Shell Stops Efforts to Drill in the Arctic

For a while now Shell has been trying to suck oil in the arctic. Arctic drilling is extremely dangerous and Shell’s efforts in the north have been ridiculed by Greenpeace. Greenpeace’s efforts have been matched by a ton of organizations (mostly on the west coast) also trying to stop Shell’s folly.

The sane eco-conscious people have won against Shell. Even Bloomberg acknowledges that a reason Shell pulled out of the north is due to activist pressure.

The old-economy company based on hydrocarbon extraction has announced they’ll end their arctic drilling efforts. This means that the company wasted $7 billion dollars!

“Shell will now cease further exploration activity in offshore Alaska for the foreseeable future. This decision reflects both the Burger J well result, the high costs associated with the project, and the challenging and unpredictable federal regulatory environment in offshore Alaska.”

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “Big oil has sustained an unmitigated defeat. They had a budget of billions, we had a movement of millions. For three years we faced them down, and the people won.

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China Cancelling Debt of Developing World

China has announced that it will provide debt relief to the developing world. President Xi Jinping made the announcement at the UN and anticipates the fund to help the developing world will eventually reach $15 billion. presently the fund is set at $2 billion and will have a positive effect on the poorer nations.

“Looking around the world, the peace and development remain the two major themes of the times,” the Chinese leader said at the summit in New York.
“To solve various global challenges, including the recent refugee crisis in Europe, the fundamental solutions lie in seeking peace and realising development.
“Facing with various challenges and difficulties, we must keep hold of the key of the development. Only the development can eliminate the causes of the conflicts,” Mr Xi said.
His pledges of aid give a big boost to the launch of the UN’s new Global Goals for Sustainable Development – the day after all members states committed themselves to a hugely ambitious programme, the BBC’s James Robbins in New York reports.

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The Slow City, The Good Life

Cities are often associated with the hustle and bustle of life and commerce. Whereas the countryside is associated with stillness and slowness. One author, William Powers, decided to see what life is like when you treat the city as a slow place akin to the countryside.

Just like Thoreau, he wrote a book about it. Unlike Thoreau, Powers actually practiced what he preached.

My favorite sanctuaries: Pier 45’s tip, where the West Side Highway fades to a hum; a back seat in the cathedral of St. John the Divine in late afternoon; the High Line, a new park sanctuary created from unused urban infrastructure; a silent, little-touristed third-floor corner of the Met reached via a concealed stairway in the Asian wing (it houses imaginative Chinese decorative arts).

Moongazing on Tar Beach after dinner, we muse on two other urban sanctuaries: Washington Square and Madison Square Parks on warm days, when we love to kick off sandals and lie back to savor that sensual press of our bodies to the Earth. Gravity’s eros. I can feel that attraction now — and it’s mutual, since our bodies exert a tiny gravity on the Earth — as my wife and I touch hands, the Milky Way invisible against Manhattan’s illumination, with only Venus, the moon, and a handful of stars perforating through.

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Light Rail Bringing Massive Change to American Cities

Let’s face it: driving sucks.

Car traffic is bad for everyone and a lot of American cities have caught on to this. As a result, more light rail is being built throughout the USA, recently Pheonix residents voted to back more light rail with a tax hike.

What’s pushing this? It turns out that the awfulness of the commute, more cities adopting good public transit policy, and increased urbanization.

The future of light rail looks bright!

“Light rail” is a broad term that means a passenger rail system with tram-style cars—as opposed to “heavy rail” subways, as in New York and Washington, D.C.—that runs on its own right of way, usually at street level. Light rail cars typically run at 30 to 40 miles per hour at top speed, much less than a heavy rail subway.

In many cities, the building of light rail lines represents only one aspect of broader efforts to solve the public transportation puzzle. Cities are increasingly connecting light rail lines with major nodes of activity and other transportation modes such as expanded express bus services or bike lanes. Phoenix’s light rail connects downtown with Arizona State University in Tempe and Sky Harbor Airport. Charlotte has a light rail system and is now adding a streetcar. Atlanta and Miami have traditional heavy rail transit systems but are investing in other technologies such as streetcars and bus rapid transit. Las Vegas has a monorail along the Strip but is talking about a rail line to the airport.

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A Virtual Companion for a Safe Walk Home

At the schools I teach at they each have a volunteer run service to help people walk home who are worried for their safety. When one graduates from these schools they are on their own. Seeing that this how walk-safe programs work a bunch of students have created an app to help people feel safe on their walks.

The students’ Companion app, which recently came out in a new version, is simple to use. You type in the address you’re headed to, pull down a map, and then pick a friend or two from your list of contacts. They don’t have to have the app to help; a text message with a link to a map will pop up on their phone.

“If the user goes off route, or doesn’t make it to the destination on time, or if they fall, or are pushed, or are running, or even if their headphones are pulled out of their phone, all of their emergency contacts are notified,” says Ernst. “It’s a good way to keep in touch with the people around you and stay safe. And give you peace of mind.”

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