All posts by LL

Heat Pumps—the Well-Tempered Future of A/Cs

During heat waves in Phoenix, while some people fry eggs on sidewalks, Matt Heath, a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) service manager at AC by J, is on the front line, helping maintain air conditioners in people’s homes. Heath has great job security: Half of Phoenix residents are at risk of an emergency-room visit or worse if their electricity fails during a future heat wave, according to a recent study. Air-conditioning is what keeps people there comfortable—and alive—a growing fraction of the year. The extreme heat already kills hundreds of Phoenix-area residents every year, a number that went up by 25 percent from 2021 to 2022.

Phoenix is a harbinger of life in the many hot parts of the world that are getting richer, where people are demanding ever more air conditioners. This in turn exacerbates the extremes of climate change due to increased demand for fossil-fuel-intensive sources of electricity, as well as leakage of refrigerants, themselves noteworthy greenhouse gases. “Most of the growth of air-conditioning will be in other countries,” says mechanical engineer Vince Romanin, cofounder and CEO of the San Francisco–based Gradient Comfort, “and restricting access is not fair.” Instead, he and others are trying to invent new climate-control technology that doesn’t further increase the dangers facing the planet’s climate.

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Europe Expands Virtual Borders To Thwart Migrants

IT WAS AFTER MIDNIGHT in the Maltese search-and-rescue zone of the Mediterranean when a rubber boat originating from Libya carrying dozens of migrants encountered a hulking cargo ship from Madeira and a European military aircraft. The ship’s captain stopped the engines, and the aircraft flashed its lights at the rubber boat. But neither the ship nor the aircraft came to the rescue. Instead, Maltese authorities told the ship’s captain to wait for vessels from Malta to pick up the migrants. By the time those boats arrived, three migrants had drowned trying to swim to the idle ship.

Read the rest of this feature at IEEE Spectrum: [html] [pdf].

Translated story: Spain, Czechia, Denmark and Belgium are the meccas of reproductive tourism

When Marie and her partner failed to conceive a baby for almost a decade, they ran into a wall. “We did a [gamete] donation procedure in France that didn’t work,” she says. At the same time they had to face another problem: the wait lists for assisted reproduction were two years long. “And when it doesn’t work, you have to wait another two years,” Marie points out. The delays made them fear the worst: ageing past the limit of 45 years old that France imposes on women for accessing ART. “If you can financially handle it, you’ll go to another European country which has the same assisted reproduction procedures, but faster,” she explains.

You can read the full story at Civio. This is the second story in a two-part series published by Civio and its partner the European Data Journalism Network. The second story is available at Civio and EDJN.