Elon Musk’s Boring Company asks LA to start digging a tunnel within city limits

November 22, 2017 by  
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Will The Boring Company get the green light from Los Angeles to start digging a traffic-killing tunnel ? Elon Musk’s venture recently filed an application with officials for approval to commence digging within city limits. A Boring Company spokesperson said the tunnel could stretch from Hawthorne – where Musk’s other company SpaceX is located – “along the 405 to Westwood, with a number of stops along the way.” According to Los Angeles’ Bureau of Engineering spokesperson Mary Nemick The Boring Company filed their application, although she and a spokesperson for the mayor said they wouldn’t immediately release the documents. The Los Angeles Times said lawmakers will now face questions about whether or not the city should back a privatized transportation system with new technology , and what type of environmental review there might be. Related: Elon Musk shows first glimpse of the Boring Company tunnel beneath LA Picture of The Boring Company LA tunnel taken yesterday pic.twitter.com/TfdVKyXFsJ — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 28, 2017 The tunnel could ultimately link the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with the San Fernando Valley. A Boring Company spokesperson said this week the tunnel could transport passengers on electric platforms traveling at speeds as fast as 130 miles per hour. Pedestrians and bicyclists could board a capsule able to carry eight to 16 people. The tunnel’s diameter would be around 12 feet, and it would be funded “entirely with private money,” according to a spokesperson. In an April TED talk, Musk suggested the trip between LAX and Westwood would take a mere six minutes. Musk also seems ambitious about the time it could take to complete the tunnel: a year or so to stretch along “the whole 405 N-S corridor from LAX to the 101,” he said in a tweet . The Los Angeles Times noted digging is typically the quickest portion of a tunnel project; environmental reviews and permits can take years. Councilman Mike Bonin invited Boring Company representatives to talk with the City Council next year about the effort, and requested a report on potential policy and regulatory questions. He said in an interview, “So far, in the public imagination, this idea has been at the level of blog posts and cocktail party conversation. We need to flesh it out more.” Via The Los Angeles Times Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all

November 22, 2017 by  
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This neglected old barn in Norway will soon host visitors from all around the world, thanks to a recent makeover helmed by architecture studio OPA Form . The renovated structure now features a modern sleeping module that can fit a family of four and offers stunning views of the picturesque valley Myrkdalen on the west-coast of Norway. The architects infused the original wooden building with new life by adding a module that’s practically invisible from the outside. The exterior looks as quaint and rustic as when it was built, 50 years ago. A sculptural window stretches out of the old cladding, offering views of the surroundings. Related: Architects transform 150-year-old Slovenian hay barn into a stunning contemporary home Inside, authentic rough surfaces still exist, except for a new addition that attaches to main room that once served as a cattle stable. The addition, a module clad in bright aspen with a circular entrance, was built with the utmost precision and with great respect for the history of the place. Completely self-sufficient, the addition doesn’t disrupt the original structure and has a part that stretches up in-between the low beams. The renovation project is part of firm’s strategy called “the barns they are a-changing”, which relates to the efforts in repurposing derelict buildings scattered across the Norwegian west coast. + OPA FORM Via Archdaily Lead Photo by Virre Dahl

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The rustic exterior of this abandoned barn hides a surprising space to get away from it all

75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order

March 30, 2017 by  
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This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing climate action regulations like the Clean Power Plan and promoting a misguided – and likely unattainable – goal of making coal great again. But 75 United States city mayors aren’t letting Trump stand in the way of their climate action . The Climate Mayors – who represent over 41 million people in both Democrat and Republican-dominated states – published an open letter affirming their cities’ commitments to work towards the goals of the Paris agreement . Current Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and former mayors of Philadelphia and Houston started the Climate Mayors, or the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, to inspire mayors to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a local level, and support efforts for climate action policy at a national and global level. Mayors from New Orleans to Chicago to Austin and Fayetteville, Arkansas are involved. Related: Trump’s new executive order to undo Obama climate action The mayors wrote an open letter to the president, objecting to his recent moves to once again favor the fossil fuel industry over the environment. The Climate Mayors described climate change as the country’s single greatest threat – and its greatest economic opportunity. For those reasons they affirmed commitments “to taking every action possible to achieve the principles and goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and to engage states, businesses, and other sectors to join us.” The mayors included some statistics to back up their statement, saying one in 50 American jobs are in the solar sector, which they said is more than employment in oil, gas, and coal extraction put together. “Texas is once again experiencing an energy boom – this time, with wind power . In fact, the majority of wind jobs in the U.S. are in congressional districts that voted for you,” the mayors wrote in their letter. They urged Trump to join them, but in the meantime, they won’t stop working towards a cleaner future. Via the Climate Mayors and Curbed Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda on Facebook

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London and Paris mayors announce new emissions monitoring system for vehicles

March 30, 2017 by  
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Just a day after U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order that aims to bring back smog-inducing coal power, the mayors of London and Paris are acting to cut air pollution in their cities. Reuters reports that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have announced a new system for monitoring vehicle emissions in their respective cities, with the aim of combating the air quality problems that have plagued both national capitals. Their plan would enable a system that identifies real-life emissions readings from cars, which would give people more information about how much theirs emit. Each car’s score for the air pollutants it puts out would be based on road and “real-world” testing using emissions analytics and the International Council for Clean Transportation . “We should be able to set up a reliable scoring system which will be put to all our citizens and allow them to know what emissions are coming from which vehicles in reality,” Hidalgo said at an international conference on air pollution, according to Reuters . “This new scheme will put an end to the ‘smoke and mirrors’ that has been employed and provide Londoners and Parisians with an honest, accurate and independent evaluation of the emissions of vehicles on our road,” Khan added. Related: California defies trump with tough emissions rules According to French media, emissions monitoring devices will be put in place on the streets of Paris and on various kinds of vehicles in the next few weeks. Seoul also plans to try the monitoring tactic to get a handle on air pollution in the South Korean capital. 9,000 people die per year in London, as a result of pollution. In Paris, about 2,500 die annually. The mayors intend to fix that. Via Reuters Images via dbakr and zongo , Flickr Creative Commons

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Blue Origin unveils interior images of capsule to transport tourists to outer space

March 30, 2017 by  
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The day when tourists venture to space could arrive sooner than we think. Blue Origin – Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ‘ spaceflight company – just unveiled images of the interior of their New Shepard capsule that could transport travelers to outer space as soon as 2018. Blue Origin’s emphasis on tourism means the capsule is filled with large windows to allow stunning views of Earth. New Shepard could transport the first space tourists to just above the Kármán line, commonly considered the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and space. There they’ll float around weightless for a few minutes. Naturally windows are an all-important component of space tourism, and Blue Origin says on their website their capsule will have the biggest windows in the history of spaceflight . In an email, Bezos said, “Every seat’s a window seat, the largest windows ever in space.” Related: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is the first to land a rocket intact upon return from space Inside reclining black seats featuring the Blue Origin feather logo hint at luxury aboard the New Shepard, which can seat six. The company draws on the romanticism surrounding astronauts as they describe the experience on their website, from communicating with Mission Control to earning astronaut wings. The reusable New Shepard rocket has successfully launched and landed five times to this point, but a person has not yet traveled in the capsule. The interior is quite a departure from SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule interior – which has smaller windows – but The Verge pointed out while SpaceX’s primary target is transporting astronauts to the International Space Station , Blue Origin focuses on tourism. But Elon Musk did say recently two private citizens could travel around the moon in a Crew Dragon – also in 2018 – so it appears a new space race is on. After New Shepard’s booster and capsule separate, the capsule free falls for a few minutes before landing with the help of parachutes. The booster also returns to Earth courtesy of an autonomously controlled rocket-powered landing so both can be reused. A New Shepard capsule mockup will be on display at the 33rd Space Symposium from April 3 to 6 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. + Blue Origin Via The Verge Images via Blue Origin

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California city on its way to becoming the first Zero Net Energy city in the U.S.

February 19, 2017 by  
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The city of Lancaster, California is one step closer to becoming a Zero Net Energy city – the very first in the U.S. The proposed ordinance, recently moved forward by the city council, will require all new homes to be equipped with solar panels or to take other steps toward energy mitigation. The end goal is to create a city with a truly sustainable future. “This is a great stride in Lancaster’s journey to become a Zero Net City,” said Mayor R. Rex Parris in a statement. “The Zero Net Energy Home Ordinance expands upon Lancaster’s residential solar ordinance so that new homes built in Lancaster now will not only be environmentally friendly, but have a zero net impact on our environment, while reducing energy costs for the homeowners.” Related: Lancaster, California to require all new homes to have solar panels The ZNE ordinance requires all new homes built in the year 2017 and beyond to choose one of three options for energy use: install photovoltaic panels to support two watts of energy for each square foot, pay mitigation fees that will result in a discount on the energy generation rate section of their bill, or select a combination of both options. The required feasibility study for the ordinance is already taking place, which is needed before receiving approval from the California Energy Commission . These processes are expected to be complete by the end of the year. Images via  Wikimedia

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Japanese fix massive city sinkhole within 48 hours

November 15, 2016 by  
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Within two days of swallowing a five-lane city street, a sinkhole in Fukuoka, Japan has been repaired – though, as the Guardian reports , the street’s re-opening was delayed several days for safety reasons. The sinkhole opened up on 8 November, and one week later, the street officially reopened to pedestrian and vehicular traffic with an apology from the city’s mayor. The 98-foot-long sinkhole in Fukoaka affected a sewage pipe, traffic lights, as well as utility pipes, all of which have been restored with fresh gas and power lines, the Guardian reports. Local press claim Fukuoka workers filled the urban cavity with 6,200 cubic meters of sand and cement, working around the clock to restore the busy thoroughfare. Related: Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan Mayor Soichiro Takashima said the street is now 30 times stronger than it was before, adding that the city has assembled a panel of experts to determine what caused the sinkhole. Earlier reports placed blame on construction of new subway lines. “We’re very sorry for causing great trouble,” the mayor said, according to the Telegraph . “Sinkholes are common where the rock below the land surface is limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds, or rocks that can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them,” according to the USGS. Evaporite rocks, where sinkholes are commonly found, underlie up to 40 percent of US territory. Via The Guardian Images via Hideyuki Hongo, USGS

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How does a city like Los Angeles buy tech?

November 9, 2016 by  
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Mark Anthony Thomas, Director of the Mayor’s Operations Innovation Team for the City of Los Angeles (or the “O-Team”) sat down with GreenBiz Studio at VERGE 16. 

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UK government endorses controversial Heathrow airport expansion

October 25, 2016 by  
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The Heathrow Airport expansion may finally receive a green light to progress. After years of delays, the UK government endorsed a vision to add another runway to the airport in west London . A sixth terminal designed by Grimshaw Architects is also part of the expansion vision. In agreement with the Airports Commission’s recommendation, the UK government offered their endorsement of the Heathrow expansion over adding a second runway to Gatwick Airport south of London. The UK Department for Transport said the government’s decision would boost the economy, and the government said the project could create 77,000 jobs. They proposed a night flight ban and noise restrictions to combat noise pollution . Related: Exciting new designs for Heathrow Airport’s expansion unveiled Heathrow Airport had already chosen Grimshaw Architects as the designer for a sixth terminal, hoping to send the signal they would be ready to start the project once they obtained government approval. It was Heathrow’s opinion that after uncertainty following the vote to leave the European Union, the government could show confidence in the UK’s economy and future by expanding the airport. Grimshaw Architects says their vision for the new terminal is affordable and sustainable . But not everyone is thrilled with the decision to expand the airport. A new runway could bring in thousands more flights each year, increasing air and noise pollution in London according to Mayor Sadiq Khan. Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley told The Guardian, “The decision to expand Heathrow tramples over the concerns of local people and puts a wrecking ball through the government’s claim to be concerned about climate change .” The village of Harmondsworth will be at least partly demolished to make room for the expansion, and residents feel upset and betrayed . Parliament will vote on the airport expansion next year or in 2018 and if granted approval the new runway could be completed in 2025. + Grimshaw Architects Via The Guardian Images via Grimshaw Architects

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Protected mangroves off the coast of Miami razed for a boat show

June 30, 2015 by  
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Wetlands and mangroves along much of the Gulf Coast are vital coastal ecosystems that also defend against sea level rise and storm surges . For decades these wetlands have been under attack from coastal development and the oil and gas industry, which is why large swathes are now protected. All of this makes it all the more baffling that a private contractor has destroyed a 300-foot stretch of mangrove trees near Miami as part of preparations for the 2016 Miami International Boat Show , yet Mayor Tomas Regalado appears largely unconcerned. Read the rest of Protected mangroves off the coast of Miami razed for a boat show Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bay biscayne , envrionmental destruction , florida keys , hurricane season , international boat show , miami marine stadium , protected mangroves , sea level rise , wetlands destruction , wetlands ecosystem , wetlands loss

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