As you prepare piles of food for family and friends this week, keep in mind how much you're actually going to eat. Each Thanksgiving, Americans waste more than a third of the turkey meat they purchase and prepare.
Over the past two weeks, a group of concerned New Yorkers has been expropriating thousands of dollars worth of tools and materials from luxury residential developments across Manhattan and delivering them to neighborhoods devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
The confiscated materials, some of them never even used, include: shovels, wheelbarrows, hand trucks, pry bars, tarps, buckets, hard bristle brooms, industrial rope, contractor trash bags, particulate masks, work lights, work gloves, flashlights, heat lamps, and gasoline.
Liberated from their role in building multimillion-dollar pieds-à-terre for wealthy CEOs and Hollywood celebrities, these tools are now in the collective hands of some of the hardest-hit communities in the city where they are now being allocated and shared among the people who need them most. These expropriations will continue as long as the demand for them exists.
All this week, forecasters have been relying on ... satellite observations for almost all of the data needed to narrow down what were at first widely divergent computer models of what Hurricane Sandy would do next: explode against the coast, or veer away into the open ocean?
Now we know just how much reliance forecasters placed on satellites. Without them, predictions that Sandy would veer sharply to the west -- the path that brought it to New York -- would not have been made as early as they were.
This letter is to notify you that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has determined that the operating performance of Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations, LLC (Black Elk) must be improved immediately.
If you're reading this on your phone from a line outside an electronics store, congratulations -- you're a real American! And you're probably way more excited about the 50th anniversary of big-box retail in this country than the rest of us are.
In 1962, when gas cost about 28 cents a gallon and the suburbs were growing faster than you can say "sports utility vehicle," Walmart, Target, and Kmart were all born.
One of the prerequisites for the big-box was the car. Everybody had to have a car because the big-box was sitting out in a parking lot somewhere. The big-box made shopping into a family experience. Mom and dad and the kids all piled into the car, they went out to this big store, and they could spend several hours there because there was, by the standards of the day, an enormous amount of merchandise.
Today's stores are about four times the size, but hey, so are our cars!
Thinking about a Mediterranean vacation? Might want to go sooner rather than later.
The above map shows how the "tourism climate index" -- a calculation of how amenable the climate in a location is to outdoor activity -- will be affected by climate change during the summer in Europe. Blue areas will see climatic improvements; yellow, moderately worse climate; brown, significantly worse climate. So if you want to visit, say, Italy or Spain -- book your flight.
Earlier today, the European Environment Agency walked into the room and, plunk, dropped a 300-page report on the anticipated effects of climate change on the continent. Three hundred pages, chock-a-block with maps far more terrifying than that one up there. It's a road map on minute details of what Europe can expect on temperature, flooding, forest fires, soil quality, sea animals. It's the Grays Sports Almanac of the continent through the year 2100.
Here are some of the more alarming maps and graphs, because terror is a dish best shared. (A blanket note: All images from the full report [PDF]; on most, click to embiggen.)
Fracking in the news! Lots of news about fracking! Step right up, get your fracking news!
New York won't allow fracking this year
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) made it official yesterday: The state's review of the health effects of natural gas drilling won't be ready until next year. According to sources that I have at the highest levels of various fracking companies, the CEOs of said companies said, "Aw, fiddlesticks," and did that thing where you snap your fingers while you swing your hand in front of you. Is there a name for that? I don't know. People don't do that very much anymore, but fracking company CEOs have a median age of 206.
The state was supposed to have come to a final decision on fracking rules by the end of the month. From the Associated Press:
The deadline for finalizing regulations is Nov. 29 under the state Administrative Procedures Act, which says a proposed rule expires 365 days after the last public hearing unless it's officially adopted by then. If the regulation isn't finalized by the deadline, the agency has 90 days to submit a new notice of rulemaking, and another 90 days to complete the job. That could potentially delay a final decision for six months. The public would have the opportunity to comment during that time.
A panel of three nationally recognized public health experts was named last week to review the state's health impact study of fracking. Cuomo told a radio interviewer Tuesday he sees no way the panel's work can be completed by the end of next week.
Natural gas is escaping from more than 3,300 leaks in Boston’s underground pipelines, according to a new Boston University study that underscores the explosion risk and environmental damage from aging infrastructure under city sidewalks and streets.
The vast majority of the leaks are tiny, although six locations had gas levels higher than the threshold at which explosions could occur. Although there have been no reports of explosions in Boston from any of the leaks, the study comes three years after a Gloucester house exploded probably because of a cracked and corroded gas main dating to 1911.
You're probably familiar with the longstanding, pedanticdispute over use of the word "irony." Well, a bit of good news for the holiday: We now have an example of irony that will stand the test of time. An example of irony that is so obvious and appreciable that when, several millennia from now, people are arguing about Alanis Morissette, the debate will be curtailed when someone notes this news story.
For you see, Chevron has filed a complaint against the comptroller of New York, suggesting that he was unduly influenced to criticize the company due to campaign contributions he received. Chevron. Complained about how campaign contributions influenced an elected official.
Always wanted to live in an adorable Tiny House except, like, without all that nature around you? Well today is your lucky day, urban dwellers! Following the lead of Vancouver and New York, San Francisco has approved legislation that will change the city building code to allow for "micro-unit apartments" that boast only 150 square feet of living space.
San Francisco is the most expensive rental market in the U.S., in part because it's tough to get anything built in the city. About 40 percent of San Francisco residents live solo, and those who work in tech tend to live in their offices anyway, so why not a closet for a condo?
City Supervisor Scott Wiener had pushed the legislation as an "affordable option" for S.F. residents who don't want to pay upwards of $2,000 for the average "large" city studio. (Wiener had said previously that he expected the units to rent for $1,200 to $1,700, so it seems "affordable" is in the eye of the beholder.) “Allowing the construction of these units is one tool to alleviate the pressure that is making vacancies scarce and driving rental prices out of the reach of many who wish to live here," Wiener said in a statement.