Daily Archives: October 3, 2018

Indonesia: Tsunami Death Toll Tops 1,400 as Volcano Erupts on Sulawesi

3 October 2018

In Indonesia, the death toll from Friday’s devastating earthquake and tsunami continues to rise, with the official toll now topping 1,400. An Indonesian government spokesperson said rescue efforts continue as the risk of hunger, disease and a lack of basic necessities pose new challenges.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho: “2,509 people are heavily injured and being treated in hospitals, 113 people are missing, 152 people have been buried, and 70,821 people have taken refuge in 141 different spots.”

A volcano on the island of Sulawesi, where Friday’s earthquake and tsunami occurred, has erupted, spewing volcanic ash into the air and further complicating rescue efforts. Meanwhile, scientists are warning that rising sea levels due to climate change will make future tsunamis like last week’s disaster even more destructive.

See related:

Michael Lewis: Trump’s Approach To Government Shows ‘Neglect And Misunderstanding’ : NPR

October 2, 20181:30 PM ET
Heard on Fresh Air    Terry Gross

Lewis’ new book, The Fifth Risk, examines three federal departments under Trump: energy, agriculture and commerce. He warns that half of the top 700 positions in the administration remain unfilled.


This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. The federal government under President Trump is the subject of the new book “The Fifth Risk” by my guest, journalist Michael Lewis, who’s also the author of the best-sellers “Moneyball” and “The Big Short,” which were adapted into films, and “The Undoing Project.”

Lewis looks at Trump’s government by focusing on three departments – energy, commerce and agriculture. If you’re thinking that this is about boring bureaucracy, consider that, as Lewis points out, the government manages a portfolio of risks that no private person or corporation was ever able to manage ranging from forecasting and warning about hurricanes – the National Weather Service is part of the Commerce Department – to preventing the accidental explosions of our own nuclear weapons, one of the Energy Department’s many responsibilities.

Many essential positions in the Trump administration remain unfilled, and some of the key positions, Lewis says, are filled by people who are uninformed about what areas they’re supposed to be overseeing while others have conflicts of interest or political views that make them antagonistic toward the department or agency they’re leading. Lewis started writing about this in articles published in Vanity Fair.

Greg Miller, welcome to FRESH AIR. Is there a story that you helped break that you consider the most consequential story of candidate or President Trump and his administration?

GREG MILLER: Well, I mean, there are several stories. Obviously many stories that The Washington Post broke that I had a hand in one way or another obviously working very closely with some terrific and amazing colleagues here. I think the one that jumps out for many people is the story that said that former national security adviser Mike Flynn had not been honest about his conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. We wrote the story saying that he in fact had discussed the lifting of sanctions on Russia in those conversations and then lied about it to the White House, to news organizations, including our own, and to the American public.

And this was the sort of – just one of many huge stories that we broke during that time. And a couple others that I was involved in include the revelation that the CIA had reached a secret conclusion that Russia was not just trying to disrupt the election what was – but was trying to help elect Donald Trump. And then later when Trump was in office, I broke several stories about his rough conversations with foreign leaders – we had the transcripts of some of those calls – and the story about his revealing of highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister.

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One Out Of Every Five New Buildings In Boston Is Energy Inefficient

This building on West Broadway in South Boston was built in 2015, and received an Energy Star Score of one (1) in the city’s BERDO database, meaning it’s less energy efficient than 99 percent of similar buildings nationwide.Molly Boigon
By Molly Boigon
October 2, 2018

Energy Inefficient Buildings In Boston

The city of Boston is in the midst of a building boom, but environmental advocates say much of this new construction is a missed opportunity.

One out of every five buildings constructed here since 2012 falls in the country’s bottom half for energy efficiency, according to city records.

The data comes from the city’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance, or BERDO, which requires medium and large buildings in Boston to report their energy use to the city.

One of the metrics used to analyze energy performance is the Energy Star Score, which grades a building on its performance compared to similar properties across the country.

About 20 percent of buildings constructed in Boston since 2012 get Energy Star Scores below 50, meaning they score in the bottom 50 percent of similar buildings across the country when it comes to energy efficiency.

“Buildings account for the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions for the city of Boston,” said City Councilor Matt O’Malley. “It’s about 52 or 53 percent.”

O’Malley said the city of Boston has a stated goal to be carbon-neutral by 2050 — eliminating or offsetting all of its carbon dioxide emissions in just 32 years.

“Boston is in the third biggest building boom of our nearly 400-year history,” he said. “We recognize that. We recognize we can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, so to speak, with a lot of these buildings.”

O’Malley is developing legislation to address the city’s construction carbon footprint. He’s convened three working sessions to discuss the issue with architects, real estate lawyers, developers and other stakeholders.

Some experts say the city’s zoning discourages some energy-efficient design features.

For example, buildings need thick insulation to keep air conditioning and heat inside. Real estate lawyer and former City Councilor Mike Ross said the zoning essentially requires developers to build any insulation into a building’s livable space.

“The dimensions of a property are measured by the outside wall, so if you are buying very expensive real estate … the thought of just killing two to three inches for the sake of better insulation, I mean, that adds up,” Ross said.

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Sea Level Rise – Map Viewer | NOAA Climate.gov

This map viewer illustrates the scale of potential coastal flooding after varying amounts of sea level rise. Users can simulate inundation associated with one to six feet of sea level rise at various scales along the contiguous United States coast, except for the Great Lakes.

The maps are produced using detailed elevation maps with local and regional tidal variability. They show the extent of inundation likely at high tide after various amounts of sea level rise.

See also:

And in general terms:

Amazon’s carbon tipping point, prison segregation, laser archaeology | Public Radio International

Brazil holds one-third of the world’s remaining tropical rainforest and until recently it absorbed as much CO2 pollution every year as the amount produced by all the cars on the planet. Now scientists fear that deforestation and climate change are pushing the forest to a tipping point beyond which it will actually release more CO2 into the atmosphere than it captures.  Credit: Sam Eaton/The World

The Amazon rainforest used to absorb greenhouse gases. Now it may be emitting them and that’s bad news for the climate. Reporter Sam Eaton has more. Plus, Inside California prisons, inmates have been segregating themselves along ethnic and racial lines. And, a laser has helped reveal a lost civilization.

The Atlantic cod is leaving U.S. waters » Yale Climate Connections

A wooden cod fish hangs in the Massachusetts State House as a reminder of the Atlantic cod’s importance to the state’s history. But as oceans warm, this fish is moving out of U.S waters.

Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University says most marine life tolerates only a narrow range of temperatures.

Pinsky: “So even when the temperature warms up just a little bit, it has a large influence on their physiology, their heart rate, their metabolism, and even their ability to survive and reproduce.”

He recently studied how the habitat of hundreds of marine species will shift this century.

Pinsky: “What we found really surprised us. For some animals, their habitat is likely to move up to a thousand miles further north than it is now.”

The Atlantic cod, for example, will largely move away from U.S waters.

Pinksy: “It’s such a culturally important species in this country, and yet our projections suggested that habitat is likely to decline by 95% by the end of this century.”

But the impacts can be reduced. Pinsky’s research finds that if the world reduces carbon pollution as promised in the Paris Climate Agreement, dramatic shifts in marine habitats can be mostly avoided.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Human Population Through Time

American Museum of Natural History

Published on Nov 4, 2016

It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billion—and only 200 years to reach 7 billion. But growth has begun slowing, as women have fewer babies on average. When will our global population peak? And how can we minimize our impact on Earth’s resources, even as we approach 11 billion?

Related content:

Population Connection

UN World Population Prospects

Real-time population counter

NASA EarthData

NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center

Video credits:

AMNH/L. Moustakerski

AMNH/S. Krasinski

Sound Design
AMNH/J. Morfoot

Scientific Advisors
AMNH/S. Macey
AMNH/J. Zichello
Center for Biodiversity and Conservation

David Hillis, Derrick Zwickl, and Robin Gutell, University of Texas

World Population used courtesy of Population Connection, ©2015

Other Population Data Sources
Population Connection
United Nations, “World Population Prospects: 2015 Revision”
US Census Bureau

Maps and Event Sources
Encyclopedia Britannica
Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center
Needham, J. Science and Civilisation in China
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

This video and all media incorporated herein (including text, images, and audio) are the property of the American Museum of Natural History or its licensors, all rights reserved. The Museum has made this video available for your personal, educational use. You may not use this video, or any part of it, for commercial purposes, nor may you reproduce, distribute, publish, prepare derivative works from, or publicly display it without the prior written consent of the Museum.

Soft Robotic Arms: Giving Biologists a Delicate, Deep-sea Reach

Harvard University

Published on Oct 3, 2018

What good is a soft robotic hand without a soft robotic arm to move it? Wyss researchers have now created a soft, modular underwater arm that can help marine biologists study hard-to-reach organisms in the deep sea.

Together We Can Build a Better Food System – New York Food Tank Summit

Danielle Nierenberg
Started streaming 2 hours ago

Together we can build a better food system and stop food loss and food waste for good! The 2018 Food Tank Summit is live right now from New York City (9:00AM-5:15PM EST). The theme is “Focusing on Food Loss and Food Waste.” We have more than 35 incredible speakers including Dan Barber, Dickie Brennan, J.J. Johnson, Questlove, Tim Ma, Haile Thomas, Marion Nestle, Roy Steiner, Rhea Suh, Ben Tinker, and many more among an all-star lineup of conversations moderated by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and more! Please share this incredible event with your networks now and join the conversation by commenting below and using #FoodTank. Please help us spread the word!

The Sea, Biological-Physical Interactions in the Sea (The Sea: Ideas and Observations on Progress in the Study of the Seas) (Volume 12): Allan R. Robinson, James J. McCarthy, Brian J. Rothschild

This book is the third in a new sequence of volumes of The Sea to be edited by Dr. Allan Robinson and a new, distinguished editorial board. As oceanography has matured over recent decades, the once separate interests of chemical, biological, and physical oceanographers have converged. These volumes reflect the change in attitude in oceanography to a solid, interdisciplinary approach.

Professor Brian J. Rothschild, dean of the Massachusetts Intercampus Graduate School of Marine Sciences and Technology and director of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marines Science and Technology, is an editor and co-author of the latest volume of The Sea.

This ambitious collection of scientific research,begun in 1962, provides a continuing, comprehensive and timely synthesis of the state of knowledge of ocean science…[and an] overview [of] research frontiers as ocean science progresses. Publishers are John Wiley & Sons, New York.


Rothschild collaborated with co-editors Allan R. Robinson and James J. McCarthy to write the volume’s introduction on “Biological-Physical Interactions in the Sea: emergent findings and directions.”

He also collaborated with them on selecting and reviewing the other topics, and wrote the chapter on Population Dynamics and Physical Forcing.

As dean of the new Massachusetts Intercampus Graduate School of Marine Sciences and Technology, he is charged with leading the master’s and doctoral programs in the marine sciences for the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell campuses of the University of Massachusetts. The multi-campus graduate school admitted its first doctoral students in January of 2002.