Powering Puerto Rico back to life, with PRIDE

October 12, 2017 by  
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Rebuilding the island’s hurricane-destroyed electricity grid is an unparalleled opportunity, if only we move past rebuilding-as-usual.

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Powering Puerto Rico back to life, with PRIDE

Making that ‘make-or-break’ breakthrough pitch

October 12, 2017 by  
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Even when in the lion’s den, there’s room for a sense of humor.

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Making that ‘make-or-break’ breakthrough pitch

FEMA scrubs statistics on Puerto Rico’s lack of water and electricity from website

October 6, 2017 by  
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After Hurricane Maria — a category 4 storm — knocked out power for Puerto Rico ’s 3.5 million citizens, the FEMA website became a major lifeline for Americans to stay informed of recovery efforts. However just yesterday vital details vanished from the agency’s website – including statistics on how many people have access to electricity and clean water . Now, only information that showcases recovery efforts in a positive light is available. As a result, it is difficult to know the true extent of damages in Puerto Rico, and how citizens are coping with the aftermath. On Wednesday, the website clearly stated that 5 percent of Puerto Rican citizens have access to electricity and 50 percent have access to clean water. Later that night, the information was erased. As Gizmodo reports, more “positive” information is now shared, including the percentage of hospitals open (92 percent) and the percentage of grocery stores open (65 percent). There’s no longer any data on water availability – instead, there’s a new section on “Water/Wastewater Impacts,” and the only thing it reveals is that 64 percent of wastewater treatments are functioning. Also, instead of an Infographic detailing recovery efforts, there is now a photo of helicopters delivering relief supplies and another of a soldier hugging Puerto Rican residents. Information on the number of federal staff (14,000) and FEMA personnel (800) on the ground are still available on the website. Information on open airports (100 percent) and miles of roadway cleared in total (20 miles) is forefront and centered on the website, as well. When pressed for question, a FEMA spokesperson told The Washington Post that the information is still available on the Spanish website , which Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló maintains. Reportedly, the FEMA spokesperson had no idea why the federal agency was erasing information from its own site “that made it look bad.” Related: The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power Some suspect President Trump’s recent visit had something to do with the agency deleting valuable statistics. When Trump visited the island earlier this week, he seemed more concerned with his reputation than actually helping the less fortunate. In fact, Trump “jokingly” told the storm-ravaged people that he was spending too much money on them. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack,” Trump said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico .” The President added that Hurricane Maria wasn’t a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. FEMA spokesperson William Booher told The Washington Post: “Our mission is to support the governor and his response priorities through the unified command structure to help Puerto Ricans recover and return to routines. Information on the stats you are specifically looking for are readily available.” + FEMA Via Gizmodo, The Washington Post Images via Hayales De Coama , FEMA , CNN, The Japan Times

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FEMA scrubs statistics on Puerto Rico’s lack of water and electricity from website

"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

October 2, 2017 by  
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When a bowhead whale washed ashore at Wrangel Island in Russia , the polar bears were ready. Between 150 and 230 bears gathered to eat the carcass, and tourists captured the experience on camera. As there are around 26,000 of the animals on Earth, almost one percent of the world’s polar bears, according to Gizmodo, assembled for the feast. The polar bears dined on the whale carcass on Wrangel Island. While polar bears feeding on whales may not be that strange, Gizmodo points out what was unique was that so many people were present to witness the event. A tourist ship passed by as the bears were feasting. Related: Snow-free images of Arctic polar bears show the harsh reality of climate change Heritage Expeditions founder Rodney Russ said his group counted more than 150 polar bears, while Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve said conservative estimates put the number of polar bears at more than 230. Bears of all ages and sexes were present. According to a Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve news release, scientists were aboard the tourist ship, and an international scientific group monitoring bear populations in Chukotka – where Wrangel Island is located – and Alaska were told of the event. Russ wrote in a blog post, “You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened…there are no words to describe it.” Polar bears aren’t endangered , but are listed as vulnerable , a step below endangered, on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List of Endangered Species . The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said some populations are stable, some appear to be on the rise, and others are decreasing. The loss of sea ice could seriously impact the animals. WWF said global polar bear numbers could fall 30 percent by 2050. Via Gizmodo , Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve , and Heritage Expeditions Images via A. Gruzdev

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"You had to live it to believe it" – hundreds of polar bears rush to feast on one whale carcass

Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

September 22, 2017 by  
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When Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico last Saturday with 155mph winds, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed and the entire island was left in a total blackout. After a natural disaster such as this, residents would usually go about their lives and pick up the pieces along the way. Not this time. Due to the island’s poor infrastructure, economic woes and the damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, it could be months before millions of people have access to electricity again. It wasn’t hard for Hurricane Maria to wipe out the entire island’s electricity because the power grid has been in poor shape for years. Whereas most power plants are 18-years-old, those belonging to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) — the island’s sole power supplier to 1.5 million people — are 44 years old, on average.  In July of this year, PREPA filed for bankruptcy and called its own system “degraded and unsafe.” In a fiscal plan released this year, it added that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure.” The electricity outage was also caused by Puerto Rico’s grim economic situation. The island has yet to emerge from a recession that has lasted over a decade. With an unemployment rate of 11 percent, the government entered into a process similar to bankruptcy protection earlier this May. TIME reports that its debt load is currently in excess of $70 billion. Related: Explosion of color takes over an abandoned Puerto Rican factory As a result of weakening infrastructure, financial problems and the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria, restoring the island’s power will be a lengthy, tiresome process. Governor Russello told CNN , “It depends on the damage to the infrastructure. I’m afraid it’s probably going to be severe. If it is … we’re looking at months as opposed to weeks or days.” Hurricane Irma , which skirted the north part of the island earlier this month, is also to blame. At the time, over 1 million users in Puerto Rico lost power. The day before Maria slammed into the island, 70,000 people were still without power, reports CNBC . To solve this tragedy, Rep. Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon brought up the issue of electric supply with Brock Long, the director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). She said, “We were asking him to have more resources in terms of electrical teams that can help us out to solve the situation and recover the infrastructure of the power grid on the island,” she said. “That is going to be the main issue.” Rossello has also asked President Trump to declare Puerto Rico a disaster zone. On Monday, Trump made an emergency declaration for the island, which enabled FEMA to coordinate relief efforts. However, only a “major disaster” declaration would ensure the territory receives an increase in federal resources and programs for affected areas to recover. Vox reports that even if Congress agrees to provide extra relief, funds would only be of limited help in this situation. Via TIME , Vox, CNN, CNBC Images via ABC 7 Chicago ,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Puerto Rico could be without electricity for months due to Hurricane Maria

Desperation and fear mount in Irma-ravaged Caribbean

September 11, 2017 by  
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Over the past few days, Hurricane Irma has devastated islands in the Caribbean, Cuba , and parts of Florida. The Category 5 hurricane has since downgraded to a tropical storm, but the damage it caused will take years to recover from. On the island of Barbuda, for example,  “95 percent” of buildings were destroyed. Others, like Saint Martin and Barthelemy, have no water or electricity and food resources are running low. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’08x2NaWvTOxUX90CIZOdGA’,sig:’uqVCatca-d4wvEpEybaIWAYAXm9rhRToDSdClNU1oyA=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’845717730′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Media coverage of the islands of Saint Martin and Barthelemy show extensive amounts of damage. Reuters reports that many streets remain submerged, boats and cars are piled on top of each other in multiple locations, and numerous houses have had their rooftops ripped off. Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’e3nfT1wLSZ1a3dcHo2hX8w’,sig:’V00rpNIu06KQzy4dsUOcV07rpWebm3vc9QJ3US6w_2k=’,w:’594px’,h:’386px’,items:’845705546′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); To make matters worse, looting is rampant. One Saint Martin resident told BFM TV that she heard gunshots and had seen several people breaking into homes and shops to steal food .  According to the French interior ministry, police forces have been boosted on the two islands following close to 500 reports of violence and looting following Irma’s passing. 11 people have also been arrested for “malicious actions.” Related: Trump’s USDA staff told to use ‘weather extremes’ instead of ‘climate change’ Embed from Getty Images window.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’puQKjadATepuXcWxqYS-8Q’,sig:’okRdWoZCR1eoCZpiCMcjCy7_oRi5RmM_fyT8xB7HBi8=’,w:’594px’,h:’396px’,items:’845690278′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })}); Between the two islands, at least 10 people have been killed . The Caisse Centrale de Reassurance, a state-owned reinsurance group in France , said Irma will go down as one of “the most damaging disasters in decades on French territory.” Losses total a staggering 1.2 billion euros, or $1.44 billion USD. + National Hurricane Center Via Reuters Images via  National Hurricane Center,  Pixabay

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Desperation and fear mount in Irma-ravaged Caribbean

Three hurricanes form in the Atlantic for the first time since 2010

September 7, 2017 by  
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While Hurricane Irma barrels through the Caribbean towards the United States mainland, another two potentially powerful storms are waiting in the wings. Following closely behind Irma, one of the strongest hurricanes recorded in the Atlantic, are Tropical Storms Jose and Katia. The presence of these storms marks the first time since 2010 that three active hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic. In what may prove to be one of the most active on record , the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has already demonstrated the unpredictable and explosive power of storms in the age of climate change . Jose, like Irma, is known as a Cape Verde hurricane for its origins in the far eastern Atlantic , near the island nation of Cape Verde off the coast of Africa . However, it is unlikely that Jose will follow Irma’s path nor will it likely be as powerful. Jose is expected to spin towards the open ocean and become a Category 3 hurricane, though it is not expected to travel over any land area. Related: Harvey forces National Weather Service to add new color to its rainfall map Katia is more closely related to Harvey, in that it too became a hurricane in the warm waters of the southern Gulf of Mexico. Despite its shared birthplace with the devastating hurricane that made landfall near Houston , Katia is expected to travel close to Mexico . It is currently nearly 200 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, near which a small portion of the coast is currently under hurricane watch. Although three hurricanes active in the Atlantic at the same time is unusual, it is neither unprecedented nor unrivaled. During the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, four hurricanes, including Hurricane Georges which caused major damage in Haiti and the Dominican Republic , were active during the same period. Via CNN Images via NOAA (1)

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Three hurricanes form in the Atlantic for the first time since 2010

Moon Hoons funky new home captures sunlight on Jeju Island

August 31, 2017 by  
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South Korean architect Moon Hoon regularly wows us with his crazy and whimsical designs—and his latest work is no exception. Set on South Korea’s stunning Jeju Island , the Simple House is a bunker-inspired house with large glazed end walls to capture sunlight from multiple angles. The sculptural house offers panoramic views of the island and was engineered to withstand the island’s weather extremes. Beautiful Jeju Island, known as the Hawaii of South Korea , is a popular vacation destination with a surprisingly varied landscape. The client originally asked Moon Hoon to design a custom 206-square-meter home with a low-lying bunker-like appearance that referenced the traditional homes of Jeju island. However, over time the initial design morphed into its antithesis; the flippantly named Simple House is an extravagant sculptural house made of cantilevered stacked blocks supported with diagonal reinforced-concrete beams. The three-story home’s board-formed concrete volumes are carefully oriented to optimize views and access to natural light. Open terraces and glazed walls at the end of each volume capture daylight from multiple angles. “The erected houses now boasted much presence, but needed something more to give it a distinct character,” said Hoon, explaining the thought process behind the stacked and rotated volumes. “Then the strong wind and rain started cracking the floors, and slowly three floored and rotating home came into existence. Too much wind gave nausea and anxiety. Something had to be done, thus the binding structures between the end points to other points.” Related: Weird but wonderful Wind House brings whimsy to Korea’s Jeju Island The brightly lit interior features a clean and modern appearance with recessed lighting, light timber surfaces, and in-built furnishings such as the recessed http://inhabitat.com/tag/bookshelves/ bookshelves along the staircase that winds through the center of the home. Simple House is entered on the first floor, which comprises a playroom on one end and a guest room on the other. The second floor, which is rotated and offset from the first, houses an open plan dining room and kitchen on one side and living area on the other. The second floor also opens out to outdoor dining built atop the first floor. The master bedroom and bathroom, outdoor jacuzzi, and outdoor garden are found on the top floor. + Moon Hoon Via ArchDaily

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Moon Hoons funky new home captures sunlight on Jeju Island

St. Lucia shows leadership for a renewable future

August 30, 2017 by  
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Redefining “the island life.”

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St. Lucia shows leadership for a renewable future

This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

August 8, 2017 by  
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Do you dream of island living and Frank Lloyd Wright homes? We’ve found the perfect property for you. Located on the 11-acre, heart-shaped Petra Island in New York’s Putnam County is a six bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom abode designed by the famous architect himself. Chilton & Chadwick just listed the incredible property with a price tag of $14.92 million. Every aspect of the triangular home bears Wright’s signature design. Even modern improvements made by Joe Massaro, who purchased the house in 1995, don’t take away from the Wright’s initial vision; rather, they add to it. Apartment Therapy reports that Massaro spent several years upgrading the property, and part of his efforts included expanding the main residence as Wright outlined in blueprints. Throughout his renovations, Massaro felt compelled to stay true to Wright’s design aesthetic. In fact, he claims an interest in architectural detail was inspired by his time on the island. A tour through the home reveals boulder stones decorating the concrete walls, a 1950s retro kitchen and a geometric skylight, designed like a maze of triangles, hovering near the center of the home. Related: Frank Lloyd Wright architecture school grad built this beautiful desert shelter for $2K There’s more to be dazzled by than the interior; the cottage also offers stunning views of Lake Mahopac. With a guest house, tea house and a dock on the premise, it’s the perfect family vacation spot. Thanks to a wraparound patio and huge windows, it’s easy to forget one is just a short flight away from Manhattan . If leaving in a hurry, residents can take advantage of the rooftop helipad (helicopter not included) and make it to the Westchester County Airport in just 4.5-minutes. In an interview with Mansion Global , Massaro revealed that some of his inspiration was received while he was sleeping. In fact, he claims Wright visited him in a dream and shared the idea for custom-colored lighting. “I said, ‘Well Frank told me to do it,’” said Massaro. ”Detail was not is in my DNA until I stepped out on that island.” Whatever inspired the renovations in line with Wright’s work, we’re glad, for it’s an absolutely breathtaking property. + Chilton & Chadwick Via Apartment Therapy Images via Chilton & Chadwick

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This Frank Lloyd Wright house on a heart-shaped island could be yours – for a cool $15 million

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