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This Pollution-Absorbing Cement Could Clean Up Smoggy Cities

This space-age building has the ability to make the air cleaner — and just might be the future of green design.

Photo by Giacomo Carena/Flickr.

It’s a health concern that’s easy to ignore because we often can’t see it, but air pollution kills roughly 4.6 million people each year. In Italy alone, nearly 100,000 people died in 2012 as a result of poor air quality. For this reason and more, Italian scientists have teamed up with the building company Italcementi to create a type of concrete that draws pollutants right out of the air.


Here’s how it works: When the sun’s ultraviolet light comes in contact with the cement, it interacts with a titanium catalyst. This chemical reaction pulls in toxins and forms harmless salts that wash away when it rains. “Additionally, the mortar is made from 80% recycled aggregates, part of which consist of scraps from the cutting of Carrara marble, and therefore provide a superior brilliance compared to traditional white cements,” the company said in a statement.

This invention isn’t just in its early stages either. Designers built the Palazzo Italia in Milan in 2015 using the pollution-absorbing cement in an attempt to reduce the city’s apocryphal smog levels. According to innovation director Enrico Borgarello, the building used 9,000 square meters (or 2,200 tons) of the cement, which can remove the equivalent of smog emitted by 300 gas-powered cars each year. As an added bonus, the building uses 40% less energy than other high-rises and generates its own energy with the help of a solar-panel roof. According to early projections, using the material on 15% of Milan’s light-exposed surfaces could reduce the city’s smog levels by half.

On top of all that, the building looks as futuristic as its materials would imply. With a bright white webbed design on its surface, the building is a novel addition to Milan’s stone-paved streets. Looking at it, you’d never know it is cleansing the air of harmful particles.

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via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

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Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

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"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

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Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture

In the category of "claims to fame nobody wants," the United States can now add "exporter of white supremacist ideology" to its repertoire. Super.

Russell Travers, acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, made this claim in a briefing at The Washington Institute in Washington, D.C. "For almost two decades, the United States has pointed abroad at countries who are exporters of extreme Islamist ideology," Travers said. "We are now being seen as the exporter of white supremacist ideology. That's a reality with which we are going to have to deal."

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Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

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