California becomes first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals

October 17, 2017 by  
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In a move which is being applauded by animal rights activists, California is officially the first state to ban puppy mills. The revised measure AB485 requires pet stores to sell dogs, cats, and rabbits from animal shelters, rescue groups or adoption centers. The goal? To ensure better treatment of animals and to secure homes for some of the 1.5 million animals which are euthanized across the United States each year. On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation which will go into effect January 1, 2019. Stores could be fined up to $500 for the sale of an animal that is not a rescue . Before the measure was signed, 36 cities — including Los Angeles and San Francisco — passed similar bans on mass breeding operations. Related: South Korea’s President adopts rescue puppy, saving it from the dog meat trade Supporters of the legislation include The Humane Society  and the  American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  (ASPCA). Both groups agree that the bill will ensure better treatment of animals, prevent unnecessary cruelty (which is prevalent among puppy mills) and promote more rescue adoptions. Not everyone is pleased with the development, however. Private pet store owners fear the puppy mill ban will hurt business and “limit consumer access to the most popular breeds,” reports Today . Animal rights activists argue that animal welfare is the number one priority and that the new mandate is a “win” for voiceless, defenseless pets . Supporters of California’s new law hope it will inspire other states to pass similar legislation. After all, puppy mills — from which 99 percent of pet store puppies are sourced — are notorious for being inhumane and unsanitary. As DoSomething reports, female dogs are bred at every opportunity, which exhausts them and results in premature deaths. Plus, puppies sourced from the facilities oftentimes have bleeding or swollen paws, severe tooth decay, ear infections, dehydration , and lesions. These are but a few reasons puppy mills should be banned nationwide, and why animal lovers are celebrating California’s new law. Via Today , DoSomething Images via Pixabay

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California becomes first state to require pet stores to sell rescue animals

As the permafrost thaws, entire villages may be forced to move

October 17, 2017 by  
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Thawing permafrost is set to radically alter the landscape of northern parts of the United States. Roads, homes, and infrastructure built atop permafrost can crack or collapse as it melts. And whole villages may have to relocate. Vladimir Romanovsky, University of Alaska in Fairbanks geophysics professor, told the BBC “by now there are 70 villages who really have to move because of thawing permafrost.” Permafrost covers almost 90 percent of Alaska – so if the thawing keeps up, people will have to leave their homes as building foundations and infrastructure collapse. Sewer and water lines buried in permafrost can also break as the frozen soil melts. Villages that depend on lakes for water can be hit as nearby permafrost thaws and a lateral drain happens. Related: Tiny Alaskan village votes to abandon 400-year-old ancestral home because of climate change Some people are already seeing impacts. Materials engineer for Northern Region of the Alaska Department of Transportation Public Facilities Jeff Currey told the BBC, “We are seeing some increased maintenance on existing roads over permafrost. One of our maintenance superintendents recently told me his folks are having to patch settling areas on the highways he’s responsible for more frequently than they were 10 or 20 years ago.” United States Geological Survey research indicates that villages, such as Kivalina in the southwest part of the state, will have to move away within the coming decade. Romanovsky said it could cost around $200 million to move a 300-person village. And permafrost holds a large amount of carbon , which stands to be released into the air. Romanovsky said, “Theoretically if this carbon is released to the atmosphere, the amount of CO2 will be three times more than what is in there [in the atmosphere ] now.” And it would be difficult to refreeze permafrost in our lifetime. Via the BBC Images via Andrea Pokrzywinski on Flickr ( 1 , 2 )

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As the permafrost thaws, entire villages may be forced to move

Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

October 17, 2017 by  
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Google has recently added 12 celestial bodies to its Google Maps application. Although armchair space travelers have been able to virtually cruise around the Moon and Mars for years, the list of planets and moons to discover now includes Mercury, Venus, the dwarf planets of Ceres and Pluto, six of Saturn’s moons, and three moons of Jupiter, including Io and Europa. The additional content would not have been possible without Cassini, the recently deceased spacecraft that captured hundreds of thousands of images as it traveled the galaxy over the past two decades. To compile these digital versions of objects in our solar system, the team at Google Maps used images captured by NASA, ESA, and other space agencies and combined them to create a seamless scrollable map, if enough high quality images were available, or a general overview of the planet or moon. Through these maps, earthbound space travelers can explore the mountains , valleys, and wide open plains of planets like Mars or moons like Titan. To reach the outer space section of Google Maps, all you have to do is zoom out far enough from Earth. Related: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space Many of the images used to create the Google Maps of our solar system were gathered through the Cassini-Huygens mission, commonly referred to as Cassini for the Cassini orbiter probe which traveled from Earth to Saturn. Huygens refers to the Huygens lander, which achieved the first landing ever in the outer solar system when it arrived on Saturn’s moon of Titan in 2005. In its 20-year flight,  Cassini  captured countless, invaluable photographs of the solar system and was widely recognized as a “mission of firsts” for the way in which its discoveries revolutionized the way we understand our solar system. Thanks for  Cassini, Google’s Maps are filled with breathtaking images for people to explore from wherever there is Internet access. Via New Atlas and Google Images via Google Maps

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Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon

October 9, 2017 by  
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Humankind took steps on the moon for the first time in 1969, and now vice president Mike Pence says it’s time to go back. He penned an opinion editorial piece for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating “America will lead in space again,” and also spoke on the topic at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council in Virginia at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This isn’t the first time Pence has hinted at a return to the moon. He talked about the idea back in July at the Kennedy Space Center. At the National Space Council meeting, he said, “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon – not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond.” Related: Pence vows America will put ‘boots on the face of Mars’ in near future The Verge pointed out this would mark a shift for NASA , which since 2010 has concentrated on sending humans to Mars without a return to the moon. They said the goal of a presence on the moon surface is a return to President George W. Bush’s vision . Pence described the move to go back as a vital strategic goal, saying NASA should refocus on human exploration and discovery. NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement , “The National Space Council acknowledged the strategic importance of cis-lunar space – the region around the moon – which will serve as a proving ground for missions to Mars and beyond and advance our stepping stone approach to going farther into the solar system .” Pence also said according to the intelligence community, China and Russia are developing antisatellite technology, saying in his article, “We will renew America’s commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security.” The vice president did look ahead to the red planet in his WSJ article, saying, “America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars.” Via The Verge Images via NASA and Wikimedia Commons

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Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon

Solar SILO home uses light to feel much larger than its actual size

October 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Daylight, fresh air, and greenery fill this self-sufficient solar home that feels much larger than its actual size. Students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology designed this net-zero dwelling, named SILO, short for ‘Smart Innovative Living Oasis.’ Inspired by farmhouse architecture, SILO blends a rustic aesthetic with cutting-edge technology to create a homey and completely automated dwelling that ensures stress-free comfort year-round. Home automation is at the heart of SILO. From the HVAC system to lighting, these engineered systems work in tandem to create a comfortable and energy-efficient living space. An energy monitoring system sends feedback to the central control system to improve efficiency and includes the ability to sell excess energy generated by the 8.5-kW rooftop solar array back to the grid. The homeowner can also control all of the home’s systems manually via smartphone or voice commands. Related: The Nest home is a solar-powered prefab made from recycled shipping containers SILO features a flexible open-floor plan that emphasizes views of the outdoors and access to natural light. The light-filled home feels much larger than its actual size thanks to a high-ceiling living area and glazing that wraps both ends of the home. A graywater system feeds into a beautiful water wall, while treated water is reused for irrigation of non-edible landscaping such as the movable green wall. A clay plaster made partly with recycled materials was used as wall paint and boasts air-purifying and humidity-regulating benefits. SILO was designed and built for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2017 and will return to Missouri to be part of the university’s eco-village after the competition. + Solar Decathlon Images by Mike Chino

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Solar SILO home uses light to feel much larger than its actual size

EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

October 6, 2017 by  
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Big Brown, a coal -fired Texas power plant, spews out sulfur dioxide at rates as much as 50 times higher than coal plants fitted with newer technology. Under President Barack Obama , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed to clean up Big Brown and six other Texas plants in three to five years. But President Donald Trump’s EPA, headed by Scott Pruitt , just released a final rule that will enable these polluting plants to keep on pumping lung irritants into the air. Big Brown and the other six plants together generate more sulfur dioxide pollution than power stations from over 25 states combined, according to Sierra Club senior attorney Elena Saxonhouse. She wrote the former EPA had slated the stations for cleanup, “setting emission limits for sulfur dioxide consistent with modern scrubbers,” equipment that can yank out sulfur dioxide before it billows out of a plant’s smokestacks. The two boilers at Big Brown and nine other coal-fired boilers don’t have scrubbers at all. Four other boilers also part of the proposal do have scrubbers, but they’re from the 1970’s and don’t work as well as modern technology. Related: Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites But it seems Pruitt doesn’t care about harmful pollutants. He tossed out the proposed rule for a final rule Sierra Club described as a do-nothing plan, where Big Brown and the other plants can go on polluting as normal. Saxonhouse wrote in an article for Sierra Club, “Pruitt’s decision to scrap the proposed clean air protections fits a pattern of backward-looking decisions in this Administration , which has tied itself in knots trying to prop up the coal industry .” The cleanup plan would have implemented the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program. The proposed upgrades would have removed over 180,000 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution a year. One analysis found the proposal could have saved over 600 lives every single year. But the final rule means the coal plants can keep polluting, potentially leading to harmful health impacts for humans. According to Saxonhouse, “In making this about-face, EPA had to shove aside reams of technical and scientific data prepared by the previous administration, and ignore the legal framework of the Regional Haze program. And EPA failed to take any public comment on the new plan, despite the fact that thousands of citizens had written in to support the strong proposal.” Via Sierra Club Images via Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons and Roy Luck on Flickr

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EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

Category 5 Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever

September 5, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm , and could be one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that Irma could potentially be catastrophic, with winds whirling at 180 miles per hour – so strong that they are showing up on earthquake monitoring equipment. Even worse, the NHC said there’s an increasing chance the storm will slam into  Florida . With sustained winds of 180mph, #Irma is now stronger than Katrina was at its peak. A monstrous, horrific storm. pic.twitter.com/jCwe4XTPxS — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) September 5, 2017 With the United States still reeling after Tropical Storm Harvey , communities are bracing for another catastrophe as Irma is looking like it will impact Florida later this week or during the weekend. But there are also many other islands it could hit on its way to the United States. Irma could affect the Leeward Islands as an “extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane” soon, according to NHC . It could also impact the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Cuba. Related: 1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh NHC said it’s too early to determine Irma’s direct impacts on the continental United States, other than an increasing chance it could affect the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys. Florida governor Rick Scott doesn’t seem to be taking any chances. He declared a state of emergency in Florida after a Monday advisory update. He’s activated 100 National Guard members and 6,000 stand ready. He’s spoken with President Donald Trump , and the Orlando Sentinel said Trump activated pre-landfall emergency declaration so federal funds and resources will be available. Scott said, “Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared…while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, most forecast models indicate the whole state of Florida could feel the hurricane’s impact. NHC urged everyone in hurricane-prone areas to “ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.” Via the Orlando Sentinel and the National Hurricane Center Images via Wikimedia Commons and the National Hurricane Center

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Category 5 Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever

Dubai is building 500km of new bicycle lanes

August 30, 2017 by  
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The streets of Dubai are about to get greener, after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid approved construction of 500km of bike lanes by 2021. The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai also approved walking paths along Dubai Creek, additional metro stations and dedicated bus lanes, all in the hopes of encouraging exercise, improving transportation and helping reduce car dependence. Dubai has struggled with air pollution as it has expanded, and helped contribute to the United Arab Emirates ranking as the most polluted nation in the world in 2015. Improving that air quality is going to require a multi-pronged approach. The city has already approved a huge, pedestrian-friendly urban green space , wind-powered skyscrapers and the third largest solar park in the world.  ???: ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?????? "??? ???????? ???" https://t.co/QEuGdlGgJF #??? pic.twitter.com/e4E7uZKKoS — Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) August 29, 2017 Related: Dubai’s crazy rotating wind-powered skyscraper is actually being built Most of the approved new projects are related to Expo 2020, with construction to begin next year in time for the Expo. The plan includes adding 5 new metro stations, which can accommodate an additional 650,000 passengers a day, along with upgrading many existing roads. Bus lanes will help improve mass transit, while bike lanes will cross the city, encouraging people to ride bikes rather than drive cars. Some of the improvements aren’t so green, however, including doubling the capacity of Dubai-Al Ain Road and paving new roads, which will help facilitate transportation, but won’t help Dubai’s pollution problems. via The National images via Deposit Photos  and Pixabay

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Dubai is building 500km of new bicycle lanes

Germany: A Recycling Program That Actually Works

July 11, 2017 by  
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In 2009, President Obama was inaugurated, Facebook had 360 million users, and the iPhone was still a rather new invention. In 2017, President Trump was inaugurated, Facebook has hit 2 billion users, and we have a robot that disassembles old iPhones…

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Germany: A Recycling Program That Actually Works

This is how hot it will be in your neck of the woods if we don’t slow climate change

July 11, 2017 by  
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Most of us know that the world is getting hotter – but it’s hard to put that into real perspective, especially when you are arguing with your climate-denying aunt (or, you know, your president). This map makes it easier by showing you how hot your city will be by 2100 if we don’t get emissions under control in comparison to another city. Los Angeles will feel like Belize City, and Chicago will feel like Juarez. And if that doesn’t scare you, consider the fact that many cities in the Middle East – like Baghdad – will be hotter than any current city on Earth. The map isn’t all bad news – it can also show you what will happen if we manage to meet the goals laid out in the Paris agreement instead of letting temperatures climb unchecked. Climate Central worked with the World Meteorological Organization to determine what cities would look like if temps climb 14.4 degrees F across the world by 2100 (or 7 degrees F if we begin to control emissions). Related: This map reveals which countries will survive climate change (and which countries are in big trouble) Climate Central also used to have a US-based map, but the organization said that they decided to create a world map because the conversation has moved away from the US now that Trump has pulled us out of the climate accord. They also decided to focus on urban areas because that is where the greatest number of people live, and cities experience the urban heat island effect, which can make them feel even hotter than more rural areas. + Climate Central via Fast Company image via Depositphotos

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