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  1. #61

  2. #62
    London Is Changing Its Skyscraper Designs—to Favor Cyclists

    Wind tunnels and downdrafts can make life difficult for cyclists and pedestrians. London's new design rules aim to reduce headwinds.

    Of the many things to consider when putting up a skyscraper, wind is among the most basic: A building’s not much good if it can’t stand up to a stormy day, or sways so much its occupants might as well be on a boat.

    But now, structural engineers, architects, and developers in the historic heart of London have to consider not just how wind affects their structures, but the pedestrians and cyclists

    When wind, which flows faster at higher altitudes, hits a structure, some of it turns downward, running along the face of the building until that downwash hits the ground and turns again, reaching serious speeds.

    In 2011, a gust blew over a truck near a 32-story tower in Leeds, UK, killing a pedestrian. An investigation found that wind speeds on the ground neared 80 mph, the equivalent of a Level 1 hurricane. The city started closing certain roads around the building on windy days, until the building owners spent more than $1 million on mitigation measures, including large, sail-like screens around its base.

    At a less extreme level, too much moving air can make public spaces unpleasant. “When you have high wind areas, people don’t go there,” says Craig Schwitter, a structural engineer who also teaches at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. The plaza between the World Trade Center’s former Twin Towers in New York was a beautiful space, he says, but so windy that nobody liked being there. Outdoor eating spaces are no fun if you can’t hold onto your napkins or newspaper.

  3. #63
    The rise of a new climate activism

    Climate activism isn’t new, but the last year has seen a resurgence in attention devoted to the subject.

  4. #64

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  6. #66
    Oxfam urges shoppers not to buy new clothes for a month

    Second Hand September aims to raise awareness of fashion’s environmental impact

    September occupies a mythical position in the fashion industry, when magazines are traditionally heavy with advertising and substantial winter purchases are made. This year, however, fashion’s most important shopping month will be disrupted by Second Hand September, a drive urging consumers not to buy new clothing for the entire 30 days.

    The Oxfam-organised campaign aims to raise awareness of fashion’s environmental impact. Nicola Tallett, the charity’s director of engagement, said: “We have seen on a daily basis the impact of the climate emergency on people living in poverty, whether through the droughts in east Africa or the earthquakes in Asia, and we wanted to do something about it.”

  7. #67
    New wildfire models to predict how wildfires will burn in next 20 minutes

    Chemistry of plants makes a big difference in how quickly they burn

    While it's impossible to predict just where the next wildfire will start, new Department of Defense-sponsored research from Brigham Young University's Fire Research Lab is getting into the microscopic details of how fires initiate to provide more insight into how wildfires burn through wildland fuels.

    "We're aiming towards giving answers on how a fire might propagate in the next 20 minutes or half hour instead of the next two weeks."

  8. #68
    Fukushima: Japan will have to dump radioactive water into Pacific, minister says

    More than a million tonnes of contaminated water lies in storage but power company says it will run out of space by 2022

    Tepco has attempted to remove most radionuclides from the excess water, but the technology does not exist to rid the water of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. Coastal nuclear plants commonly dump water that contains tritium into the ocean. It occurs in minute amounts in nature.

    Tepco admitted last year that the water in its tanks still contained contaminants beside tritium.

    Currently, more than 1m tonnes of contaminated water is held in almost 1,000 tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi site, but the utility has warned that it will run out of tank space by the summer of 2022.

    “The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Yoshiaki Harada told a news briefing in Tokyo on Tuesday. “The whole of the government will discuss this, but I would like to offer my simple opinion.”

  9. #69
    Brain activity intensity drives need for sleep

    The intensity of brain activity during the day, notwithstanding how long we've been awake, appears to increase our need for sleep, according to a new study in zebrafish.

  10. #70
    Climate change is too middle class – here’s how to fix that

    Researchers working in the field of climate change communications have, for many years, been confronted with the same puzzle: why, when there is widespread recognition of the importance of climate change, has there not been any sustained demand for action?

    In my own research, I have found correlations between regional media consumption and climate belief that cut across income-based groups in unpredictable ways. So, for example, readers of The Sun (a right-wing tabloid) showed much higher levels of scepticism than those loyal to the left-leaning Scottish Daily Record, but with no clear link between income and climate belief. Maybe partly because of this, researchers have tended to focus on questions of identity and values rather than class (or race).

    But I and many others have a strong sense of this divide. The environmental movement has always had a middle class aura to it and, in spite of attempts to use the language of inclusivity, it has never quite lost this tag. In my research I have seen, among those in the lower economic groups, a marked tendency to use distancing terminology such as “middle class tree-huggers” and “green lobby”. This is fed by a mainstream media that positions environmentalism as the privilege of the wealthy who don’t need to worry about bread and butter issues – as one of my respondents noted, it feels like “fiddling while Rome burns”.

    Engaging those in lower income groups is clearly a distinct challenge.

    We found widespread collapse in public trust across all different groups in both the US and the UK. This extended beyond political actors to the range of voices which feed into public decision making – scientists with an agenda; economists who led us into the financial crisis; lawyers who let politicians off the hook and so on. The result is a real lack of faith in the political process, and a sense of a dysfunctional democracy.

  11. #71
    Bartenders embrace CBD cocktail trend

    With products made from hemp becoming more commonplace, the drinks industry is looking to the likes of compounds such as CBD to add a sense of frisson to cocktails. The Spirits Business spoke to those leading the trend.

  12. #72
    Robot priests more acceptable to Protestants than Catholics, says professor

    Can AI create better priests? Are we prepared to worship via machines rather than fallible humans? A Villanova University professor believes a post-human priesthood has its advantages.

    Recently, the subject has invoked humor. This is largely thanks to Anthony Levandowski, the former Google and Uber engineer currently embroiled in a lawsuit as to his, well, ethical purity.

    A couple of years ago, he announced the creation of a Church of the AI God. At the time, he explained: "It's not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?"

    For example, one of the first things that come to many minds if you mention the Catholic Church is the constant sexual abuse and pedophilia scandals.

    Perhaps a non-human priest -- armed with all the holy knowledge imaginable and none of the unholy behavior -- might be the perfect way to renew the faith.

    Is it possible, though, that some familiar religions might embrace a robot priest, rather than the more fallible kinds the real world seems to produce.

    Ilia Delio, a professor of Christian Theology at Villanova University, offered Vox some fascinating thoughts about this.

    Instead of trying to persuade Catholic worshippers that priests are somehow divinely consecrated, she said, perhaps the existence of robot priests would offer a new perspective on being a good person to deserve eternal life.

    "We have these fixed philosophical ideas and AI challenges those ideas. It challenges Catholicism to move toward a post-human priesthood," she said.

  13. #73

  14. #74

  15. #75
    The Carbon Footprint of the Internet

    CO2 Emissions from Emails, Searches, and Cloud Storage

  16. #76
    New Artificial Blood Could Be Transfused Into Any Patient

    A team of scientists at Japan’s National Defense Medical College have created artificial blood that could be used in any patient, regardless of their blood type, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reports.

    If it moves into human trials, the invention could prove extremely useful in cases when blood of a certain type isn’t available.

  17. #77

  18. #78
    Going green is all about what you gain, not what you give up

    According to The New Republic magazine in June this year: ‘You will have to make sacrifices to save the planet’, while the US newspaper Metro asks: ‘What would you give up to end climate change?’ These headlines, read from my desk in London where I carry out research in environmental psychology, present us with stark choices: between self and society, wellbeing and morality.

  19. #79
    Cross-sector ‘third spaces’ incubate social, climate solutions

    Many architectural and city planning approaches to climate change focus on technical solutions like energy-efficient buildings, which is too little and possibly too late. The solution is to actively create social spaces like coworking, maker and leisure spaces in underused urban buildings.

  20. #80
    The dirty little secret behind 'clean energy' wood pellets

    The wood pellets industry claims that it uses tree branches and waste wood, but environmental groups say there is strong evidence that vast swaths of valuable, untouched forest have been felled in states including North Carolina and Florida to feed the growing sector.

    UK-based researchers found last year that burning wood is a “disaster” for climate change because older trees release large amounts of carbon when they are burned and aren’t always replaced with replanted forests. Even when trees are replaced, it can take up to 100 years to cultivate a wooded area that soaks up as much carbon as was previously released. And the fuel burned in shipping wood pellets to Europe is also a significant source of emissions.

    “When you cut down existing trees and burn them, you immediately put carbon dioxide in the air. None of the companies can guarantee they can regrow untouched forest to capture the same amount of carbon released. The whole renewable forest industry is kind of a hoax in terms of its benefit as climate mitigation.”

    Schlesinger added, however, that burning wood can result in lower emissions than coal if managed and certified properly and could be used as a “bridge fuel” as solar and wind energy continues to expand.

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