Your street – and your roof – may be polluting the air as much as your car

Extreme rising temperatures are known to increase the risk of environmental hazards like drought and wildfires. But new research published last week in Science Advances adds another danger to the list: extreme heat sends harmful emissions into the air courtesy of hot asphalt…The study, published by a team of Yale researchers, reveals that asphalt is likely an overlooked but major source of hazardous pollutants being released into the air.

“A main finding is that asphalt-related products emit substantial and diverse mixtures of organic compounds into the air, with a strong dependence on temperature and other environmental conditions,” says Peeyush Khare, a Yale chemical and environmental engineer and the lead author of the study…

On a typical summer day in Los Angeles, asphalt can reach to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. At this threshold, the asphalt will release a steady and significant stream of emissions. Under these conditions, scientists predict hot asphalt could become a long-lasting source of pollution…

Researchers estimated that in California’s South Coast Air Basin, the total amount of aerosols formed from hot asphalt emissions is comparable to those released by gas and diesel motor vehicles…

And in some environments, the pollution from asphalt can be higher than internal combustion engines powering our transport.

Some music lover in Copenhagen hid enough hash in the Opera House to jack up the whole city

Police in Denmark discovered a massive haul of cannabis stashed away in the roof of a local opera house.

Copenhagen police first discovered the 165 pounds of cannabis in the ventilation system under the Copenhagen Opera House’s roof in February, but decided to go public with the search after the investigation yielded no results.

“The hashish was well hidden, and our investigation has not been able to uncover who put it there,” Copenhagen police investigator Steffen Steffensen said…

After seven months of investigation the drug haul has officially been classified “lost property” by police…

The Opera House is located near Christiania’s Pusher Street, an open-air cannabis market, but police are unsure if the drugs were intended to be sent there.

I keep forgetting. There are civilized countries in this world that don’t believe in abusing citizens who choose to alter reality with vegetables more directly than with alcohol derivatives.

Brazilian man killed by 1½ ton cow falling through the roof of his bedroom

Killed by falling cow

A Brazilian man has died after a 1.5 tonne cow crashed through his roof as he slept in bed with his wife.

Joao Maria de Souza, 45, was killed by the animal, which narrowly missed his wife, as he slept at his home in the town of Caratinga on Wednesday.

A police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the animal, which was grazing on a hill behind the small house, stepped onto the thin corrugated asbestos roof causing it to immediately give way. The officer said Souza died of internal bleeding at a nearby hospital…

Press reports have also claimed this is the third such incident in the region in just three years – in both previous incident there were no casualties.

How about making it more difficult for cows to step from a hillside onto your roof, eh?

Oh, the complexity and stress of being a modern crook!

A metal thief was caught after leaving a can of Polish lager covered with his DNA on the roof of a church he was raiding.

Saulius Ciuzas, 39, stripped £10,000 worth of lead from the 12th century church but left a near full can of Lech beer on the roof of the church.

He made off with 13 strips of lead from St Peter and St Paul Church in Algarkirk, Boston, Lincs., but church warden Peter Wilson found the can the morning after the theft on April 24 this year, Lincoln Crown Court heard on Friday.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said: “Next to where the lead had been removed was a Lech beer can. It was upright and still had liquid in it. The can was linked to Ciuzas because his DNA was found on it.”

Lithuanian migrant Ciuzas lived 40 miles away in Lincoln but was tracked down and arrested…

He was jailed for 12 months after he was found guilty of the lead theft.

Tidying up after stealing includes a lot more than fingerprints on the chimney nowadays.

Truly predictable Darwin Award candidate

What began as a fun night on the town ended in death Sunday after a 24-year-old Clinton Township man pushed through a hatch on a party bus and hit his head on an overpass, Michigan State Police said.

The incident is being investigated as “an extremely tragic accident,” Sgt. Sheila Shields said.

“People don’t realize how dangerous a moving vehicle is,” she said. “People have to think.”

According to a preliminary investigation, Salvatore Talluto was among a group of about 25 people on the party bus returning from an outing in downtown Detroit.

Scott Wanagat, Talluto’s brother-in-law, said the group was having a bachelor party and hired the motor coach to make plans easier.

Police said the bus was heading east on Interstate 94 near Van Dyke on Detroit’s east side about 2 a.m. when Talluto left his seat and put his head through an emergency exit hatch. Soon after, he struck an overpass, Shields said.

The bus was traveling about 55 mph at the time; the force of the impact knocked Talluto back into the bus, Shields said. It was unclear if Talluto had been drinking alcohol or if the bus driver would face charges. Police were called and the man was transported to St. John Hospital in Detroit. He was declared brain dead that evening, Wanagat said.


Japan tsunami survivor rescued 10 miles out at sea

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

A 60-year-old man has been found on the roof of his floating house nearly 10 miles out at sea, two days after the tsunami that devastated the north-east coast of Japan.

Hiromitsu Shinkawa must have resigned himself to his fate when he was swept away by the retreating tsunami that roared ashore in his home town of Minami Soma in Fukushima prefecture…

Incredibly, he was spotted by a maritime self-defence force destroyer taking part in the rescue effort as he clung to the wreckage with one hand and waved a self-made red flag with the other. He had been at sea for two days.

Reports said that on being handed a drink aboard the rescue boat, Shinkawa gulped it down and immediately burst into tears. His wife, with whom he had returned home as the tsunami approached, is still missing.

He was quoted as saying: “No helicopters or boats that came nearby noticed me. I thought that day was going to be the last day of my life.”

Officials said Shinkawa was in good condition after being taken to hospital by helicopter.

“I ran away after I heard a tsunami was coming,” he told Jiji Press. “But I turned back to fetch something from home and was swept away. I was rescued while hanging on to the roof of my house.”

The self-defence forces said the good weather and calm waters had allowed Shinkawa to stay alive during his 48-hour drift.

We’ve had this discussion before. Some days you have good luck. Some days you have bad luck.

The only silliness that gets added on top of that is prattle about some invisible being or spirit guiding your destiny. Poisonally, I would save up to prepare a hell of a thank-you meal for the folks aboard the Choukai who finally spotted me.

Pigeon poop causes roof collapse

Vacaville Fire Department officials are blaming pigeons for the collapse of a gas station awning Monday that nearly struck a woman who had just finished filling her tank. Vacaville resident Chris Doss had stopped at Quick Way Gas located in the 400 block of Merchant Street when a quarter of the station’s metal roofing came thundering down next to her under the weight of several inches of bird droppings.

“It just went ‘boom’ and then it all came down,” said Doss, who had just finished putting gas in her silver 2007 Mazda 3.

She had just gotten back into her car on one side of the island at about 2:21 p.m. and hadn’t even had a chance to put the key in the ignition when the entire roofing section on the other side of the island collapsed, giving way to an avalanche of bird droppings.

Doss sat there in shock for a moment, not knowing what to do, she said…

According to Vacaville Fire Battalion Chief Brian Moore, the section of the roof was brought down by the weight of the pigeon droppings that had accumulated over the years…

For Chris Doss though, it was definitely her lucky day.

I’m glad that I parked on that side,” she said. “I should go get a lotto ticket.”

Get two!

Glass roof tiles let a little sunshine in to cut heating bills

Swedish company, Soltech Energy, recently received the gold medal for this year’s hottest new material at the Nordbygg 2010 trade fair in Stockholm, Sweden. The award was fitting because it was for the company’s home heating system that features roof tiles made out of glass. The tiles, which are made from ordinary glass, weigh about the same as the clay roof tiles they replace but allow the sun to heat air that is then used to heat the house and cut energy bills.

Thankfully, although the tiles themselves are transparent, they are backed by a special black absorption fabric so sticky beaks won’t be able to sit on the roof and watch what’s going on inside. This fabric absorbs the sun’s rays, which heats the air underneath, with the air formed into columns by beams within the roof to ensure it is heated sufficiently.

The most common way to connect the system to a house’s existing heating system would be to a water based heating system via an accumulation tank but the system is also designed to be integrated with both air and water based systems, such as a ground source heat pump, air heat pump, pellet boiler or electric boiler – the only requirement is some form of central heating system.

This setup allows the system to heat the house during winter and transfer the heat absorbed in summer to a ground heating system through a heat convector and a fluid based system to help achieve a cooling effect.

Delightful, attractive – and I wonder about the cost vs. the usual clay tiles?

Pic of the Day

A driver ended up parking her car in the roof of this Italian house after she forgot to put on the handbrake.

Maria Rizzo, 34, stopped to admire the spectacular view from the street above the house in Alassio in northern Italy. But she was so intent on taking a snap that she forgot to put on the handbrake, and her car rolled away, smashing through a barrier and plunging down the hill onto the house below. It broke through the roof and landed in the bathroom, with the front end wedged in an iron bath which broke the fall and stopped the Fiat Panda plunging further into the house.