State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

August 23, 2018 by  
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Hurricane Lane is swiftly moving along its course toward Hawaii, where a hurricane warning is in effect for Maui and the Big Island. A hurricane watch has also been issued for Kauai and Oahu. According to the National Weather Service , the storm has now been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane and is expected to make contact with the state later today. Related: After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over The NWS reported that “the center of Lane will track dangerously close to the Hawaiian Islands from Thursday through Saturday.” In addition, the organization noted that, “regardless of the exact track of the storm center, life-threatening impacts are likely over some areas as this strong hurricane makes its closest approach.” Despite the storm’s demotion from a Category 5 to a Category 4, many locals are comparing Hurricane Lane to the devastating Hurricane Iniki, which hit Hawaii in 1992. Governor David Ige signed an emergency proclamation on Tuesday in case Hawaii needs relief for “disaster damages, losses and suffering.” In a news release from the Governor’s office , Ige said, “Hurricane Lane is not a well-behaved hurricane. I’ve not seen such dramatic changes in the forecast track as I’ve seen with this storm. I urge our residents and visitors to take this threat seriously and prepare for a significant impact.” Related: The Eye of the Storm dome home can withstand hurricanes — and it’s officially on the market Residents have already “rushed to stores to stock up on bottled water, ramen, toilet paper and other supplies,” according to an Associated Press report. With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph and rainfall accumulations of between 10-15 inches, the storm is expected to cause flash-flooding and landslides in Hawaii. In addition, the NWS has reported the possibility of “large and potentially damaging surf.” As the hurricane continues to approach the Hawaiian coastline, many residents are hoping Lane will show a little more mercy than 1992’s Iniki, which killed six people and caused $1.8 billion worth of damage. Numerous government buildings have closed as the state’s residents prepare for the storm. Via NPR Image via Shutterstock

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State of emergency in effect as Hurricane Lane barrels toward Hawaiian coastline

A spike in tailless whale sightings worries scientists

May 8, 2018 by  
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People have occasionally glimpsed tailless whales in western North America, but a recent spike in sightings has troubled scientists. This year alone, at least three flukeless gray whales have been spotted near California. Ship collisions or killer whale attacks probably aren’t to blame for the injuries; entanglement in fishing equipment is likely the cause. National Geographic reported that when whales are feeding in areas with debris, man-made objects or fishing gear, nets or ropes can get stuck at their tail’s base, slowly sawing off their flukes. Ropes and nets can also cut off blood circulation, causing a whale’s tail to wither away. Entangled whales may not survive, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ‘s (NOAA) California stranding network coordinator Justin Viezbecke. “The majority of them — if not all of them — are going to most likely die from these injuries,” Viezbecke said. Related: Unusually high number of humpback whale deaths prompts NOAA inquiry Losing a tail makes life difficult for whales. Feeding becomes a challenge; the limb serves as a propeller as they navigate to the seafloor and seek out crustaceans. The long migration from Mexico birthing grounds to Arctic feeding grounds can also be hard without a tail. Flukeless mother whales are less capable of defending their babies from killer whales . According to whale biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger, some whales can adapt to the handicap. Brooke Palmer — who posted a YouTube video of a tailless whale near Newport Beach, California earlier this year — said in the video description that the whale was doing “seemingly well as it adapted to the loss of an integral limb. It is sad, but inspirational how resilient and adaptive these beautiful mammals can be.” The increase in tailless gray whale sightings matches up with what National Geographic called a general increase in whale entanglements. There was an average of 10 incidents a year between 2000 and 2012, but in 2017, there were 31 incidents, according to NOAA whale disentangler Pieter Folkens. Folkens said the reason behind the rise is unknown, although it could be possible that people are better at spotting the whales. Via National Geographic Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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A spike in tailless whale sightings worries scientists

Boeing’s new hypersonic plane could circle the globe in 3 hours

February 5, 2018 by  
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Boeing has developed a hypersonic plane that is faster than a speeding bullet. So fast, in fact, that it could circle the globe in just three hours, according to the manufacturer. The plane is designed to use its own shockwaves to increase its speed, and it could herald an entirely new era of flight. The plane was revealed last month, though we are just now getting real details about what it is like. The hypersonic plane is a ‘waverider’ style, which means that it uses the shock waves it creates to increase its speed. It is being developed as a reconnaissance or strike plane, and if it enters production, it will be the fastest plane ever produced, hitting speeds of Mach 5 or higher (that’s a mind-bending 3,836 mph). The development of a hypersonic plane could change the way we engage in warfare, because it means that a threat could arrive so quickly, there would only be minutes to identify it and prepare a defense. It also means that if it were developed as a passenger plane you would be able to travel anywhere across the Atlantic in an hour, and anywhere across the Pacific in two hours. It would go more than twice as fast as the Concorde . Related: Skreemr concept jet aims to fly 5 times as fast as the Concorde Aviation fans are calling the unmanned aircraft “Son of Blackbird,” because it is expected to be the successor of the legendary Lockheed Martin-developed Blackbird SR-71 plane. Some people speculate that it is being called “Valkyrie II” within the industry. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have been locked in a battle to develop hypersonic travel. Lockheed Martin has also been developing its own hypersonic plane, called the SR-72. Only time will tell who breaks the speed barrier first. Via Daily Mail and Popular Mechanics Images via Lockheed Martin and Boeing

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Boeing’s new hypersonic plane could circle the globe in 3 hours

Most active volcano in the Philippines sends locals and tourists fleeing

January 16, 2018 by  
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Mount Mayon, the most active volcano in the Philippines , sent lava billowing down its slopes on Tuesday and prompted an evacuation of more than 21,000 locals who live in threatened areas. According to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, lava flowed as far as 1.2 miles from the crater while ash from the volcanic activity spread to several communities in the northeastern Albay Province, where Mayon is located. Although the sight of an active volcano is breathtaking, authorities have advised that people remain beyond the 3.7-4.3 mile danger zone around Mayon. “They say it’s beauty juxtaposed with danger,” Office of Civil Defense regional director Claudio Yucot said, according to CBS News . Of the at least 21,800 people to be displaced by Mayon’s most recent eruptive episode, over 16,800 have taken shelter in 22 schools throughout the region. Others found safety at the homes of relatives far from the danger zone. Locals have expressed concern for their livestocks, which authorities have met by setting up evacuation areas for animals such as pigs, poultry, water buffalo, and cattle.  Despite the vivid display of danger, the volcano’s current lava spell was sparked by lava fragments splitting from the lava flow, not from an explosive eruption from within the crater. Further, scientists have not observed the level of volcanic earthquakes that would indicate an imminent eruption. If such an eruption were to appear imminent, authorities say that they are ready for a large-scale evacuation operation. Related: Scientists construct new theory of Yellowstone’s supervolcano hotspot Mayon has erupted about 50 times in the past 500 years, often with great strength. Its first recorded eruption was in 1616 while the most destructive occurred in 1814, when 1,200 people were killed and the town of Cagsawa was buried. The most recent episode before the current occurred in 2013 when an eruption of ash killed five people who attempted to climb the volcano despite warnings. While Mount Mayon may be the most active, it certainly is not the only volcano in the Philippines. Mayon is a part of the Ring of Fire, an area in the Pacific in which seismic faults are plentiful and often produce earthquakes and volcanic activity. Via CBS News Images via Denvie Balidoy/Flickr and Tom Falcon/Flickr

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Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

January 16, 2018 by  
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Argentina-based Reale Arquitectos just unveiled plans for a stunning office building made completely out of shipping containers . Currently under construction in Miami, the contemporary structure is made out of four repurposed containers strategically configured to give the building plenty of open spaces and great ocean views. In addition to the shipping containers, the project take advantage of a variety of green building strategies including solar power and a rainwater harvesting system. Since its inception, the project focused on combining sophisticated design with sustainable systems . The use of repurposed shipping containers cuts down on building and transportation costs. Additional sustainable features include water heating panels, garden terraces, and a greywater harvesting system . The building also features interior and exterior LED lighting as well as energy-efficient appliances. Related: Affordable shipping container village can pop up almost anywhere in the world To fit into the Miami landscape, the containers were painted a stark white, which also helps with passive cooling. The strategic placement of the containers provides the interior with beautiful views of the Miami shoreline, as well as optimal natural light throughout the interior. The configuration was also pivotal in providing the building with a number of outdoor garden spaces for relaxing, working, or entertaining. + Reale Arquitectos Images via Reale Arquitectos

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Solar-powered Miami office is made entirely from repurposed shipping containers

Ford’s new electric SUV will battle Tesla’s Model X

January 16, 2018 by  
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Over the past few days, Ford has released lots of new information about its future lineup at the Detroit Auto Show. While our eyes were on its latest trucks and even a new Mustang, the automaker quietly dropped some information about its new electric SUV that’s slated to arrive in 2020. In a tweet, Ford posted a quick teaser video with the end of it announcing that the new SUV will be called the Mach 1. Mach 1 isn’t a new name: its roots go back to the 1960s when it was introduced as a performance package for the 1969 Mustang. The decision to use the name for its new electric SUV alludes to the performance that Ford expects from the vehicle. Rather than create en electric crossover, like the Chevy Bolt or upcoming Hyundai Kona EV , Ford is going at it from the other end of the spectrum with a high performance SUV that will rival the Tesla Model X. Related: Hyundai unveils new Nexo fuel cell SUV with an impressive 370-mile range Inspired by icons. Developed by #Ford Team Edison. Born in Detroit. A new all-electric performance SUV. Coming 2020. #FordNAIAS pic.twitter.com/DqFSRAtp8l — Ford Motor Company (@Ford) January 14, 2018 Other than the teaser video, Ford hasn’t released any other details about the Mach 1. When it does arrive in 2020, it will already have a long list of new rivals, including Jaguar’s I-Pace , Audi’s e-tron SUVs and maybe even an electric Porsche SUV. + Twitter All images ©Ford

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How climate resilience officers face ‘the new normal’

October 17, 2017 by  
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What makes a climate resilience officer? According to Kit Batten, climate resilience officer at the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) company, she must assess the risks a company faces from climate impacts, as well as protect the communities the company serves. PG&E covers roughly two-thirds of California, she said, and it must prepare for six climate change drivers throughout the state: Sea level rise; flooding from stronger storms; drought; decreasing ground elevation due to drought; increasing wildfires and heatwaves. 

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Seattle’s Been Sleepless, Now It Goes Strawless

September 5, 2017 by  
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September is the month Seattle stops sucking. At least, that’s what nonprofit organization Lonely Whale Foundation hopes as it launches “Strawless in Seattle” throughout the Pacific Northwest city. The campaign urges residents and businesses to…

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Seattle’s Been Sleepless, Now It Goes Strawless

A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

August 2, 2017 by  
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A few months ago, scientists found a new garbage patch in the Arctic ocean . And now, another pocket of plastics, human trash, and chemical waste has been discovered in a newly-explored region of the Pacific Ocean. Like it’s cousin the “ Great Pacific Garbage Patch ,” it’s an environmental burden that shows just how irresponsible humans have become in recent years. The new patch is located between Hawaii and the mainland US, and it was discovered by the Algalita Research Foundation . Charles Moore led the six-month volunteer voyage. Though researchers are still determining the garbage patch’s size, it is estimated to be as big as a million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) — four times the size of the United Kingdom or 1.5 times the size of Texas ! Moore told ResearchGate : “We discovered tremendous quantities of plastic. My initial impression is that our samples compared to what we were seeing in the North Pacific in 2007, so it’s about ten years behind.” Though the vortex of trash is gargantuan, pictures of the patch are somewhat misleading in terms of the size of debris. Initial analyses reveal that the majority of the plastics are the size of a grain of rice. Of course, there are larger pieces of garbage, such as bottles and fishing nets. So far, it looks as if most of the waste was disposed of by commercial enterprises, such as the fishing industry. This means general consumers are less to blame. “We found a few larger items, occasionally a buoy and some fishing gear, but most of it was broken into bits,” said Moore. Small or large in size, plastic debris still poses a serious threat to marine wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems. It’s estimated that by 2050, 99 percent of birds will have plastic in their guts due to the extraordinary amount of goods disposed of by humans. Though you may think you have nothing to do with the problem, that is unlikely – 80 percent of pollution enters the ocean from land . Over time, plastic debris breaks up into micro-particles that don’t easily biodegrade and are ingested by wildlife. If animals — such as turtles and fish — don’t die from swallowing the trash, their bodies are likely to become more toxic due to the PCBs and other chemicals found in plastics. This, in turn, makes them unsuitable for consumption by humans and other creatures. Related: Shocking study reveals 90% of seabirds have eaten plastic As IFLScience reports, garbage patches in the ocean result from giant systems of circulating currents (gyres) sweeping debris up from ports, harbors, rivers, docks, and ships. The trash then becomes trapped and oftentimes accumulates for years before it is spotted. Though this new vortex of trash is bad news, it doesn’t mean hope is lost. Humans still have time to adopt sustainable habits and prevent climate change from worsening. As innovations are developed to clean up the oceans, individuals and families can reduce their burden on the environment by eating more unpackaged whole, unprocessed foods, bringing recyclable bags to the grocery store and boycotting plastic whenever possible. Via Research Gate Images via Pinterest , Charles Moore, YouTube

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A garbage patch bigger than Texas was just discovered in the Pacific Ocean

Two storms are about to collide in rare Fujiwhara dance

July 28, 2017 by  
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Have you ever wondered what happens when two cyclones get a little too close to each other? As we’re witnessing off the coast of Mexico this week, it can be strangely beautiful. Tropical Storms Irwin and Hilary are nearing each other, and when they meet, they will engage in what is called a Fujiwhara dance, where two storms tango around each other until the stronger “eats” the weaker storm. A Fujiwhara dance occurs when two storms get close enough for their circulations to impact one another – about 600 miles apart, depending on the size of the storm. This particular storm looks like bad news for Irwin – scientists expect the two storms to whirl around each other like a giant fidget spinner before Irwin weakens and is consumed by Hilary. Related: Unchecked global warming could bring the worst hurricanes ever seen by the end of this century Fujiawhara storms are not that common, but this summer we’ve already had two. Last week, Typhoon Noru and the former Tropical Storm Kulap danced it out, resulting in Kalup’s death. The presence of two separate colliding storms is unheard of and it is likely due to the fact that we are having a much higher than average number of storms in the Pacific this year, an instance that many scientists believe is due to global warming . Via Mashable Images via Dr. Ryan Maue/Weatherbell Analytics and earth.nullschool.net

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Two storms are about to collide in rare Fujiwhara dance

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