* Hey, did you know wood was actually a pretty good material with which to construct big buildings? An article at Nature, about a revival of wood for large construction, notes this:
....wood has developed a bad reputation over the centuries, because of catastrophic blazes that levelled cities such as London, New York and Chicago before modern fire-suppression strategies emerged. In fact, in case of fire wood maintains its structurally integrity much better than the non-flammable alternatives favoured by modern building codes. It chars at a predictable rate, and doesn't melt like steel or weaken like concrete. “The fact that it actually can withstand fire better than steel took a long time for people to realize,” says Guido Wimmers, who chairs a master's programme in wood engineering at UNBC....And it is pretty good in earthquake prone regions:
The science of safety and engineering has also advanced. Douglas fir — the exposed layer at the UNBC centre — chars at 39 millimetres per hour. The provincial building code requires that the structure be able to endure at least one hour of fire on any given storey, so Green's team opted for floors made of a 5-layer panel that could afford to sacrifice a portion without losing its structural integrity.
Asif Iqbal, a civil engineer who is working on the project, came to UNBC from New Zealand, where he saw the damage from the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch at first hand. Most of the steel-reinforced concrete buildings in the city remained standing, but around 1,800 were irreparably damaged owing to cracked concrete and warped steel. Iqbal says that many of the replacement buildings are being constructed from wood, precisely because it is more likely to survive another major earthquake and the steel connectors can be replaced relatively easily if damaged.Some large wood buildings have been built recently:
Norway set a world height record in late 2015 with a 52.8-metre tower block; that was edged out in September 2016 by a 53-metre student dormitory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. This year, Austria will take the lead with the 84-metre HoHo building in Vienna, comprising a hotel, apartments and offices. The United States saw its first tall wooden building go up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2016, and others are in the works in Portland, Oregon, and in New York City.And I had been meaning to post about this months ago - a tall wood office building is to be built in Brisbane - on the showgrounds which I hang around most Saturdays:
Standing at more than 52 metres, the 14,000 square metres of nine storeys of engineered timber on the A-grade site, with retail space at ground level, is targeting a 6 Green Star Design & As Built rating:
* Dementia wards might soon smell of marijuana? (Well, probably not, but still, it's a funny idea):
Memory performance decreases with increasing age. Cannabis can reverse these ageing processes in the brain. This was shown in mice by scientists at the University of Bonn with their colleagues at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel). Old animals were able to regress to the state of two-month-old mice with a prolonged low-dose treatment with a cannabis active ingredient. This opens up new options, for instance, when it comes to treating dementia.
* The Samsung S8, the phone I would love to own, is selling very well, it seems:
It's been less than a month since the Galaxy S8 hit store shelves, but the curved flagship phone is apparently already a huge success. Samsung has already sold over 5 million units of the phones worldwide, according to the Korean site The Investor....
And the sales could keep on rolling in. The phone is expected to come to 120 countries by the end of the month including China, says The Investor.
According to the report, some analysts predict the S8 to reach 50 to 60 million in annual sales. Not bad at all for a comeback phone.