How Much Hotter Your Town Is Going to Get by the End of the Century

iStock
iStock

Most of us are well aware that climate change means that the world is going to get a lot warmer in the coming years. It’s already toasty—2017 was one of the hottest years on record, and the top four hottest years have all occurred since 2014. (And 2018 is poised to knock 2014 off the list as the fourth-hottest year.)

It’s hard to picture what this means, though, other than that we’ve all been sweaty. A new interactive graphic from The New York Times makes it easy to understand, for better or for worse. It allows you to plug in your hometown and birth year to see how many average days per year the temperature has reached 90 degrees throughout your lifetime. And then it projects how many of those extra-hot days will occur each year, on average, for the rest of the century.

Say you were born in Los Angeles in 1985. That year, the LA area was projected to experience around 55 days of 90°F or higher. Today, that number has climbed to 67 days a year. By the time you reach 80 years old, there will likely be 81 to 99 of those extra-hot days.

To get a sense of how climate change will affect younger generations, consider the plight of someone born in LA in 2000. That year, LA could expect 59 days a year of 90°F weather. By the time that person reaches age 80, they can expect to see an average of up to 103 days a year of that weather. Yeesh. And it will be worse for places that already experience a lot of hot weather. Someone born in New Delhi in 2000 can expect to experience an average of up to 243 days a year of 90°F or higher weather. That’s two-thirds of the year. It will be especially awful in tropical locations. By the end of the century, Jakarta, Indonesia will be 90°F or higher for almost the entire year.

It’s hard to do the graphic justice without experiencing the interactivity for yourself, so go ahead and play with it over on the Times website. But instead of weeping, take action.

How to Build an Igloo, According to a Canadian Film From 1949

iStock.com/vovashevchuk
iStock.com/vovashevchuk

Centuries before you started building snow forts in your backyard, the Inuit had mastered using snow as construction material. This 1949 video, produced by the National Film Board of Canada (and with narration that uses some outdated terminology), illustrates how exactly people native to the Arctic can erect warm, temporary homes using nothing but a knife and the snow beneath their feet. The artifact was spotted by The Kid Should See This.

The igloo (or iglu in Inuktitut) in this footage takes around 90 minutes to erect, but a similar structure can be built by a skilled person in as little as 40 minutes. To put together the shelter, the two men carve up firm, packed snow into blocks that are about 2 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and 4 inches thick.

After the first row of blocks is placed in a circle on the ground, the builder slices a section of the blocks to create a slope. Each row that's placed on this foundation will spiral upward, creating a shape in which the blocks support their own weight. By the time the keystone block is fitted into the top, the igloo is strong enough to support the weight of a man.

The final steps are carving a doorway out of the bottom of the structure and plugging up the cracks with additional snow from outside. Even on a frigid Arctic night, the temperature of a well-insulated igloo can reach 40 degrees above the temperature outside. And the warmer the igloo gets over time, the stronger it becomes: The heat from the Sun and the bodies of the inhabitants melt the outer layers of the blocks, and that water eventually freezes to ice, giving the home more insulation and structural integrity.

If you aren't ready to build an igloo, here are some less intimidating snow projects to tackle this winter.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Charge Your Gadgets Anywhere With This Pocket-Sized Folding Solar Panel

Solar Cru, YouTube
Solar Cru, YouTube

Portable power banks are great for charging your phone when you’re out and about all day, but even they need to be charged via an electrical outlet. There's only so much a power bank can do when you’re out hiking the Appalachian Trail or roughing it in the woods during a camping trip.

Enter the SolarCru—a lightweight, foldable solar panel now available on Kickstarter. It charges your phone and other electronic devices just by soaking up the sunshine. Strap it to your backpack or drape it over your tent to let the solar panel’s external battery charge during the day. Then, right before you go to bed, you can plug your electronic device into the panel's USB port to let it charge overnight.

It's capable of charging a tablet, GPS, speaker, headphones, camera, or other small wattage devices. “A built-in intelligent chip identifies each device plugged in and automatically adjusts the energy output to provide the right amount of power,” according to the SolarCru Kickstarter page.

A single panel is good “for small charging tasks,” according to the product page, but you can connect up to three panels together to nearly triple the electrical output. It takes roughly three hours and 45 minutes to charge a phone using a single panel, for instance, or about one hour if you’re using three panels at once. The amount of daylight time it takes to harvest enough energy for charging will depend on weather conditions, but it will still work on cloudy days, albeit more slowly.

The foldable panel weighs less than a pound and rolls up into a compact case that it can easily be tucked away in your backpack or jacket pocket. It’s also made from a scratch- and water-resistant material, so if you get rained out while camping, it won't destroy your only source of power.

You can pre-order a single SolarCru panel on Kickstarter for $34 (less than some power banks), or a pack of five for $145. Orders are scheduled to be delivered in March.

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