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Weekly Grind: Smelly Delhi & Giant Fukuoka Sinkhole

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Birds in Collision: Lovely Glass Buildings Mean Death for Feathered Millions

It's estimated that up to 750 million birds a year dash themselves to death against architecturally stylish glass buildings. Researchers have joined a strange coalition of "anti-collision" bird enthusiasts (the American Bird Conservancy and the Bird Safe Glass Foundation, for instance) to do real research on solving the problem in a way that informs design practice. For one thing, they’ve already discovered that, for some reason, birds won’t attempt to fly through vertical line patterns that are less than four inches apart. And who would? They don't call them Bird Brains for nothing. Time to rescue the dears.

Artful Wooden Rooftop Extensions Address Urban Density

Architects from 40 countries submitted forward-thinking designs, some of them a little eccentric, that answer this question: how do we sustainably address urban density? Answer: By building new wooden housing onto the rooftops of already-standing structures. This sensibly strange idea yielded some beautiful design notions and is being given serious consideration. Efficient and visually creative, the range of designs reflect the varied architectural visions of the contest's entrants. The competition is called The City Above the City. You'll see why.  

Delhi Green Org Jabs Indian Gov't for Smog Inaction

Delhi is, in a good week, one of the most seriously polluted cities in the world. And this has been a bad week. Kiln smoke, the massive seasonal burn-off of "crop stubble", and tons of fireworks set off for a nat'l Hindu holiday have added dangerous levels of what are called PM 2.5 particles to Delhi's air this week. The so-called Nat'l Green Tribunal has taken the government to task for not doing more, and has asked that all kilns and stone crushers be shut down for a week in the city.  On a clear day you can almost see across the street.

Massive Sinkhole Opens in Downtown Fukuoka

A giant sinkhole yawned open in the  bustling city center of Japanese city Fukuoka, severing gas and water mains, interrupting services over a wide region, and almost certainly startling shoppers. Officials blamed subway construction in the area, which should give future commuters pause. 

Hot Light Bulb + Cardboard = Six City Blocks on Fire

The verdict is in. The enormous, roaring conflagration that consumed six city blocks' worth of former Bethlehem Steel storage facilities and took 100 firemen hours to put out…was caused by a hot light bulb dropping onto some cardboard. Not to say we're utterly helpless before the elements. Presumably the new LED bulbs will set smarter fires.

Green Goes Vertical as Leafy Building Movement Gains Momentum

As our city parcels are increasingly given over to housing, precious green space is being crowded out of our urban areas. Well, there is another field of green downtown. You can't kick a ball through it or build a swing set there, but it'll ingest carbon like nobody's business while exhaling the good stuff we all need. And it contains rooms and stuff.  

Popular Mechanics Toured the Int'l Builders Show 2016. Here's What They Loved  

Bear-resistant folding glass doors and a hyper-realistic fake fire. For starters. Popular Mechanics wandered the aisles of the 2016 International Builder's Show and picked out their fave household innovations, and they share them here with you. Some of these things may address problems you didn't know you had (see bear-proofing above), but unexpectedly ingenious little "solutions" were the order of the day.  And we all know how much the Popular Mechanics peeps like their gizmos.

Seismically Active Region Called "Oklahoma" Endures Another Earthquake

Oil and gas producers around Oklahoma sometimes drag their feet on closing their wastewater injection wells once all the valuable gas has been fracked out of the ground.  As a result, Oklahoma, once known for growing corn "as high an an elephant's eye" is now better known as a rollicking Earthquake zone. They've had three quakes this year alone. Oklahoma! What next? Volcanoes in Vermont? (sounds like an old song title)

DDoS Attacks on Finnish Utility Turn off Heat in Smart Houses 

It's a good thing it doesn't get cold in Finland. A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) hacker attack on a Finnish Management Company's mainframe accidentally affected the heating on a couple of smart buildings the company manages. This left the stout residents of two homes in the city of Lappeenranta (you heard right) to weather average 20 degree temperatures for a few days. The building residents took it all in stride, opting not to relocate while the hacks were being addressed. missä helvetissä ovat minun sukat ?! auttaa minua etsimään sukkia !!

Condo Construction Financing Explained in Childlike Video

Since the 2008 recession, banks have (understandably) made construction borrowing a bit more complicated. A video produced by New York real estate site The Real Deal carefully and briefly explains how a condo build is financed these days. It's a cool video whose blocky graphics and A-B-C presentation make it look almost fun. Almost. 

Milwaukee Planning Commish: Rejected Neoclassical Building is Racist

An architect proposing a new building for Milwaukee's business district was broadsided by a history-minded holdout on that city's 5-member planning commission. His domed neoclassical design, he was told, was reminiscent of an 18th century style characterized by slave labor and "a rigid hierarchical society." To which he unwisely replied that he was only trying to spruce up the business district. He was last seen shuffling back to the drawing board. 


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