The Aral Sea, once the fourth largest lake in the world is today rapidly shrinking, as a result of the diversion of the two major rivers feeding it, back in the '60s. The effects of the Aral Sea desiccation are widely felt in the local population and the ecosystem, transforming the area in the borders between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan into a vast toxic desert. Watch the video below with NASA's satellite pictures of the area, showing the water level changes over the years!
Nicholson Construction was recently awarded a contract for the soil nail wall of the Stage 2 Slope Construction at McCook Reservoir in Willow Springs Illinois. The United States Army Corps of Engineers owned project involves the installation of a grout curtain around the reservoir's perimeter and previous soil nail wall work. Nicholson Construction has already performed extensive work on the Stage 2 Grout Curtain project.
Over two thousand architects, designers and clients traveled to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore this past week for the World Architecture Festival (WAF). The WAF is the largest live awards festival in the world dedicated to architecture. Each architect who was shortlisted for a competition presented their entry in front of a panel of judges and the audience were able to learn not only about countless new and existing projects, but also the judges' opinions of these projects. Hundreds of architecture firms from over 50 countries competed in 27 different categories during the festival. The big winners included The Chapel in Vietnam, designed by a 21studio winning "Building of the Year" as well as the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada, designed by 5468796 Architecture + Number TEN Architectural Group, winning "Future Project of the Year". Other winners include the PINCH in China, a library and community center for a village destroyed by an earthquake in 2012, and the Alex Monroe Studio in London for the Wood Excellence Prize.
A potentially illegal gold mine collapsed in Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, killing at least 18 people. Locals in the area cannot securely estimate how many people were trapped underground and reportedly up to 500 workers were on the site on Saturday, the day of the collapse.
A special report by BBC describes the territorial fight in the South China Sea between the neighboring countries of China, Vietnam and Philippines. The latest move from China's part is the creation of artificial islands upon submerged reefs in an attempt to claim more islands. Offshore construction works are in progress and captured by a video, while in the meantime Philippines are colonizing reefs with civilians trying to face the Chinese challenge.
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its fourth year of Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program data, detailing greenhouse gas pollution trends and emissions broken down by industrial sector, geographic region and individual facilities. In 2013, reported emissions from large industrial facilities were 20 million metric tons higher than the prior year, or 0.6 percent, driven largely by an increase in coal use for power generation.
After the success of the Tianmen Mountain Skyway in Zhangjiajie, China, Chinese engineers have opened a new glass suspension bottomed bridge. This time, though, the bridge is only 180 meters above ground level instead of 900 meters like the Tianmen Mountain Skyway. The bridge stretches between two mountain peaks in the Hebei Province and spans 300 meters. It is 2.3 meters wide and is estimated to have cost $42 million.