CLOSE
Original image

Buildings Made From Recycled Bottles

Original image

Talk about a great way to recycle, these 14 buildings are actually constructed from plastic bottles that likely would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. With over 2.4 million tons of plastic discarded every year, ideas like these show there are far more environmentally sound solutions to plastic disposal than simply throwing it in the trash.

In fact, since these designs don't require the energy that recycling demands, they're actually greener than melting the plastic down to be used in other bottles. Better still, they provide a cheap housing solution for those in need and they are surprisingly durable when pitted against the elements.

You have to admit, some of the buildings are actually pretty cool looking, too.

Original image
iStock
arrow
environment
Nearly 100 Volcanoes Discovered Under Antarctic Ice Sheet
Original image
iStock

We’re used to the ocean depths holding a significant number of surprises, but not all of us stop to think about what might be lurking under the thick sheet of ice covering real estate in the Antarctic.

One recent revelation: volcanoes. A lot of them.

Research recently published in Geological Society indicates that 91 newly discovered volcanoes are buried in West Antarctica. Scientists had already identified 47, so the sharp uptick makes for one of the largest concentrations of the formations in the world. The volcanoes were found in the West Antarctic Rift System, a 2200-mile long stretch housing volcanoes as small as 326 feet to as large as 12,600 feet—all completely encased under the ice.

The discovery was unearthed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh, where a third-year student suggested the study after examining radar maps of the region and finding evidence of volcanism. The underside of the ice was surveyed for basalt rock; radar detected the volcanoes' sizes and locations.The finding is significant, as the thick ice sheet makes spotting and identifying geological formations difficult.

It’s not currently known which of these volcanoes, if any, might be active or whether they could exacerbate the effects of climate change in the area by melting the underside of the ice sheet, causing it to become unstable. For that reason, finding out their status is considered urgent. Glacier expert Robert Bingham told The Guardian that the potential for eruption is "something we need to determine as quickly as possible."

[h/t Gizmodo]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Animals
The Mules That Help Fight California's Wildfires
Original image
iStock

Forget dalmatians—in remote parts of Northern California, mules are the fire department's four-legged helpers of choice.

When a blaze roars to life in a residential area, firefighters can use trucks to transport the tools needed to battle it. But in the California wilderness, where vehicles—and sometimes thanks to environmental restrictions, helicopters—can’t venture, mules bear the burden. According to Business Insider, the donkey-horse hybrids can carry 120 pounds of supplies apiece while walking 4 mph up rugged terrain. Llamas are also capable of making the trek, but mules are preferred for their resilience and intelligence.

You can see them at work in the video below.

These animals do extraordinary work for the country, but they’re not the only mules assisting the U.S. government. The Havasupai village of Supai is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and the mail is delivered there each day by parcel-toting mules.

[h/t Business Insider]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios