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Posts Tagged "infrastructure"

Anthropology in Practice

A Tale of Two Undergrounds

“To be happy, stay hidden.” – Yopie, Parisian cataphile Ever since reading Jennifer Toth’s The Mole People as a teen, I’ve been intrigued by the metropolitan underground. Cities teem with life, and change happens at a dizzying pace. But what lurks beneath the streets remains a mystery to many—it almost remains a realm lost to [...]

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Guest Blog

The low-carbon diet: One family’s effort to shrink carbon consumption

Part 2: A Little Research Goes a Long Way (see Part 1: Epiphany from up high: Can a suburban family live sustainably?) Tracking down an energy auditor on the cusp of the 2010 deadline for energy efficiency rebates proved tricky. Yet on a frigid morning in early January, David Pocklington and Shane Matteson of Energy [...]

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Observations

Sequester-Hobbled DARPA Takes Aim at New Types of Terrorism

GPS satellite

With relevance to homegrown, lone operator terrorist threats highlighted by the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced a series of initiatives Wednesday aimed at defending the U.S. against increasingly ambiguous threats. Whereas its core mission will remain the same—researching new types of technology for the military—the cutting-edge agency [...]

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Observations

Why It’s Better to Text Than Call in a Mass Emergency

Man with cell phone

Today at BoingBoing, Maggie Koerth-Baker has a fascinating Q&A with communications engineer and entrepreneur Brough Turner about how mobile-phone networks respond to sudden spikes in call volume, as occurred April 15 in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. Mobile phones are everywhere, but beyond spotting the odd cell tower here and there, few of [...]

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Observations

How Pedestrian-Friendly Are We, Really?

In a busy intersection in Manhattan, taxis outnumber cars and pedestrians

Cars don’t kill people. People do. That’s the premise of a New York Times article that was published this week about pedestrian safety in New York City. With thousands of people flocking to New York City’s International Auto Show this week, the time is ripe to ask: Just how far have we come in making [...]

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Observations

More Dangerous Than Nuclear Power: The Floods Caused by Aging Dams [Video]

As the U.S. and China endure record-breaking floods this spring, there is a risk that is being overlooked amidst the inundated towns, evacuations and rising waters. Dams in the U.S. boast an average age of 50 years, and the American Society of Civil Engineers continues to give the nation’s dams a D grade overall in [...]

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Plugged In

Solar Roads Will Solve All Our Problems … Maybe

It’s Infrastructure Week, here, and to me that usually means bad news. I was planning on telling you all the horrible things going on with our infrastructure. Like, the Highway Trust fund is running out of money because we refuse to raise taxes. Or like that lack of investment is causing things like our usual [...]

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Plugged In

A Bake Sale for Roads

I’m learning lessons by the bushel basket this fall, on account of I’m getting the chance to officially do something I’ve long done unofficially: beg for the opportunity to pay more taxes. See, here in Raleigh, where I live, we’re floating two bonds if voters approve them in October: $810 million for the schools (a [...]

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Plugged In

The Best Protection Against Storms? Nature Herself

When the winds grow strong and the waves heavy, shorelines are proving to be an important shield from the damage these coastal storms can inflect. That’s according to a new study by a group of scientists at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. They have drafted a map of America’s shoreline that shows the amount [...]

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Plugged In

Who Needs Investment: Let’s Have an Infrastructure Film Festival

The television show “Revolution” is getting ready to start, with its plot based on the failure of the electrical grid. That’s nothing new, though — the most recent Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” and Spiderman movie, “The Amazing Spiderman,” came out this summer, each with significant events or  themes involving infrastructure systems. Half of the [...]

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Plugged In

Get Used to It

Today’s suggestion? Get used to it. Days of unspeakable heat? The heat taking the usual storm systems and turning them excessively violent? Lack of investment in infrastructure making recovery from those storms lengthy and piecemeal? Check, check, and check. Remember the “Snowstorm of 88” narratives we all grew up listening to? The next generation of [...]

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Plugged In

Getting to Know Your Water

That sound you do not hear is a half-million people not sighing in relief as the reservoir that slakes the thirst of the population of Raleigh, NC, and many surrounding smaller towns nears capacity for the first time in nearly a year. And on this World Water Day, when many turn their attention to the [...]

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Plugged In

Electric Sky, Traffic Light Design, and Other Reasons for Paying Attention

The world is trying to remind you to keep your eyes open, to take nothing for granted. Don’t ignore the quotidian: look there for breakthroughs. Consider the electric sky created by a German electric engineering firm to mimic the changing cloudscape of life under the real blue sky. The idea is to improve workers’ senses [...]

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