Fire Glass

Fire glass is tempered glass manufactured as a medium to retain and direct heat in fireplaces and gas fire pits. Fire glass does not burn, but retains heat and refracts light as a result of burning gas. Fire glass, like artificial logs and stones, is additionally used to obscure the gas plumbing inherent in gas fireplaces or stoves.


A vast assortment of fire glass shapes, sizes and colors are available to match a wide variety of contemporary décors. During the manufacturing process, sheets of glass are tempered to withstand heat. This process prevents the glass from “popping” when used in a fire and negates the threat of sparking seen in traditional wood-burning fireplaces or fire features. These tempered sheets of glass are then shattered. and professionally packaged. Although a variety of fire glass types exist, variations are purely aesthetic, and all varieties serve the same purpose within a fire feature.


Fire glass leaves no trace of ash, soot, grease or discernible odor when used as a medium. Flames produced using natural gas do not produce any smoke, produce less toxic gases and leave no trace of residual pollutants such as tar within the home. The combination is considered an eco-friendly burning solution. Additionally, fire glass is often made from recycled glass, making for a “green” fire media option.

Industrial Landscapes

Edward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer and artist who has achieved international recognition for his large-format photographs of industrial landscapes. Burtynsky’s most famous photographs are sweeping views of landscapes altered by industry: mine tailings, quarries, scrap piles. The grand, awe-inspiring beauty of his images is often in tension with the compromised environments they depict. He has made several excursions to China to photograph that country’s industrial emergence, and construction of one of the world’s largest engineering projects, the Three Gorges Dam. His work is housed in more than fifteen major museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

Freeways in Los Angeles, California



Houston, Texas


Scrap Auto Engines, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


SOCAR Oil Fields Baku, Azerbaijan


Oil fields, Belridge, California


Oxford Tire Pile, Westley, California, USA



Silver Lake Operations, Lake Lefroy, Western Australia


C.N. Track, Skihist Provincial Park, British Columbia


Active Section, E.L. Smith Quarry, Barre, Vermont


Flood Forecast for Manitoba 2019

Below normal temperatures in mid-April might not appeal to Manitobans, but the slower warming trend has its benefits in fighting floods.

Thanks to the cold, the melting process has been slowed. As a result, the anticipated flood level has been lowered to something on par with what the province experienced in 2011 — or even slightly less — and well below the 2009 level predicted earlier.

The revised forecast was released Tuesday afternoon.

Prior to that, the province was expecting the Red River to crest around 32.5 feet in the Red River Valley, south of Winnipeg. Now it should be closer to 30 feet.

Inside Winnipeg — which is protected by the 47-kilometre floodway that diverts part of the Red River’s flow around the east side of the city — the crest was expected to reach 20.5 feet at the James Avenue pumping station.

Now, officials are expecting it to be closer to 19.5 feet.

The crest of the Red River is expected at the border, in Emerson, between April 16 and 19, and in Winnipeg between April 20 and 23.

The province expects to begin using the floodway between April 12 and 14, a news release said.

South of the city, where there is no floodway, a warning has been issued all the way to the international border.

Provincial crews have been deployed in a number of communities to prepare for potential ring dike closures. A partial ring dike closure is currently underway at Emerson, but the community remains accessible by road.

As for other river systems prone to flooding, the province says the Assiniboine, Qu’Appelle and Souris river basins have peaked in all but a couple of locations.

Images from the 2011 flood

The towns shown are St. Jean Baptiste and Morris.  Both located south of Winnipeg.






Black Snow Falls in Siberia

Footage coming out of a coal mining region in Siberia appears almost ‘post-apocalyptic’ with uploaded photos and video showing streets and cars covered by a thick layer of black snow. The inky precipitation is believed to have been caused by toxic coal dust from nearby mines, which critics blast as an ecological catastrophe. “It’s harder to find white snow than black snow during the winter,” said environmentalist Vladimir Slivyak. “There is a lot of coal dust in the air all the time.” According to activists, the dust contains hazardous heavy metals arsenic and mercury, and has lowered life expectancy in the region by three to four years.

Thousands of radioactive boars are overrunning farmland in Fukushima

Washington Post


Nuclear catastrophe is always an unmitigated disaster. The only beneficiaries, albeit in a perverse fashion, are animals, which tend to flourish in areas humans evacuate. This has certainly been the case for wild boars around Fukushima, which have multiplied so rapidly, they’ve become a problem for neighboring towns.


On Friday, March 11, 2011, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck offshore near Tokyo and caused a 30-foot high tsunami that crashed into Japan’s coast, killing 18,000 people, according to The Washington Post. Water poured into the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant, flooding the generators designed to keep the plant’s reactors cool. Later that day, an explosion rocked the plant, and more than 200,000 residents living within 12 miles were evacuated as radioactive material began leaking into the surrounding land. In the ensuing days, two more explosions shook the plant, and several fires broke out.

It was a true nuclear meltdown.



Since 2011, no humans have been able to live on the poisoned land. Wild boars, meanwhile, have thrived heartily. No evidence suggests that the radioactive contamination harms the beasts, and the lack of people there to hunt them has allowed them to breed with abandon.


Since the meltdown, the damage wild boars have caused to agriculture by eating crops in the Fukushima area has doubled, reaching ¥98 million or just more than $900,000, according to Yomiuri. That price tag will only rise as the boar population, lacking natural predators, continues to increase–during the past two years, the number of boars that have been hunted has increased more than 300 percent, from 3,000 to 13,000.

Normally, boar meat is highly desired in Japan–in fact, The Japan Times called pork “the nation’s most popular meat”–but these animals have been eating contaminated plants and small animals in the power plant’s “exclusion zone.” The Sunday Times reports recent tests have found high levels of caesium-137 in the area, which has a half-life of 30 years.
These animals are unfit for human consumption, which presents another problem: hunters can attempt to reduce the population, but they have to do something with the carcasses. According to Texas A&M wildlife and fisheries professor Billy Higginbotham, the average size of a male hog is around 200 pounds. Considering this average, if 13,000 are killed, hunters have around 2,600,000 pounds of potentially dangerous flesh requiring disposal.

The best solution would be incinerating the bodies, which requires a special facility that can filter out radioactive materials to prevent the resulting smoke from blanketing nearby areas and contaminating them. One such facility exists in the city of Soma, but the $1.4 million crematorium’s capacity is severely limited. It can only handle three boars a day (or 21 a week, which is only 1,092 each year; not quite 13,000).

The battle between animals and humans has long raged, but for farmers living near the exclusion zone of Fukushima, it’s become a matter of economic survival.

Radioactive mutated wild boars. The concept makes the imagination run rampant.


Oh my!