How Skyscrapers Contribute to Heat Island Effect in Cities

Tall buildings provide shade but that doesn't mean they make the city any cooler. In fact, areas saturated by skyscrapers tend to trap heat.

What's the Latest?


Alissa Walker of Gizmodo has a piece up today about the deceptively hot effect tall buildings have on their cities. To prove her point, Walker provides this photo taken from the International Space Station. It shows Manhattan from above, two dark areas immediately drawing the eye's attention: Midtown and Lower Manhattan. These areas, saturated with skyscrapers, may look cool and shady compared to the rest of the city but science tells us otherwise. 

What's the Big Idea?

As Walker explains, tall buildings create "urban canyons" into which relatively small amounts of light penetrate. That light gets reflected back up and absorbed into the walls of buildings. With the absorption of light comes the retention of heat and these city segments experience upticks in temperature. That heat remains in the building materials throughout the day and into the night, causing temperatures to be consistently higher there than in other parts of the city. Walker quotes climatologist Stuart Gaffin, who finds the trend unsettling:

"I see surface temperatures in the city that routinely exceed what you might find in the desert."

Read more at Gizmodo

Photo credit: Pigprox/Shutterstock

Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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22 months of war - condensed in a 1-minute video

No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap

Strange Maps
  • The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
  • This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
  • Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
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Bespoke suicide pods now available for death in style

Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.

The Sarco assisted suicide pod
Technology & Innovation

Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco! 

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How to bring more confidence to your conversations

Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.

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Videos
  • To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
  • Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
  • There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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