Slaves - including children - make the bricks for Cambodia's housing bubble

Two bedroom apartments in Phnom Penh start at $260,000 -- equivalent to 2,000 years' worth of average annual wages for Cambodia's workers. Read the rest

Climate change will make beer much more expensive

Over the next century, higher temperatures and an increased number of droughts will hit the global barley supply, pushing beer prices way up. University of East Anglia economist Dabo Guan and his colleagues developed multiple scenarios based on several climate and economic models. Nature:

The researchers then simulated the effect of these droughts and heat waves on barley production by using software to model crop growth and yield on the basis of weather and other variables.

They found that, globally, this extreme weather would reduce barley yield by between 3% and 17%. Some countries fared better than others: tropical areas such as Central and South America were hit badly, but crop yields actually increased in certain temperate areas, including northern China and the United States. Some areas of those countries saw yield increases of up to 90% — but this was not enough to offset the global decrease.

Finally, Guan and his colleagues fed these changes in barley yield into an existing economic model that can account for changes in supply and demand in the global market. This enabled them to look at how reduced barley production would affect pricing and consumption of beer in countries, as well as trade between nations.

In the worst-case scenario, the reduced barley supply worldwide would result in a 16% decrease in global beer consumption in the years of extreme-weather events. Prices would, on average, double...

One goal of the research, Guan says, was to make tangible how "climate change will impact people’s lifestyle... Read the rest

Interactive sea level viewer shows what will happen to America's beaches

Gone, obviously. Tom Scocca:

Using our advanced technology, it is possible to look up the beaches in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Sea Level Rise Viewer, and to imagine what will happen if we visit them, or try to visit them, in the future—when the sea levels have risen three feet, or six feet, or more, if you want. You can use your pocket phone-computer to watch them move ahead through time below.

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Climate change is AWOL in America's political debates

There is no political issue more pressing than the official inaction on climate change. With time running out to avert hundreds of millions of deaths and global migration, food, disease, and water chaos, with 73% of US voters believing in climate change (albeit with a mere 57% believing it is caused by humans), every one of our political debates should be centered on climate change. Read the rest

IPCC climate report is most urgent yet

The UN's International Panel on Climate Change is an interdisciplinary expert body comprised of leading scientists who study climate change; they issue periodic reports summarizing the best peer-reviewed science on climate change and making recommendations as to what must be done to avert the most catastrophic outcomes; their latest report is the gravest yet, where even the most optimistic projections of the panel predict disruption and hardship for tens of millions of people, within our lifetimes. Read the rest

Hurricane Florence in 3D, as seen by NASA's MISR onboard the Terra satellite

Get your red-blue 3D glasses out. NASA today shares a stunning stereo anaglyph 3-D image of Hurricane Florence, captured from the MISR instrument flying on-board the Terra satellite, which carries nine cameras that observe Earth at different angles. Read the rest

Watch this coagulant make dirty water drinkable

PolyGlu is used by aid workers to force impurities in water to settle at the bottom of a container, making the water safer for drinking in areas where water is scarce or polluted. Read the rest

Watch a massive haboob engulf southern Arizona towns

Jesse Watson captured this perfectly-timed footage of a massive dust cloud roiling across the Arizona desert at sunset. Read the rest

Welsh heat wave reveals ancient ruins under farm fields

The UK's Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales has published some recent aerial shots of cropmarks, ancient ruins now covered by farm fields. Unusually dry weather conditions have created a golden opportunity to see these sites from the air. Read the rest

Scott Pruitt quits EPA after corruption exposed by staffers. His resignation letter to Trump is bonkers.

President Trump's corrupt EPA chief is out. The resignation letter is nuts, and mentions God's divine providence and other creepy surreal stuff that doesn't belong. Read the rest

Coldest temperature ever recorded makes Earth "almost like another planet"

With climate change comes extreme temperatures, and scientists just recorded a new low.

Nearly 15 degrees colder than the previous record-breaking coldest temperature, which was -128 degrees in 1983 near the South Pole, the temperature in Antarctica dropped to -144 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures this low make Antarctica "almost like another planet," says lead researcher Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, quoted in Forbes.

Taking just a few breaths of air this cold would kill you. According to Forbes, "At that temperature, just a few breaths of air would induce hemorrhaging in your lungs and quickly lead to death."

The temperature was recorded using satellite measurements in the middle of Antarctica during the depths of winter where the sun never rises. These findings, recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, are close to the theoretical coldest temperature Earth can get down to.

Image: bhart9070/Pixabay Read the rest

Los Angeles cools street temperatures by painting them white

This very satisfying drone footage shows an innovative plan to reduce temperatures in Los Angeles by sealing streets with a reflective sealant. Read the rest

LA's high-tech, thoughtful water management is cause for cautious optimism about adapting to climate change

Southern California is almost totally dependent on Sierra snowpack and the Colorado River for its water, and both sources are endangered by climate change, even as SoCal's cycle of long droughts and catastrophic, torrential rains gets more extreme thanks to climate change. Read the rest

The baobabs are dying

Nine of thirteen "landmark" baobab trees across southern Africa abruptly died in recent years, reports Agence Presse-France. Climate change is blamed.

“It is definitely shocking and dramatic to experience during our lifetime the demise of so many trees with millennial ages,” said the study’s co-author Adrian Patrut of the Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania.

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Climate change depicted as vertical stripes

Warming Stripes: (cache) average annual temperatures in England, with each year depicted as a vertical line, from left to right, covering 1772-2017. At the link, see the U.S. and Toronto. Read the rest

Watch how fog harvesters may help reduce water shortages

Scientists have been experimenting with "fog harps" in arid climates as an easy way to collect potable water from fog.

Via the paper:

Fog harvesting is a useful technique for obtaining fresh water in arid climates. The wire meshes currently utilized for fog harvesting suffer from dual constraints: coarse meshes cannot efficiently capture microscopic fog droplets, whereas fine meshes suffer from clogging issues. Here, we design and fabricate fog harvesters comprising an array of vertical wires, which we call “fog harps”. Under controlled laboratory conditions, the fog-harvesting rates for fog harps with three different wire diameters were compared to conventional meshes of equivalent dimensions. As expected for the mesh structures, the mid-sized wires exhibited the largest fog collection rate, with a drop-off in performance for the fine or coarse meshes. In contrast, the fog-harvesting rate continually increased with decreasing wire diameter for the fog harps due to efficient droplet shedding that prevented clogging. This resulted in a 3-fold enhancement in the fog-harvesting rate for the harp design compared to an equivalent mesh.

Harvesting water from fog with harps (YouTube / American Chemical Society) Read the rest

Watch divers harvest hardy "super corals" in hopes of repopulating reefs

Great Barrier Reef Legacy is one of a number of organizations racing to collect and study coral colonies that miraculously survive major bleaching events. The hope is that these "super corals" can help restore reefs decimated by environmental change. Read the rest

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