Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

August 30, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Harvey didn’t just devastate homes and businesses – it may also have totaled up to half a million cars. An estimated 500,000 Texan vehicles will likely be scrapped, leading to a massive sales wave of new and used cars in the near future. Compared to the fallout of other major storms, such as Hurricane Sandy , the density of totaled vehicles in Houston is staggering. Cox Automotive — the company behind Kelly Blue Book and Autotrader — told CNBC that nearly 500,000 vehicles are likely to be totaled. Reportedly, “scores” of trucks and cars had water up to their windows and, in some cases, over the hood and roof. Said Jonathon Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, “This is worse than Hurricane Sandy . Sandy was bad, but the flooding with Hurricane Harvey could impact far more vehicles.” 250,000 vehicles were scrapped in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy battered New York and New Jersey. Related: 1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh Whenever a hurricane hits, it leaves a legacy of damaged property, industrial waste, raw sewage, and oil spills – and the repercussions of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for many months. According to Ryan Maue with Weatherbell, 11 trillion gallons of rain dumped on the state during the actual storm ; by the time the weather dissipates completely, that number is expected to increase to 25 trillion gallons of rain. In total, 30,000 people sought temporary shelter and 450,000 are expected to seek assistance from FEMA . Via Jalopnik , CNN , CNBC Images via Defense.gov

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Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

August 30, 2017 by  
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Monsoon rains have drenched India , Bangladesh , and Nepal in what some people are saying is the worst flooding disaster to hit the area in years. South Asia often battles flooding during monsoon season, which runs from around June to September, but authorities say the disaster has been worse this year. At least 1,200 people have died, and millions of people have been left homeless after the deluge. Floods have washed away tens of thousands of houses and led to landslides in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. Electric towers and roads have been damaged, while farmland has filled with water. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said floods have impacted over 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, where over 697,000 homes have been demolished. Related: World is failing to prepare for increasing natural disasters, UN expert says In the state of Bihar in India, 17.1 million people have been impacted, with 514 killed. Disaster management official Anirudh Kumar of Patna, Bihar’s capital, said 2017’s farming has collapsed due to the waters, which will cause more unemployment in the area. In Uttar Pradesh, 2.5 million have been affected and 109 have died. Thousands of people in the country have sought shelter in relief camps. And landslides in Nepal have killed over 100 people, according to IFRC. According to international aid agencies, flooding has cut off thousands of villages, where people are suffering without clean water or food for days. In Mumbai , India, public transportation was halted and people were left stranded because of the floods. In some places, people waded through water up to their waists. Rescue missions were thwarted because of the rains; Mumbai joint police commissioner Amitesh Kumar said, “Even we are stranded.” The city is vulnerable to storms since buildings have been constructed on coastal areas and flood plains, and waterways and storm drains are often blocked by plastic garbage . Via The Independent and The Guardian Images via screenshot and screenshot

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1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic

August 30, 2017 by  
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Earth is presently experiencing its sixth “mass extinction,” and humans are largely to blame, says a leading academic. In his new book The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, Professor Patel of the University of Texas explains how mass deforestation to clear grounds to grow mono-crops, the creation of large dead zones in the sea caused by run-off of fertilizers, and the trend of over-fishing are a detriment to the world and are driving the destruction of our planet. “The footprint of global agriculture is vast. Industrial agriculture is absolutely responsible for driving deforestation, absolutely responsible for pushing industrial monoculture , and that means it is responsible for species loss,” said Patel. “We’re losing species we have never heard of, those we’ve yet to put a name to and industrial agriculture is very much at the spear-tip of that.” In an interview with The Independent , Patel pointed to the largest-ever “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico . The region has too little oxygen for marine life as a result of vast amounts of fertilizers washing from farms in mainland US into the ocean. “That dead zone isn’t an accident. It’s a requirement of industrial agriculture to get rid of the sh*t and the run-off elsewhere because you cannot make industrial agriculture workable unless you kick the costs somewhere else,” he said. “The story of industrial agriculture is all about externalising costs and exploiting nature.” Mono-crops, such as soy and corn, are big offenders in Patel’s book. Not only does the farming practice result in a loss of diversity , it eliminates habitats of potentially endangered species, including elephants, jaguars, and penguins.“Extinction is about the elimination of diversity. What happens in Brazil and other places is you get green deserts — monocultures of soy and nothing else,” he said. Evidence of this can be found in Sumatra, where forests are being decimated to make way for palm plantations and industrial meat factories. In the oceans, anchovies and sardines and being overfished . Rather than being consumed by humans, however, they are ground up and added to feed for salmon, pigs, and chickens. For animals that feed on them, such as penguins, this spells trouble as their food source is declining. The Professor is urging consumers to “think on a bigger scale.” Said Patel, “‘As a consumer’ you are only allowing yourself a range of action. ‘As a consumer ’ you can buy something that’s local and sustainable, that’s labelled as organic or fair trade.” He added, “But ‘as a consumer’, you don’t get to do a whole lot of good. As a citizen, as a decent person, you can demand more from your government, from one’s employer, from yourself. Related: The sixth mass extinction is killing off wildlife 100 times faster than “normal” The activist urges people to be aware of their power “as part of a society where we can change things.” He said, “We have this power to change things in the future. What we have to do is make that change.” The answer is not vegetarianism , he said (though it will surely help). Rather, it’s time humanity switch to a world in which resources were shared and looked after. Patel urges a shift in mentality, as well, as people’s “images of consumption that are entirely unsustainable .” Professor Patel will be a keynote speaker at the Extinction and Livestock Conference in London in October. The event is organized by groups such as Compassion in World Farming and WWF and is being held to raise awareness about the rapid rate of species loss which could ultimately lead to the sixth mass extinction of life. Via The Independent Images via Pixabay

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Sixth mass extinction on Earth is driven by industrial farming, says leading academic

UK architect helps locals rebuild Nepal temple destroyed by earthquake

January 17, 2017 by  
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The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that battered Nepal in 2015 damaged 100 homes, killed three people, and devastated what many consider to be the country’s oldest Hindu temple in Changu Village alone. Slowly locals are rebuilding their beloved Changu Narayan temple with help from a British architect, who also helped restore Angkor Wat in Cambodia through the World Monuments Fund . Locals say the Hindu god Vishnu once appeared at Changu Narayan, the fifth century temple dedicated to the deity. Only priests ever entered the intricately carved wooden structure before the earthquake. When locals witnessed the devastation inflicted on the World Heritage Site by the natural disaster, they felt their lives had ended. But they didn’t give up hope, and began to rebuild. 61-year-old Gyan Bahadur Bhadal, who is one of a group of villagers maintaining the temple, told The Associated Press (AP), “I see now our world coming back alive.” Related: Shigeru Ban will reuse earthquake rubble to build Nepal relief shelters Architect John Sanday has loved Changu Narayan for decades, and told the AP he was very emotional visiting the site after the devastating earthquake, which damaged 600 historical monuments, palaces, and temples in Nepal. Out of those 600, Sanday decided he’d take on the temple as a project, and became a technical adviser for locals. He told the AP, “Sure, it’s peanuts, a little temple, so why is it so special? The detail. The grace. It’s one of the few World Heritage Sites that hasn’t been completely destroyed by development.” So far locals have painstakingly cleaned and made some repairs to the temple, but there’s still work to be done. The community needs to raise around $300,000 to complete the restoration initiative. Inspired by locals’ dedication, Sanday has already helped rebuild a guardhouse-sized shrine. Now he’s looking beyond the shrine to the temple, convinced the ancient building can be saved. Via The Associated Press Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

October 17, 2016 by  
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Severe flooding caused a wave of destruction and death in Vietnam . At least 21 people have perished in the country, and thousands of homes are completely underwater. Even as the country struggles to recover, Typhoon Sarika threatens even more devastation. Heavy rains caused the flooding, but according to local media, water rushing out from hydropower reserves made the flooding worse. One provincial official told local news organization VnExpress “dam operators should have informed locals properly in advance” and that water levels rose quickly after water flowed out from hydropower plants. Related: 21 rare one-horned Indian rhinos drown in monsoon flooding The Quang Binh province has been hit the hardest; there, around 11 people perished. Crops were damaged and floods carried away livestock. Over 70,000 homes were damaged by the flood in the stricken province, and in the nearby province of Ha Tinh, floods damaged nearly 25,000 homes. Some locals were trapped, and the government commanded military and police to rescue citizens. A major north-south rail transport was also affected by the floods. Conditions could worsen if Typhoon Sarika strikes the country. Vietnam’s weather bureau is predicting the typhoon will hit the northern part of the country possibly on Wednesday , and could lead to landslides and more flooding. Tran Le Dang Hung, a disaster official, told the AP, “We are worried. We have instructed district governments to outlet plans for evacuating people.” Typhoon Sarika caused at least two deaths in the Philippines over the weekend, and displaced over 150,000 people. According to meteorologists , the 2016 monsoon season in Asia has been one of the most extreme seasons in years. El Niño only worsened the weather. Hundreds of people have died in India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. Millions have had to leave their homes. Via the BBC and The Guardian Images via S B on Flickr and screenshot

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Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

Cubicco’s hurricane-proof modular homes break into Miami’s construction scene

October 17, 2016 by  
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A standard model Cubicco home is far and above what one might expect from a prefabricated house. Stylish and modern in appearance, each home is also designed to be energy efficient. Packages include options for solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels to make use of Florida’s abundant sunshine and reduce reliance on grid power. Cubicco homes also include rainwater collection systems for landscaping (or for filtration and use inside the home) and vertical gardens (that can be irrigated using repurposed rainwater). Each home makes use of renewable building materials throughout, including a sustainably-harvested wood exterior and cork. Related: Hermine is first hurricane in 11 years to make landfall in Florida Additionally, Cubicco took the surrounding climate into consideration for its final designs. As a result, the state of Florida approved the modular homes for use in high velocity hurricane zones (HVHZ) where buildings must be able to withstand winds up to 180 miles per hour, which is stronger than a Category 5 hurricane . This rating makes Cubicco homes appropriate for all areas in Florida, including Miami-Dade County, where HVHZ codes are the most stringent. Cubicco’s homes are modular, so they can be as small or as large as desired. Additional modules can even be added later down the line, making it fairly simple for the home to grow along with your family. Would-be homeowners who live within 200 miles of a Cubicco assembly line have the ability to purchase a finished home and have it delivered to their site. Anyone living more than 200 miles away will have to purchase through one of Cubicco’s Certified Assembly Partners, which is a network of builders and developers approved to erect one of the flat-packed homes. + Cubicco Via New Atlas Images via Cubicco

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Cubicco’s hurricane-proof modular homes break into Miami’s construction scene

Certain earthquakes threaten skyscrapers more than others

August 25, 2015 by  
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It’s not the size of the earthquake so much as its rate of oscillation that determines the extent of injuries and damage, suggest two scientific papers published recently. Following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake near Kathmandu in April, experts expected the number of deaths to be comparable to a 2005 quake that hit a less-populated area of Kashmir. The actual death toll was close to 9,000 in Nepal, nowhere near the 85,000 people who died in the earlier quake. That “is actually a small number given the density of the population in the Kathmandu area and the vulnerability of the buildings,” Jean-Philippe Avouac, the author of the papers, told The New York Times. Read the rest of Certain earthquakes threaten skyscrapers more than others

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Hydrogen-fueled charger keeps smartphones powered for an entire week

August 25, 2015 by  
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Smartphones are life-changing, but their tendency to lose juice so fast is infuriating. Intelligent Energy ’s hydrogen fuel cell charger answers the prayers of frustrated smartphone users everywhere. The new device keeps an iPhone charged for up to seven days . By shrinking technology used to fuel eco-friendly cars, the company has created a pocket-size prototypes that can fit inside an iPhone 6 without making it bulky. Read the rest of Hydrogen-fueled charger keeps smartphones powered for an entire week

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Hydrogen-fueled charger keeps smartphones powered for an entire week

Shigeru Ban will reuse earthquake rubble to build Nepal relief shelters

July 27, 2015 by  
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Unatti Foundation girls selflessly cook for thousands of earthquake victims

May 3, 2015 by  
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The young Nepali women of the nonprofit Unatti Foundation have responded to Nepal’s devastating magnitude-7.8 earthquake in a big-hearted way. These young humanitarians, aged from 4 to 20, are helping cook for over 3,500 people affected by the earthquake in Bhaktapur. The 18 girls and women are a part of Unatti Foundation’s group home, which works to educate and empower underserved girls who are often rescued from child labor. You can click here to find out how you can help the victims of the Nepal earthquake or learn more about the Unatti Foundation girls’ noble efforts in the link below. READ MORE> Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bhaktapur , Nepal earthquake , Nepal earthquake cooking , Unatti Foundation

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