These vegetated surfaces don’t just look pretty. They have other benefits as well, including cooling city blocks, reducing loud noises, and improving a building’s energy efficiency.What’s more, a recent modeling study shows that green walls can potentially reduce large amounts of air pollution in what’s called a “street canyon,” or the corridor between tall buildings.
For the study, Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and his colleagues created a computer model of a green wall with generic vegetation in a Western European city. Then they recorded chemical reactions based on a variety of factors, such as wind speed and building placement.
The simulation revealed a clear pattern: A green wall in a street canyon trapped or absorbed large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter—both pollutants harmful to people, said Pugh. Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
That’s why the green-wall study is “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he said.Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
That’s why the green-wall study is “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he said.
Funny and bizarre German animal namesThe German language is famous for some really long nouns (Donaudampfschiffahrtsgesellschaftskapitän comes to mind). This is because German nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives are like lego bricks; you can stick them together in almost any way to create new words that encapsulate new concepts. This gives the language a special ability to name just about anything. You could call it the German language’s lego brick-like quality, or Legosteineigenschaft (see what I just did there?).
But why does German rely on such an elaborate process to name things as simple as squirrels? When broken down into their separate components, the names of familiar animals mutate into bizarre new creatures.
The Uncanny X-Tiere
Comics are full of heroes with names like super, wonder, iron, ultra, bat or cat followed by -man, -woman, -girl or -boy. A lot of German animal names work the same way, where Tier – the word for animal – is preceded by a word describing that animal’s “super power”.
Stinktier – stink animal (skunk)
Faultier – lazy animal (sloth)
Gürteltier – belt animal (armadillo)
Murmeltier – mumbling animal (groundhog)
Schnabeltier – beak animal (platypus)
Maultier – mouth animal (mule)
Trampeltier – trampling animal (bactrian camel). The verb trampeln means to trample or tread upon, whereas the noun Trampel is a clumsy oaf.
Sometimes suffixes get more specific than -tier, but still tend to describe the wrong animal:
Schildkröte – shield toad (tortoise)
Waschbär – wash bear (raccoon)
Nacktschnecke – naked snail (slug)
Fledermaus – flutter mouse (bat)
Seehund – sea dog (seal)
Tintenfisch – ink fish (squid)
Truthahn – threatening chicken (turkey). Trut is onomatopoeic for the trut-trut-trut cluck of a turkey, but it’s also been hypothesized that the name comes from the Middle German droten which means “to threaten”.
No, I’m Pretty Sure That’s A Pig
Swine seem to be a popular yardstick in German animal taxonomy.
Schweinswal – pig whale (porpoise)
Seeschwein – sea pig (dugong). Not to be confused with the Seekuh, or sea cow, known in English as a manatee.
Stachelschwein – spike pig (porcupine). The English word is actually just as literal; porcupine sounds a lot like “pork spine”.
Wasserschwein – water pig (capybara)
Meerschweinchen – ocean piglet (guinea pig). The ending -chen denotes something small. Add it to the end of Schwein and you get a little pig, or piglet. Since the stems Meer and Wasser are often interchangeable, it’s most likely that Meerschweinchen actually means little capybara.
Just Plain Weird
I’d like to end this list by giving one animal a category all to itself: the humble squirrel.
- little oak horn: Eiche (oak tree) + Horn (horn) + -chen (little)
- oak croissant: Eiche (oak tree) + Hörnchen (croissant)
- Eichkätzchen (regional name) and Eichkatzerl (Austria) – oak kitten
Calling a squirrel a “tree kitten” is reasonably literal, but where does “little oak horn” come from? It seems that the answer comes down to a misplaced h: Eichhörnchen comes from the Old and Middle German eichorn, which has nothing to do with oak trees or horns. In this case, the eich comes from the ancient Indo-Germanic word aig, which means agitated movement, combined with the now obsolete suffix -orn. Somewhere in history a superfluous h was added (along with the diminutive -chen ending) but the original meaning remained. Today, Hörnchen is a category of rodents that includes all squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, prairie dogs and flying squirrels.
Keep an eye on this spot for an upcoming post where we’ll delve deeper into the animal kingdom: branching out to birds, insects, reptiles, fishes and any other mammals we find crawling around.
Rape, By The Numbers.
everyone needs to see this graphic
I linked this to my guy friends who always use the excuse of “What about the false reports? It’s not fair that innocent men are accused of a crime they didn’t commit”
2 out of 1000. 0.02% Of all rapes are false.
The beautiful, sad, shifting state of wild ice: Geomorphologist / photographer James Balog travels the globe to capture the twisting, soaring forms of the world’s vanishing wild ice. In 2009, he wowed the TEDGlobal crowd with his time-lapse photos of the shifting landscapes of the world’s icy habitats.
Above, some striking footage from his project Extreme Ice Survey.