Belizean police are investigating a construction company that has destroyed most of one of the largest Mayan pyramids in the Caribbean nation to make gravel to dump on village roads, according to reports from the Caribbean.
Archaeologists and a local TV station witnessed the destruction Friday as bulldozers and excavators continued to demolish the 60-foot-tall main temple at Nohmul — “great mound” — one of the tallest structures in northern Belize, along the Mexican border in the Yucatan Peninsula.
“We can’t salvage what has happened out here,” John Morris, of the Institute of Archaeology, told 7 News Belize. “It is an incredible display of ignorance. I am appalled.” A news crew was threatened by a man with a machete as dump trucks hauled away rock and limestone from the temple, which has been “whittled down to a narrow core,” the TV station said.
A Caterpillar excavator was photographed tearing down what was left of the limestone-rich ruins. “It’s like being punched in the stomach, it’s just so horrendous,” Jamie Awe, head of the institute, told the Associated Press. “These guys knew that this was an ancient structure. It’s just bloody laziness.”
The pre-Colombian site is about 2,500 years old and consists of twin ceremonial clusters surrounded by 10 plazas and connected by a raised causeway. Mayans used stone tools to quarry the rock and build the complex by hand. An estimated 40,000 people are believed to have lived there between 500 and 250 BC.
More of these incidents to come in the years ahead as population growth outweighs the need to protect resources.
Sinkhole in Chicago neighborhood swallowed three cars this morning. As usual, this one was caused by a water main break. The water eroded the soil and rock under the road, creating a void and ultimate collapse. We’ll hear a lot more of these incidences in the coming years. America’s infrastructure is in rough shape, and water, sewer, and gas lines average close to 50 years old. Replacements costs are extremely high - most cities wait for a break to happen before replacing pipes, which is more expensive and dangerous over time. But, cities around the country are deferring maintenance due to a dwindling tax base. Via NBC.
I ate at a robot restaurant in MSP Int’l Airport. Each seat has one of these tablets (not sure the brand). And each seat has two electric outlets including two for a USB. You can see the USB ports on the outlet on the left. The wood is fake, so are the leather seats. TV screens hung from nearly every wall surface. I’m not sure if you can see it, but can you see the steam behind the counter? I can’t be 100% sure, but I’d swear it was artificial, like that fake smoke at clubs. Even the battery operated candle had a fake flicker.
To order food and drinks, you swipe and poke at the tablet, which, btw, also has full internet access. After you order, you pay by swiping your credit card on a swiper nearby (out of frame).
About five minutes later a server delivers your order, which looks nearly identical(!) to the meal in the photos. Eerie. If you need something, there is red “Assistance” button on the bottom right of the tablet (you can see it on the tablet above). Push that, and someone comes over and asks “How may I assist you?”
All the diners had forks in one hand while swiping news or email on the tablet with the other. The place was spookily silent. Everyone’s heads were down, focused on the screens, and shoveling food in their mouths, as if sedated.
Mind-boggling map of Bike Sharing programs around the world. Click the pins to open a box describing each program (I clicked one, top right for you to see an example).
China has over 50 bike share programs! Density in Europe is astounding, way more programs than I expected. And bike shares in the US is booming. Africa has a long way to go. This is all to say that bike share programs will challenge car manufacturers for years to come.
There isn’t enough capacity to refine both the Canadian oil and the Venezuelan oil,” said professor Erick Langer, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University and an expert on Venezuelan politics.
“So if the pipeline is built, then Venezuela might be up a creek without a paddle, because they won’t have anywhere else to refine the oil.
“Can Rail Fill the Gap if Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t Approved?” Thoughtful round-up and analysis via one of my favorite sites, Planetizen. Did not realize 40% of Venezuelan oil is shipped and refined in Texas.
Hundreds of tanker trucks and railroad cars snake for miles through the vast landscape of North Dakota now. For his video diary, Reuters correspondent Ernest Scheyder drove into the Bakken Oil Express, a sprawling project at the heart of the state’s booming oil economy.
Climate change will open up surprising new Arctic shipping routes
“Right now, the Arctic Ocean is still too icy and treacherous for open-water ships to traverse with any regularity. The Northwest Passage is only navigable during the summer months once every seven years or so. Too unreliable for commercial shipping.
But that will soon change. As the planet keeps warming, the Arctic’s summer sea ice is vanishing at a stunning pace. That rapid melt is expected to have all sorts of sweeping impacts, from speeding up climate change to wreaking havoc on weather patterns. On the flip side, the loss of sea ice could also open up some potentially lucrative new trade routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, led by UCLA geographer Laurence Smith, looks at how the Arctic will change under even modest levels of global warming. Through computer simulations, the researchers found that open-water vessels will be able to, in theory, cross the Northwest Passage and North Sea Route regularly in the summer by 2050 without icebreakers. And icebreaker ships may be able to ram right through the North Pole:
The blue lines show the fastest routes available for common open-water ships during the summer, while the red lines show routes available for Polar Class 6 ships with moderate icebreaker capacity. By 2040-2059, there are many more routes.
The change here is quite striking. Right now, no commercial shipping goes through the Northwest Passage that hugs northern Canada. Yet by mid-century, those routes could potentially be clear for open-water vessels every other summer. Likewise, the Northern Sea Route that hugs Russia is projected to be open in late summer 90 percent of the time, up from 40 percent today.”
Last week, Sascha Peterson, President of Adaptation International, and I had a short discussion about the possible future and direction the federal government will take with respect to climate adaptation.
From my experience working with the Agencies, it’s not Obama, the EPA, nor the DOI that will lead on climate change, but the Department of Defense. Sounds strange, but the DoD will lead the push to mitigate and adapt to climate change. As it stands, the agencies have cobbled together various ways to internalize and manage response to climate change. But the military - namely the Navy - has taken the lead in adaptation at the federal level. As Whitty shows, it is indeed the military that will lead the other agencies, rather than the other way around.
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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