New Orleans declares state of emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Nate

October 6, 2017 by  
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In the midst of one of the most active hurricane seasons in modern United States history, New Orleans braces for impact as Tropical Storm Nate barrels through Central America en route to the American Gulf Coast. Nate, which has already claimed the lives of at least 22 people in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, may make landfall in New Orleans as a hurricane after having gained strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, warned those living in vulnerable areas to relocate to higher ground. “There is no need to panic,” Landrieu said in a statement. “Be ready and prepare. Get a plan. Prepare to protect your personal property.” In addition to the state of emergency in New Orleans, evacuation orders have already been issued for parts of Louisiana, including St. Bernard Parish near the city, while storm surge and hurricane warnings have been issued for the neighboring Alabama and Mississippi coastal areas. As much as a foot of rain is expected in the region, with storm surges of four to eight feet. Related: New Orleans golf course transformed into city’s biggest urban farm with an Eco-Campus As of early Friday morning EST, Tropical Storm Nate was departing from Honduras and rejoining the waters of the Caribbean, with maximum sustained winds of 45 MPH. It is expected to strengthen as it crosses Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where maximum sustained winds of 60 MPH are predicted. Although the storm is passing, parts of Central America are expected to receive up to 30 inches of rain. The storm has already delivered powerful downpours, which have caused mudslides and flash floods. 15 people in Nicaragua and 7 people in Costa Rica have been killed as a result of Tropical Storm Nate. Via ABC News Images via ABC News  and Phil Roeder

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New Orleans declares state of emergency in anticipation of Tropical Storm Nate

Ole Scheeren modular office building looks like a giant Jenga tower

October 6, 2017 by  
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Architect Ole Scheeren unveiled images of his first project in Europe- a residential tower that will offer panoramic views of Frankfurt’s skyline. The designer will overhaul an entire 1970s office block to create 200 living units on the banks of the River Main. Each apartment will consist of a modular unit that can be inserted into the framework of the building, with some recessed and others cantilevering out into space. The Riverpark Tower will be developed in cooperation with GEG, one of Germany ’s most prestigious real estate investment platforms. It will house 220 units on 23 floors, ranging in size from small apartment to four-room suites. Related: Thailand’s tallest building opens with new green spaces for Bangkok “This project is about the positive reinterpretation of an existing structure,” said the architect. “It’s quite a serious intervention, prompted by necessity not ambition,” he added. Modular , glass-fronted units will be inserted into the existing, free-spanning structural framework. They will cantilever out at some points, introducing an element of irregularity to the silhouette. New loft apartments will occupy the space at the four corners of the building which will be cut away at the top. + Buro Ole Scheeren Via Dezeen

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Ole Scheeren modular office building looks like a giant Jenga tower

New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water

August 11, 2017 by  
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Almost $15 billion went towards flood protection in New Orleans in the aftermath of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. But the city once again battled flooding this week – with no hurricane in sight. Several feet of water covered much of the city’s central area as the pump system was overwhelmed. The crisis prompted Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency. A heavy storm battered New Orleans this past weekend: in four hours, around nine inches of rain fell, leaving parts of the city flooded. And the city’s drainage system failed to manage the deluge. According to CNN, 16 of the city’s 121 pumps failed, and the overworked system struggled to keep up. The situation worsened as the week went on as a Wednesday fire hit a turbine that powers pumping stations. The governor’s state of emergency declaration pointed to the malfunction of the New Orleans Sewage and Water Board’s power plant, which houses generators that power the pumps. Related: New Orleans’ $14.5 billion rebuilt levees won’t fight a Category 5 hurricane With more rain in the forecast in upcoming days, schools were closed Friday. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called for the resignation of four officials, including the municipal water utility’s director and top engineer, and the public works department’s director. It took 14 hours to drain several feet of water in areas of the city. City records reveal 200 “life-threatening” emergency calls. City residents watched the flood with worry. Local Ronald Williams – who told The Washington Post he finally returned home after Hurricane Katrina just seven months ago – said, “I came home because I believed what they said about the new system and that it was supposed to be the best in the world. But now it seems if we get hit by another Katrina, the city will be gone.” Via The Washington Post and CNN Images via David Fischer on Facebook and screenshot

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New Orleans doesn’t need a hurricane to be inundated with water

72-ton elevating house lifts 5 feet into the air to escape flooding

November 11, 2016 by  
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Larkfleet Group has created a revolutionary Elevating House that literally rises above flood waters. In case of a flood , the house can rise nearly five feet into the air in under five minutes – even though it weighs almost 72 tons. Larkfleet recently requested planning permission to build the house and begin testing. The house is elevated via eight mechanical jacks, according to Larkfleet Group, and instead of building on a traditional foundation, they’ll construct the house on a steel ring beam. The company says the house will have a ” modular steel-frame design ” and can even be “disassembled and re-erected on another site on conventional foundations as a family residence.” Related: Six Flood-Proof Buildings That Can Survive Rising Tides If they obtain planning permission, Larkfleet aims to erect a three bedroom experimental house in Lincolnshire in the UK, possibly in 2017. Should they succeed in building the house, the company will test how the jacking system works and is maintained over a period of around five years. Larkfleet says Elevating House would be raised based on warnings from the UK Environment Agency before a flood strikes, but notes the home could still be raised quickly if necessary. Their plan is to ensure residents raise their home and then evacuate, but the home could still receive power from a battery and rooftop solar panels if necessary. Flexible hoses would keep Elevating House connected to water and sewage. Such a design could allow homes to be built in locations currently undeveloped because of concerns over flooding . Larkfleet Group CEO Karl Hick said in a statement, “The elevating house effectively eliminates the risk of flood damage to homes so that more land across the country can be approved for future home building. This will help to tackle the ‘ housing crisis ‘ that is being caused by the demand for new housing far exceeding the supply.” + Larkfleet Group Images via Larkfleet Group

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72-ton elevating house lifts 5 feet into the air to escape flooding

The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trumps administration

November 11, 2016 by  
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We’ve already written about how Donald Trump’s incoming administration could spell disaster for the environment. But it could end up being worse than we thought. Just days after the election, TransCanada announced it would attempt to revive its controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which was shot down by President Obama a year ago. Under Obama’s administration, the company spent seven years pursuing a permit from the State Department to build a cross-country crude oil pipeline. Ultimately, the company was denied the permit due to the project’s expected impact on the environment – specifically, its contribution to climate change . The Council of Canadians estimates that running the pipeline could increase the planet’s greenhouse gas levels by a shocking 22 million tons a year. The pipeline would also be bad news for anyone living nearby – farmers and ranchers alike opposed the initial project out of fears that a leak could damage water supplies. This effort is only the latest in a long line of stunts by TransCanada. Earlier this year, they attempted to sue the US government for shooting down the pipeline. The company also made a grab for land using eminent domain in Nebraska, much to the horror of local landowners. Related: What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good) While Donald Trump hasn’t released a formal statement on the pipeline, it would be trivial for the energy company to approach him for approval – he’s already spoken of his desire to scrap federal environmental regulations. First on the list is the Clean Water Act, one of the key rules barring the Dakota Access Pipeline from moving forward without a fight. With a cabinet full of climate deniers , it’s unlikely the Obama administration’s concerns will be considered at all. If we want to prevent this pipeline from going through, environmentalists are going to need to unite and mobilize to stop it. Why not make a donation to your favorite green charity today to get started? Via The Washington Post Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trumps administration

Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s riveting new climate change documentary ‘Before The Flood’ for free this week

November 2, 2016 by  
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We’ve reported before on actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s work to raise awareness of climate change . From his role as a United Nations representative to his rousing environmentalist speech at this year’s Oscars , DiCaprio has done everything he can to spread the word. Now, he’s going one step farther and making his new documentary, Before the Flood , available for free on YouTube . If you’re interested in watching it on the small screen, you’ll have to act fast – it’s only going to be online through November 6th. After that, you’ll need to catch it in theaters or on National Geographic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90CkXVF-Q8M The film follows DiCaprio as he travels the globe, exploring the impact of man-made global warming. While it’s true all this travel adds up to a hefty carbon footprint , the actor does his best to offset it with a voluntary carbon tax payment. (If only more of us could afford to offset our plane travel!) Along the way, he interviews a variety of figures, including President Barack Obama , Pope Francis, John Kerry, and Elon Musk . The film is a collaboration between DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens, the documentarian behind The Cove , 2010’s award-winning film about dolphin hunting in Japan. Related: Leonardo DiCaprio delivers passionate speech to the UN on climate change At the European premiere of Before The Flood , DiCaprio explained his purpose in making the film: “We wanted to create a film that gave people a sense of urgency, that made them understand what particular things are going to solve this problem. We bring up the issue of a carbon tax , for example, which I haven’t seen in a lot of documentaries. Basically, sway a capitalist economy to try to invest in renewables, to bring less money and subsidies out of oil companies. These are the things that are really going to make a massive difference.” + Before the Flood Via SlashFilm

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Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s riveting new climate change documentary ‘Before The Flood’ for free this week

Enchanting LED mushrooms can transform any room into a glowing forest

November 2, 2016 by  
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We previously featured Takano’s work in 2010, and the artist has since produced hundreds more of his handcrafted mushroom lamps. According to at home vox , Takano can produce an average of 15 lamps every two months. His unique creations sell out incredibly quick (as noted by Tokyobling ) and, due to their delicate nature, are only sold locally and are not shipped abroad. Related: Amazing Chandelier Transforms Any Room Into a Fairytale Forest Takano crafts the mushrooms out of dyed resin clay. The LED and wiring are skillfully hidden inside the tiny mushroom sculpture and inside the reclaimed driftwood base. Some of the lamps come with a plastic on/off dial for a playful retro touch. + Yukio Takano Via Colossal Images via Tokyobling , Silver Shell

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Enchanting LED mushrooms can transform any room into a glowing forest

Hurricane Matthew causes largest mandatory US evacuation since Sandy

October 6, 2016 by  
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As Hurricane Matthew continues building strength and heading north toward Florida’s east coast, residents of Haiti are struggling with downed communications, massive flooding, and widespread structural damage. The National Weather Service has recommended more than 2 million people in coastal Florida, Georgia and South Carolina leave their homes, making this the largest mandatory evacuation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Hurricane Matthew is expected to make a “direct hit” in southern Florida early Friday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgWgMvrtES8 So far, Hurricane Matthew’s death toll has risen to 15, all residents of Caribbean countries which have suffered massive flooding from storm surges and heavy rain. As the storm heads to the US, President Barack Obama issued a statement on Wednesday warning those living in the path of the storm that the hurricane could have “a devastating effect,” urging residents to heed evacuation warnings in order to protect their lives. Related: Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti as Category 4 hurricane en route to Cuba Florida Governor Rick Scott has issued evacuation orders for many counties in Florida starting at 6 a.m. ET, stretching from the Miami area north to the Georgia border. Commercial flights have been cancelled, state offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, and many hospitals have begun evacuating patients in anticipation of a potentially devastating storm strike. As is par for the course in the hours before a hurricane hits Florida, grocery store shelves are empty as people stock up on water, food, and batteries. Although the storm was downgraded to a Category 3 yesterday, Hurricane Matthew currently has sustained winds of 125mph, putting it at the upper end of that category, and it is expected to gain strength before reaching Florida as a Category 4 storm. Meanwhile, much of Haiti is underwater in the wake of the storm, which is the biggest natural disaster to affect the impoverished island nation since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Massive flooding has caused widespread structural damage, and a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at least 350,000 people are in need of immediate assistance. Communication lines are down throughout the nation (as well as in the Bahamas), so it has been difficult for authorities to get updates on the extent of the damage. With so many people impacted by the storm, the net result is expected to be a tremendous loss of residential structures, businesses, infrastructure like hospitals and state offices, as well as devastating losses in agriculture and other industries. Many first responders have already been deployed, including representatives of UNICEF, the Red Cross, and the US Coast Guard. In the months and years following Hurricane Matthew, Haiti will need support from the international community in order to survive. + How to help Haiti Via CNN Images via NOAA , UNICEF and  UNDP

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Hurricane Matthew causes largest mandatory US evacuation since Sandy

21 rare one-horned Indian rhinos drown in monsoon flooding

August 5, 2016 by  
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Twenty-one rare one-horned rhinoceros died after monsoon rains flooded India’s Kaziranga National Park this week. The rhinos that perished were among 270 animals killed in the floodwaters, which covered 80 percent of the Unesco World Heritage Site in the far eastern region of India. Eight rhino calves belonging to the rare species were rescued, although some are reportedly in critical condition. It may be some time before the full effects of the disaster are known. The drowning deaths mark a devastating loss for the one-horned species known as Rhinoceros unicornis , as some 70 percent of the global population of these rare rhinos live in the national park. Of those killed, ten were calves between two and six months old. Wildlife workers and volunteers rescued eight other calves from the floodwaters using ropes, and most of the survivors are being cared for at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation. Related: Can cameras embedded in rhino horns catch poachers? According to World Wildlife Fund estimates from earlier this year, just 3,500 of these rare one-horned rhinos remained. Kaziranga wildlife official Rathin Barman reports that the rescued calves are being treated for dehydration and distress, and will be released after two years. Meanwhile, park officials are assessing the losses and surveying other flood-related damage in the park. “Some 270 wild animals have died, this has been one of the worst seasons of flooding,” Kaziranga National Park director Satyendra Singh told Sky News. “The devastation to the park’s infrastructure, roads, and bridges has been very severe.” Singh said Friday that 30 percent of the 166-square-mile park remains flooded . Via Independent Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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21 rare one-horned Indian rhinos drown in monsoon flooding

Chinas legendary Great Flood may have actually happened, new evidence shows

August 5, 2016 by  
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A new geological study has unearthed evidence that the Great Flood of Chinese myth may not be a myth after all. An international team of researchers discovered traces of a dam break that correlates with the timing of the legendary flood, which is told as the dawn of China ’s powerful Xia dynasty. The evidence suggests that the actual flood may have happened several hundred years later than the myth says, which translates into a significant difference in how Chinese history is understood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuYqgrhirqc The flood myth varies a bit depending on who is telling it, but the general storyline is that a massive flood occurred and Emperor Yu (who was not yet the Emperor) fended it off with a decades-long project involving dredging flooded rivers with the aid of a dragon and a mud-hauling turtle. According to the myth, the accomplishment lead directly to the foundation of the Xia dynasty, which ruled China for 400 years. Scholars have long quibbled about whether the flood actually occurred, and nobody has had definitive evidence until now. Related: Ancient underwater city flooded by Chinese government becomes major tourist attraction Discovering geological evidence of the Great Flood was, like many scientific revelations, something that happened by accident. In a press conference on Thursday, lead author Wu Qinglong of Peking University in Beijing described how researchers observed unusual sediment in the Jishi Gorge of the Yellow River, which inspired Wu to theorize a link to the Great Flood. Purdue University geologist and study co-author Darryl Granger was able to map and date the odd sediment and, when combined with evidence the team obtained from skeletons of earthquake victims unearthed in nearby Lajiia, it became apparent that the quake caused an enormous landslide dam break. A radiocarbon analysis of the skeletal remains revealed the disaster occurred around 1922 BCE. The magnitude of this flood, according to all evidence so far, suggests it could be “the” Great Flood of Chinese legend, although the timeline is hundreds of years earlier than the story says. Interestingly, the new timeline parallels a major cultural transition, as the Early Bronze Age emerges following the late Neolithic Era. Study co-author David Cohen, an archaeologist at National Taiwan University is quick to point out that there is no evidence of a causal relationship between the flood and the cultural shift, however. The research study was recent published in the journal Science . Via Gizmodo Images via Black Rainbow  and  Wu Qinlong

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