Thursday, September 17, 2015

Some Items from around the Net Today.

Three developments that are bad, the first very, very bad -- i.e., a new, almost fully-automated gigantic seaport. Very destructive of highly skilled, blue-collar jobs in my opinion. Let's see if this will be operational when fossil fuel extraction, particularly oil extraction, starts declining and in a big way.

From The Guardian - Inside the London megaport you didn’t know existed
London Gateway was built by Dubai, is twice the size of the City of London, is run by robots, has the world’s largest cranes – and it’s where everything you buy will soon come from. London’s docks are back in business.

…Running almost 3km along the Thames estuary is a £1.5bn new megaport that has literally redrawn the coastline of Essex, and wants to make equally radical shifts to the UK’s consumer supply chain.

Welcome to DP World London Gateway, the latest international trophy of the oil-rich emirate of Dubai, and one of the biggest privately funded infrastructure projects the UK has ever seen. It is a gargantuan undertaking (on the scale of Crossrail, Terminal 5 or HS2) that’s projected to have a bigger economic impact than the Olympics – but you might not even know it was happening. The port has been up and running for almost two years, with two of its six berths now complete and a third well on the way.

As if this isn't already beginning to happen.

From ThinkProgress - This Is Your Brain On Climate Change
“We spend vast amounts of time and personal energy trying to calculate the most urgent threats posed by climate change. Washington, D.C. psychiatrist and climate activist Lise Van Susteren, however, says the most insidious danger may already be upon us. She’s not talking about heat, drought, floods, severe storms, or rising seas. She’s focused on the psychological risks posed by global warming.

 Van Susteren has co-authored a report on the psychological effects of climate change that predicts Americans will suffer “depressive and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, substance abuse, suicides, and widespread outbreaks of violence,” in the face of rising temperatures, extreme weather, and scarce resources. Van Susteren and her co-author Kevin Coyle write that counselors and first responders “are not even close to being prepared to handle the scale and intensity of impacts that will arise from the harsher conditions and disasters that global warming will unleash.”

And thanks to the developments in the Jet Stream that Jennifer Francis predicted, there is already climate warming amplification in the Arctic -- about 2x or more the global average temperature anamoly since 1880.

From Eureka Alert - Arctic mosquitoes thriving under climate change, Dartmouth study finds
HANOVER, N.H. – Warming temperatures are causing Arctic mosquitoes to grow faster and emerge earlier, significantly boosting their population and threatening the caribou they feast on, a Dartmouth College study finds.

The study predicts the mosquitoes’ probability of surviving and emerging as adults will increase by more than 50 percent if Arctic temperatures rise 2 °C. The findings are important because changes in the timing and intensity of their emergence affect their role as swarming pests of people and wildlife, as pollinators of tundra plants and as food for other species, including Arctic and migratory birds.

Well here's a good development which hopefully won't be adversely affected by peak oil. Check out the photo of the interior of one of the apartments: the poster on the wall is actually a site plan of the constructed apartment complex -- looks very New Urban.

Return of the prefabs: inside Richard Rogers' Y:Cube homes for homeless people
With riotously bright colours, Rogers’s ‘move-on’ housing scheme is dressed in the child-like garb of a My First House. But design niggles mean nothing to the tenants getting their own homes for the first time.

Photograph Credit: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

“I still can’t quite believe that the same architects who designed Terminal 5 and the Cheesegrater have designed my house,” says Wendy Omollo. “To have people as grand as that doing low-cost housing projects is really quite amazing.”

Omollo has been homeless since January, but this week she will join 35 others when she moves into the YMCA’s first factory-built “move-on” housing scheme, designed by none other than multi-award winning, international airport designing Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. While Richard Rogers’ practice graces this year’s Stirling prize shortlist for the sixth time, with the controversial Neo Bankside development and its £22m penthouses, it might come as a surprise to learn that a little further south, in the London borough of Merton, his office has just completed this scheme for a cost of around £45,000 per apartment, to be rented at less than the council’s affordable housing allowance.

Developed over the last few years in partnership with the YMCA London South West, manufacturers SIG and project managers Aecom, this 36-unit “Y:Cube” project is the practice’s latest foray into off-site manufactured housing, a dream Richard Rogers has entertained since his “Zip-Up” concept house in the 1960s – an unrealised fantasy of a modular pink prefab pod on stilts.

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