Astronauts Snag Dramatic Photographs of Alaska’s Erupting Volcano
“Astronauts living on board the International Space Station managed to get these dramatic pictures of the Pavlof Volcano as it erupted over the weekend. The volcano began acting up last Monday, the 13th, its first eruption since 2007.”
ROCKVILLE, Maryland (Reuters) - U.S. regulators on Thursday approved plans to build the first new nuclear power plant in more than 30 years, despite objections of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman, despite objections of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman, who cited safety concerns stemming from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster.
The NRC voted 4-1 to allow Atlanta-based Southern Co to build and operate two new nuclear power reactors at its existing Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia. The units will cost Southern and partners about $14 billion and enter service as soon as 2016 and 2017.
No nuclear power plants have been licensed in the United States since the partial meltdown of the reactor core of the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania in 1979. After the accident, the NRC adopted more stringent safety standards, which caused construction costs for nuclear plants to skyrocket and stopped dozens of planned plants in their tracks.
“The United States Geological Society (USGS) has launched an online database and map that keeps track of more than 100 million different species and where they live within the United States,
Biodiversity Serving Our Nation (BISON)contains location-specific records of where living species are within the US. Its data comes from hundreds of different organizations and thousands of scientists, making it the most comprehensive map of American biodiversity ever made.
Anyone can search by scientific or common name of any living species (plant or animal), and can look to see what lives within any specific geographic area they want by drawing a perimeter—so, for example, searching to see exactly which forests in Virginia have been infected with a tree fungus.”
If you are wandering around Greenland’s ice sheet and you run into this crazy thing, it is NASA’s GROVER (government acronym for something Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research). It is solar powered and it crawls around Greenland on its own and uses ground-penetrating radar to look at ice. And it’s cool.
NASA robot explores ice in Greenland. Video. Will explore for months at a time via remote. Possibly prototype to explore other planets.
“Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more intense…It’s going to cost a lot of money and a lot of lives…The big issue (is) how do we adapt…because it doesn’t look like the people who are in charge are going to do what it takes to really slow down this climate change, so we are going to have to adapt. And adapting is going to be very, very expensive.”
I’m very tempted to jump on a plane and go to this conference. It’s run by the UNISDR (United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction). It’s basically a conference where politicians, stakeholders, and leaders in DRR gather to discuss and share ideas.
The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction is now the world’s foremost gathering of stakeholders committed to reducing disaster risk and building the resilience of communities and nations.
A stronger and more sustainable ISDR movement world-wide that leads to increased responsibility for reinforcing resilience to disasters.
A dynamic and trend-setting forum for decision makers, partners, experts and practitioners to announce initiatives, launch products, share information, promote campaigns, and provide evidence around disaster risk reduction.
Directions and new alliances for the development and use of new tools and methodologies aimed at understanding and applying the economics and investment in disaster risk reduction.
A forum to discuss progress and consult over a post-Hyogo Framework of Action (HFA).
Events that follow-up and progress on the 2011 Global Platform (examples may include an update on disaster loss in schools and hospitals, accounting for disaster losses, the status of National Platforms, and progress of the Children’s Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction).
What is Resilience? is a nifty, free, 20page, visual ebook overview defining resilience. It’s free, and published by the researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. (Free ebook is free.)
Resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. It is about the capacity to use shocks and disturbances like a financial crisis or climate change to spur renewal and innovative thinking.
This publication presents the major strands within resilience thinking and social-ecological research. It describes the profound imprint we humans have had on nature and ideas on how to deal with the resulting challenges.
The publication is based on three scientific articles that were prepared for the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on global sustainability, which took place in Stockholm in May 2011. The articles were later published in the scientific journal Ambio. They represent a mix of necessary actions and exciting planetary opportunities. They also illustrate how we can use the growing insights into the many challenges we are facing by starting to work with the processes of the biosphere instead of against them.
Chapter One describes in detail the complex interdependencies between people and ecosystems. It highlights the fact that there are virtually no ecosystems that are not shaped by people and no people without the need for ecosystems and the services they provide. Too many of us seem to have disconnected ourselves from Nature. A shift in thinking will create exciting opportunities for us to continue to develop and thrive for generations to come.
Chapter Two takes us through the tremendous acceleration of human enterprise, especially since World War II. This acceleration is pushing the Earth dangerously close to its boundaries, to the extent that abrupt environmental change cannot be excluded. Furthermore, it has led scientists to argue that the current geological period should be labelled the ‘Antropocene’ – the Age of Man.
Chapter Three highlights the fascinating paradox that the innovative capacity that has put us in the current environmental predicament can also be used to push us out of it. It introduces the term social-ecological innovation, which essentially strives to find innovative ways to reconnect with the biosphere and stay within planetary boundaries.
Not sure how long the resources will be online, so get them while they last!
The conference will provide a forum for Arab politicians, policy makers, planners, academia and development experts to discuss issues and challenges facing the region with regard to disaster risk reduction. This session is being co-organized by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the League of Arab States (LAS).
We’re looking into how changes in ocean currents (e.g., thermohaline circulation) could impact existing oil pipelines on the ocean floor. The concern is that untrenched (exposed) lines and subsea systems (see engineering image, above) are underprepared for future turbulence, among other things.
The above “pipelay” ships are designed for one task - to weld and deliver various sized pipes onto the ocean floor. Most pipelines are connected to a series of special drills and platforms (see second image above) and are located in shallow water. And many lines are buried under the seabed by special trench digger robots (funtrue!). But some lines are in very deep oceans, and currents could be messing with their stability due to shifting ocean currents.
As I was researching and answering reader mail (hello AK!), I got sidetracked to how some recent lines were originally designed and built. There are only a few specialized ships that handle the deepwater lines, so those are what I’m most interested in.
The first ship, above, is called the Solitaire. It’s massive. Built in 1998, and at 980 feet long(!), it’s among the largest pipelay ships on the planet! It’s also one of the most productive.
Here’s a video of how how Solitaire works! The first couple of minutes is an animated overview of the process. The next segment is live coverage of the inner workings. You can see workers, machines, and robots weld and piece the pipes together. The pipe is welded and ‘fed’ onto a spool that delivers the pipe onto the floor. It is amazing to see how flexible these pipes are. Really amazing stuff.
Do you want to read about these ships? If so, click here (careful, it is a huge, browser crushing PDF). It’s a poster describing 60 different pipely ships. It describes their owners, capacities, lay methods, and depths.
Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change
Not at all what I expected. For just over half his talk, Savory discusses the issue of desertification, which many of you are familiar with. He (like many others) makes the case for restoring these deserts.
Then, in the last six minutes, he completely blows everyone’s minds. You just gotta see it.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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