Autodesk releases AutoCAD freestyle

Autodesk recently announced the availability of AutoCAD Freestyle software, a new, easy-to-use application for 2D drawing and sketching that specialty contractors and do-it-yourselfers can use to create professional-looking drawings, layouts and plans.

I think this will be good for people who are just starting their landscape architecture firms or design and build company and can’t afford the $1200-$4500 for AutoCad LT or AutoCAD Full Version for every user. Some users could do the basic design and sketch work on Freestyle and than have someone finish off the full design in LT or full CAD.

Currently its on special short time offer of $49.00. The full retail price will be $149.

For more information go to the AutoCAD Freestyle site.

* UPDATE  [14 may 2010]*

The price for freestyle is now $79USD for a limited period before it goes to full RRP of $149USD

Vectorworks 2010 gets new Service Pack

Recently Nemetschek released Service Pack 2 for English Vectorworks 2010 and its variations (eg Landmark, etc).

Vectorworks 2010 now has Service Pack 2 which fixes issues with DXF/DWG import & export, wall joining as wells as a few other updates. For all you techies who want to know everything that has been updated you can go here for the full list of SP2 updates. To download the Mac(169Mb) and Windows(64Mb) 2010 Vectorworks Service Pack 2 go here. Remember to follow the instructions and have SP1 installed before updating to SP2.

SOURCE: Nemetschek

Eli Cohen’s sustainability and phytoremediation lecture

Eli Cohen recently gave a lecture as one of the Freshkills Park lecture series and the Freshkills Blog posted this on Wednesday

Eli Cohen gave a terrific talk Monday night on his work, as director of Ayala Water and Ecology, using plants to remove pollutants and contaminants from water, soil and air. We’re grateful to the huge crowd that poured into the Arsenal gallery for the event, to Laura Starr and Yamit Perez for putting us in touch with Eli and, of course, to Eli himself for sharing his work and his thoughts.

The Freshkills Park Blog post also includes the MP3 and PDF of the presentation for listening and viewing.

[SOURCE: Freshkills Park Blog]

Ecological Agriculture: can it feed the world?

The latest edition of the Monthly Review (November 2009, Volume 61, Number 6) includes a paper from Jules Pretty is professor of environment and society at the University of Essex, UK. titled Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?

Below is an extract from the paper

Something is wrong with our agricultural and food systems.Despite great progress in increasing productivity in the last century, hundreds of millions of people remain hungry and malnourished. Further hundreds of millions eat too much, or consume the wrong sorts of food, and it is making them ill. The health of the environment suffers too, as degradation of soil and water seems to accompany many of the agricultural systems we have developed in recent years. Can nothing be done, or is it time for the expansion of an agriculture founded more on ecological principles and in harmony with people, their societies, and cultures?

Read the full paper at the [SOURCE: MonthlyReview – Can Ecological Agriculture Feed Nine Billion People?]

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Scientists unveil plant DNA barcode

Telegraph reports

Scientists meeting at the third International Barcode of Life conference in Mexico City last week have agreed on a region of DNA that will be used to identify plants by genus in a new system of codification.

Although genetic “barcoding” of animals, which allows scientists to identify animals from a small section of their DNA, is already well-established, the system has until now not worked for plant species.

SOURCE: Telegraph – Scientists unveil plant DNA barcode

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