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On chains, and some weather hijinks

That's the beauty of -12º F. Within thirty seconds, the air was clear again, and the next shot is the same stern five minutes later.

I love getting boat shots from my father, and I applaud any email interaction from my mother; my parents, like so many I know, were charmingly late to set about with "the email." So it's just plain cute to get emails from them, especially when I see they've mustered the exuberance necessary to fire off a couple forwards. I only get chain forwards from people related to me; it's an acceptable familial tariff, and how else would I keep abreast of colloquial humor, pet fashion, and urban legends?

I remember a time (antes de email & circa Christopher Pike's Chain Letter 1 & 2) when I took the onus of chains as seriously as I took all my grade school friends' sworn secrets (wasn't discretion--or its semblance--the major prereq of young friendships?): I would not tell, and I would absolutely not break the chain. Now I blithely read them and move on with my life. Maybe I'm a cynic and no fun, but I just don't do chain emails or chain myspace posts other chained correspondence. Ok maybe the caveat would be a missing child alert, but that's about it. We've touch on chains before (including rehab resources), but do you have chain-addicts in your life, or are you an active or recovering chain-keeper?

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science
Last Month Was the Second-Warmest October on Record
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iStock

After an unseasonably toasty October, the numbers are in: Temperatures exceeded averages across the globe last month, making it the second-hottest October ever recorded, according to NASA.

As Mashable reports, worldwide temperatures reached 1.62°F (or 0.90°C) above the average in October. It just edged out global temperatures in October 2016 and came short of the all-time October record set in 2015. But while El Niño contributed to temperature spikes in 2015, there's no weather event to explain the anomaly this time around.

Records of global mean surface temperature changes date back to 1880. Of the 136 years in NASA’s database, the past three years (2014, 2015, 2016) have produced the greatest temperature anomalies. With the end of the year approaching, it looks like 2017 will end up breaking into the top three, and will likely be the warmest non-El Niño year on record.

While alarming, the record-breaking statistics shouldn't be surprising to anyone who follows global climate trends. The Earth has been warming at a rapid rate in recent decades, and climate scientists blame the carbon dioxide being dumped into the atmosphere by human activity.

Following a hot autumn, the next few months aren't looking to be any cooler: Like last winter and the winter before that, this season is expected to be unusually warm.

[h/t Mashable]

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Darren McCollester, Stringer, Getty Images
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This Just In
How One New York Town Is Preparing for the Next Hurricane Sandy
Darren McCollester, Stringer, Getty Images
Darren McCollester, Stringer, Getty Images

This past Sunday marked five years since Hurricane Sandy made landfall over the northeastern U.S. While the towns hit hardest by the storm are using the time as an opportunity to reflect on the lives, homes, and landscapes that were destroyed, they’re also continuing to prepare for the next mega-storm that will reach their shores. One beach town in Staten Island, New York is investing in a strategy that’s especially innovative: As Mother Jones reports, the surge barrier that’s being erected off the shores of Tottenville will repurpose nature to provide protection from natural disasters.

The government-funded project, called Living Breakwaters, is the brainchild of MacArthur Genius and landscape architect Kate Orff. Rather than building a conventional seawall, Orff and her firm envision a “living piece of infrastructure” containing an oyster reef that will continue to grow and respond to its environment even after construction ends. During a harsh storm, the breakwater would absorb the impact of dangerous waves barreling toward shore. It also has the potential to preserve the environment in the long term by decreasing erosion and wave activity.

Because Living Breakwaters is designed to act as part of its environment, it offers a few benefits in addition to flood protection. The creatures that make their homes on the reef will eventually purify the waters around them and make the shores of Tottenville cleaner and healthier. The reef will also be more discreet and pleasing to look at than a harsh concrete wall, meaning Tottenville residents can enjoy their clear ocean views without having to sacrifice safety.

The project is still in its preliminary stages, with construction scheduled to start in 2019 and wrap up in 2021. Rather than relying entirely on an experimental method, the community is integrating the breakwaters into a larger flood protection plan. Some tools, like wave-blocking sand dunes, will also take advantage of the area’s natural resources.

[h/t Mother Jones]

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