Daily digest: The Gulf of Mexico caught fire, the damaged Surfside condo tower was brought down, and more

Is That Bad

Daily digest: The Gulf of Mexico caught fire, the damaged Surfside condo tower was brought down, and more

The remains of Champlain Towers South the day of the partial collapse on June 24, 2021. Approximately 50 percent of the building was left standing, and rescuers tore it down over the long holiday weekend that followed. (Courtesy Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

Welcome back to another news roundup, this time rolling in after a long holiday weekend for the 4th of July. Unfortunately, while many of us met with friends and family, or at the very least enjoyed a stretch of nice weather, the news kept on rolling in and not all of it was good.

Here’s what you need to know today:

The Gulf of Mexico caught fire after a gas pipeline leak

Images of what outlets have been calling “a portal to hell” (or Mordor) opening on top of the Gulf of Mexico took the internet by storm this weekend, as a leaking gas pipeline caught fire in the middle of the gulf. The pipeline, owned by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex, Mexico’s state-owned oil company), leaked for more than 5 hours next to the Ku Maloob Zaap oil field and footage of boats spraying the blaze with water eventually went viral. Although the leak was sealed and the fire put out, the “ocean caught fire” memes are still coming fast and furious as commentators pointed out that the flaming gyre was a perfect metaphor for the climate catastrophe we find ourselves in.

H/t to Reuters

The remains of the toppled Surfside condo tower were pulled down this weekend

With Hurricane Elsa bearing down on the Eastern Coast of the United States, the remains of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida, Champlain Towers were taken down via controlled implosion on Sunday evening. Search and rescue efforts were paused at the site last week over fears the remains of the 12-story structure could still fall. The demolition has opened up more of the rubble to search teams, and the official death toll has risen to 32, with over 100 people still reported as missing. Efforts have thus far also been hampered by the heavy winds and rains that have battered the area since the June 24 collapse.

H/t to the New York Times

Amazon pledges $300 million towards building new housing

Amazon is pledging $300 million from its Housing Equity Fund to build 3,000 new homes across three cities/metro areas. That includes Arlington, Virginia (not surprising, as the tech behemoth is building out its HQ2 campus there), Nashville, Tennessee, and across the great Puget Sound region in its native Washington. $125 million of that investment will go towards below-market-rate housing, and Amazon is partnering with local transit authorities in each area to help build out these units. Forbes has the full list of which city is getting what, so read the full story below.

H/t to Forbes

Documenting the New York storefronts cleared by COVID

Photographer Mark Hage has been documenting the New York City storefronts left vacant in the pandemic’s wake, blending photos of the before times with empty, eerie after shots. In his new book, Capital, Hage documents how these tiny, unique storefronts were gutted and remain uniform empty boxes, a pointed commentary on the failure of capital and civic institutions to step in and save these local businesses during a crisis.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a new decarbonization fellowship

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a $9 million fellowship intended to help spur the state’s decarbonization. The Carbontech Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program, launched on June 28, is specifically meant to jumpstart the development of carbon capture technology and the creation of useable goods from the resultant carbon. The initiative is part of the state’s broader program to reduce its CO2 emissions by 85 percent by 2050.

“Revolutionizing the development of products made from carbon capture will create the landscape to achieve deep decarbonization in our fight against climate change,” said Governor Cuomo in his initial announcement. “Attracting scientists with cutting-edge skills and knowledge to realize new products is essential to growing our green economy, and we are bringing their research out of the lab to pave the way for a more climate resilient future to benefit all New Yorkers.”

The AEC industry stands to receive $126 billion under Biden’s new infrastructure plan

The $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework bill proposed by the Biden administration is still slowly gathering support and likely faces an uphill battle in the Senate later this summer, but if passed, it could mean a windfall for the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. A new study from the American Council of Engineering Companies estimates that $126 billion could flow to the AEC sector over the next six years if the bill is passed as-is, adding 82,000 new jobs and boosting wages by $62 billion overall.

H/t to Construction Dive