]

Beirut art project pushes for preservation of public space

Beirut art project pushes for preservation of public space

Beirut art collective Dictaphone Group is combining activism with show-biz in a fight to preserve Lebanon’s public spaces. Their series of interactive performance pieces is inciting hipsters and historians to join up in protest of Beirut’s unbridled development plans. Tension is never far below the surface of the capital’s staunchly secular social scene. Tagged as the[.....]

Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

Syrian refugees list their tent on Airbnb

Take empathy to a new level by living just like a displaced person. A group of Syrian refugees advertised their camp tent as a rentable destination on Airbnb, offering intrepid travelers “scorpions, dehydration and broken promises”. They describe the Ritsona, Greece refugee camp, about 80 kilometers north of Athens, as “the most unique neighborhood in[.....]

Holy cow! Bovine burps blamed for climate change?

Holy cow! Bovine burps blamed for climate change?

It’s common knowledge that cows destined for the meat aisle are shot up with antibiotics and fed water and chow dosed with lower levels of the same, intended to promote growth and reduce disease. Turns out this does more damage than just create drug-resistant microbes. A recent study suggests they could also be boosting greenhouse gas[.....]

UAE to build a man-made mountain to increase rainfall

UAE to build a man-made mountain to increase rainfall

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) upped the wackiness factor of its portfolio of national mega-projects, announcing plans to build an artificial alp so the country can control its weather. Scientists will investigate if a man-made mountain will increase precipitation in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi in this nation where rain falls just five days[.....]

Egypt to shine with a new $3.5 BIL solar plant!

Egypt to shine with a new $3.5 BIL solar plant!

A global consortium of engineering and renewables industry giants kicked off a project to build a suite of solar power generating plants in Egypt to produce 2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity and valued at USD $3.5 billion. Terra Solar announced their plan on Friday, adding that they will also build a 200 MW PV module and inverter manufacturing[.....]

World Bank pledges $16B to climate change projects

World Bank pledges $16B to climate change projects

The World Bank, the biggest provider of public finance to developing countries, has earmarked 28% of its 2016 budget for projects that  mitigate climate change, according to a statement released on Thursday. All of its future spending will take global warming into account, and all projects considered for WBG funding, including health and education, will now[.....]

Scientists discover bacteria’s natural sunscreen

Scientists discover bacteria’s natural sunscreen

‘Everything in moderation’ is good advice, especially when it comes to sunshine. Humans know this, especially in the Middle East, mastering all means of shading devices, and protective clothing. But what if you are an organism without access to sunscreen? Two scientists at Israel’s oldest university have discovered how bacteria protect themselves from overexposure.

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid dead at 65

Zaha Hadid, the first female architect (and first Muslim) to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, died yesterday in a Miami hospital after suffering a heart attack while being treated for bronchitis. The Iraqi-born mathematician and architect whose designs were both celebrated and divisive, was 65 years old.

Shining a light on #EarthHour2016

Shining a light on #EarthHour2016

Earth Hour is upon us. It comes every year on Saturday 19 March, as the clock strikes 8:30 PM around the globe. It’s a worldwide movement  that aims to unite the global community on a broad range of environmental issues, working on a grassroots level to enact mass behavioral change. Join the fun by turning off[.....]

Heads up! A look at Iran’s fantastical ceilings (PHOTOS)

Heads up! A look at Iran’s fantastical ceilings (PHOTOS)

Instagram photographer “m1rasoulifard” has been creating a visual catalog of Iranian architecture, shooting the interiors of mosques, such as Hazrat-Masoumeh in Qom (above), and cultural centers, like the Chaharbagh School in Isfahan.  His images capture intricately detailed interiors rich in texture and kaleidoscopic colors. Tuck into this visual feast of Iran’s splendiferous ceilings; scenes lost to[.....]

Syngenta Merger Must Be Blocked

Syngenta Merger Must Be Blocked

China’s state-owned ChemChina tendered a $43 billion bid for Swiss seeds and pesticides group Syngenta today as part of a strategy to improve domestic food production. Remember the classic board game Monopoly? It’s being played by multi-national agri-businesses in attempt to control the world food supply chain. China is the largest agricultural market on the planet. Syngenta’s[.....]

Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

Google gets hot for Wilbur Scoville!

Google did a doodle marking the 151st birthday of the pharmacist who helped us navigate the chili peppers, the tiny veggie with the power to drop diners to their knees. Wilbur Scoville was the first person to measure the heat of peppers. His heat scale is still in use today, scoring the piquancy of peppers. (What[.....]

Soup for Syria: feed your belly and your soul

Soup for Syria: feed your belly and your soul

Soup for Syria is a beautiful new cookbook of delicious and easy-to-make recipes guaranteed to fill your belly and feed your mind with heightened humanitarian awareness. But at its heart it is a cookbook, a perfect primer for any cook seeking healthy and flavorful food made with no-fuss ingredients (mostly vegetarian) found in supermarkets everywhere.

So what did COP21 in France conclude?

So what did COP21 in France conclude?

The Paris Conference of Parties has officially ended with 195 nations signing up to a partially legally binding program of measures for curbing climate change.  Green Prophet’s read the 31-page agreement and we urge you to do the same.  Find the full report here, saving you an unnecessary online search (which Google estimates as producing 0.02 grams of[.....]

Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

As the world awaits the release of the final draft agreement emerging from the COP21 climate talks – expected this morning –  longtime expert in water policy, Dr. Sundeep Waslekar explores one specific aspect of climate change in the following article, providing clear insight into the future of water, not only as a critical resource for all[.....]

Paris climate talks extended another day

Paris climate talks extended another day

Global climate talks expected to close today in Paris have extended into Saturday, according French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.  Appearing last night on French BFMTV he said that he would present a new compromise text for a deal to combat global warming on Saturday morning.  The extra day of negotiations aims to reach accord between the[.....]

Climate change has its soundtrack! Concrete organ makes music from rising seas

Climate change has its soundtrack! Concrete organ makes music from rising seas

Croatian architect Nicola Bašić added a sensual dimension to a waterfront promenade in Zadar, Croatia by using wave energy to create sound. His concrete “sea organ” harnesses kinetic energy from the Adriatic sea to create random – but soothing – harmonized notes. It’s a bit of a riff off Nero fiddling while Rome burns; as the “music” increases[.....]

Experience the (new, artificial, and made-in-America) Middle East!  Coming to Dubai in 2018

Experience the (new, artificial, and made-in-America) Middle East! Coming to Dubai in 2018

American media giant 20th Century Fox has teamed up with United Arab Emirates Al Ahli Holding Group to build a theme park in Dubai, set to open in 2018, that will feature attractions based on blockbuster movies such as “Aliens,” “Titanic,” “Ice Age” and “Planet of the Apes.” So the UAE builds another resource-guzzling folly for audiences[.....]

London calling: Gulf elite caught in conspicuous consumption

London calling: Gulf elite caught in conspicuous consumption

Critically acclaimed Scottish photographer Dougie Wallace has stepped on some well-heeled toes with his latest documentary project where he turns his lens to the rising economic power of the “one per cent”.  His current exhibition, entitled Harrodsburg, captures the ultra-affluent visitors that inhabit – albeit only seasonally – the super-rich residential and retail district of[.....]

Lexus built a cardboard car that actually drives!

Lexus built a cardboard car that actually drives!

In the early 1970s, architect Frank Gehry earned his first design awards for clever furniture made from corrugated cardboard, triggering an explosion of creative experimentation with this then-century-old material that had been mostly used for protective packaging. Now a five-person design team has created a full-size and fully functional car from recyclable cardboard. It’s electric[.....]

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