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►  Nordstrom is opening concept store that has no inventory

Nordstrom is opening up a store that doesn’t have any inventory.

The luxury department store chain says its Nordstrom Local concept store will open in Los Angeles next month.

The Seattle-based company says the store will be staffed with personal stylists who can order merchandise for customers. Nordstrom says customers can also buy online inside the store or pick up online orders the same day. The store will offer tailoring and manicure services.

The store is just 3,000 square feet (279 square meters). That compares to the average 140,000-square-foot (13,006-square-meter) size of a full Nordstrom store.

Nordstrom senior vice president Shea Jensen says the store will allow the company to offer its “best services in a convenient location.”


►  Dutch engineer aims high with latest green roof design

Standing between raised beds of plants on top of a former naval hospital, Joris Voeten can look across to the garden, cafe and terrace that decorate the sloping roof of Amsterdam’s NEMO science museum.

Such productivity is part of the urban engineer’s vision for cities worldwide, places where he sees the largely neglected flat tops of buildings doing more than keeping out weather and housing satellite dishes.

Voeten, of Dutch company Urban Roofscapes, says a rooftop garden system he unveiled Friday on the former hospital roof stores more rainwater than existing green roofs and requires less power by relying on a capillary irrigation system that uses insulation material instead of pumps to water plants.

“You can relax here, you can have meetings here. You could operate a restaurant on your rooftop garden to make it more economically beneficial,” Voeten told The Associated Press ahead of the official presentation. “But most of all, we finally get to exploit the last unused square meterage in the urban environment.”

Roofs that are adapted so plants can grow on them produce a cooling effect on buildings and the air immediately above them in two ways. The plants reflect heat instead of absorbing it the way traditional roofing sheets do. They also reduce heat by evaporating water.

Voeten said readings taken on a very hot day showed a temperature difference of up to 40 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) between his hospital garden above the banks of a busy waterway compared with a roof covered in black bitumen.

Robbert Snep, a green roof expert from Wageningen University and Research in the central Netherlands, said the cooling effect is well known, but the new roof in Amsterdam is an improvement on existing designs because of the way it stores water and can feed it back to plants.

Sensors in the shallow layer of soil on top of the water storage elements monitor qualities such as temperature and moisture content. If the soil gets too dry, extra water can be added. If there is too much water, it can be released into the drains.

“The smart roof really ensures that there is evaporation during, for example, heatwaves and thereby they cool the surroundings,” Snep, who is not involved in the project, said. “People can sleep well and people can work well in such an environment.”

Voeten says his system can be laid on any flat roof with sufficient load-bearing capacity, Voeten said. Costs would likely be around 100-150 euros ($120-180) per square meter (10 square feet), he estimates.

Amsterdam, a city built around water and its World Heritage-listed canals, is keen to have its residents turn their rooftops into gardens where possible. To promote the practice, the city is offers subsidies to help meet the costs.

“We ask citizens of the city to create rooftops like this. We ask companies to create rooftops like this,” Vice Mayor Eric van der Burg said. “Not only for water storage, not only for helping cooling down our city, but also to create extra gardens, extra green for our inhabitants.”


►  2 U.S. scientists awarded Balzan Prize for cancer research

Two U.S. scientists whose work has contributed to creating immunological treatments for cancer are among the winners of this year’s Balzan Prizes recognizing scholarly and scientific achievements.

James Allison, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Robert Schreiber, of the Washington University School of Medicine, were announced Monday as winners of the 750,000 Swiss-franc ($790,000) prize. They were cited for work that has helped use antibody treatments that has increased the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma.

The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialties to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that may be overlooked elsewhere.

The prizes will be awarded in Bern, Switzerland, on November 17.

--> Tuesday, September 12, 2017
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