Courtesy Virgin Hyperloop

Virgin Hyperloop has selected West Virginia as the location of its first Hyperloop Certification Center with aims to earn safety certification by 2025 and begin commercial operations in 2030. The announcement marks another step toward commercial projects by the high-speed transportation company and makes West Virginia as a center of its future innovation and development. Moreover, HCC will diversify the state's economy, "creating thousands of new jobs across construction, manufacturing, operations, and high-tech sectors," according to a press release from Virgin Hyperloop. “Particularly as we look to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s clear that we need a 21st century solution that will propel us forward, allowing us to not just rebuild, but actually evolve,” said CEO Jay Walder in the same release. "[W]e look forward to working with our partners across the country—in places like West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Washington, and North Carolina—to connect the country from coast to coast.” [Virgin Hyperloop]

Two of the largest African American-owned real estate companies in the U.S.—Avanath Capital Management in Irvine, Calif., and MacFarlane Partners in San Francisco—have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to create Aspire Real Estate Investors, a corporation formed to "invest in, develop, redevelop and manage a portfolio of primarily affordable and workforce multifamily properties in dynamic U.S. metropolitan areas," according to its prospectus. AREI will be the first publicly traded REIT to "pursue a strategy focused on affordable and workforce multifamily housing" and will work with some properties in low-income, government-designated Opportunity Zones. The corporation's initial portfolio includes nine multifamily projects: six properties in Opportunity Zones purchased at $485.4 million and three stabilized multifamily properties purchased from a private investment fund managed by Avanath for $82.5 million. [SEC]

Researchers at MIT have refined a solar-powered system that extracts drinking water from the air, inching the process closer to something that could be practical and scalable for communities with limited access to a potable water source and electricity. Publishing in Joule, the researchers explain how a dual-stage atmospheric water harvesting device enables the process to achieve a "higher daily water productivity than a single-stage device without auxiliary units for heating or vapor transport." The researchers also modified the design through temperature changes during this second stage, which includes desorption and condensation, and attained "approximately twice the daily productivity of the single-stage configuration. This dual-stage device configuration is a promising design approach to achieve high performance, scalable, and low-cost solar-thermal [atmospheric water harvesting]." [MIT]

New York–based webcam technology provider Earthcam has unveiled what it claims is the first 5G construction camera. Through a collaboration with providers Sierra Wireless, Verizon, and AT&T, the multinetwork camera system allows users to send "unlimited visual data" from their job sites, according to an Earthcam press release. The system allows for time-lapse photography, live-streaming, and drone and security analytic applications. It can also sustain up to 120 continuous days of recording and offers an increased speed of data transfer. [Earthcam]

A team of researchers across multiple institutions, including the University of Rochester in New York and the University Nevada Las Vegas, has won the race to achieve room-temperature superconductivity in a lab setting, creating the first example of a material that can conduct electricity with no resistance nor any special cooling. This achievement might just change our lives. [MIT Technology Review]

Courtesy Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology

Researchers from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, have developed an innovative passive cooling device that absorbs heat from inside an enclosure before venting it into the outside. Publishing their findings in Science Advances, the scientists built the device from thin stacks of patterned quartz, silver, and polydimethylsiloxane before dubbing it the Janus Emitter (JET). The JET requires no energy or effort from the user, making it a sustainable technique for cooling the enclosed spaces such as cars, rooms, or solar cells. "Our work is the first to address passive radiative cooling for enclosed spaces, and we hope it creates a ripple effect that bolsters research in this field," said lead researcher and GIST professor Young Ming Song in a university press release. [GIST]

Between the ongoing pandemic, economic recession, and the very immediate impact of climate change, our global future may seem dismal. What can architects do? The New York Times reporter Nikil Saval suggests that for architects to move forward, they can consider design from the distant past. [The New York Times]

David Orru, courtesy Studio Olafur Eliasson

The Berlin–based artist Olafur Eliasson has completed his latest permanent work atop the Hochjochferner glacier in South Tyrol, Italy. Our glacial perspectives creates a tangible "deep-time timeline of our planet, of ice, and of the environment," according to a press release from Studio Olafur Eliasson. Visitors embarking on the installation take a 410-meter (1345-foot) path that leads to a steel-and-glass pavilion. Nine gates, corresponding to the duration of Earth's ice ages, segment the path. The pavilion doubles as an "astronomical instrument," marking the horizon and directing "the visitor’s attention to a larger planetary perspective on the changes in climate that are directly affecting Hochjochferner." [Studio Olafur Eliasson]

A team of Earth system scientists from the University of California, Irvine and international climate experts that assessed carbon dioxide emissions from transportation, industry, and other sectors found that lockdowns during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a 9% decline in emissions from 2019 levels. “We were able to track the cascading effects of COVID-19-related disruptions of human activities from China in February to the United States and Europe in March through May,” said study co-author and UCI professor of Earth system science Steve Davis in a press release. “We’ve also been able to see the resumption of emissions in many regions, such as in China, where they’re now back up to pre-pandemic levels.” So much for good news. [University of California, Irvine]

Sandeep Ahuja, Patrick Chopson, and Daniel Chopson, the Atlanta–based team behind Cove.tool, have raised $5.7 million in series A funding according to TechCrunch. The cloud-based program helps architects optimize for building performance. Los Angeles–based investors Mucker Capital led the funding, which also included contributions from, Knoll Ventures, and TechSquare Labs. [TechCrunch]

Payette has launched an open-source online analyzer, Kaleidoscope: Embodied Carbon Design Tool. The tool allows designers to compare the embodied carbon of different façade assemblies. For example, it might evaluate which wall systems best suit a granite façade for a project in a given location. Although the tool is not meant to replace whole-building life cycle assessments, Payette hopes that it will speed early-stage LCA decisions in the design process. [Payette]