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    Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

30 11, 2014

Vancouver Sun: Life next to derelict million-dollar Vancouver home is far from rosy

A Vancouver woman has a cautionary tale for anyone living next to an abandoned house after she battled city authorities for months to stop strangers from partying on the decaying back porch of a rundown house across her lane.

Laura De Munain moved into her family’s Oak Street house on the outskirts of the tony Shaughnessy neighbourhood in April. While working from home, the pregnant lawyer soon noticed groups of two or three people regularly stumbling around her back alley in a daze.

She went to check out the house. After walking through the rubbish-strewn carport, she climbed a rotting back staircase and found a large porch littered with aerosol cans, garbage and a camping stove. Above, a mouldy piece of drywall drooped down from the ceiling, exposing the rafters. With its back door unlocked and kitchen windows open, anyone could, and did, easily slip in.

Police answered her first call to their non-emergency line and toured the property, but they “said […]

15 02, 2014

Cornhusker Economics Outlook March 3-7

According to the Grant Island Independent the 9th annual Cornhusker Economics Outlook meetings are set to take place in March 2014.  Among other items on the agenda will be perspectives on the policy environment in Washington.  Also details on the much anticipated farm bill.

Stemming from efforts or lack thereof by Congress in January and early February, producers finally appear ready to focus on farm program decisions instead of politics. Policy outlook and program alternatives will be addressed aimed to help producers more effectively combine farm programs, marketing strategies and crop insurance.

Local University of Nebraska at Lincoln educators will provide additional input during the outlook meetings.  This includes a discussion of current land and leasing economics among other topics. With the recent increase in farmland prices and rental prices plus declining crop price.  Profitability projections for 2014 call for sharper decisions on land acquisitions and production plans.

Please click here to see a more thorough analysis and links to the updates […]

11 08, 2013

Ancient Rainforest Discovered in Antarctica

Drilling of the seabed off Antarctica has revealed evidence of a rainforest that once flourished on the continent some 52 million years ago.

Scientists studying sediment cores discovered fossilized pollen that could only have come from a “near-tropical” forest covering the continent in the Eocene period, 34-56 million years ago. According to Australian scientist Kevin Walsh, analysis of “temperature-sensitive molecules” contained in the pollen showed the average temperature be near 68 degrees F.

There were forests existing on the land, there wouldn’t have been any ice, it would have been very warm,” Welsh told AFP of the study, published in the journal Nature. ”It’s quite surprising, because obviously our image of Antarctica is that it’s very cold and full of ice.”

Today, the average temperature of Antarctica is roughly -58 degrees F. Scientists say that during the Eocene period, even with polar darkness, the Antarctica region remained frost-free.

During this warm period, estimates are that carbon dioxide levels reached between 992 to a couple thousand parts […]

11 12, 2012

Book Review: The Human Quest

“Our challenge is not to save Earth, but to save ourselves,” writes Swedish scientist Johan Rockström in his new book, The Human Quest: Prospering Within Planetary Boundaries. “We believe this is the most important journey mankind has ever undertaken.”

The book, which was first distributed at the Rio+20 conference in June and is now available in a digital version, is not the first to call for urgent action in sustainability. However, it is somewhat unique in attempting to take a wholly comprehensive (though abridged) look at the environmental problems we face in 2012, and potential solutions to those problems. The book is also filled with gorgeous photographs from National Geographic photographer Mattias Klum.

Ice forms fantastic shapes in Grey Lake on the edge of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. Photo credit: Mattias Klum

The Human Quest begins with the idea that we are the first generation to understand that humanity has the power to destroy the Earth’s ability to support us. […]

11 10, 2012

8 Stunning Examples of Solar Architecture

There’s a lot more that goes into solar architecture than just strapping solar panels to the outside of a building. Green architects with an eye for solar also need to think of things like how to maximize exposure to the sun, how best to design a structure that comfortably distributes heat, and how to do it all without sacrificing any of the aesthetics that are so important to design.

More and more, architects are stretching the limits of solar technology, and it’s becoming increasingly important for the homes, buildings, stadiums, skyscrapers and cities of the future to be energy-independent and sustainable. In fact, you might say that solar architecture is on the verge of a golden age; Many of the world’s most spectacular structures in development today utilize solar energy in some way.


Sonnenschiff and the Freiburg Solar City

It’s one thing to build an energy independent home or building, it’s another thing to build an entire settlement that produces more energy […]

11 06, 2012

Beach Report: the Good, Bad and the Ugly

Headed to the beach this weekend? Before you go, check out NRDC’s annual beachwater quality report, which studied 3,000 beaches nationwide and ranked the top 200 most popular beaches. The report includes a handy tool to search by zip code for beaches in your area.

NRDC has studied beachwater quality for 22 years, and the news in the current report is not all good: 2011 had one of the highest number of closing and advisory days in two decades. Most of the closings happened after tests showed that bacteria levels in the water violated public health standards. The main cause? Pollution from stormwater runoff, with additional pollution coming from sewage overflows. The pollution can cause serious illness, ranging from hepatitis and neurological disorders to death.

The top pollution offenders
You might want to avoid the beaches on the report’s top 15 “Repeat Offenders,” which have suffered from consistently bad test results. These beaches have violated public health standards more than 25 percent […]