Syrian refugees share their graphic stories

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The population at Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees has dwindled. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) counts current residents at 83,000, down from over 200,000 in April 2013. People are relocating to communities across Jordan, electing to return to Syria, or simply bailing out of the refugee program. Meanwhile, those that remain – many in […]

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Meet the innocent looking doll who’s been around the block

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There’s a new toy on the shelf that’s been whipping up online comments that accuse its maker of radically challenging expectations of femininity, enforcing oppressive gender norms, and preaching conformity over experimentation. Some say she’s racist, as there are no dolls-of-color in her line.  Others point to a liberal tree-hugger theme, as they are dressed for back-packing and camping. Living in […]

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Bio-Pyramid turns Egyptian pyramid into a desert-reversing skyscraper!

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Seven designers teamed up on a project to transform an ancient Egyptian pyramid into a green skyscraper that works to reverse desertification. Their Bio-Pyramid concept won an honorable mention in the 2015 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, an award that recognizes outstanding ideas that challenge the way architecture relates to both natural and built environments. Could up-cycling the Great […]

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When will the Middle East wake up to green roofs?

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Vive la France!  The country recently passed legislation that requires rooftops on all new commercial buildings to be at least partly covered with solar panels or rooftop gardens. French environmental activists had sought to mandate full green roof coverage for all new buildings, but the new law allows commercial owners the option to install roof-mounted solar panels […]

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Capture your loved ones in custom glass planets?

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An artist in northern California (need we add, “where else but?”) is making tiny glass beads meant to look like planets or solar systems encapsulated within delicate glass beads. What makes her creations especially otherworldly is the secret ingredient – cremated human remains caught in dramatic and colorful swirls for eternity. So do we now switch the funereal sentiment […]

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Eco-friendly concrete now mandatory in Dubai

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Dubai has taken a giant step forward in greening up the city with its decision to move away from ordinary Portland cement (OPC) for all new buildings.  As of April 1, OPC use is limited across the emirate; building permissions are reliant on developers specifying eco-friendly Supplementary Cementing Materials (SCMs). The new requirement aims to give residents […]

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Yemen: More Than Its Current Events (PHOTOS)

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Spectacular images of the Republic of Yemen have captured its vibrant and unique culture, pristine wilderness, and well-preserved antiquities, but don’t get too excited about traveling there soon. International security controls have choked tourist access, so Sanaa joins Damascus, Gaza and Baghdad as another fascinating place I’ll not get to visit despite my relative proximity living here […]

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An alternative to standing desks: is it on The Level?

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Is sitting the new smoking? Nature designed human bodies to be in constant movement throughout the day, but when modern office jobs plant us in seated positions, only our fingertips get a workout.  Now there is compelling evidence that prolonged sitting kills, even if you exercise regularly. In fact, the paradigm that moderate physical exertion, such as […]

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Today is a once-in-a-century Pi Day!

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Today is Pi Day.  Celebrated around the world every March 14th (3/14), the day focuses on the mathematical symbol that represents the constant ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, approximated as 3.14159. This year’s Pi Day is a once-in-a-lifetime event; it will be 100 years until we experience 3/14/15 9:26:53 again – that’s pi to […]

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Weasel on a woodpecker? Discover Dubai through an eagle’s eye instead!

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The world went wild last week over an unforgettable image of a weasel riding bareback on a woodpecker in flight.  It is difficult to imagine a more astonishing moment that the one captured by amateur British photographer Martin Le-May, unless maybe if that woodpecker had a camera strapped to his chest.  But that sort of nutty nature photography could only happen […]

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Is Tel Aviv’s green bus terminal still blooming?

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South Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station (CBS) sprawls across 10 acres in the poorest part of the city. Inaugurated in 1993 as a “city under a roof”, the neglected station – like many urban transport hubs – has since became a hangout, hotel and unofficial business center for addicts, prostitutes, thieves and homeless. It’s not a place to dawdle. Could […]

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Step aside sheesha: Arab teens smoke crushed ants!

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Young men in United Arab Emirates have jumped on a bizarre, and weirdly “green” addiction, passing on cigarettes and sheesha to smoking dead ants to get high. They crush local black ants (Pachycondyla sennaarensis) and blend the crumbs in tobacco, drop them into a medhwak (smoking pipe) or sprinkle them on regular smokes before lighting up, according to Gulf […]

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National Unplug Day 2015: on this Sabbath, tech shall rest

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Is nothing sacred? Mealtime with family, meetings with the boss, dates with your sweetie are constantly interrupted by mobile phone calls, texts and tweets.  At weddings and funerals, folks fumble to silence (or peek) at their chirping, beeping, music-blaring phones.  And how do we manage a weekly day of rest? Enter Reboot, a Jewish non-profit based in […]

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Organic burial pods grow live trees from dead people

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Forget coffins.  At least the traditional ones.  That was the idea we explored in a recent post on green burials, but that story overlooked a new product in the mortuary arts tool kit that takes burial full circle. The Capsula Mundi project by Italian designers Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel is an organic, biodegradable burial capsule that directly […]

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Jordan’s 6,000 mosques to be sun-powered

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Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources announced a new initiative that will convert all 6,000 of the kingdom’s mosques to solar generated power beginning this year. It’s part of a five-year program to decrease the nation’s reliance on crude oil while diversifying its energy portfolio to include more renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

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