pretty men and women | sci-fi and other fannish geekery | liberal politics | striking photos | occasional music | and random quotations that catch my eye
in case you forgot the name of this life ruiner.
An MIT linguistics professor was lecturing his class the other day. “In English,” he said, “a double negative forms a positive. However, in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative remains a negative.
But there isn’t a single language, not one, in which a double positive can express a negative.”
A voice from the back of the room piped up, “Yeah, right.”
Sam should be everyone’s fave
and I need to see more of Sam talking to birds
birds are great. sam is great. bird + sam = 2(great)
- How do you do that?
- I aim for the middle.
"You can’t just change the race of cultural icons like Captain America! It’s an important part of their identity and message!"
Jesus: Ah yes.
Jesus: Can’t imagine who would do that.
Jesus: What a shame.
Fountain at Lincoln Center, New York. Fusion/Danielle Wiener-Bronner
Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers are still grappling with the effects of the storm. There are still houses in Brooklyn with tarps on their roofs and plywood in their windows, where damaged areas have yet to be rebuilt. And funding to rebuild is so limited, locals are stuck fighting for help to return to their pre-Sandy lives.
In the next few years, New York is likely to see “frequent and extensive flooding” at a rate 20 times higher than it did 170 years ago, according to a study published in May’s Geophysical Research Letters. So it’s understandable that water has been on the minds of New Yorkers, and those concerned with the city’s future.
This week, officials, think tank groups, locals, and architects discussed New York’s water problem at the New York Water Conference. Here’s what every future New Yorker — and those who care about urban development and sustainability — should know about water.
A WATERSHED MOMENT
New York City gets its drinking water from a watershed, which the Department of Environmental Conservation describes as “an area of land that drains into a body of water, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, sea or ocean.”
The watershed spans over 1,900 square miles, and is divided into two reservoir systems — the Catskill/Delaware system, located west of the Hudson River, and the Croton system, which is east of the river. The Croton system was built before World War I and is made up of 10 reservoirs and three controlled lakes, and provides roughly ten percent of NYC’s drinking water. The Catskill system was completed in 1927, forty years prior to the Delaware system, which is currently being repaired at great cost to the city. Together, the system provides 90 percent of the city’s drinking water (map):
Combined with nine additional reservoirs, the system provides 1.4 billion gallons of water to 9 million people in NYC and other NY counties per day.
The city is surrounded by non-drinking water (don’t drink it, please). New York’s shoreline is 520 miles long, and remains one of the world’s largest port cities: roughly 30,000 people work in maritime industries.
New York City faces two major types of water threats, both of which are primarily caused by the effects of climate change.
The first is in the form of storm water, or rain.
About 70 percent of New York City’s sewer systems are combined: they collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage and industrial waste in the same pipe before transmitting the collected water to a treatment center. If and when the system overflows — as can happen during periods of heavy rainfall — waste is directed to nearby bodies of water.
The risk of Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO, is prompting city officials to think seriously about a better sewer system — especially in light of the increased threat of severe storms increases. Architect Ate Atema thinks he can solve the problem of where waste ends up with something called Street Creeks, which would use biological treatment to clean the combined sewer water before it enters waterways, in this way protecting nearby bodies of water without overhauling the city’s sewer system.
Street Creeks look like mini canals running along sidewalks:
Courtesy of Atema Architecture PLLC
The project would be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, but could be too ambitious for the city, at least at this point. In the words of New York City Department of Environmental Protection official Emily Lloyd, “The timetable of our regulators to get things in place and improve water quality is sometimes in conflict with our desire to try innovative solutions.”
WHEN THE NEXT SANDY HITS
City officials will have to contend with protecting the city from extreme storms, which threaten the portions of the outer boroughs and Manhattan’s southern region. According to landscape architect Laura Starr, “Sandy created a new neighborhood in Manhattan called So-Po, South of Power.” Starr is a principal at Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, the firm which helped develop a preventative plan to protect lower Manhattan called The Big U. The plan, which won $335 million as the winning entry in HUD’s “Rebuild by Design” competition, envisions a number of berms which would support community parks and deployable walls to protect neighborhoods below 57th street. The idea, says Starr, is to “do a big infrastructure movement a la Robert Moses but adapting it a la Jane Jacobs.”
The Big U, Courtesy of Rebuild by Design
In addition to protecting built-up regions of the city, officials are tasked with convincing people who live in dangerous zones to abandon their homes.The Sandy buyout program has targeted neighborhoods in Staten Island that were severely affected by the storm.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR WATER?
It’s easy to forget that New York City is vulnerable to the whims of mother nature. Water is a precious and finite resource, and severe weather is a threat we must prepare for to avoid. We’ve succeeded in part because of our attention to natural resources — we rely largely on gravity to bring water from upstate, rather than energy-wasting pumps, and must continue to do so in order to survive.
It’s important to start thinking about working within the confines of the natural world, now.
At the time, ideas of race in America were quite literally black and white. But a few meters of cloth changed the way some people of color were treated.
This is fascinating.
saying feminism is unnecessary because you don’t feel oppressed is like saying fire extinguishers are unnecessary because your house isn’t on fire