Clean Air Watch

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Monday, January 08, 2018

Bitcoin and Solar Energy: When Does It Make Sense?

(One of the fascinating stories in recent months has been the Bitcoin craze: Is this cryptocurrency a sign of the future -- or simply a modern version of Tulipmania?  And now people are starting to understand it can take a lot of energy to run those whiring computers.  Could solar energy play a big role here? Pat Dowling of PowerScout takes a look.)

2017 was a big year for Bitcoin. The digital currency’s growth surged from about $1,000 at the beginning of the year all the way up to to a staggering $19,000 at one point in December. Even through its peaks and valleys, Bitcoin fully got the attention of pretty much everyone in and outside of the financial world.

One of the major problems with Bitcoin is the massive amount of electricity it takes to mine the coins. Specialized mining computers require a lot of power as they search for the correct hash keys to actually make Bitcoin.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Top 6 Vacations Spots to Take a Breath of Fresh Air

(In the middle of this challenging stretch of weather, we thought a story about a clean-air getaway might just be the thing.  Emily Folk has some excellent ideas below.  And before you go, whoa! -- some of these places sound cold, just note that it is warmer today in Iceland, Sweden and Ireland than it is in Washington, D.C.)

Imagine you're preparing yourself for the vacation of a lifetime. You readily pack a week's worth of your favorite outfits into your suitcase, load up your car, and get ready to hit the road as you excitedly make your way to the airport. You board the plane and after a few hours of relaxed travel make your way toward the exit door. You take your first few steps into this new land, stretch out your arms and take in a deep breath of fresh air.

Except, the air isn't quite so fresh after all. Your eyes begin to water, you feel an itchiness in your throat, and you have the unrelenting urge to cough — this is not what had you planned for.

Whether you’re traveling within the country or merely want to escape to a new land, your number priority should always be maintaining your health and wellbeing while you’re away. Journeying to another state or country is a time to explore and engage your senses to the fullest extent — smell included.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Roundup of the Cities with the Cleanest and Most Polluted Air in America

(As the year draws to an end, we thought it might be an appropriate time to share Emily Folk's latest post, below, looking at the cities with the cleanest and most polluted air. We love her optimism about Fresno!)

It's no secret that some cities in America have better air quality than others. There are plenty of factors that go into a city's air quality — pollution, altitude, the average amount of wind, and proximity to the ocean can all affect how clean you're breathing in and around the city's area. Size and distribution of people in and around the urban area also play a huge role in a city's air cleanliness.

For our reference, the America Lung Association releases a "State of the Air" review every year. This report measures each city across America for its air quality, in particular, measuring ozone and particle pollution in the metropolitan areas. Ozone manifests as factory and vehicle smog, while particle pollution is a thicker, sootier variety of pollution. (For a little more technical description, see here: smog, soot and other widespread pollutants ) Both are serious concerns for the health of those living in the area long-term.
Today we’re going to look at the best — and worst — cities for air quality around the states. Away we go!

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Learn more about the Clean Air Act

The Clean Air Act is the law that defines EPA's responsibilities for protecting and improving the nation's air quality and the stratospheric ozone layer. The last major change in the law, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, was enacted by Congress in 1990. Legislation passed since then has made several minor changes.