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The Monster Surge That Wasn’t: Why Irma Caused Less Flooding Than Expected

The surge also caused flooding in the enclaves of Coral Gables and Palmetto Bay. As Irma, now a tropical storm, traveled further north Monday, its eastern winds continued to push water up into the coasts of eastern Florida and Georgia, with parts of the region facing seven feet of storm surge. In Jacksonville, coastal surges and heavy rains have swamped the central business district and swelled the nearby St. Johns River. Sea-level rise caused by climate change also worsened the storm surge that did occur in many areas. In Miami, sea levels have risen roughly 10 to 12 inches in the past century. “That may not sound like a big deal, but when combined with a four foot surge, it can mean the inundation of thousands of more buildings,” said Dr. Needham. Still, the damage could have been far worse […]

A Storm Forces Houston, the Limitless City, to Consider Its Limits

HOUSTON — Not long after a pair of New York real estate speculators founded this city on the banks of a torpid bayou in the 1830s, every home and every business flooded. Though settlers tried draining their humid, swampy, sweltering surroundings, the inundations came again and again, with 16 major floods in the city’s first century.And yet somehow, improbably, Houston not only survived but prospered — and it sprawled omnivorously, becoming the nation’s fourth-largest city and perhaps its purest model of untrammeled growth.When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the disaster played out in an eccentric anachronism, a city of modest economic heft proudly tethered to its exotic past. But Harvey has inundated a city perpetually looking to the future, a place built on boundless entrepreneurialism, the glories of air conditioning, a fierce aversion to regulation and a sense of limitless possibility.The result has been a uniquely American success story, the capital of the world’s petroleum industry, and the place that sent a man to the moon, built the world’s biggest medical center and became a model of dizzying multiculturalism, with 145 languages spoken.But Harvey’s staggering flooding is raising very un-Houstonian questions about whether there are, in fact, limits to the Houston model of perpetual growth, and whether humans can push nature only so far before nature pushes back with catastrophic force.Though its breakneck development culture and lax regulatory environment have been lauded for giving working people affordable housing — and thus a shot at the American dream — many experts and residents say that the developers’ encroachment into the wetlands and prairies that used to serve Houston as natural sponges has inevitably exacerbated the misery that the city is suffering today.“There could have been ways to have more green space and more green infrastructure over the years, and it just didn’t work that way, because it was fast and furious,” said Phil Bedient, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Rice University […]

Powerball, Spain, Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Your Thursday Briefing

• #happybirthday. Ten years ago, the use of hashtags was first proposed in a Twitter post. • Best of late-night TV. Conan O’Brien found himself in an unusual spot. “In Saudi Arabia, a 14-year-old boy was detained for dancing to the Macarena. You know, I don’t say this often, but I gotta side with the Saudi government on this one.” • Quotation of the day. “There’s a massive amount of carbon that’s in the ground, that’s built up slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It’s been in a freezer, and that freezer is now turning into a refrigerator.” Continue reading the main story — Max Holmes, deputy director of the Woods Hole Research Center, on the thawing permafrost in Alaska. Back Story We often go back in history for our back stories, but today we’re going way back. Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day in 79 A.D., burying the Roman town of Pompeii under a heap of ash, rocks and pumice […]

Trees provide $500 million in services per megacity every year

From reducing air pollution and saving energy to mitigating climate change, researchers place a price tag on the work that urban trees perform. […]

Innovative live-work hybrid hotel is ‘home’ & incubator for global nomads (Video)

Nomadic professionals get to work, socialize and feel at home in this rehabilitated office building in Amsterdam. […]

Georgia Runoff, Otto Warmbier, London: Your Tuesday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview Smarter Living • Exercise may benefit children’s cognition. • And sipping coffee or an energy drink before hitting the gym can give your workout a boost. • Recipe of the day: Use a rotisserie bird to make chicken salad with walnuts and grapes. Noteworthy • An opera revived. In today’s 360 video, step into “Alcyone,” an 18th-century French opera that had not been performed in Paris for almost 250 years. Video Reviving a French Opera Step into “Alcyone,” an 18th-century French opera that had not been performed in Paris for 246 years.By ELIAN PELTIER, DAPHNÉ ANGLÈS, KAITLYN MULLIN and VEDA SHASTRI on Publish Date June 20, 2017.Photo by Vincent Pontet […]

NASA Discovers 10 Potential Planets That May Be Habitable

NASA revealed Monday that one of its teams discovered hundreds of new potential planets, 10 of which may be habitable. The Kepler space telescope team added 219 new potential planets to its catalog, bringing its total findings over the first four years of observation to 4,034 planet candidates. Of those, 50 have now been flagged as potentially habitable because they are similar in size to Earth and 30 have been verified, NASA announced from its Ames Research Center in California. “This carefully-measured catalog is the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions – how many planets like our Earth are in the galaxy?” said Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist and lead author of the study. The 10 new potential planets could be rocky, and orbit in a range called the “habitable zone,” which means there could be liquid water on their surfaces. The Kepler spacecraft will continue its mission to search for new potential planets and collect information about the galaxy. This data will enable scientists to determine what kind of planets make up our galaxy and monitor possible Earth-like planets. […]