the environment

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The Gates of Hell

In the hot, expansive Karakum desert in Turkmenistan, near the 350-person village of Derweze, is a hole 230 feet wide that has been on fire for over 40 years.

Locals know the crater as “The Gates of Hell.” Its glow can be seen for miles around.

The Gates of Hell were created in 1971 when a Soviet drilling rig accidentally punched into a massive underground natural gas cavern, causing the ground to collapse and the entire drilling rig to fall in. Having punctured a pocket of gas, poisonous fumes began leaking at an alarming rate. To head off a potential environmental catastrophe, the Soviets set the hole alight. The crater hasn’t stopped burning since.

The Soviet drilling rig is believed to still be down there somewhere, on the other side of the “Gates of Hell.”

globalnews.ca
Prince Albert builds water pipeline while oil flows down North Saskatchewan River
Prince Albert is constructing a line with 20-centimetre-diameter irrigation pipe along the ground to a spot on the South Saskatchewan River.
By Staff

Provincial officials in Saskatchewan say a riverside city whose water supply is threatened by an oil pipeline spill is building a hose, dozens of kilometres long, to draw water from another river.

Sam Ferris with Saskatchewan’s water security agency says Prince Albert is constructing a line with 20-centimetre-diameter irrigation pipe along the ground to a spot on the South Saskatchewan River near the Muskoday First Nation, between 20 and 30 kilometres away.

The city of more than 35,000 people has been preparing to shut its regular water intakes on the North Saskatchewan River following a spill upstream of between 200,000 and 250,000 litres of crude oil and other material at a Husky Energy pipeline near Maidstone, Sask.

Prince Albert has a few days worth of water stored in reservoirs and has also been preparing to treat water from its stormwater retention ponds while oil from Thursday’s  spill flows past.

Wes Kotyk with Saskatchewan’s environmental protection branch said officials don’t know how long that could take, since the plume of the spill has broken up and slicks can get hung up on bends and take time to move along the river.

North Battleford, which is further upstream on the river, shut off its water supply intakes on Friday and is now relying on a limited supply from wells.

“It might have to serve for some time. We don’t know how long the event will endure,” Ferris said during a media conference Sunday about the water pipeline Prince Albert is building.

“It won’t work in Saskatchewan in the winter time, I can guarantee you that.”

Continue Reading.

arstechnica.com
Forget about 54.5 mpg by 2025. Americans love their SUVs too much
With a 50:50 mix of cars to trucks & SUVs, it isn't possible.

Despite lots of hard work by the boffins in automotive research centers in the US and elsewhere, the 54.5mpg Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) goal is dead in the water.

Americans, it seems, are just too in love with their light trucks and SUVs to make it happen. That’s according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the California Air Resources Board.

The three agencies have published a Draft Technical Assessment Report, “Midterm Evaluation of Light-duty Vehicle GHG Emissions Standards for Model Years 2022-2025 (PDF), that lays out the case for why we could meet the 2012 plan—which would have doubled fleet fuel economy, halved greenhouse gas emissions, and saved 12 billion barrels of oil and prevented 6 billion tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere between now and 2025—but won’t.

The standard was developed at a time when gasoline was projected to be $5 per gallon. Substantial fail by car companies who designed the original proposal. Here’s Obama’s original announcement from 2012.

nytimes.com
Evolution Is Happening Faster Than We Thought
In the extremity of the urban environment, natural selection is transforming species in unexpected ways.
By Menno Schilthuizen

The Op-Ed piece is telling us that evolution of some species, particularly those who live in cities, is happening much quicker than assumed. The animals are adapting to metals in the soil and crap in the air, and birds are changing their pitch to higher tones so they can be heard above the noise and are no longer migrating from their city homes. (Why should they? We humans provide plenty of good, whether intentionally or not.)

Excerpt:

For many of these differences, genes are responsible. The birds’ DNA, after 200 years or less of adaptation, has diverged from that of their rural ancestors.

For a long time, biologists thought evolution was a very, very slow process, too tardy to be observed in a human lifetime. But recently, we have come to understand that evolution can happen very quickly, as long as natural selection — the relative benefit that a particular characteristic bestows on its bearer — is strong.

We are earth with consciousness. This tree was magical during the #silentretreat . It beckoned me and spoke to me & I silently asked if I may do a #handstand with it, and the answer was ‘yes’! #nature #beauty #environment #yogiontheroad #yogi #yogamen #manasaaddicts #cuticutimalaysia #malaysia #portdickson #meditation #wellness #yoga #yogaeverydamnday

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