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.
Here’s more evidence to back up allthosestudies on boredom inspiring creativity: Meet Mike Breach, barista extraordinaire, who “paints” everything — and everyone — into his lattes. “I’m an esspressionist,” he proudly proclaims. Just last year, Breach was idling away his customer-less hours in the back of a hotel kitchen with only a dormant espresso machine for company. He was “so, so bored.” So he taught himself how to inscribe ornate hearts in coffee foam, with a bamboo skewer as his paintbrush. “People got so excited about it!” says Breach, so he took it further. Out came the teddy bears (“the girls just love those”), a portrait of that hotel boss (“I didn’t show it to him, but my coworkers and I laughed about it”), and Salvador Dalì, and Edward Scissorhands, and Beyoncé.
We’re at the Smile To-Go, and he’s frothing some milk behind the counter; the shushing of the machine almost drowns out his words. He reflects. “It’s like, if something is lacking, you’ve got to find a way to make it exciting and fun. Right? I mean, I’m so happy that my old job was so boring! Otherwise I wouldn’t be making these! And this is just the beginning. I want to start a movement.” The milk is now pillowy, foamy-soft — perfect for the latte Breach is about to pour. He stares into his empty chestnut-colored canvas, and suddenly looks up. “I’ve been wanting to try Snoop. Let’s do that, yea?”
I arrive at 11 am, before the lunch crush has set in, and head straight to Tian Tian stand, where a healthy queue has already formed. Clouds of chicken steam and the thwack of butchers’ knives act like appetizers for the hungry masses. When I finally sit down to my plate, I work through Dr. Tay’s qualitative cues. The rice, tinted a gentle brown from its poultry bath, emits a heady fragrance of ginger and herbs. A sheen of rendered chicken fat coats the grains and gives the rice the moist sparkle of a good sushi rice. The dark soy-based sauce clings to the tines of my fork; the chili sauce next to it smells like citrus peel and is so red it almost glows.
Then there is the bird itself, served at room temperature, wobbling gently atop the mound of rice. With one glance you can tell that the cooks here have captured that exalted state of slipperiness, the fat gently rendered and shocked into a semi-solid jelly by plunging the cooked chickens directly into a frigid ice bath. Before you go crazy with the condiments, before you begin to mix protein and carb and ground chili into some glorious salad, take a bite of that chicken: This is what chicken tasted like before everything else tasted like chicken.