Archive for August, 1998
Adam Davidson tells a true story from his own childhood. He was sent to a camp run by the Israeli army at its own training facility. He shot an M-16, sure, but in other ways, army life was amazingly similar to other summer camps: It was all about loyalty to your group, loyalty to your team. (7 minutes)
Chicago Tribune: Impact Statements Accidents Will Happen, Again And Again, For Those Who Re-create Them In Insurance Cases
There is nothing sudden or violent about Dwayne “Red” Owen. A large man with a ready smile under a thin white beard, Owen suggests Santa Claus puttering around the house a few days after Christmas. As many of his clients will tell you, it takes a man like Owen–gentle and patient–to sort through the snarl of burned and crushed cars, mangled trucks and broken bodies that are often the only evidence that remains after a traffic accident.
Owen is an accident reconstructionist, based in Champaign. He finds out what went wrong and who is at fault when motor vehicles smash into each other.
“You go to a scene, it’s total chaos and you’re the person who organizes it and straightens things out,” Owen explained with pride.
Dale Quattrochi likes to tell people that parking lots wreak havoc on the weather. He points to the man-made stuff all around–asphalt, concrete, tar, metal–and explains that because of parking lots, streets, and sidewalks, because of the roofs of cars, buildings, and houses, because of all this dark stuff coating urban surfaces, cities are much hotter than they should be. These materials absorb the sun’s energy and concentrate its heat; above every city in the world rises an invisible plume of heat, an “urban heat island” several degrees hotter than the surrounding area. These higher temperatures devastate air quality. They provoke thunderstorms in clouds that would otherwise be placid. They make life less bearable and cost millions of dollars in electricity every year.
People have known about the heat island effect since an amateur climatologist named Luke Howard walked around London with a thermometer in 1818. Since then, scientists have found that cities are heated by a lot of very small things spread all over town. Of course, no one has been able to determine how much heat every object adds; such an undertaking would be impossible. But, according to Quattrochi, only a thorough analysis of an entire city can provide the kind of information that urban planners, architects, and others can use to cool cities off.