On Vacation

Feb 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] We will be out of the country and unable to post until February 13.  Please check back in then.   casey coates...

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Noam Chomsky: Why the Republican Party Is a Threat to Human Survival...

Jan 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Election 2016 Sanders has the best policies; GOP must be stopped at all costs. By Sarah Lazare / AlterNet Photo Credit: photo story/Shutterstock.com Renowned scholar and activist Noam Chomsky declared this week that the GOP and its far-right front-runners are “literally a serious danger to decent human survival.” Speaking with The Huffington Post on Monday, Chomsky cited the Republican Party’s refusal to tackle—or even acknowledge—the “looming environmental catastrophe” of climate change, thereby “dooming our grandchildren.” He went to rebuke the Republican party for its “abject service to private wealth and power” and dispossession of the poor. But Chomsky made it clear that his conviction that “the Republican Party has drifted off the rails” and must be stopped by no means amounts to an endorsement of Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton—who he has previously criticized...

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THE RIGHT-WING CLIMATE-DENIAL MACHINE IS CHURNING FASTER THAN EVER...

Jan 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock   By Heather Smith  GRIST In 2000, two sociologists at Washington State University, Aaron McCright and Riley Dunlap, examined all of the writing that conservative think tanks in the U.S. and Canada had published on the subject of climate change. The result of their labors — titled Challenging Global Warming as a Social Problem: An Analysis of the Conservative Movement’s Counter-Claims — was the first comprehensive look at how conservative think tanks were trying to shape the conversation on climate.Now, in a new study, Constantine Boussalis and Travis G. Coan, political scientists at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Exeter, respectively, have set out to update that information. Sure, you worked hard to discredit climate science in the ’90s, conservative think tanks. But what have you done for us lately? The conservative think tanks that are now...

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MAP SHOWS HOW MICHIGAN’S LEAD PROBLEM EXTENDS FAR BEYOND THE FLINT WATER CRISIS...

Jan 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] iStockphoto By Aura Bogado THINK PROGRESS Flint is Michigan’s poster child for environmental disaster — a crisis that could have been avoided. As my colleague Raven Rakia has pointed out, lead exposure, which causes an array of health problems and is especially bad for children, is completely preventable. But that doesn’t mean that those responsible for public health do their jobs. In Flint, a city that’s nearly 60 percent black and where more than 42 percent of residents live below the poverty line, officials switched to a cheaper water source. That source was cheaper for a reason: The water was polluted and corrosive. So it leached lead from the old pipes when they piped it in. That burdened local residents with water that’s been making them sick for more than a year. But high levels...

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AS FLINT STRUGGLES WITH CONTAMINATED WATER, CONGRESS TRIES TO GUT CLEAN WATER RULE...

Jan 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Alejandro Davila Fragoso CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) The latest attempt to do away with a federal water rule that protects millions of miles of streams failed Thursday, as senators couldn’t garner enough votes to override a presidential veto and block the contested Waters of the United States rule. The attempt to veto the rule, which protects bodies of water that provide drinking water for one-third of Americans, comes in the midst of a water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan. The vote was deeply divided among partisan lines, with 52 senators voting to upheld the veto, eight abstaining and the remaining 40 voting against it. While the vote was close, overriding a veto requires a super-majority. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) filed for the vote, which was considered a long-shot...

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U.S. to Put ‘Boots on the Ground’ in Iraq to Combat ISIL...

Jan 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Defense Secretary Carter announces plans to deploy 101st Airborne Division in latest escalation of war. By Adam Johnson / AlterNet   Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com In an op-ed in Politico and in an appearance at Davos World Economic Forum Friday morning, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced the U.S. will deploy “boots on the ground” in Iraq to help local forces fight the so-called Islamic State. The policy shift is a turnaround from the Obama’s White House’s previous stance of not deploying combat troops in Iraq and one sure to shape the foreign policy debate in the 2016 election. Though the U.S. military presence in Iraq has been steadily growing over the past year-and-a-half this marks the first time an express acknowledgment of ground troops has been made by a senior official. The first of such...

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DON’T WATER DOWN THE COASTAL COMMISSION!...

Jan 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The California Coastal Commission may be buckling to pressure from developers. We must act now! The California Coastal Commission is considering firing its Executive Director, Charles Lester. But make no mistake about it. This is part of the same old agenda–with more powerful special interests than ever before–to turn the Coastal Commission into a rubber stamp for developers. Read these articles and listen to these news stories. Then share them with your social networks! Los Angeles Times Lester was given the choice to step aside but he chose a public hearing to give the public a chance to hear what the debate’s really about. Read Now KPCC Environmental activists suspect some commis-sion members want to push out Lester to make way for management that would be more welcoming to development. Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Pro-tection Network said Lester’s...

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WHY BIG BLIZZARDS IN WINTER DON’T DISPROVE GLOBAL WARMING...

Jan 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AerisWeather   Another epic blizzard threatens 50 million people on the East Coast, with a bulls-eye on Washington DC. And leading climatologists again explain how human-induced climate change, especially warming-fueled ocean temperatures, are super-charging the amount of moisture in the atmosphere the storm will dump on us. First, though, I think the name, Winter Storm Jonas, doesn’t do justice to this blizzard, especially since the Jonas brothers are a pretty harmless pop rock band. I’m suggesting the name, Superstorm (Edward) Snowed-In: Because it will turn DC upside down, bring the government to a standstill, and then flee the country. Seriously, though, please take this superstorm seriously. As meteorologist Paul Douglas notes, “The Washington D.C. office of the National Weather Service issued a Blizzard Watch for the first...

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MAJORITY JOIN MUSK AND HAWKING IN CALL TO BAN AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS...

Jan 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] FUTURISM In Brief An international survey conducted by the Open Roboethics initiative showed that a majority of people are against autonomous weapons, and also remotely controlled weapons like drones. The Survey There is a difference between technology that is controlled completely by human hands (such as drones, which are driven and discharged by human eyes) and intelligent robots that make their own decisions in relation to targets. The latter, many feel, should not be supported or even tolerated. Bans on the military robots that are capable of such autonomy were recently called for in a letter posted by the Future of Life Institute, which was signed by such notable individuals as Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist; Elon Musk, founder of Tesla motors; Daniel Dennett, cognitive scientist; Steve Wozniak, Apple cofounder; and Demis Hassabis, Google DeepMind...

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SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING THAT MAKES SENSE...

Jan 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Architecture There was a time when American single family homes weren’t so absurdly large. In 1950, the average household had 3.83 people and the average new single family home was 983 sq ft, making for a pretty reasonable 291 sq ft per person. Compare that to 2014, when the average household had 2.54 people and the average new single family home was 2,690 sq ft, or 1059 sq ft per person. That’s a 360% increase in per capita housing size. Yikes! What’s worse is this continual embiggening of the American home has dwindled the options of modestly sized homes for those who want them. We frequently get notes from people who want to downsize, but say they are forced into homes larger than they want because there’s virtually nothing...

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HOW MELTING GIANT ICEBERGS MAY HELP SLOW CLIMATE CHANGE (JUST A LITTLE) WHO KNEW?...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Jacqueline Howard Associate Science Editor, The Huffington Post Eastcott Momatiuk via Getty Images Water dripping off of icebergs in the Antarctic Ocean contains nutrients for phytoplankton, which can help absorb carbon dioxide. Melting icebergs may be fighting against the very forces that cause them to melt, a new study suggests. Water dripping off icebergs and into the Antarctic Ocean, also known as the Southern Ocean, contains iron and other nutrients, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience. These nutrients fertilize phytoplankton, the microscopic marine life that plays a key role in oceanic ecosystems, and help the tiny plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as they grow into plumes. In other words, there might be even more carbon dioxide in our atmosphere if it weren’t for the help of phytoplankton, said Dr. Grant Bigg,...

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NEW HOUSE BILL GIVES AWAY PUBLIC LANDS, CREATES PSEUDO-WILDERNESS AREAS...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Jenny Rowland — Guest Contributor CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer Rob Bishop, left, R-Utah, holds an image he says is misleading and was created by critics of his public lands proposal while speaking during a news conference, as Rep. Jason Chaffetz, center, R-Utah, and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, right, looks on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) released a long-awaited public lands bill Wednesday that, if passed, would affect 18 million acres of public lands in Eastern Utah. The proposal would downgrade protections for wilderness quality lands in the region, create new oil and gas drilling zones that are exempted from environmental protections, and hand over large areas of national public lands to private and state...

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THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO HUMANS WHEN THEY ARE EXPOSED TO TOO MUCH LEAD...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Adrienne VarkianiCLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Paul Sancya Genetha Campbell carries free water being distributed at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint, Mich, February 3, 2015.   In his State of the State address Tuesday night, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder apologized for his handling of the Flint water crisis, which has left tens of thousands of residents without drinkable water. “To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before, I’m sorry and I will fix it,” Snyder said near the beginning of his speech. “Government failed you at the federal, state and local level.” But an apology doesn’t change the health effects that Flint residents are seeing as a result of the elevated levels of lead in their water — effects they may continue to see far...

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COOL TRANSFORMING SAN FRANCISCO LOFT...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Architecture A reader of ours turned us onto this cool 500 sq ft San Francisco loft recently featured on Design Milk. The space was designed by Charles Irby and Peter Suen and centers around a prefabricated module that houses nearly all of the apartment’s storage and furniture. Inside the module is an area that contains storage, a work station, a bench and a dining table that flips down from the wall. There is also a very cool murphy bed that, when folded into the wall, has a dry-erase board on its base. On top of the module is a loft bed effectively making the place capable of sleeping four friendly people. The loft is accessed via a ladder which sits on the far end of the module where there is ample, open...

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A TINY HOUSE THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT BELONGS IN 1890’S KANSAS...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Architecture Call us a bit jaded, but after a while many tiny houses start to look alike: tiny A-frame structures with eaves and a porch, lots of rustic wood, a loft bed, composting toilet. This is all fine, good and functional, but it can also feel somewhat generic and leave those whose tastes lean modern a little wanting. We ran across this tiny house on Treehugger by a Dutch outfit that calls themselves Woonpioniers. Yes, their “Porta Palace”, as they call it, is still made of wood and has an A-frame (albeit an asymmetrical one), loft bed and composting toilet, but its sleek and clean design give it an overall effect that is very removed from Laura Ingalls and her houses on prairies. The first distinguishing trait are windows: two...

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NEW VISIONS FOR LOS ANGELES’ PERSHING SQUARE PARK...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  by Jared Green   THE DIRT Four design teams have been announced as finalists in the competition to remake Pershing Square Park in downtown Los Angeles. Pershing Square Renew, the public-private partnership behind the revamp, has whittled the finalists down from 54 entries and 10 semi-finalist teams. According to Dezeen, Eduardo Santana, executive director of Pershing Square Renew, said: “the world-class firms selected by our jury represent a huge range. They include global stars and local unknowns.” The 5-acre park has seen many iterations over its nearly 150 year history; the latest was created in 1994 by Mexican architect and landscape architect Ricardo Legorreta and American landscape architect Laurie Olin, FASLA. Development on a new park is expected to begin later this year. Here’s a brief overview of the four finalists, who largely present...

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ASLA ANNOUNCES 2016 PROFESSIONAL AND STUDENT AWARDS CALL FOR ENTRIES...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  by The Dirt Contributor The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announces its calls for entries for the 2016 Professional and Student Awards, the world’s most prestigious juried landscape architecture competition. Each year, the ASLA Professional Awards honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe, while the ASLA Student Awards give us a glimpse into the future of the profession. Award-winning submissions will be featured in the October issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine and in many other design and construction industry and general-interest media. Award recipients, their clients and student advisors also will be honored at the awards presentation ceremony during the ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans, October 21-24, 2016. Award-winning submissions will also be featured in a video presentation at the ceremony and on the awards website...

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THE FUTURE OF THE GRID IS HERE, IN THESE TWO PRODUCTS...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock Rooftop solar plus storage installations can be combined to help manage the grid.   It’s no secret that solar power is having a moment. The renewable energy source has had year after year of record-breaking growth — and now employs more people than the coal industry. But the electrical grid can’t run off solar alone. In addition to the fact that it’s only expected to be 3 percent of generation by 2050, there is also the very basic problem that the sun only shines during the day, and we use electricity all the time. Enter electrical storage. The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced a round of new grants for research and development on solar plus storage — what the head of the solar industry...

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STOP POLLUTING, OR THERE WILL BE MORE PLASTIC THAN FISH IN THE OCEAN BY 2050...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] A new report finds that the volume of plastic trash is increasing and will outweigh all the fish in the world within 35 years. (Photo: Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images) David Kirby has been a professional journalist for 25 years. His third book, Death at Seaworld, was published in 2012.   By the middle of this century there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish if people keep polluting the seas, a new report warns. The report, The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics, was released Tuesday, in conjunction with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Advertisement “Each year, at least eight million tons of plastics leak into the ocean—which is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute,”...

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The Davos Club: Meet the People Who Gave Us a World in Which 62 People Own as Much as 3.6 Billion...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Economy The Davos people talk about poverty and pledge money to charity. But it’s just spare change to them. By Vijay Prashad / AlterNet Global elites meet in the remote Swiss town of Davos each year for the World Economic Forum. The conclave began in 1971, but it became an essential destination in the 1990s. When globalization became the buzzword, Davos became its headquarters. Big business, politics and the media meet, exchange business cards and go away better connected to each other. Deals are sometimes struck, but more than anything harmony among the world’s elite is established. This is what the Davos Summit is intended to do, to create a Davos civilization for the important people of the planet. Each year, before the summit, Oxfam International publishes a report on global wealth. This...

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AMERICA THE UNFAIR?

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Nicholas Kristof NY TIMES Photo Demonstrators calling for an end to gun violence and the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago. Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images   Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders don’t agree on much. Nor do the Black Lives Matter movement, the Occupy Wall Street protests and the armed ranchers who seized public lands in Oregon. But in the insurgent presidential campaigns and in social activism across the spectrum, a common thread is people angry at the way this country is no longer working for many ordinary citizens. And they’re right: The system is often fundamentally unfair, and ordinary voices are often unheard. It’s easy (and appropriate!) to roll one’s eyes at Trump, for a demagogic tycoon is not the natural leader of a revolution of the disenfranchised. But the populist...

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THERE IS SOMETHING ODD AND OMINOUS AFOOT IN GREENLAND. DID A HUGE MELT WATER PULSE OCCUR ON 1-16-16?...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Pakalolo  DAILY KOS   RSS REBLOGGED BY Climate Change SOS After the last ice age, glacial melt caused sea levels to rise rapidly by 120 meters. Large expanses of land that were once migratory paths and habitations for prehistoric civilizations gradually submerged through a series of catastrophic floods and mega-tsunami. (Meltwater Pulse 1A and 2B are discussed in the video at the bottom of this story.) If this event in Greenland is the start of another Meltwater Pulse we are effed. From Robert Scribbler. The remnants of hurricane Alex were pulled into a storm system just south of Greenland on Friday January 15, 2016. An event that then flooded both Baffin Bay and Western Greenland with warm, tropical air. At the same time, Greenland observers both noted what appears to be ice mass losses over...

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A CASE FOR BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE HOUSING MARKET...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander   LIFE EDITED Architecture In Manhattan, the average cost of a studio apartment is $2,418 (non doorman). In San Francisco, it’s $2650. Crazy as it sounds, you might not have the privilege of paying those sums as both cities have low single digit vacancy rates. Other major cities like Boston and DC have similarly high rents and low inventory. And while some of this expense is offset by higher per capita incomes, many find themselves unable to afford housing. A study by NYU’s Furman Center found that 50% of New Yorkers were “cost-burdened” by their rent, paying more than 30% of their income on housing; 60% of that segment (600K people) were “extremely cost burdened,” forking over more than 50%. So it’s not a stretch to say that housing is a big problem in many major cities (we’ll...

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LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE IN THE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS (JANUARY 1 – 15)...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT by J.R. Taylor Can a Professionally Designed Garden Add Value to Your Home? – The Huffington Post, 1/4/15 “This year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Capability Brown – the landscape architect renowned for designing over 170 country house estates and gardens during the 18th century. His elegant style of undulating parkland and serpentine lakes can still be seen at dozens of locations, including Blenheim Palace and Stowe.” See a Rooftop Garden in Brooklyn Inspired by the High Line – Architectural Digest, 1/6/15 “Few cities in the world have real estate as expensive as New York’s. For its millions of residents, the idea of certain amenities, such as a private garden—must be quickly abandoned. Yet one apartment building in Brooklyn’s trendy Dumbo neighborhood is creatively changing all of that.”...

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A STUNNING NEW SKI COMPLEX IN SLOVENIA...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT BY JARED GREEN At the end of last year, a beautiful ski complex opened in Planica, a historic skiing center in Slovenia. The complex, managed by the Slovenian Ministry of Sports and Education, offers large and small hills for multiples types of skiing: jumping; flying, which is apparently a more extreme form of jumping; and cross-country. Elegantly set at the foot of the protected Triglav National Park, the facility features sculpted cement and wood buildings and slopes, harking back to the heyday of Danish Modern. Designed by Abiro architects and Studio Akka landscape architects, the complex appears to be seamlessly integrated into the surrounding pine and beech forest. According to Studio Akka, much planning and design work went into ensuring the new complex fit the scale of the site. The design...

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GREENS BASH HEADS OVER HOW TO DEAL WITH WILDFIRES...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Katie Herzog GRIST There’s little doubt that wildfires are getting bigger, badder, and more damaging across the globe, but the question of how to deal with them is dividing environmentalists. According to most calculations, 2015 was a record-setting year for wildfires in the U.S. By the end, more than 10 million acres had burned across the country. Many of these were in the Western states, where hellish, otherworldly burns took over in normally temperate states like Washington and Alaska. In Boise, Idaho, a 100-foot-tall “firenado” sprouted from a blaze. California alone experienced more than 6,300 wildfires. The U.S. Forest Service recently named last year’s fire season as the worst in history. But this, according to some environmentalists, was a mistake — and one that’s only going to make the problem worse. The response to wildfires is generally to fight them: 1,200...

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BIRDS ARE GOING EXTINCT: ENTIRE SPECIES ARE HANGING BY THEIR WINGTIPS....

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] SALON.COM Deforestation and the pet trade have ravaged avian populations, and the consequences for mankind could prove dire Gerardo Ceballos, Anne H. Ehrlich and Paul R. Ehrlich, Earth Island Journal A visit to the California Academy of Sciences, located in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, speaks volumes about the disaster that has befallen birds with the spread of humanity. A maze of narrow corridors in the scientific collections leads an explorer to the Ornithological Collection. There you will find a cabinet with a sign: “Extinct Birds.” If you look inside, you’ll experience a dreadful moment as you take in
the sight of specimens of species that no longer exist. Your eyes will move from the imperial woodpecker and the passenger pigeon to the Guadalupe Island petrel, among many others. Each is carefully preserved in...

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THE PROBLEM WITH ROOFTOP SOLAR THAT NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT...

Jan 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Where does the green energy from your panels really go? —By Tim McDonnell   MOTHER JONES A couple of years ago, Steven Weissman, an energy lawyer at the University of California-­Berkeley, started to shop around for solar panels for his house. It seemed like an environmental no-brainer. For zero down, leading residential provider SolarCity would install panels on his roof. The company would own the equipment, and he’d buy the power it produces for less than he had been paying his electric utility. Save money, fight climate change. Sounds like a deal. But while reading the contract, Weissman discovered the fine print that helps make that deal possible: SolarCity would also retain ownership of his system’s renewable energy credits. It’s the kind of detail your average solar customer wouldn’t notice or maybe care about....

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4 of the Most Commonly Prescribed Drugs That May Be a Lot More Risky Than Pharma Is Letting On...

Jan 18, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The AMA is debating whether direct-to-consumer advertising should be banned. By Martha Rosenberg / AlterNet Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com They are so common no one thinks twice about them: drug ads that tell you about a disease you might have, a pill that could treat it, and tell you to “ask your doctor” if the pill is right for you. Until 1997, such direct-to-consumer ads did not exist because without a doctor’s recommendation, how could people know if the medication was appropriate or safe? The only thing people knew about drugs and drug risks was from ads they peeked at in medical journals at the doctor’s office. But after the ads started in 1997, the allergy pill Claritin became a household word, along with Xenical, Meridia, Propecia, Paxil, Prozac, Vioxx, Viagra, Singulair, Nasonex, Allegra,...

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STAGGERED STARTER HOME PROJECT IN NEW ORLEANS...

Jan 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] 0 OJT develops staggered starter home* project in new orleans all images © william crocker       developed as an opportunistic and affordable urban housing program by new orleans-based studio OJT (office of jonathan tate). ‘starter home*’ explores the relevant and increasing problem of entry-level homes, while pairing contemporary design and addressing environmental concerns.     the project, led by architect jonathan tate has been designed to cater to a range of buyers; from people buying for the first time; downsizing; densification through infill of overlooked odd or irregular vacant land. the first starter home* has been launched in new orleans, located in the irish channel neighborhood of the american city. the concept forms an opportunistic urban housing program created to develop affordable, entry-level homes       the designers sought out...

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