OUR PICKSBetter Solution to Florida’s Hurricane Problem | Lethal Subcultures | Solar Power Stations in Space, and more

Published 30 September 2022

·· Staggering Scale of Hurricane Ian Wreckage Becomes Clear
The scale of the wreckage was staggering, even to Florida residents accustomed to hurricanes

·· Is Climate Change Making Hurricanes Worse?
They are becoming more damaging, but not more frequent

·· A Better Solution to Florida’s Hurricane Problem
Coral reefs can protect coastal cities from deadly floods, if only we keep them alive

·· Solar Power Stations in Space “More Sensible Than Nuclear Energy”
Satellites several miles long will be assembled by robots in orbit, beaming energy back to Earth via high frequency radio waves

·· Report Calls Switzerland, US, Sweden World’s Most Innovative Economies
Switzerland on top, the U.S. second, followed by Sweden, the U.K, and the Netherlands

·· Thousands of Cubans in Pipeline of US Cuban Family Reunification Parole Program
More than 10,000 people are in the pipeline

·· Lethal Subcultures
Applying subcultural theory to the problem of violent extremist organization

·· Analyzing Terrorgram Publications: A New Digital Zine
A loosely connected network of Telegram channels promotes militant accelerationism

Staggering Scale of Hurricane Ian Wreckage Becomes Clear  (Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Frances Robles and Jack Healy, New York Times)
The extent of the damage was difficult to comprehend, even for Florida residents who had survived and rebuilt after other significant storms.

Is Climate Change Making Hurricanes Worse?  (Economist)
As a result of humans pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world is on average 1.1-1.3°C hotter than it was before the Industrial Revolution. There has been no increase in the number of tropical cyclones, but the storms themselves are becoming stronger, slower, wetter and wilder.
Three factors — the rise of oceans’ temperature; the fact that hurricanes have been growing more sluggish as global temperatures rise; and rising sea levels — all combine to make hurricanes more damaging to property and livelihoods. (Deaths, though, are decreasing, as forecasting and emergency response times improve). The total cost of weather and climate disasters in America—to which storms are the largest contributor—in the past five years was $788bn, about one-third of the total for 1980-2022 (adjusting for inflation). But climate change is not entirely to blame. So too is the propensity to build on vulnerable stretches of coastline. Between 2010 and 2020 Florida’s population grew by nearly 15%, double America’s national rate. People have also flocked to the Atlantic coast. Ultimately, mankind is to blame twice over: for changing the climate to make hurricanes more dangerous, and for continuing to put itself in their path.

A Better Solution to Florida’s Hurricane Problem  ( Benji Jones, Vox)
Hurricane Ian was not just a powerful storm, but a preview of what’s to come. Climate change is helping cyclones intensify faster, produce greater storm surges, and dump more rain — all of which makes hurricanes more destructive and expensive. One early assessment for Ian indicates it cost as much as $40 billion in property damage.
Engineers have long defended against the threat of hurricanes by building structures like levees and seawalls. Yet these tools are imperfect. They can damage the environment, they don’t always hold the water back, and they can be pricey themselves.
But for many communities, a simpler (and cheaper) solution could be a big help: restoring coral reefs.