After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

August 8, 2018 by  
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After more than three months of continuous eruption, Mount Kilauea on Hawaii’s Big Island has finally stopped emitting lava. At the base of Kilauea, fissure 8 has been the longest lasting and most destructive of the two dozen fissures that formed throughout the eruption, and its lava flow is now coming to a halt. United States Geological Survey (USGS)  announced Monday, “This morning’s overflight crew saw a weak to moderately active bubbling lava lake within the fissure 8 cone, a weak gas plume and a completely crusted lava channel.” The Halema’uma’u crater deflations have also slowed down, and the Pu’u ‘O’o vent has reduced its sulfur dioxide emissions, revealing magma within the crater to be at very low levels. But it is still unknown whether activity from Kilauea has subsided completely. “In 1955, there was an eruption that went on for 88 days, and it did include two shutdowns of five and 16 days, so that’s a model for what might be happening,” said Tina Neal, chief scientist at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory . “It could be weeks or months before we feel comfortable calling the eruption and the summit collapse over.” Related: Mount Kilauea transforms Hawaii’s coastline with the birth of a new island The fissure has been responsible for spurts of deadly magma of over 200 feet and rare volcanic tornadoes of lava , fire, smoke and ash suspended in the air. All in all, the destruction has claimed more than 700 homes. Impending Hurricane Hector is expected to hit the Big Island next, where heavy rainfall could create a “white out” zone as the rain hits the molten lava and creates plumes of steam and sulfur dioxide. + USGS Via Reuters , New York Times and Maui Now Images via U.S. Geological Survey

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After three months, Kilauea eruptions might be over

Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

August 8, 2018 by  
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If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in The Sea Ranch community, here’s your chance to spend the night in one of the original mid-century cabins recently restored by Oakland-based design practice Framestudio . Originally designed by San Francisco Bay area architect Joseph Esherick in 1968, the Timber Ridge Sea Ranch Cabin was created as part of Demonstration Homes, a project led by developer Oceanic to show how the local design guidelines could produce a beautiful and low-cost getaway. Renovated last year, the 684-square-foot timber cabin is available for short-term rentals on Esherick MiniMod . Set amidst a forest of towering redwood trees in the historic south end of The Sea Ranch, the compact timber cabin — dubbed the Esherick MiniMod — is a peaceful getaway. Framestudio sensitively modernized the three-level cabin while preserving its historic elements; the structure is one of the few remaining Demonstration Homes that’s still close to its original state. Priorities included an updated galley kitchen, increased capacity to sleep a total of six and secure storage areas. “Framestudio developed a scheme which restored many of the original details, hallmarks of Esherick’s design, using wood which had been reclaimed from alterations not original to the design,” the project statement reads. “New interventions were conceived to contrast in color from the historic framework of the home, but constructed from materials suitable for the age of the home.” Related: Wooden Sea Ranch Cabin is nestled in a Californian redwood forest The home’s open-plan nature was preserved, but the layout of the two adjoining bedrooms can be manipulated with a new full-height partition that divides the sleeping area into two separate sections and slides away when not in use. For extra storage, the bedroom alcoves were updated with blue laminate cupboards. Framestudio also added a built-in sofa that includes extra storage and a pullout queen-sized bed. Rates at the Esherick MiniMod begin at $120 per night . + Framestudio + Esherick MiniMod Images by Drew Kelly

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Escape to the Redwoods in this recently renovated Sea Ranch timber cabin

1,000-foot-long fissure opens on Hawaii’s Kilauea as experts prepare for an explosive eruption

May 14, 2018 by  
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Two new fissures cracked open on Hawaii’s erupting Kilauea volcano over the weekend, and magma and rock burst into the air. Local Mark Clawson, who hadn’t evacuated, told Reuters , “It is a near-constant roar akin to a full-throttle 747 interspersed with deafening, earth-shattering explosions that hurl 100-pound lava bombs 100 feet into the air.” The eruptions have destroyed almost 40 buildings and one fissure threatens to disrupt a nearby geothermal plant. Meanwhile, the lava lake in Kilauea has been dropping, prompting experts to prepare for a possible explosive eruption. A new fissure that looks to be around 1,000 feet long is one of the biggest, Reuters said. Hawaii’s Civil Defense ordered more evacuations over the weekend as Kilauea continues erupting . Over 10 days, almost 2,000 people have been told to evacuate. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in an update on Sunday evening local time the eruption “is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible.” They warned communities downslope of the fissures “could be at risk from lava inundation” and that “activity can change rapidly.” Related: Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano eruption has destroyed 26 homes and caused thousands to flee Toxic gases continue to spew as well; Reuters said trees withered and vegetation turned brown in places with strong sulfur dioxide emissions. All this prompted some officials to prepare residents for the possibility of an eruption. “We’ve got all the warning signs we need,” said Steve Brantley, deputy scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory to the  Honolulu Star-Advertiser . “There may not be any additional warning before the magma actually starts moving up to the surface.” The Civil Defense told people living in lower Puna to be prepared to leave, and that “there may be little to no advance notice to evacuate.” Reuters quoted Major Jeff Hickman of the Hawaii National Guard as saying, “We’ve been telling them, ‘Evacuate if you can, because if we have to come in and get you we’ll be putting first responders at risk. There’s a point where we’ll tell our first responders, ‘Nope, you can’t go.’” While the fissures post a risk where they form, the real concern about eruption comes from the fact that the lava level has been dropping inside the volcano. If the volcano does erupt, it could send boulders the size of refrigerators into the air and plumes as high as 20,000 feet, with debris and ashfalls landing tens of miles downwind. The Washington Post reported the volcanic eruption doesn’t just threaten homes, but a geothermal plant residents have been concerned about for a long time. Lawsuits have targeted the Puna Geothermal Venture for its location on an active volcano . Authorities are worried over potential explosions or gas leaks because of Kilauea’s activity. Operations stopped on May 3 and workers removed potentially hazardous chemicals from the facility as a precaution. Via Reuters and The Washington Post Images via the U.S. Geological Survey

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1,000-foot-long fissure opens on Hawaii’s Kilauea as experts prepare for an explosive eruption

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

Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
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The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Study Claims Driving Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Won’t Slow Climate Change

March 5, 2014 by  
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Researchers from North Carolina State University report that despite the recent increase in electric drive passenger vehicles (EDVs) sales, will not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides – even if the trend continues to 2050. But their study assumes that EVs and hybrids will always be powered by fossil fuels, even though renewables are being rapidly implemented not only in the United States, but across the globe. Read the rest of Study Claims Driving Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Won’t Slow Climate Change Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: carbon dioxide , carbon emissions , EDVs , electric hybrid vehicles , electric vehicles , hybrid vehicles , nitrogen oxides , north carolina state unversity , prius , sulfur dioxide , us emission        

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Study Claims Driving Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Won’t Slow Climate Change

Cap & Trade Cut Emissions 50% in 20 years

December 12, 2009 by  
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It’s official. The Acid Rain Cap and Trade program worked

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Cap & Trade Cut Emissions 50% in 20 years

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