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A Gobi Desert Hotel Designed to Float on Sand

PLaTArchitects have designed a new hotel for the Gobi Desert made to float on sand.

500 miles west of Beijing, deep in the Gobi Desert, PLaTArchitects have designed a new hotel made specifically for sand. The designers compare the structure to a boat floating in water; the base rests on containers of shifting sand that keep the building stable because the sand moves in and out with equal force. Unlike standard buildings, the structural system uses no concrete or water.

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Searching for Water in an Untapped Source: the Air

The Airdrop is a low-tech fix to a serious problem: growing food during a drought.

As climate change and the needs of 7 billion humans increase demands on the global water supply, the pressure is on to come up with ways to squeeze water from a stone—or at least from the air. The Airdrop is a new gadget that steps up to the challenge by helping farmers in severely dry regions source water for irrigation systems by harvesting moisture that's evaporated into the ether. Edward Linnacre, the engineering student behind the project, won this year's James Dyson Award for creativity in engineering design for his low-tech solution to a grave problem.

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Earlier this spring, a group of students from the Stanford Graduate School of Business took a trip through California and Nevada. Their mission: to investigate water. The trip began in Sacramento with a tour of the Delta, following the flow of water south. The group visited agricultural communities in the San Joaquin Valley, then continued down to Los Angeles and Orange County, to learn more about urban water use and corporate water management—finally examining Nevada's water use through the lens of Las Vegas.

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