Category Archives: Infrastructure

October 13, 2017

PG&E power lines linked to Wine Country fires

PG&E and other large utilities in California have a long history of being found responsible for major wildfires because of inadequate maintenance of their power lines.

As the first reports came in Sunday night of numerous fires that would grow into one of the most destructive wildfire disasters in California history, emergency dispatchers in Sonoma County received multiple calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.

In all, according to a review of emergency radio traffic by the Bay Area News Group, Sonoma County dispatchers sent out fire crews to at least 10 different locations across the county over a 90-minute period starting at 9:22 pm to respond to 911 calls and other reports of sparking wires and problems with the county’s electrical system amid high winds.

State fire officials said Tuesday that they are still investigating the cause of the blazes, which as of late Tuesday had killed 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California counties.

But the reports of the power equipment failures began to turn the spotlight on PG&E, the giant San Francisco-based utility, raising questions about how well it maintained its equipment in the area and whether it adequately cut back trees from power lines to reduce fire risk — as required by state law.

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October 3, 2017

How the Democrats Set Up Puerto Rico for Disaster

What New Orleans, Houston and Puerto Rico have in common.

We’ve seen this show before.

When there’s a national disaster, neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble, shelters are filled with crying families, and a Republican is in the White House, the Democrats jump into action.

Not to help, but to make political capital from a disaster that they helped cause.

After Hurricane Katrina, the media shrieked that survivors inside the New Orleans Superdome were murdering each other. But there actually wasn’t a single murder in the Superdome. And no, NBC’s Brian Williams, never saw any corpses floating past the Ritz-Carlton. The media exaggerated and lied.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was all over the news shouting, “Get off your asses” and accusing the Bush administration of “spinning” while “people are dying”. The dirty Democrat demanded more resources while claiming that everything that the Federal government was doing wasn’t good enough. He called for Greyhound buses, when there were plenty of school buses in New Orleans that weren’t being used.

Much of the disaster was actually Nagin’s fault. And Ray Nagin has been convicted of his crimes.

Puerto Rico is the new New Orleans. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz is the new Nagin.

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September 25, 2017

Facing Months in the Dark, Ordinary Life in Puerto Rico Is ‘Beyond Reach’

Disaster exacerbated by corruption…

Two days after Hurricane Maria flattened this island of 3.5 million people, knocking out all its power and much of its water, the rebuilding of the services and structures needed for people to resume some semblance of ordinary life was looking more complicated by the day.

All or part of three towns in the northwestern part of the island — Isabela, San Sebastián and Quebradillas — were being evacuated Friday because of fears about structural damage to the nearby Guajataca Dam. Close to 70,000 people could be affected if the 90-year-old dam, which is 120-feet high and can hold about 11 billion gallons of water, collapsed, said Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló.

And with everyone from the governor of Puerto Rico to the mayor of San Juan predicting that it could take four to six months to resume electrical service, people were contemplating empty refrigerators, campfire cooking, bathing in their own sweat and perhaps wrangling for fresh water on an island accustomed to hard times but nothing like what the future may bring.

“It’s been hard to see infrastructure deteriorate in Puerto Rico, but it has been harder to meet citizens who have lost it all,” Governor Rosselló said.

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September 4, 2017

For years, engineers have warned that Houston was a flood disaster in the making. Why didn’t somebody do something?

“It is naturally prone to flooding,” said Don Riley, the former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers civil works division. “People have built in this massive flood plain. They have to understand that.”

Houston is built on what amounts to a massive flood plain, pitted against the tempestuous Gulf of Mexico and routinely hammered by the biggest rainstorms in the nation.

It is a combination of malicious climate and unforgiving geology, along with a deficit of zoning and land-use controls, that scientists and engineers say leaves the nation’s fourth most populous city vulnerable to devastating floods like the one caused this week by Hurricane Harvey.

“Houston is very flat,” said Robert Gilbert, a University of Texas at Austin civil engineer who helped investigate the flooding of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “There is no way for the water to drain out.”

Indeed, the city has less slope than a shower floor.

Harvey poured as much as 374 billion gallons of water within the city limits, exceeding the capacity of rivers, bayous, lakes and reservoirs. Experts said the result was predictable.

The storm was unprecedented, but the city has been deceiving itself for decades about its vulnerability to flooding, said Robert Bea, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and UC Berkeley emeritus civil engineering professor who has studied hurricane risks along the Gulf Coast.

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July 4, 2017

Scientists explain ancient Rome’s long-lasting concrete

“Contrary to the principles of modern cement-based concrete,” said lead author Marie Jackson from the University of Utah, US, “the Romans created a rock-like concrete that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater.”

Researchers have unlocked the chemistry of Roman concrete which has resisted the elements for thousands of years.

Ancient sea walls built by the Romans used a concrete made from lime and volcanic ash to bind with rocks.

Now scientists have discovered that elements within the volcanic material reacted with sea water to strengthen the construction.

They believe the discovery could lead to more environmentally friendly building materials.

Unlike the modern concrete mixture which erodes over time, the Roman substance has long puzzled researchers.

Rather than eroding, particularly in the presence of sea water, the material seems to gain strength from the exposure.

In previous tests with samples from ancient Roman sea walls and harbours, researchers learned that the concrete contained a rare mineral called aluminium tobermorite.

They believe that this strengthening substance crystallised in the lime as the Roman mixture generated heat when exposed to sea water.

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March 23, 2017

Lead Poisoning In “Dozens Of California Communities” Worse Than Flint, Michigan

California, a state infamous for its environmental protections, including a $65 billion tunnel project being pushed by Governor Jerry Brown so as not to disrupt the habitat of a tiny, non-native fish species, may be facing a lead poisoning crisis more severe than Flint, Michigan.

According to blood test data obtained by Reuters, rates of childhood lead poisoning in several California cities surpass those measured in Flint, Michigan, with one Fresno locale showing rates nearly three times higher.

In fact, in Fresno’s downtown 93701 zip code, nearly 14% of children tested showed lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current threshold for an elevated reading. As the CDC noted, no level of lead exposure is safe, but children who test that high warrant an immediate public health response.

In all, per the map below, Reuters found at least 29 California neighborhoods where children had elevated lead tests at rates at least as high as in Flint. “It’s a widespread problem and we have to get a better idea of where the sources of exposure are,” said California Assembly member Bill Quirk, who chairs the state legislature’s Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials.

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February 22, 2017

Mona Walter “may be bravest woman in Sweden” (Video)

In March 2016, Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media travelled to Sweden to investigate the impact of Islam immigration to that nation. He spoke to ex-Muslim Mona Walter about what she experienced.

February 1, 2017

The Rape Of Sweden | Ingrid Carlqvist and Stefan Molyneux (Video)

In the midst of the European Migrant Crisis, Sweden is on the verge of societal collapse under the weight of mass immigration. Ingrid Carlqvist joins Stefan Molyneux to discuss the current state of Sweden, the shocking Facebook livestream rape case, demoralization of the Swedish people, being faced with a true rape culture, next years Swedish elections and what the future looks like for the Swedish people.

April 30, 2016

Venezuela’s woes are mounting as it turns the lights off

“Venezuela is in the final throes of a downward social and economic spiral borne out of a legacy of terribly misguided policymaking,” economist Michael Henderson said in a note to CNBC. “The announcement of a two-day working week for public sector employees lays bare just how ill-equipped the economy is to deal with temporary supply shocks.”

Venezuela’s economic problems hit a new peak this week as rolling blackouts and a two-day working week were introduced to alleviate an energy crisis.

Venezuela’s government announced earlier in the week that it was cutting public sector employees’ working hours down to two days a week for at least two weeks in order to reduce electricity consumption.

The country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, had already decided Venezuela’s 2.8 million state workers would have Fridays off through April and May. Daily four-hour power cuts around the country were also planned to further save energy.

The plans are a response to a drought that has left the country’s largest hydroelectric dam near its minimum operating level. But according to Michael Henderson, lead economist at risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft, the plans indicate just how poorly the country is doing as a whole.

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February 14, 2016

German Government To ‘Create’ 100,000 Subsidised Migrant Jobs That ‘Pay’ Just €1 An Hour

The German government pressing ahead with plans to spend nearly half a billion Euros to ‘create’ 100,000 heavily subsidised jobs for unemployed migrants.

Desperate to better integrate the millions of migrants that have already arrived, and continue to roll into Europe in droves through the migrant crisis, socialist workforce minister Andrea Nahles has been working on the plan since last year. But now the so-called refugee jobs have been criticised by economists who say paying companies €450,000,000 to employ migrants is nothing more than a short term fix.

The German government is presently negotiating over the 2017 budget, but politicians are already calling for significant extra funding to be found for migrants in 2016.

Instead of requiring migrants to perform simple work in return for their state handouts, which includes housing, food, and pocket money, the new plan asks private companies to pay migrants €1 an hour for their labour, reports Welt. although exact plans have yet to be released, the wage would be likely topped up to the €8.50 minimum wage by government subsidy — a programme that is being called “occupational therapy” in Germany.

While German economists applauded efforts to integrate migrants into the job market as quickly as possible Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research said “publicly funded job opportunities do not appear to be the right way to bring refugees to work”, reports Rheinische Post.

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