Climate, COVID-19 and the economics of decarbonizing buildings

April 9, 2020 by  
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Facilities managers and staff are scrambling to adjust buildings for vacancy indefinitely. As we look toward recovery, there will be wide-ranging impacts on the fundamental systems that enable learning, work and commerce.

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Climate, COVID-19 and the economics of decarbonizing buildings

EPA suspends environmental law enforcement

March 30, 2020 by  
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The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that, in accordance with the wishes of the Trump administration, it will suspend enforcing environmental laws for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses will not face any repercussions for polluting American air, land or water, as long as they can claim their practices are related to COVID-19. “This temporary policy is designed to provide enforcement discretion under the current, extraordinary conditions, while ensuring facility operations continue to protect human health and the environment,” said Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA. Related: Air pollution could make COVID-19 more dangerous The memo explains that staff shortages and social distancing restrictions may constrain laboratories’ abilities to analyze samples and companies’ abilities to meet reporting obligations. The new policy applies retroactively, beginning on March 13, with no end in sight. “The EPA will apply this policy to actions or to missions that occur while this policy is in effect even after the policy terminates,” according to the memo. Last week, the American Petroleum Institute, which promotes the interests of gas and oil companies, sent the EPA a letter lobbying for the suspension of rules requiring these companies to fix leaky equipment or monitor pollution . Air pollution is particularly worrisome at the moment, as COVID-19 attacks the human respiratory system. People with preexisting respiratory conditions are especially in danger, as are those who live near industrial facilities emitting large quantities of pollution. Because these facilities are usually located in less affluent neighborhoods, those with low incomes and people of color will unfairly bear the consequences of these relaxed laws. The EPA’s new policy has shocked and outraged public health and environmental advocates. “EPA should never relinquish its right and its obligation to act immediately and decisively when there is threat to public health, no matter what the reason is,” said Cynthia Giles, who headed EPA enforcement during the Obama administration. “I am not aware of any instance when EPA ever relinquished this fundamental authority as it does in this memo. This memo amounts to a nationwide moratorium on enforcing the nation’s environmental laws and is an abdication of EPA’s responsibility to protect the public.” + Environmental Protection Agency Via The Guardian Image via Environmental Protection Agency

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EPA suspends environmental law enforcement

Physicists announce the "possible discovery" of a fifth force of nature

August 17, 2016 by  
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Researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have announced the ‘possible discovery’ of a previously unknown subatomic particle that, if confirmed, could unlock the secrets of dark matter. The discovery would represent a fifth force of nature in the form of a mysterious new particle. Theoretical physicists at UCI now believe the particle, initially theorized by a team of Hungarian researchers last year, could be a newly discovered light particle that adds a fifth component to the four known forces of nature, or even a “grander, more fundamental force” when combined with one of the existing forces. A previous study by experimental nuclear physicists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences identified an “excess of events” suggesting the existence of a new light particle 30 times heavier than an electron. At the time, there wasn’t enough evidence to explain whether it was a particle capable of transferring force, or simply a matter particle. It wasn’t until the UCI team of theoretical physicists got ahold of the study that discussions about a possible fifth force of nature began to surface. Related: Newly discovered form of spiralized light breaks everything quantum physics says about photons “If true, it’s revolutionary,” said Jonathan Feng, UCI professor of physics & astronomy. “For decades, we’ve known of four fundamental forces: gravitation , electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter.” Instead of being a dark photon , like the Hungarian experimentalists theorized, UCI physicists suggest the particle may be a “protophobic X boson.” Analysis co-author Timothy Tait, professor of physics & astronomy, said, “There’s no other boson that we’ve observed that has this same characteristic. Sometimes we also just call it the ‘X boson,’ where ‘X’ means unknown.” The findings were recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters. + Physical Review Letters Via Phys.org Images via ESA/Hubble & NASA and MTA-Atomki

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Physicists announce the "possible discovery" of a fifth force of nature

Architects Newspaper sneaks a peek at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

August 17, 2016 by  
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Over at Architect’s Newspaper we spotted new photographs of Washington D.C’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC)—and they’re fantastic. Photographer Darren Bradley captured dramatic snaps of the striking museum, which comprises a three-tiered structure inspired by Yoruban art from West Africa, a region where over half of the entire slave trade took place during the 18th century. The facade is clad in 3,600 bronze-painted aluminum panels inspired by the design produced by African American slaves. Click the link to see all the images and to whet your appetite for the NMAAHC opening on September 24, 2016.

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Architects Newspaper sneaks a peek at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

German Court Bans Parents from Having Baby Boys Circumcised

July 15, 2012 by  
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Is circumcision an act of religious freedom, or is it merely an act of violence against baby boys? A German court in Cologne took the latter interpretation, ruling that circumcision of baby boys should be considered unlawful, noting that the “ fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents. ” Religious leaders are outraged, as are parents who support circumcision along with the right to make decisions for their baby.  According to the  New York Times ,  the decision will only be enforceable in Cologne, but it could lead to a decline in circumcision in Germany. READ MORE > Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: anti-circumcision , circumcision , Cologne , germany , green parenting , male circumcision , parenting , religious freedom

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German Court Bans Parents from Having Baby Boys Circumcised

USDA Organic: 20 years Later

January 10, 2010 by  
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We are coming up on the 20 th anniversary  of the The Organic Food Production Act of 1990 ( 7 U.S.C.A. § 6501-22,  November 28, 1990) in which Congress commissioned the USDA to develop a comprehensive national rule for what could be marketed as “Organic.”   It took until October of 2002 for the “Final Rule” to become law.   The reason the process was so long and contentious was the fundamental philosophical divide between the key parties involved in the public debate about the definition of “Organic.”   Congress had acted because so many people were frightened (unnecessarily as it turned out) by the Alar Issue raised on a “60 Minutes” segment

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USDA Organic: 20 years Later

Rooftop Solar Installations Growing Faster than Utility-Scale Solar

January 10, 2010 by  
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Private solar installations are really taking off nationwide. In just two years, (about the same length of time it takes to get a pair of 250 MW solar power plants approved in California, for example), homeowners and businesses have added that much power to the Californian grid, just from individual rooftops throughout the state. By July last year, 50,000 installations were supplying the California grid with 500 MW of solar power; the equivalent of two average sized solar power plants now under review in the state.

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Rooftop Solar Installations Growing Faster than Utility-Scale Solar

Dr Dobbs’ Tomato Complexion Soap

January 10, 2010 by  
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I had the chance to sample Dr.

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Dr Dobbs’ Tomato Complexion Soap

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