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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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MegaSecur, YouTube
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Design
The Self-Deploying Flood Barrier That Could Keep Cities Dry Without Sandbags
MegaSecur, YouTube
MegaSecur, YouTube

For many places in the world, the future is going to be wet. Climate change is already intensifying heavy rains and flooding in parts of the U.S., and it’s only expected to get worse. A recent study estimated that by 2050, more than 60 million people in the U.S. would be vulnerable to 100-year floods.

Some cities plan to meet rising waters with protective parkland, while some architects are developing floating houses. And one company has figured out how to replace piles of sandbags as emergency flood control, as Business Insider reports. Water-Gate, a line of flood protection products made by a Canadian company called MegaSecur, is a self-deploying water barrier that can be used to stop overflowing water in its tracks.

The emergency dam is made of folded canvas that, when water rushes into it, inflates up to become a kind of pocket for the water to get trapped in. You can roll it out across a street, a canal, or a creek like a giant hose, then wait for the water to arrive. In the event of a flash flood, you can even deploy it while the flood is already in progress. It can stop waters that rise up to five feet.

According to MegaSecur, one Water-Gate dam can replace thousands of sandbags, and once the floodwaters have receded, you can fold it back up and use it again. Sadly, based on the flood projections of climate change scientists, heavy flooding will soon become more and more common, and that will make reusable flood barriers necessary, saving time and money that would otherwise be spent buying, stacking, and getting rid of sandbags. The auto-deployment also means that it can be used by a single person, rather than a team of laborers. It could just as easily be set up outside a house by a homeowner as it could be set up on a city street by an emergency worker.

As climate change-related proposals go, it sounds a little more feasible than a floating house.

[h/t Business Insider]

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iStock
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Weather Watch
Thanks to Desert Dust, Eastern Europe Is Covered in Orange Snow
iStock
iStock

Certain areas of Eastern Europe are starting to look a bit like Mars. Over the last few days, snowy places like Sochi, Russia have experienced an unusual snowfall that coated mountains in orange powder, according to the BBC.

The orange snow was the result of winds blowing sand from the Sahara east to places like Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia. The sand mixes with precipitation to form orange-tinted snow. According to the BBC, the phenomenon occurs semi-regularly, turning snow orange about once every five years, but this year is especially sandy. As a result, skiers are navigating slopes that look like they're from a different world, as you can see in the video below from The Guardian.

The Sahara rarely gets snow, but when it does, the landscape can look somewhat similar, as you can see in this image of the Atlas mountains in Morocco.

Instagram is currently filled with photos and videos from Eastern Europe featuring the odd-looking snow. Check out a few samples below.

[h/t BBC]

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