Forest fires are burning dangerously close to Chernobyl

March 23, 2022 by  
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The word “ Chernobyl ” and the phrase “forest fires” are scary enough on their own. But put the two together in one sentence and add Russian soldiers hampering efforts to control the fires, and you have entered truly terrifying territory. That’s where we are today with satellite reports of at least seven fires within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Ukraine’s parliament has claimed the fires probably started by the “armed aggression of the Russian federation,” though a cause has not yet been determined. These fires are especially dangerous, being within 10 kilometers of the abandoned nuclear reactor.  Ukraine  firefighters have not been able to fight the fires in this Russian-held area. Related: Chernobyl’s abandoned dogs create their own exclusion zone community The site has been closed since a 1986 explosion and fire. Chernobyl’s nuclear disaster blanketed much of Europe with radioactive contamination. The  nuclear  plant and environs have been sealed off since. However, about 200 tons of fuel remain at the bottom of the reactor. War and/or fire could unleash this radioactive material. Nobody knows exactly what’s going on at Chernobyl right now since Ukrainian authorities have been unable to monitor radiation levels with  Russian  soldiers everywhere. “There is no data on the current state of radiation pollution of the exclusion zone’s environment, which makes it impossible to adequately respond to threats,” said Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-run nuclear company. “Radiation levels in the exclusion zone and beyond, including not only Ukraine, but also other countries, could significantly worsen.” Dead wood around the reactor — die-off from the original nuclear disaster — makes the area  fire -prone. In 2015, “an expanding flammable area associated with climate change will lead to a high risk of radioactive contamination with characteristic fire peaks in the future,” advised a team of international scientists. During a 2020 forest fire near Chernobyl, radiation levels spiked 16 times above normal. For now, experts can keep their eyes on the satellite and their fingers crossed. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Forest fires are burning dangerously close to Chernobyl

Airsign has the most sustainable vacuum on the market

March 23, 2022 by  
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Airsign created a vacuum that claims to be the most sustainable on the market. The new vacuum, called the Airsign HEPA Vacuum In Jet, “represents the future of clean and the next new generation of aesthetically pleasing and well-designed home appliances , built with user experience in mind,” according to the designers. Not only that, it’s affordable and eco-friendly, a rare combination. If this vacuum seems like it comes from the human-centered design movement, there’s a reason for that. Airsign’s Joseph Guerra is an industrial designer and founder of Guerra Office, cofounder of Visibility Studio. He specializes in spatial design that is anthropologically-minded. Also, he is a pro in product development designed around the user experience, from appliances to furniture. Related: World’s first smog vacuum cleaner heads to Poland Furthermore, the vacuum has buttons for foot operation, has rounded edges and minimizes labels or extra parts. Additionally, it avoids glue and paint or snap fits that would make it challenging to change out parts for long-term use. It’s a streamlined vacuum for a generation that kind of hates vacuum cleaners and their history of shoddy design. To make it sustainable on top of well designed is the cherry on top. “Through extensive research and design, the team has developed the most sustainable vacuum on the market — and one that is (finally) beautifully designed,” Airsign said. “Airsign’s HEPA vacuum is made of 20% recycled plastic, and its biodegradable bags means it leaves no waste behind.” Moreover, the Airsign vacuum has a 1200 watt motor. It aims to create the suction of a vacuum twice as expensive. HEPA-14 and charcoal filters trap 99.995% of particles, making it great for allergy sufferers. Best part, the vacuum works on any surface, from carpet, to hardwood, to tile. Lastly, the HEPA vacuum is so new, the first product shipment is in April. It costs $295. We love the thought that’s gone into the recycled plastic body and biodegradable bags. As a result, the production and reusable pieces help create more sustainable options for the vacuum market. + Airsign Images via Airsign

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Airsign has the most sustainable vacuum on the market

Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

August 16, 2021 by  
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Aisen Nikolayev, head of the Siberian region Yakutia, declared last Friday a non-working day following heavy smoke from raging forest fires. Nikolayev urged residents to stay at home due to the health risks associated with the smoke.  Yakutia, the largest and coldest region in Russia , has dealt with forest fires on an “unprecedented scale” this year. Residents of Yakutsk, the regional capital, and several other districts were urged to stay at home in a bid to protect them breathing in the heavy smoke. Related: California Dixie fire growing too fast for warning systems Last Thursday, Nikolayev announced that the health risk associated with the smoke necessitated a day off. In a statement via the RIA Novosti news agency, Nikolayev said, “Smoke from the fires has an extremely negative effect on people’s well-being. In order to minimize these consequences today, I signed a decree declaring tomorrow a non-working day for 11 municipalities.” This announcement came with a recommendation that residents spend the day at home. The smoke also caused several flight delays on Thursday at Yakutsk airport due to poor visibility. As the fires worsened, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered firefighting reinforcement. The head of the emergencies ministry also visited Yakutia to oversee firefighting operations. In the vast Siberian region, wildfires have, so far, burned an area of more than 22.7 acres, an area the size of Portugal. NASA has announced that, for the first time in history, satellite images show smoke from the wildfires traveling all the way to the North Pole. Although Russia has not asked for international help in fighting the fire, local firefighters have lamented their lack of equipment and resources to deal with such a massive fire. Additionally, as The Guardian noted in an article about the fires, a 2015 law “allows regions to ignore blazes if the cost of fighting fires outweighs the expected damage.” Critics worry that this “provides cover for authorities to avoid fighting wildfires.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Siberian wildfires send smoke to North Pole in historical first

Grand Canyon Fuller Fire scorches 13,382 acres with zero containment

July 19, 2016 by  
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The lighting-caused forest fire blazing through the North Rim of the Grand Canyon doubled in size over the weekend. The Fuller Fire jumped from 5,940 acres to 13,382 on Monday, with zero containment to date. Dry and windy conditions on Saturday night helped the blaze spread through treetops near Imperial Point on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon . Currently more than 550 crew members are trying to manage the inferno that began on June 29. Some cloud cover and high humidity has hampered some of the spread since then, yet those in the area are still encouraged to take precautions. Related: Like Chernobyl all over again: Forest fires release plutonium particles into the air The Public Information Officer from the Navajo Nation , Mihio Manus, reached out to nearby residents who may face hazards associated with smoke inhalation. A full list of precautions can be found here, including the importance of following local air quality reports, taking steps to ensure the cleanest air possible indoors, reducing physical exertion, and possibly finding alternative shelter. Still, the Forest Service notes this is a natural fire with numerous ecological benefits. “This fire will help restore and protect the beauty and health of this forest for generations to come,” said Chris Marks, National Park Service Deputy Fire Management Officer. “This is an incredibly unique opportunity for visitors to see not only the canyon itself, but fire playing its role on the land.” Via NBC 12 News , AZ Family Images via Grand Canyon National Park , Twitter

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Grand Canyon Fuller Fire scorches 13,382 acres with zero containment

The world’s first "Tesla Town" with solar roofs and Powerwalls is coming to Australia

July 19, 2016 by  
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Developers in Australia just announced plans to build the world’s first “Tesla town” – a small suburb off Melbourne’s business district where every house will have a solar roof and a built-in Tesla Powerwall . The project has been hailed as one of the most environmentally sustainable developments in Australia, and for good reason . Residents can expect to see their water use reduced by 43%, landfill contributions will be reduced by 80%, and the solar panels are expected to generate so much electricity that residents will be able to recharge their electric cars for free. The world’s first “Tesla Town” is officially called YarraBend after the Yarra River that runs through the neighborhood. The suburb will eventually cover 16.46 hectares of land, and it’s slated to include 2,500 new dwellings with a combination of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments. The first 60 homes will go on sale this week at prices between $1.48 million and $2.1 million. Designed, developed, and built by the property group Glenvill , the homes boast a full range of green features. Not only can the houses generate and store solar power, but the community also features electric car charging stations and energy efficient lighting and appliances. The buildings themselves are designed to minimize their impact on the environment. Related: Tesla dumps high capacity Powerwall as it gears up for Mark II release Contracts for the new residences are expected to be officially signed in August, and residents will be able to start moving in around late 2017. If you’re interested in signing up for one of the first homes to become available, visit YarraBend’s website at the link below. + YarraBend Via Clean Technica

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The world’s first "Tesla Town" with solar roofs and Powerwalls is coming to Australia

Smart space-saving design transforms a tiny apartment in Taipei into an upscale home

July 19, 2016 by  
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Skyrocketing housing prices in Taipei have forced young homeowners into increasingly smaller houses. Like most small apartments in the city, the property the client purchased already came with a space-saving loft setup, however, the existing design made the apartment feel cramped, limited on storage, and unsuitable for entertaining guests. To maximize space and reinvent the feel of the apartment, the architects gutted the interior and inserted a new materials palette and hidden storage for a clean and minimalist vibe. White-painted walls, white brick, and light oak surfaces dominate the renovated apartment. While the layout was kept mostly intact, the clever reorganization of spaces and appliances made a big difference. New shelving and closet space span the wall from floor to ceiling, while additional hidden storage can be found inside the couch in the alcove, which previously occupied a long table with seating. Two narrow wooden tables at the edge of the room can be moved and rearranged to form a workspace or dining table. The bathroom was also made to feel more spacious thanks to the new white tiling, removal of the washing machine to the kitchen, and the replacement of the shower stall with a bath. The bed and a small desk are located on the mezzanine level. Related: Moving origami partition maximizes space in tiny Madrid apartment “The flat has sufficient natural light and ventilation, and the main colors used are white and oak which makes the space brighter and more spacious,” write A Little Design. “All equipment and fixtures are stacked according to the confines, but not be compressed in size. In a city like Taipei, where the living space is limited, we hope the project can provide a practical solution for people who own a tiny space like this.” + A Little Design Via ArchDaily Images via A Little Design

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Smart space-saving design transforms a tiny apartment in Taipei into an upscale home

Fuelled by drought conditions, California fire is completely unpredictable

August 7, 2015 by  
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The 70,000 acre Rocky Fire that is still raging near Clear Lake California has defied firefighter’s predictions of how a wildfire should behave. It has already crossed highways, fire lines and other barriers which were expected to contain it. On Saturday, the fire grew by 22,000 acres, engulfing an area of land that had been predicted to take a week to burn. More than 3,600 firefighters are now fighting the fire, which is currently 40 percent contained. Read the rest of Fuelled by drought conditions, California fire is completely unpredictable

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Fuelled by drought conditions, California fire is completely unpredictable

Solar-Powered Sunshine Canyon House Rises from a Forest Fire Ashpit with a Gorgeous Rustic Design

October 28, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Solar-Powered Sunshine Canyon House Rises from a Forest Fire Ashpit with a Gorgeous Rustic Design Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agriculture , barn doors , boulder , closed cell foam insulation , colorado , daylight , exposed beams , forest fire , gabled roof , house , mining , natural breezes , photovoltaic array , renée del gaudio architecture , rusted steel cladding , rustic materials , sunshine canyon house , triple pane windows

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Solar-Powered Sunshine Canyon House Rises from a Forest Fire Ashpit with a Gorgeous Rustic Design

Beetle-Kill Pine is Igniting Both Wildfires and the Lumber Industry

July 12, 2013 by  
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As climate change warms areas of Colorado, mountain pine beetles ( Dendroctonus ponderosae) have infested lodgepole pines and drastically reduced their numbers. Of the 1.5 million acres of forest in the state, nearly 70 percent of lodgepole pines have been wiped out by the insects. As the trees die, they fall to the ground and provide fuel for forest fires. The wood has also become an attractive choice for designers and architect, because no trees have to technically be cut down for material, and they sport a beautiful blue hue caused by fungus the beetles carry. Read the rest of Beetle-Kill Pine is Igniting Both Wildfires and the Lumber Industry Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beetle-kill pine , biochar , blue pine , Climate Change , colorado , forest fire , greenway , lumber , mountain pine beetle        

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Beetle-Kill Pine is Igniting Both Wildfires and the Lumber Industry

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