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Rooftop air conditioning units, midtown, Manhattan. Imagery Google Maps, ©2019 Bluesky, Maxar Technologies, Sanborn, USDA Farm Service Agency, Map data ©2019

A hot day in New York City

People who were there will remember Saturday, July 20, 2019, as a really hot day in New York City. Although it was not the hottest day on record, the temperature at Kennedy airport reached 96ºF (36ºC). On the street at Union Square in Manhattan, a large thermometer (known as BAT, the “Big-Ass Thermometer”) registered a murderous 110ºF.… Read the rest “Is Air Conditioning Going to Become Futile?”

Modern waste incineration plant in Denmark View More

The Waste-to-Energy plant “Amager Bakke” in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo credit Niels Quist/Alamy stock photos.

Most people do not enjoy talking, or reading, about garbage. For one thing, it’s boring. But it’s also disturbing: garbage imposes great costs on our economy and our society. The biggest problem is simply the amount of garbage we produce. For example, in 2015, two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of Municipal Solid Waste was generated per citizen of the USA every day (MSW is the fancy name for garbage).… Read the rest “What Should We Do About Garbage? A Burning Question”

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“Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. It’s official: taking to the roads in an SUV’s got nothing on cattle flatulence . . . “ This is a direct quote from a recent web post of a climate sceptic. It restates a popular meme about climate change, favoured by conservative commentators: that man isn’t the most important agent of global warming, it’s the farting cows, stupid.… Read the rest “We Need to Talk About Methane”

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Blue-green algae on western Lake Erie on September 26, 2017. The border between the United States and Canada runs down the centre of the lake. Landsat 8 image. Source: http://spaceref.com/onorbit/orbital-view-of-algal-blooms-in-lake-erie.html

The natural  history of Lake Okeechobee, at 730 square miles the largest lake in Florida, is intimately entwined with that of the surrounding Everglades. Before the twentieth century, water from the north would drain into the lake, and when the water level rose high enough, it would “sheet-drain” into the southern Everglades.… Read the rest “BLUE-GREEN ALGAE: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY”

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The discovery of oil in the province of Alberta in 1947 soon led to the desire to transport it to the west coast of Canada, and in 1953 oil began to flow through a pipeline built by the Trans Mountain Pipeline Company (route of all pipelines discused in this post in red on the map above). The pipeline took oil from Edmonton, the capital of Alberta, over the Rocky Mountains, to Vancouver on the coast of British Columbia.… Read the rest “Using Numbers Instead of Adjectives to Evaluate an Economic Decision”

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If there were a contest to name the most-hated chemical, Roundup, Monsanto’s brand name for the chemical Glyphosate, would have a very good chance of winning. It has been identified not only as a plant poison, but also a destroyer of monarch butterflies, an impoverisher of developing-world farmers, and a probable carcinogen. These are serious issues. But they are also complex, and I will argue, they are not settled (except for being a plant poison).Read the rest “The Trouble With Roundup”

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(Bald Eagle and Hawk Mountain scenery. Image courtesy of David Dehner.)

 

Hawk Mountain, a picturesque site in southeastern Pennsylvania, is on the eastern slopes of the Appalachians. These mountains create an updraft that helps raptors, large birds of prey such as hawks and eagles, on their migratory flights between their northern summer habitats and their wintering sites in the southeast United States. They are also somewhat of a bottleneck, causing large numbers of raptors to converge in their flight paths and pass over Hawk Mountain.Read the rest “Malaria: No Simple Solutions”