Tuesday, October 2, 2018 - 10:00 External News

Google is in the process of rolling out a map-based data tool that lets users assess variables like carbon emissions and rooftop solar power potential for individual cities.

The company released a "beta" version of its Environmental Insights Explorer last month. For now it features five cities, including two in the U.S.—Mountain View, California and Pittsburgh. The project is designed to make it easier for people to access and use climate-related datasets that could prove useful for local government planning.

Tags: Environment
Monday, October 1, 2018 - 10:00 External News

If America’s growing Sun Belt cities are looking for a model to emulate to achieve standards of prosperity, sustainability and affordability, they should look to Chicago.

Chicago may seem an odd choice to many, especially those who are mostly looking at the global economy-fueled growth of, say, New York, San Francisco or Seattle. And indeed, Chicago’s historical culture of political corruption, its history of racism and segregation, and its current high rates of violent crime are troubling and real obstacles to this view. But somehow, despite these challenges, Chicago has still been able to be a top site for major corporate relocations and expansions, position itself as a leader in downtown construction and redevelopment, and host a housing market that remains eminently affordable relative to America’s superstar cities. And it’s done so while having many of the urban amenities that make today’s top cities attractive: It’s walkable, has strong public transit, and offers a wealth of commercial, elite educational and cultural opportunities.

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 10:00 External News

In the first week of September 2018, news of a potentially destructive Category 4 hurricane that was forecast to make landfall on the coast of the Carolinas sent many of the hospitals and medical practices in both states rushing to dust off their disaster recovery and business continuity plans in preparation for it. Evacuation drills were reviewed and many other operating procedures were rehearsed and evaluated. But most of all, health IT systems were being tested and reassessed for their natural disaster recovery readiness. Most healthcare groups focused on a few aspects of their IT to ensure they were prepared for whatever outcome the storm had in store for them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 13:00 External News

The last decade has seen an explosion in technologies with tremendous potential impact on a business. From internet-connected devices to the algorithms that can make sense of the mountains of data those devices produce, there’s never been a more exciting, compelling and confusing time to invest in innovation.

Monday, September 24, 2018 - 12:15 External News

(TNS) — SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With an eye toward destructive wildfire as California’s most immediate climate emergency, Gov. Jerry Brown took action on Friday to broadly expand state prevention efforts while allowing utility companies to shift some fire-related costs to their customers.

The far-reaching proposal signed by Brown boosts government fire protection efforts by $1 billion over the next five years, providing funds that could help clear thousands of acres of dense, dry forests and brittle coastal brush. The bill’s combination of cash and regulatory relief mark a major escalation in addressing what’s been called the “new normal” of fire danger for the state, far beyond what’s been spent on immediate emergency responses.

Monday, September 24, 2018 - 13:15 External News

Wildfires in the U.S. have become more common and catastrophic than ever before. Citizens, local governments and the $2.2 trillion property and casualty insurance industry continue to be caught by surprise due to the severity and frequency of these events. So far in 2018, California alone has lost over 800,000 acres to fire, 250% more than the same period in 2017. Last year was the worst wildfire season in California history. An intense series of fires in Northern California destroyed more than 200,000 acres and killed 44 people.

With significant urban damage, 2017 also saw global insured losses from wildfires reaching a record $14 billion. Global losses from catastrophic events such as hurricanes and floods have steadily increased over the past decade, but wildfire-related losses in 2017 completely blindsided the property and casualty insurance industry.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 09:00 External News

Officials announced on Wednesday that the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history, is now 100 percent contained.

The blaze burned a combined 459,123 acres, destroyed 280 structures including 157 residences, killed one firefighter and injured four others. The Mendocino fire north of San Francisco broke the record set in December, 2017, when the Thomas Fire killed two people, burned 440 square miles and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Southern California.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 - 09:15 External News

When it comes to getting help navigating a natural disaster, there's so much technology available, the options are almost overwhelming. What works?

Monday, September 17, 2018 - 08:00 External News

California lawmakers didn’t go as far as Governor Jerry Brown wanted to address potential liabilities for utilities from wildfires, and the governor said that “it’s hard to say” if they ever would.

Brown, citing longstanding practice, declined to say if he would sign the bill passed last month that included measures considered beneficial for utilities such as PG&E Corp. But the wide-ranging plan didn’t tackle the issue of inverse condemnation, in which utilities can be held liable for costs if their equipment is found to have caused a fire — regardless of whether they followed safety rules. Brown had pushed a proposal that would have given utilities relief from the rule, which was opposed by insurance companies, trial lawyers and fire victims.

Monday, September 17, 2018 - 09:15 External News

More than 1 million people in the Carolinas were ordered to evacuate days before Hurricane Florence hit landfall.

Government officials order coastal evacuation even when it’s sunny at the beach with not a cloud in the sky and no hint of the ominous threat thousands of miles away other than from satellite images. People who know I study hurricane evacuations have often asked me to explain this curious decision.

In the end, evacuation planning is part science, part skill based on experience, and part luck.