The Eiffel Tower Just Became A Little More Green. Here Are 8 Other Landmarks That Did It First

Two wind turbines have been successfully installed on the Eiffel Tower to offset some of the structure’s energy use, renewable energy company UGE and the public service authority in charge of the iconic landmark announced this week.

The two turbines, which were placed 400 feet above ground level, are expected to produce 10,000 kWh annually. This will offset the power used by commercial activities on the tower’s first floor, according to UGE. The turbines are of the vertical axis variety, as opposed to the larger and more common horizontal axis turbines that rotate like traditional windmills, and they are painted to match the tower.

The project is part of a larger efficiency upgrade that also includes LED lighting and rooftop solar panels on a visitor pavilion.

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The Eiffel Tower might be lighting a greener path in Paris, but there are other landmarks in cities around the world that have undergone updates to become more environmentally friendly. Here are eight of them:

The White House
white house solar
President Jimmy Carter famously had solar panels added to the White House roof in 1979. The panels, which were intended to heat water, were removed after Ronald Reagan took office. With little fanfare, the George W. Bush administration installed the White House’s first active solar electric system in 2002. President Barack Obama installed another set of panels in 2014.

Vatican City
vatican solar
Solar Panels were installed on the roof of the 6,300-seat Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican in 2008. During his papacy, Benedict XVI made calls for greater environmental protection, and his successor, Pope Francis, has acknowledged manmade climate change and lamented a “culture of waste.”

London’s Tower Bridge
tower bridge led
In 2012, London upgraded the lights on its iconic Tower Bridge to more energy-efficient LEDs. “The spectacular view of Tower Bridge from my office in City Hall is one of my favorites in London,” London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a 2011 statement announcing the project. “It’s fantastic to now be able to crack on with this work to make it even better, brighter and greener and at no cost to the taxpayer.”

The Empire State Building
empire state building
New York City’s Empire State Building underwent a significant renovation in 2009 that included retrofitting the skyscraper to be more energy efficient. It received LEED Gold certification in 2011, making it the tallest LEED-certified building in the United States. The building’s retrofit reduced energy consumption by an estimated 38 percent, and put it in the top 25 percent of the most energy-efficient U.S. office buildings.

Berlin’s Reichstag Building
reichstag
Built in the late nineteenth century, the home of Germany’s parliament was damaged in a 1933 fire and by allied bombing during World War II. It fell into disuse after the war, but a rebuilding was completed in 1999 and it once again hosts the legislature of a unified Germany.

Along with a glass dome that lets in natural light, the building has a biofuel-powered combined heat and power system that produces about 80 percent of the building’s electricity and 90 percent of its heat. The building also has photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and low-flow water fixtures.

George Washington Bridge
george washington bridge lights
In 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey finished upgrading the George Washington Bridge’s light “necklace” to energy efficient LEDs. The Port Authority estimated that the upgrade would cut 260,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Rio de Janeiro’s Christ The Redeemer Statue
christ the redeemer
LED lights have illuminated Rio’s famous mountaintop statue of Christ since 2011.

Sydney Opera House
sydney opera house
The Sydney Opera House has implemented several steps to improve the facility’s sustainability, including more efficient air conditioners and lighting, along with a cooling system that uses seawater and saves millions of gallons of drinking water annually.

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The Holderness family literally can’t handle the snow right now

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The winter struggle is real — even when the snow is already melting.

The Holderness family of North Carolina fully admits that winter may not be as rough as it is up north in this Zac Brown Band-inspired parody, but that doesn’t mean Southerners don’t get their share of winter struggles — they just don’t handle it as well.

If someone could please help them move that branch off the road, so they can buy some more milk and bread, the family would really appreciate it.

More about Viral Videos, Videos, Winter, Funny, and Watercooler

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I ditched my 16GB iPhone 6 for the 64GB version and I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner

Storage Full

When the iPhone 6 was announced in September 2014, I knew I wanted to order one. 

The 6 Plus didn’t appeal to me; it was too big. I couldn’t be swayed with longer battery life as I carry around a Mophie in my bag wherever I go and I have a charger in my home and my office.

In fact, in the 5 years I’ve had an iPhone, it’s only died on me once. Once! So I went after the 6.

In November, I decided on a 16GB iPhone 6. I was due for the upgrade thanks to T-Mobile’s JUMP plan, and since I’m no longer on the family plan, making the switch was surprisingly easy!

I didn’t have to call my parents for the last 4 digits of their social security numbers or answer their parental demands of why I needed a new phone; didn’t I have other, more important things to spend my money on? Was I saving enough? Had I signed up for my 401K yet, by the way? And hey, what was wrong with the phone I had now?

iphone 6 apps home screen appleSo why 16GB? I’m not a big app user, I use Spotify but my phone isn’t loaded with music, and I don’t download movies and TV shows. 

16GB, at the time of purchase, seemed like the perfect amount of space.

I was wrong.

Very wrong.

Storage nearly full.

Your phone is full, your phone is full, your phone is full. That message will haunt me forever, even now that I’ve upgraded to 64GB.

It seemed that within weeks of purchasing the 16GB iPhone 6, I was constantly making concessions in order to get everything I wanted on the phone. 

“Oh, you want to take 50 photos? You can only take 37 because you have too many photos already,” my phone would tell me. 

I scrambled to delete Facebook more than once in the time I had the 16GB phone in order to free up space. Often it was a good method, but sometimes it wasn’t enough. Why was I paying so much for this phone if I wasn’t even able to use it without having a panic attack?

I made my bed, so I decided to lie in it.

I realized pretty early on I had screwed up, but I wanted to be an adult about it and live with my terrible choice. I dusted off my old iPhone 4S and loaded Spotify on that phone instead, making all of my music available offline so that I wouldn’t need to be connected to wifi to tune in. 

This worked for a little while, but people on the subway often made faces at me when I would pull out my iPhone 6 to browse offline articles or emails but keep my iPhone 4S on my lap and plugged into my ears so I could listen to music. I was literally holding two phones, stacked on top of one another. I looked like an idiot.

The way TMobile’s JUMP plan works is that you pay $10 a month as part of your phone bill in order to be able to upgrade your phone every 6 months (most carriers only let you upgrade every 12 or 24 months.)

You pay somewhere between $120-200 as a down payment for the new phone, and T-Mobile buys back your current phone, as long as it’s in good shape. Then, you pay between $20-30 a month as part of your phone bill to pay down the full-price cost of the phone. 

I got the iPhone 6 in the middle of November, so I would have to wait until May to be able to upgrade, or, in my case, get the same phone with more storage.

Selfie Oaxaca CarolineMay wasn’t too far away, I figured. 

The breaking point.

I went to Oaxaca, Mexico several weeks ago, and left my Nikon DSLR at home because the iPhone 6 camera is just that good. 

I was snapping photos of everything!

Then, as I was trying to take a selfie standing in front of some Zapotec ruins (as one does), my phone, of course, told me there was no more room to take photos. 

The internet in Mexico is sub-par, so I couldn’t just push 280 photos through Dropbox while standing on top of a mountain full of historical stone ruins and go about my day.

So, first world problems alert, I was forced to take photos with my iPhone 4S for the remainder of my 2-week trip.

And those photos were fine, but they would have been better on an iPhone 6. Much better. 

As I paid my $130 phone bill in mid-February, I realized I was throwing money away every month to have a phone I could barely use without giving myself a headache.

I marched over to my T-Mobile store and explained the situation. I figured they were going to tell me I was SOL and I had to wait until May for my JUMP upgrade when they alerted me I actually hadn’t used my upgrade when going from the 5S to the 6.

Something had gone wrong in the process, they explained, and I was just given the 6 without it registering in my account that I had “jumped.”

Their mistake, not mine, they promised, so I was able to use my upgrade and buy a new phone. 

I was thrilled.

“I want the 64GB iPhone 6,” I told the sales associate.

“But you already have the 6,” she said.

“I know,” I told her, “it’s a bad phone. Not enough storage.”

She thought I was crazy, essentially paying double for the phone I should have purchased in the first place, but she set me up.

Life is beautiful.

Now, I’m using a 64GB iPhone, and I get a cheap thrill every time I download an app and check to see how much storage I’m using. Currently, with my phone loaded with music, apps, and photos, I’m at 11 GB of storage.

I doubt I’ll ever get to 64GB. I doubt I’ll ever hit 40 or even 30GB of storage. This was the rationale I used when I purchased the 16GB; why purchase all of this storage I will never, ever, utilize.

Because in order to enjoy your iPhone to its fullest capacity, in order to get what you’re being told you’re paying for, you have to.

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NOW WATCH: 14 things you didn’t know your iPhone headphones could do

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Top 10 trending phones of the week

Samsung continues to dominate the popularity rankings, now the top 9 devices are all Samsung (there were 8 last week). Not all Galaxy phones though, the Samsung Z1 still clings on to fame, though it slipped from 4th to 8th place.

The Top 10 trending phones chart is a recap list of the devices that gathered the most hits throughout the week. In other words, the chart represents the interests of the majority of you, our visitors, and is an indication of what currently interests you.

The sole non-Samsung device in the Top 10 that remains is the Asus Zenfone 5. Announced in January 2014 (over a year ago!), the phone has serious staying power despite its mid-range position. There was a Microsoft Lumia 535 previously occupying the 10th position, but it has since slipped off the chart.

The rest is pretty much Galaxy flagships, with the incoming Galaxy S6 holding second place behind the curiously popular Galaxy A5. The Galaxy A7 is the newcomer of the group and we'll be publishing its review once the MWC craze dies down.

Anyway, other than the flagships, there's the Galaxy Grand Prime (an affordable mid-range device) and further down the ranks is the Samsung Z1 (a Tizen-powered entry-level handset).

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Samsung Galaxy A5
RANK: 1WAS: 1

specs review

Samsung Galaxy S6
RANK: 2WAS: 2

specs gallery

Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime
RANK: 3WAS: 3

specs review

Samsung Galaxy A7
RANK: 4NEW IN

specs gallery

Samsung I9500 Galaxy S4
RANK: 5WAS: 5

specs review

Samsung Galaxy S5
RANK: 6WAS: 6

specs review

Samsung Galaxy A3
RANK: 7WAS: 7

specs review

Samsung Z1
RANK: 8WAS: 4

specs gallery

Samsung…

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Look how ugly these 9 popular websites used to be

Old photos of yourself are often cringe-worthy. Old photos of your favorite websites can be too.  

The folks over at Ninja Essays put together an infographic of some of the most jarring transformations. 

Check it out (click to enlarge):

What Popular Websites Used to Look Like

SEE ALSO: How to stop people from being able to see that you read their Facebook message

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NOW WATCH: The science behind why technology is so addictive

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THE PAYMENTS INDUSTRY EXPLAINED: The Trends Creating New Winners And Losers In The Card-Processing Ecosystem

Payments Ecosystem

The payments industry had a huge year in 2014 and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. On the one hand tech giants like Amazon and Apple released new products that affirmed their long-term payments ambitions (Apple Pay and Amazon Local Register). On the other hand startups such as Stripe and ShopKeep continued to carve out market share, challenging older players like PayPal and VeriFone. 

Understanding this complex and rapidly evolving space can be challenging. In a new explainerBI Intelligence offers a high-level look at the payments industry — how it functions, who the key players are, and the trends shaping the industry. We start by explaining payment-card processing, since the majority of consumer payments and transaction volume flow through this system. From there we take a look at how consumers’ move to mobile devices is changing the way we pay, and which players stand to benefit.

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Here are some of the key takeaways:

In full, the report:

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THE PAYMENTS ECOSYSTEM $395.00

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Tim Cook on privacy: ‘We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering’ (AAPL)

tim cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook was recently interviewed by The Telegraph, and he took the time to further expand upon Apple’s firm stance on privacy, calling it “a basic human right.”

“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information,” Cook told The Telegraph. “This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”

While Cook is a firm believer that Apple should protect and encrypt its users’ data, he also clarified that he thinks “terrorism is horrible and must be stopped,” going so far as to say that “these people shouldn’t exist” and that “they should be eliminated.”

But Cook doesn’t believe the answer is in allowing governments back-door access, which he says would cause people’s personal data including health and financial information to eventually “be taken.”

Cook also argues that “terrorists will encrypt” because “they know what to do,” suggesting that “if we don’t encrypt, the people we affect [by cracking down on privacy] are the good people.”

Apple, Tim Cook says, doesn’t “make money selling your information to somebody else,” pointing out that while it could increase profits by doing so, collecting and selling data to third-parties is “not in our values system.”

Cook’s comments come just weeks after he visited the White House to defend Apple’s default encryption on its iPhones, which government agencies like the NSA have argued only make it easier for criminals to go undetected.

You can read Tim Cook’s full interview over at The Telegraph.

SEE ALSO: Big, beautiful photos of all 22 models of the Apple Watch

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NOW WATCH: How to get more space on your iPhone

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