‘100-year’ floods will happen every 1 to 30 years, according to new flood mapsby Princeton UniversityResearchers at Princeton University calculated flood risks for 171 counties across four regions: New England (green), mid-Atlantic (orange), southeast Atlantic (blue), and Gulf of Mexico (red). They found that what used to be considered 100-year floods will occur far more often depending on the location. Credit: Reza Marsooli et alA 100-year flood is supposed to be just that: a flood that occurs once every 100 years, or a flood that has a one-percent chance of happening every year.But Princeton researchers have developed new maps that predict coastal flooding for every county on the Eastern and Gulf Coasts and find 100-year floods could become annual occurrences in New England; and happen every one to 30 years along the southeast Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shorelines.”The historical 100-year floods may change to one-year floods in Northern coastal towns in the U.S.,” said Ning Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton University.In a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers combined storm surge, sea level rise, and the predicted increased occurrence and strength in tropical storms and hurricanes to create a map of flood hazard possibility along the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Coastlines at northern latitudes, like those in New England, will face higher flood levels primarily because of sea level rise. Those in more southern latitudes, especially along the Gulf of Mexico, will face higher flood levels because of both sea level rise and increasing storms into the late 21st century.
Miles is an app that tracks your every move in exchange for deals and discounts18A ‘rewards program’ for ground-based transportationBy Sean O’Kane@sokane1 Jul 24, 2018, 10:05am EDTSHARE Frequent flyer programs are a frustrating paradox. As humans, we’re always on the hunt for a discount, but how often do most of us fly? Once every few months? Once a year? For the most part, we spend far more time traveling in a car or bus, on a bike, or on foot. To the right kind of mind, that sounds like an opportunity, which is why a new Silicon Valley startup called Miles has built a rewards program for all these other modes of transportation. The cost? You have to let Miles follow you everywhere.Today, the company launched a free iOS app of the same name (Android version coming soon) that lets people rack up miles based on all the different modes of ground transportation they use to move around each day. Ostensibly, the greener the transportation method, the bigger a multiplier assigned to those miles: one mile traveled in a car nets you one reward mile, for example, while one mile in a ride-share is worth two, a mile of biking is worth five, and one mile of walking or running is worth 10. (One mile of flying is worth just 0.1 miles.)THE APP INCENTIVIZES GREENER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION, SO HOPEFULLY USERS WON’T JUST DRIVE IN CIRCLES FOR FREE COFFEEThose miles can then be exchanged for deals with different brands, a number of which the company has lined up for launch. Rack up enough miles, and you can trade them in for rewards like $5 gift cards at Starbucks, Amazon, or Target, $42 off your first order from meal service Hello Fresh, or even a complimentary rental on Audi’s Silvercar service. (The rewards populate in a few different ways. The Starbucks reward, for example, spits out a barcode that you can scan at one of the company’s locations, while the Silvercar reward gives you a discount code that can be applied at checkout.) Other launch partners include Whole Foods, Canon, Bath & Body Works, and Cole Haan.
New York’s ‘barge-to-table’ floating farm gives city residents without access to farmland the opportunity to pick their own food. As a successful demonstration at Brooklyn Bridge Park comes to end later this week, Mary Mattingly has shed light on an obscure New York City law that prohibits the growing of food on public land, and demonstrated that edible perennial landscapes can help solve food insecurity problems in even the harshest of urban settings.Swale is a public floating food forest built atop a 5,000 square foot barge, currently docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6. Founded in 2016 by artist Mary Mattingly, Swale allows visitors to harvest herbs, fruits and vegetables for free. The project began as an idea to advocate for food to be grown on some of the 30,000 acres of public land in New York City. Although NYC boasts over 100 acres of community garden space, the City has more than 30,000 acres of park space. Picking one’s own food is illegal on New York City public land, so Mattingly banded together a team of stakeholders to construct a dense garden of edible plants atop a barge- which is technically legal due to a loophole created by waterway common law.
While Tesla’s solar roof / Powerwall event isn’t until tomorrow, the product that preceded both, its commercial… cousin, Powerpack, has been upgraded and is already shipping to companies. The company says Powerpack 2 has double the energy density than the original model, paired with a new inverter (made at its Gigafactory), that’s apparently the lowest-priced, highest efficiency utility-scale inverter available. Arguably just as important, the new inverter also simplifies the installation process, with several once-separate components now baked into it.Tesla’s blog calls the new system a “a cost-competitive alternative to other traditional utility infrastructure solutions”. It adds that nearly 300 MWh of Tesla batteries have been deployed so far –including complexes in California. Now, where’s the solar part?
Want to make your barren yard lush again? Just add a bit of soil from your local meadow. A new study reveals that the addition of foreign soil—and more importantly, the organisms it contains—can shape which plants will grow in the future. Such “inoculations” could even help bring back fallow farmlands and turn deserts green.”This is a really cool and remarkable study,” says Harsh Bais, a root biologist at the University of Delaware, Newark, who was not involved in the work. “Dirt matters.”Soil isn’t as simple as it seems. It contains microscopic bacteria and fungi, as well as tiny worms called nematodes and other invertebrates. Ecologists have long known that these underground communities build critical partnerships with the plants growing nearby. But many of these partnerships remain a mystery. Small-scale studies in greenhouses have shown that adding the right soil can promote the growth of a particular plant community, and some researchers have even tried soil transplantation—replacing one soil with another—to get certain endangered plants to grow.Such need is great across the globe, where many once-fertile lands are turning into desert, and a significant amount of agricultural land is lost every year. What’s more, when governments and nonprofit organizations try to bring back grasslands, forests, and other ecosystems destroyed by agriculture and other human uses, they are often disappointed: Restoration can take decades. It sometimes fails altogether.E. R. Jasper Wubs, an ecologist at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in Wageningen, hoped to find a better way. But instead of doing wholesale transplantation of soil—which can be expensive—he wanted to see what would happen with a booster shot.He and colleagues set up a series of 2- to 5-hectare plots on abandoned, degraded farmland in the Netherlands. They removed about 60 centimeters of top soil from part of each plot and spread a 1-centimeter-thick layer of soil in others. The soil was taken from either a heathland—rolling hills dominated by heather and small shrubs—or a grassland. They then added seeds from 30 plant species from a variety of habitats and waited—for 6 years.When their waiting was up, they compared the seeded areas with and without the added soil layers, looking at which species were thriving and which were not. The source of the added soil greatly influenced what grew where, they report today in Nature Plants. Plots with heathland soil were covered with heather and gorse, whereas plots with grasslands soil were overflowing with a variety of grasses. The added soil made the existing land richer—as the researchers found more nematode worms, more bacteria, and more fungi in those sections of the plots. Those with heathland soil also had a greater diversity of springtails and mites.