Category Archives: Infrastructure

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.


Complete text linked here.

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.


Complete text linked here.

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.


Complete text linked here.

February 22, 2017

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

In March 2016, Ezra Levant of 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.


Complete text linked here.

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.


Complete text linked here.

November 11, 2015

Report: DHS spends $1B to digitize, only 1 immigration form available online (Video)

From the start, the initiative was mismanaged, the records and interviews show. Agency officials did not complete the basic plans for the computer system until nearly three years after the initial $500 million contract had been awarded to IBM, and the approach to adopting the technology was outdated before work on it began.

A Department of Homeland Security agency spent more than $1 billion in taxpayer money to digitize immigration paperwork — and after a decade of work, only has managed to put one document online.

The Washington Post reported Monday that officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services still are only able to offer a single form — out of nearly 100 — for online applications, and make a single fee payable electronically.

All other forms can still only be filed with paper.

The report sheds light on a struggling effort that not only has frustrated immigrant applicants but raises national security concerns and could put at risk any effort to overhaul immigration policies.

The project was originally supposed to be done in 2013, for a half-billion-dollar price tag.


Complete text and video linked here.

October 27, 2015

California Bullet Train: Dangerous Faults Raise Costs

The infamous California High-Speed Rail may take an extra 15 years to build, travel underground through several very dangerous geologic faults, and rise in cost to $93 billion.

Voters passed Proposition 1A, titled the “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century,” in November 2008. Since that time, it has become clear that riding under up to 36 miles of the San Gabriel and Tehachapi Mountains will be dangerous, unreliable and slow–if the project it is ever completed.

The original estimates in the bond disclosure statement promised the cost would be only $33 billion, with a 2010 construction start and full operation by 2222. But when the project actually broke ground earlier this year, the official estimate was raised to $68.4 billion and a 2028 completion for the Los Angeles to San Francisco project.

The project route runs between the San Gabriel and the San Andreas faults. Since being formed 1.7 billion years ago, the Pacific tectonic plate has relentlessly grinded 200 miles northward against the North American tectonic plate.

Natural tectonic movements will continue to create a highly fractured and constantly changing underground spiderweb of granite blocks and crevasses. There are also numerous vertical “slip faults” moving up and down, plus sub-faults moving horizontally east and west. Geologists compare the mountainous area the train will pass through to a game of pick-up sticks, where every few years there is a tremendous collapse.


Complete text linked here.

October 6, 2015

Rush Can’t Believe ‘Sobering’ New Immigration Study: ‘This Has Nothing To Do With Amnesty’ (Video)

” Illegal immigration is actually just a small part of the issue. This is stunning. I mean I knew, but putting it in numbers like this is sobering.”

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was blown away by the recent, “sobering” report from the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest during his Monday broadcast.

The report — based off data collected by the Pew Research Center — shows that “under current law” for every single American born over the next 50 years, immigration will add seven more to the population.

LIMBAUGH: Under current law — meaning legal immigration — under current law between now and 2065, every one American added to the population by our existing citizens — i.e. birth — immigration will add seven more. That’s under current law… This has nothing to do with amnesty. It has nothing to do with any reform, comprehensive or otherwise. Can you say transformation of the country? Before Obama even does his amnesty. Before Congress maybe gets together on a comprehensive immigration reform bill… When you throw in amnesty, and in some sense that’s already going on… we’re already flooded here at the southern border with minors… Illegal immigration is actually just a small part of the issue. This is stunning. I mean I knew, but putting it in numbers like this is sobering.

Video linked here at original source.