Estonia will soon offer free public transportation

June 8, 2018 by  
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Estonia started providing free public transportation for local residents in 2013 in the capital city, Tallinn, but now  CityLab has reported that the nation has set its sights even higher: it plans to offer free state-run bus travel around the country starting on July 1. According to HuffPost, this move will be the biggest national free public transportation plan in the entire world. The plan doesn’t mean Estonians won’t ever have to buy bus tickets again, but rather that state-run bus travel in rural municipalities will be free. Citizens will also have to pay for  train travel, but tickets for the state-owned rail network will be less expensive thanks to enhanced subsidies. Tallinn’s free public transit policies — there city residents can ride buses, trains, trolleys, and trams fare-free — will not extend to other cities, and the offer will only be good for Estonians, not tourists. The Estonian government will devote around $15 million in taxpayer money to the bus system. Related: Cities in Germany to offer free public transit in fight against pollution The move could offer democratization of mobility for people in Estonia. Tallinn European Union office head Allan Alaküla told HuffPost that free public transportation enables low-income groups “to look for and take jobs in a wider area than they would be able to access by walking.” Delft University of Technology assistant professor of transport and planning Oded Cats studied Tallinn’s fareless plan in its first year. His study uncovered mixed evidence of free trips helping low-income locals. Those people did become more mobile, but the study didn’t find an indication job opportunities improved. The study uncovered a 14 percent increase in public transit use and a 10 percent drop in car trips , although the average distance traveled in a car went up. The study discovered the increase in public transportation use was mainly due to extra trips from people who were already riding the system or people who walked in the past. Alaküla told HuffPost, “We hope it gives people a reason to use their car less, or not use their car at all on working days. In Tallinn we have taken several measures to reduce car usage along with free public transport — special bus lanes, more bike racks to encourage cycling , and we have also raised on-street parking fees and reduced parking places.” Via CityLab and HuffPost Images via Depositphotos

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Estonia will soon offer free public transportation

TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

June 8, 2018 by  
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An explosion rocked a TransCanada pipeline in Moundsville, West Virginia and the surrounding community yesterday. Locals said it felt like a tornado and sounded like a freight train, and they could see flames from around 20 miles away, EcoWatch reported. TransCanada said in a statement they do not yet know the cause of the explosion. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Early alarm this morningOn trebble run on fish creek Posted by Ruby Mason on Thursday, June 7, 2018 A natural gas pipeline exploded in West Virginia’s Marshall County, located right in the midst of the huge Utica and Marcellus shale formations, Reuters said . No employees were at the site when the pipeline ruptured around 4:15 a.m. EST, and the fire was at least a mile away from the closest home, Marshall County director of emergency management Tom Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . BREAKING: More pictures from a viewer of the explosion. Viewers are calling in and telling us it felt like a tornado hit their house when this happened @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/akYwSgED7j — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Related: The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought The pipeline, called Leach XPress, was placed into service at the start of this year . At that time, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling referred to it as “truly a best-in-class pipeline” and said the company looked forward “to many years to safe, reliable and efficient operation on behalf of our customers.” @MarshallCoWVOEM sent me this picture. This is the site of the pipeline rupture as it was burning off @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/VINnMiq44G — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 TransCanada said after the event, which they referred to as the Nixon Ridge Pipeline Incident, “emergency response procedures were enacted and the segment of impacted pipeline was isolated. The fire was fully extinguished by approximately 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. There were no injuries involved with this incident.” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said officials from the U.S. Forestry Service and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection were on the site. This picture sent to me from a viewer in Short Creek, WV. Perspective: this is 20 MILES or more away, over a half hour drive! @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/yAmFJUnKmO — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 Hart told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette other companies were on the scene too — some operate pipelines just a few hundred feet away from the ruptured pipeline. He said some of those companies turned off the flow in their own pipelines, and that natural gas well operators shut down wells close by. This is drone footage from @MarshallCoWVOEM Director Tom Hart says this is at the end of Nixon Ridge near Fish Creek. The explosion left a crater. The DEP estimates 10 acres are affected @WTRF7News pic.twitter.com/QXTOsWBvNg — Tessa DiTirro (@TDiTirroWTRF) June 7, 2018 The event could impact around 1.3 billion cubic feet per day of gas service — Reuters reported that one billion cubic feet of gas could power around five million American homes. Via EcoWatch , the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  and Reuters Image via Depositphotos

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TransCanada natural gas pipeline explodes in West Virginia

Kilauea lava boils away Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake in just a few hours

June 8, 2018 by  
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Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake is gone. Lava from Fissure 8 boiled away Green Lake, a source of freshwater for the Big Island , in about five hours. A white plume of steam resulted, and lava has filled the former lake. Hawaii's largest freshwater lake is the latest casualty from the Big Island's Kilauea volcano. Steam billowed up from Green Lake in Kapoho as lava flow evaporated its placid waters within a few hours. https://t.co/5mFaN5owro pic.twitter.com/Em1JMZ41n9 — CNN (@CNN) June 7, 2018 The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a June 2 status report : “At 10 a.m., lava entered Green Lake within Kapoho Crater producing a large steam plume. By 1:30 p.m. the steam plume had ceased and by 3 p.m., a Hawaii County Fire Department overflight reported that lava had filled the lake and apparently evaporated all the water .” Related: Hawaii’s Kilauea is creating its own weather Green Lake was a popular swimming location, and was once around 200 feet deep, CNN reported . Hawaii Community College geography lecturer Drew Kapp told CNN affiliate KHNL/KGMB, “I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never even heard of anything like that happening before.” Kapoho Bay, known for tide pools, was totally filled by lava earlier this week, according to CNN. Reuters reported Kilauea has now been erupting for more than one month, and Hawaii County mayor Harry Kim said around 600 homes are destroyed. The homes were located in Leilani Estates, Vacationland and the Kapoho Beach Lots. Around 2,500 people have been displaced. This event has been the Kilauea Volcano’s most destructive eruption in the modern era, according to Kim. Reuters said thousands of earthquakes have occurred during the eruption; most have been of relatively small magnitude. In the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s most recent update at time of writing, lava fountaining from Fissure 8 continues, with the lava reaching around 170 to 200 feet in the air. None of the other fissures are active. Pele’s hair and volcanic glasses are falling downwind of Fissure 8 and accumulating in Leilani Estates, and volcanic gas emissions are still high. + Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Via NPR , Reuters  and CNN Image via U.S. Geological Survey

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Kilauea lava boils away Hawaii’s largest freshwater lake in just a few hours

Uranium-contaminated groundwater found throughout India

June 8, 2018 by  
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A new study from Duke University reports that uranium contamination in groundwater from aquifers is common in 16  Indian states. While much of the uranium contamination is natural in its origin, groundwater-table decline and nitrate pollution from agriculture also contribute to the widespread public health problem; high levels of uranium in drinking water have been linked to chronic kidney disease. “The results of this study strongly suggest there is a need to revise current water-quality monitoring programs in India and re-evaluate human health risks in areas of high uranium prevalence,” study co-author Avner Vengosh told Phys.org . “Developing effective remediation technologies and preventive management practices should also be a priority.” The research team gathered its data from 324 wells in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, as well as 68 previous studies on groundwater geochemistry in the same areas. Uranium is often found naturally in rocks , which, under varying environmental conditions, allows it to more easily seep into surrounding water. Much of the gravel, clay and silt that are found in India’s aquifers were brought there through the weathering of the Himalayan mountains, the rocks of which contain high levels of uranium. As India’s aquifers are over-harvested to support agricultural industry, oxidation of these rocks enable uranium to escape and contaminate its surrounding environment. Related: 26,000 tons of radioactive waste sits at the bottom of Lake Powell Although the World Health Organization has established an interim safety standard for uranium content in drinking water , a similar regulation has not been adopted by the Bureau of Indian Standards’ Drinking Water Specifications. “One of the takeaways of this study is that human activities can make a bad situation worse, but we could also make it better,” Vengosh said.”Including a uranium standard in the Bureau of Indian Standards’ Drinking Water Specification based on uranium’s kidney-harming effects, establishing monitoring systems to identify at-risk areas and exploring new ways to prevent or treat uranium contamination will help ensure access to safe drinking water for tens of millions in India.” + Duke University Via Phys.org Images via Nithi Anand (1, 2)

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Uranium-contaminated groundwater found throughout India

Olafur Eliasson unveils his first building, a sculptural stunner in Denmark

June 8, 2018 by  
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The prolific Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has unveiled his first building—a sculptural castle-like mass that rises from the waters in Vejle, Denmark. Dubbed Fjordenhus (Fjord House), the solar-powered structure was created as the new headquarters for holding and investment company KIRK KAPITAL and features both green roofs and solar panels. The project was created under Studio Olafur Eliasson’s new international office for art and architecture, Studio Other Spaces, which was founded in collaboration with architect Sebastian Behmann and will execute similar large-scale experimental architectural and public space projects in the future. Located next to the man-made Havneøen (The Harbour Island), Fjordenhus comprises four intersecting cylinders that rise to a height of 28 meters. The historic harbor warehouses and silos in the area inspired Fjordenhus’ curved facade and brick cladding. Inside, the building is organized around circles and ellipses, from the curved windows and furnishings to the round vestibules and spiral staircase. The double-height ground floor will be open to the public and partly flooded by water. The KIRK KAPITAL offices are located in the upper three floors, while the top of the building is decked out with a green roof and solar panels. “In the design team, we experimented from early on with how to create an organic building that would respond to the ebb and flow of the tides , to the shimmering surface of the water, changing at different times of the day and of the year,” said Olafur Eliasson in a statement. “The curving walls of the building transform our perception of it as we move through its spaces. I hope the residents of Vejle will embrace Fjordenhus and identify with it as a new landmark for the harbour and their city.” Related: Olafur Eliasson launches a gorgeous and affordable handheld solar phone charger In addition to custom furniture and lighting, the contemporary building also incorporates site-specific artworks by Eliasson. The Fjordenhus officially opens to the public on June 9, 2018. + Olafur Eliasson Images by Anders Sune Berg

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Olafur Eliasson unveils his first building, a sculptural stunner in Denmark

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