Coleman Penstock Replacement Project Case Study

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 4:49:35 PM

Coleman Penstock Replacement Project Case Study



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Many studies have shown that people desire to be remembered 4. Some wish to fulfill this desire through their family, and others through their life's accomplishments or impact. Recently, the cancer metastasized and is no longer as responsive to chemotherapy. She has been involved in lecturing to a class of my medical students for a 2-week period each semester, talking about medical care from a patient's perspective.

Now that she is facing the end of her life, she is determined to continue those lectures; she finds purpose in the significant impact they have had on future physicians. Her treatment team was able to work around certain therapeutic protocols to enable her to achieve her dreams and goals. Another patient was dying of breast and ovarian cancer in her early 30s, and she was depressed. Antidepressants weren't helping.

Through talking with her, I understood the cause of her suffering: a fear that her 2-year-old daughter would not remember her. I suggested that she keep a journal to leave to her daughter; the hospice nurses videotaped her messages to her children. These activities helped resolve her depression. Erik Erikson has written about certain developmental tasks that he suggests children, adolescents, and adults need to accomplish as part of the normal developmental and maturing process 5.

Spirituality has been recognized by many authors as an integral developmental task for those who are dying 6 , 7. Unfortunately, people who are dying are often ignored. We need to advocate for systems of care in which that can happen. Attending the dying patient is an important experience for physicians as well. I have to echo that sentiment. Being in the presence of people who are struggling and are able to transcend suffering and pain and see life in a different way is inspiring for me, and I'm grateful for those experiences.

The effect of spirituality on health is an area of active research right now. Besides being studied by physicians, it is studied by psychologists and other professionals. The studies tend to fall into 3 major areas: mortality, coping, and recovery. Some observational studies suggest that people who have regular spiritual practices tend to live longer 9. Another study points to a possible mechanism: interleukin IL Increased levels of IL-6 are associated with an increased incidence of disease. A research study involving older adults showed that those who attended church were half as likely to have elevated levels of IL-6 The authors hypothesized that religious commitment may improve stress control by offering better coping mechanisms, richer social support, and the strength of personal values and worldview.

Patients who are spiritual may utilize their beliefs in coping with illness, pain, and life stresses. Some studies indicate that those who are spiritual tend to have a more positive outlook and a better quality of life. For example, patients with advanced cancer who found comfort from their religious and spiritual beliefs were more satisfied with their lives, were happier, and had less pain Positive reports on those measures—a meaningful personal existence, fulfillment of life goals, and a feeling that life to that point had been worthwhile— correlated with a good quality of life for patients with advanced disease Some studies have also looked at the role of spirituality regarding pain.

One study showed that spiritual well-being was related to the ability to enjoy life even in the midst of symptoms, including pain. This suggests that spirituality may be an important clinical target Pain medication is very important and should be used, but it is worthwhile to consider other ways to deal with pain as well. Spiritual beliefs can help patients cope with disease and face death. Among 90 HIV-positive patients, those who were spiritually active had less fear of death and less guilt A random Gallup poll asked people what concerns they would have if they were dying.

Those who were surveyed cited several spiritual reassurances that would give them comfort. The most common spiritual reassurances cited were beliefs that they would be in the loving presence of God or a higher power, that death was not the end but a passage, and that they would live on through their children and descendants Bereavement is one of life's greatest stresses. Those parents had better physiologic and emotional adjustment. These findings are not surprising.

We hear them repeated in focus groups, in patients' writings and stories: When people are challenged by something like a serious illness or loss, they frequently turn to spiritual values to help them cope with or understand their illness or loss. Spiritual commitment tends to enhance recovery from illness and surgery. For example, a study of heart transplant patients showed that those who participated in religious activities and said their beliefs were important complied better with follow-up treatment, had improved physical functioning at the month follow-up visit, had higher levels of self-esteem, and had less anxiety and fewer health worries In general, people who don't worry as much tend to have better health outcomes.

Maybe spirituality enables people to worry less, to let go and live in the present moment. Related to spirituality is the power of hope and positive thinking. I see this as an ability to tap into one's inner resources to heal. Benson, myself, and others see the physician-patient relationship as having placebo effect as well—i. Benson suggests that there are 3 components that contribute to the placebo effect of the patient-physician relationship: positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the patients, positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the physician or health care professional, and a good relationship between the 2 parties Specific spiritual practices have been shown to improve health outcomes. In the s, Benson began research on the effect of spiritual practices on health.

Some people who practiced transcendental meditation approached him in the s and asked him to determine if meditation had beneficial health effects. He found that 10 to 20 minutes of meditation twice a day leads to decreased metabolism, decreased heart rate, decreased respiratory rate, and slower brain waves. Further, the practice was beneficial for the treatment of chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, hostility, depression, premenstrual syndrome, and infertility and was a useful adjunct to treatment for patients with cancer or HIV.

I teach the relaxation response to many of my patients, and I have found it particularly useful for patients with chronic pain, high blood pressure, headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome. It takes only a few minutes to describe the meditation and to practice it with your patient in the office. The patient then needs to practice the technique at home. I usually suggest people follow up with me in the office more frequently initially as they are learning the technique. After a few semimonthly visits, they switch to brief monthly visits, which can then be tapered. Some of my patients follow up with me by phone if coming to my office frequently is difficult. Do patients want physicians to address their spirituality?

Research studies have also addressed this issue. From a physician's standpoint, understanding patients' spirituality is quite valuable as well:. Spirituality may be a dynamic in the patient's understanding of the disease. For example, when I was a resident I saw a 28 year-old woman whose husband had just left her. She found out that her husband had AIDS, and she asked to be tested. When I met with her to tell her that the test result came back positive, I tried to explain that her illness was diagnosed early and that there had been recent advances in the treatment of HIV that were allowing people to live longer with their illness. She kept referring to God and about why God was doing this to her. I recognized that we weren't connecting, so I asked her about her comments.

She proceeded to tell me about being raped as a teenager and having an abortion. In her belief system, that was wrong. I encouraged her to see a chaplain, which she did regularly. In the meantime, I kept seeing her, and I talked with her about her issues of guilt and punishment as well as some education about HIV. But it was not until 1 year later that she was willing to seek treatment. She needed time to work out her own issues of guilt before being able to accept her illness and deal with it.

Now, she tells me that had I not addressed her spiritual issues in that first visit, she would never have returned to see me or any other physician. In many patients' lives, spiritual or religious beliefs may affect the decisions they make about their health and illness and the treatment choices they make. It is critical that we as physicians and health care providers listen to all aspects of our patients' lives that can affect their decision making and their coping skills.

Religious convictions may affect health care decision making. Jehovah's Witness patients rejecting blood transfusions is a classic example, but there are also beliefs around use of ventilators and feeding tubes. One of my patients was an year old man dying of pancreatic cancer in the intensive care unit. He was on a ventilator. When the treatment team approached his family about withdrawing support, at first they refused, saying that their father was in God's hands and keeping him on support might make a miracle possible. After an ethics consult and a consult with a chaplain, the family had the chance to reframe their own thinking. Eventually, they saw that a peaceful death and their father's union with God could be the miracle.

The critical elements in helping the family deal with the situation were the medical team's respecting and not ridiculing the family's beliefs and the chaplain's skill in counseling and helping the family reconcile their religious beliefs with the reality of their father's dying. Spirituality may be a patient need and may be important in patient coping.

This was true of a patient of mine who died 2 weeks ago. She used her religious beliefs and practices to help her live with serious chronic illness. Many of the people at her funeral commented on her deep faith and how her spirituality helped her cope with her multiple strokes and diabetes. Towards the end of her life, she was in a coma. Her family asked me to join them in their prayer around their mother's bedside.

During the prayer, the family was able to express both their hope in her recovery, but also their request to God for strength to deal with her death if that was to be the outcome. So, for both my patient and my patient's family, spiritual beliefs and practices were the main resource they used to cope with suffering and loss. And this patient and her family wanted me, their physician, to be aware of these beliefs and to be open to hearing their spiritual expressions in the clinical setting. Patients may want to discuss their spirituality with their physician, to use their church group as a social support, or to join faith-based organizations for support and guidance.

An understanding of the patient's spirituality is integral to whole patient care. One of my patients, a year-old woman with irritable bowel syndrome, had several signs of depression, including insomnia, excessive worrying, decreased appetite, and anhedonia. The Gila was once a vibrant desert river, providing a lifeline for the riparian habitat and wildlife that depended on it in the U. But population growth, agricultural withdrawals, and, increasingly, climate change have badly diminished the river and threaten its future. The confluence of the tiny San Pedro River and the much larger Gila was once one of the richest locales in one of the most productive river ecosystems in the American Southwest, an incomparable oasis of biodiversity.

The rivers frequently flooded their banks, a life-giving pulse that created sprawling riverside cienegas, or fertile wetlands; braided and beaver-dammed channels; meandering oxbows; and bosques — riparian habitats with towering cottonwoods, mesquite and willows. This lush, wet Arizona landscape, combined with the searing heat of the Sonoran Desert, gave rise to a vast array of insects, fish and wildlife, including apex predators such as Mexican wolves, grizzly bears, jaguars and cougars, which prowled the river corridors.

The confluence now is a very different place, its richness long diminished. A massive mountain of orange- and dun-colored smelter tailings, left from the days of copper and lead processing and riddled with arsenic, towers where the two rivers meet. Water rarely flows there, with an occasional summer downpour delivering an ephemeral trickle. On a recent visit, only a few brown, stagnant pools remained. In one, hundreds of small fish gasped for oxygen. An egret that had been feeding on the fish flew off.

The plop of a bull frog, an invasive species, echoed in the hot, still air. Stretches have long been depleted, largely because of crop irrigation and the water demands of large cities. Now, a warmer and drier climate is bearing down on ecosystems that have been deprived of water, fragmented, and otherwise altered, their natural resilience undone by human activities. Other desert rivers around the globe — from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates to the Amu Darya in Central Asia — face similar threats.

Efforts are underway to restore some integrity to these natural systems, but it is an uphill battle, in part because desert rivers are more fragile than rivers in cooler, wetter places. Last year was the second-hottest and second-driest on record in Arizona, where heat records are frequently broken. The last two years have seen fewer desert downpours, known locally as monsoons, an important source of summer river flow. Born of snowmelt and springs in the mountains of southern New Mexico, the Gila is the southernmost snow-fed river in the United States.

It was once perennial, running miles until it emptied into the Colorado River. The same scenario is playing out on the once-mighty Colorado, the Rio Grande, and many smaller Southwest rivers, all facing what is often called a megadrought. Some research indicates that a southwestern U. Like the Gila, many of these rivers have high degrees of endemism. Rivers everywhere are important for biodiversity, but especially so in the desert, where 90 percent of life is found within a mile of the river. Two endangered birds, the southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo, live along the Gila and its tributaries, including the San Pedro and the Salt.

Desert rivers, of course, make life in the desert possible for people, too. Growing crops in the perpetual heat of the desert can be highly lucrative, especially if the water is free or nearly so thanks to subsidies from the federal government. Agriculture is where most of the water in the Gila goes. This spring, photographer Ted Wood and I made a journey along the length of the Gila, from the headwaters in New Mexico to west of Phoenix.

In most of Arizona, the Gila is dry. Where it still flows, I was impressed by how such a relatively small river, under the right conditions, can be so life-giving. The trip brought home what desert rivers are up against as the climate changes, and also how much restoration, and what types, can be expected to protect the biodiversity that remains. The creek is barely a trickle here. Above the creek, ancestral Puebloans, known as Mogollon, once lived in dwellings wedged into caves, making pottery and tending vegetable gardens. The Mogollon abandoned these canyons in the 15th century, perhaps done in by an extended drought. From inside a Mogollon cave, I looked out at rolling hills, covered with ponderosa pine, pinyon and juniper trees.

The green-hued water gains volume where three forks come together near here. Historically, the mountain snow melts slowly each spring, providing high steady flows through April and May. Flows slow to a trickle in June. In July and August, monsoons pass through and, along with frontal systems, cause flash flooding and a rise in water levels.

A healthy river in the mountains of the West is one that behaves like a fire hose, whipping back and forth in a broad channel over time, flash flooding and then receding, moving gravel, rocks, logs and other debris throughout the system. A flooding river constantly demolishes some sections of a river and builds others, creating new habitat — cleaning silt from gravel so fish can spawn, for instance, or flushing sediment from wetlands.

A river that flows over its banks, recharges aquifers and moistens the soil so that the seedlings of cottonwoods, mesquite trees and other vegetation can reproduce. Along healthy stretches of the Gila, birds are everywhere; I spotted numerous bluebirds in the branches of emerald green cottonwoods. This is an anomaly in a state that has lost many of its riparian ecosystems. The future of the New Mexico stretch of the river is uncertain because of the possibility of more water withdrawals and the loss of snowpack. This year, she said, set an all-time low on the river, with flow less than 20 percent of normal.

The valley is home to the largest concentration of non-colonial breeding birds in North America. The river is also a stronghold for threatened and endangered species, such as nesting yellow-billed cuckoos, the Gila chub, Chiricahua leopard frogs and Mexican garter snakes all live there. At odds with efforts to keep the Gila wild are plans by a group of roughly long-time irrigators in southwestern New Mexico. Each summer they divert water from the Gila to flood-irrigate pastures, which de-waters stretches of the river.

The irrigators have been trying to raise money to build impoundments to take even more of their share of water, but so far have been unsuccessful, in part because of opposition from conservation groups. Cattle break down riverbanks, widen the stream and raise water temperatures. They eat and trample riparian vegetation, causing mud and silt to choke the flow, and destroy habitat for endangered species. The Center for Biological Diversity recently sued the U. Forest Service to force the agency to take action. As the river enters Arizona, the riparian ecology remains largely intact, especially in the 23 miles of the Gila Box National Riparian Area.

Here, 23, acres of bosque habitat is in full expression, with thick stands of cottonwoods, velvet mesquite trees and sandy beaches. It is one of only two national riparian areas in the country set aside for its outstanding biodiversity; the other is on the San Pedro River. As the river leaves the riparian area, it undergoes a striking change: massive cotton farms near the towns of Safford, Pima, and Thatcher, first planted in the s, cover the landscape.

The dried, brown stalks of harvested cotton plants stand in a field, bits of fluff on top. Growing cotton in the desert — which uses six times as much water as lettuce — has long been seen as folly by critics, made possible only by hefty federal subsidies. Much of the flood pulse ecology is lost here, as the river is diverted or subject to groundwater pumping. Instead of flooding, the river cuts deeper into its channel, lowering the water table, which many plants can no longer reach. The cottonwood stands and other riparian habitats have disappeared. It is a harsh place for new planting. The river is dry in long stretches. Tamarisk, a pernicious invasive tree also known as salt cedar, needs to be cut down and its stumps poisoned to prevent regrowth.

Small willows and Fremont cottonwoods have been planted on barren desert ground. Wire cages over infant trees keep elk, beaver and rabbits from gobbling them up. Meanwhile, tamarisk grows prolifically, slurping up water, changing soil chemistry and the nature of flooding, robustly outcompeting natives, and increasing the risk of wildfire. She said the Gila Watershed Partnership has removed acres of tamarisk along the river and planted 90 acres with new native trees.

But the Gila here will never look like it did. Downstream, the Coolidge Dam forms a giant concrete plug on the Gila. Built in the s by the federal government, it was the result of irrational exuberance about the amount of water on the Gila and meant to supply farmers with water. Today, however, the reservoir is usually dry. Built to hold 19, acres of water, this year the water in the lake covered just 50 acres. From here to Phoenix and on to the Colorado, water only occasionally flows in the Gila.

Yet even the small amount of water that remains is vital to wildlife. Will the Gila River through most of Arizona to the Colorado ever be restored to a semblance of the biological jewel it once was? The chances are slim. But two pioneering efforts have brought back elements of the desiccated river. It is thick with cattails and other vegetation, an island of green around a lake amid the sere surrounding desert. The tribe is now water-rich, using much of that water to restore its tribal agricultural past, though with modern crops and methods. Last year, some of the Colorado River water was released into the Gila to be stored in an underground aquifer and used to create a wetland.

To safeguard irreplaceable wetlands and imperiled species in the headwaters of the Colorado River, a coalition of conservation groups today warned the U. Forest Service and U. Fish and Wildlife Service that they will file a lawsuit in federal court if the agencies do not complete a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the planned and permitted geotechnical investigation on the greenback cutthroat trout and Canada lynx. The letter sent by WildEarth Guardians, Colorado Headwaters, Holy Cross Wilderness Defense Fund, Save the Colorado, the Colorado Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Wilderness Workshop details how the agencies failed to consider the effects of the investigative drilling, as well as the forthcoming dam and reservoir project, on listed species in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Forest Service and the U. In addition to the harm to imperiled species detailed in the notice letter, the investigative drilling proposed along Homestake Creek in Eagle County, Colorado could drain and destroy valuable wetlands. Further, the exploration will lay the foundation for a destructive reservoir that would inundate hundreds of acres in the Holy Cross Wilderness Area while stealing more water from the Colorado River to the thirsty front range for use by the Cities of Colorado Springs and Aurora.

The groups urge the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the effects of the geotechnical investigation and related activities on threatened and endangered species as required by the Endangered Species Act before any investigatory drilling or other activities are undertaken in the Homestake Valley. If the agencies fail to do so, the groups will file a lawsuit in federal court after the day notice period is complete. Forest Service has chosen to facilitate the construction of a dam near a wilderness area in order to transfer yet more water from the West Slope to cities in the Front Range. This action by the Forest Service is not only contrary to its mandate to protect natural areas but is also illegal because the Service chose to cut corners to make its decision.

The permit for drilling must be revoked. It is premised on several fallacies: that it will not damage the wetlands, that it will determine that there is no geologic reason not to build the proposed Whitney Creek Reservoir, and that the reservoir will be built. Aside from irrevocable destruction of the Homestake Creek wetlands at and downstream from the proposed reservoir, the proposed reservoir is placed over a major geological fault, the Rio Grande Rift, which is a tectonic divergent plate boundary. Placing a reservoir at this site is pure madness and terminal stupidity. It would endanger the lives of those living downstream. We will oppose it by every legal means available.

From InkStain Brad Udall :. Brad Udall on twitter yesterday ran through a striking series of graphs of the current state of the Colorado River. Some key points that grabbed my attention:. This is a really grim year for runoff. Declining runoff efficiency has been noted in multiple peer-reviewed studies. For a recent overview of recent climate change studies on the Colorado River see this written with Jonathan Overpeck:. Jeff Lukas points out that the twitter thread implied that the low runoff efficiency this year as measured by runoff as a percent of snowpack is all due directly to warming.

I did not mean to imply that. The low runoff percent numbers are much more a function of 1 very low spring precipitation in both and and to a lesser extent 2 low soil moisture from the previous year. Low soil moisture in the springs of and is definitely connected to dry and very warm late summer and early fall from the previous years. Teasing this apart to obtain the actual driver s is not simple. That said, no one should doubt that climate change is reducing the flows of the Colorado. Multiple peer-reviewed papers have now supported this finding. More from Jeff on this here. These two reservoirs will hold less water than Mead did alone in many years before when Powell was built.

By next April Powell will hit 5. See Red dots. This will be the lowest since its initial fill in Loss of power, while not calamitous, is concerning. Power revenues fund environmental compliance and other important items in the basin. As part of the agreement, the UB can release flows from reservoirs upstream of Powell to prop it up. But there is only about 5 maf for that all together. It is a one-shot deal. But 5. Otherwise, Mead will face a 2nd year of Tier 1 shortages. Either way, this is not good. The Snake River Water District is planning ahead for increasing water needs in the Keystone area due to population growth over the past decade.

District Executive Director Scott Price said in a statement that the district recently created a water system master plan looking into emerging challenges in the next 10 years. The plan includes a prioritized list of short- and long-term projects. The district is currently seeking grants and loans to help fund the improvements. It is also evaluating user rates that have remained unchanged for the past eight years.

The district will hold public meetings with key stakeholders to discuss the financial plans. There will be two public meetings July 22, including a 1 p. With limited water resources, the Town of Monument looks to encourage water conservation among residents while the area is experiencing high temperatures in its semi-arid climate and increased water demand. However, to maintain healthy landscapes around the community, the town is encouraging responsible water practices, implementing water restrictions and has offered tips to efficient water use….

Properties within the service of Triview Metropolitan District are also under restrictions from May 1 through Sept. A few years ago, the State of Colorado legislature passed House Bill which allows single-family residences to collect rainwater in two barrels maximum, each up to gallons, to be used solely for outdoor use and not consumption or indoor use. It also mandates the top of the barrels must be sealed to prevent pests from getting in. The bill was geared toward helping homeowners offset the use of their irrigation systems for their landscaping.

The rebate is given in the form of a credit toward the account. The Triview Metropolitan District is presently making a transition from making use of the non-renewable groundwater from the Denver Basin to renewable surface water. Last year, the district acquired acre feet of water rights and purchased another 1,acre feet of water storage in April. Triview acquired nearly acres of land to be used for the development of two large reservoirs which are near completion. The Colorado River Indian Tribes and another tribe in Arizona played an outsized role in the drought contingency plans that had the state voluntarily give up water.

As Arizona faces mandatory cuts next year in its Colorado River supply, the tribes see themselves as major players in the future of water. Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border has fallen to its lowest point since it was filled in the s. Water experts say the situation would be worse had the tribe not agreed to store , acre-feet in the lake over three years. A single acre-foot is enough to serve one to two households per year. The Gila River Indian Community also contributed water. Environmentalists, foundations and corporations fulfilled a pledge last month to chip in the rest.

Kevin Moran of the Environmental Defense Fund said the agreement signaled a new approach to combating drought, climate change and the demand from the river. The Colorado River Indian Tribes stopped farming more than 15 square miles 39 square kilometers to make water available, tribal attorney Margaret Vick said…. While some fields are dry on the reservation, the tribe plans to use the money to invest in its water infrastructure. It has the oldest irrigation system built by the U. Bureau of Indian Affairs, dating to , serving nearly square miles square kilometers of tribal land.

The reservation includes more than miles kilometers of Colorado River shoreline with some of the oldest and most secure rights to the river in both Arizona and California. It also has water rights in California. An additional 46 square miles square kilometers of land could be developed for agriculture if the tribe had the infrastructure, according to a study on water use and development among tribes in the Colorado River basin. From Northern Water:. While new wildfires across Colorado and the West are creating another year of smoky skies and damaged forests, work to contain debris and restore watersheds damaged by the East Troublesome Fire has started taking shape in Grand County.

This month, crews started to place a series of booms at the east end of Grand Lake to capture floating debris that could move into the lake from heavy rainstorms that sometimes occur in the summertime. The bright yellow booms are anchored near the intake to the Alva B. In addition to the boom at Grand Lake, two more will be installed at Willow Creek Reservoir to capture debris from that heavily affected watershed. Work will also be concentrated to capture debris before it reaches the reservoirs. Starting in July, helicopter crews will drop mulch and seeds on burned areas that are inaccessible to ground-based efforts. That material will help to keep soil and debris in place, and in future years will provide appropriate ground cover at those sites.

Other methods for debris containment to be installed include catchment basins where smaller tributaries might be transporting loosened materials. Finally, Northern Water has also provided a self-service site in Grand Lake where property owners can get sandbags and wattle to protect their property from high-water flows that might occur this year or in the future. Because of the importance of the Upper Colorado River watershed to the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and the drinking water for more than 1 million residents in Northeastern Colorado, Northern Water has taken a lead role with Grand County as local sponsors for the Emergency Watershed Program. To address the water needs of a growing population amid shortages, the Colorado Water Plan in set a goal of attaining , acre-feet of new water storage by Colorado is working its way toward that goal, but building new storage is easier said than done.

Increasing environmental and social concerns, limited geographic locations, and even more limited water rights have made many traditional reservoir storage projects tougher to build. On top of that, long-range forecasting — to figure out how much water is going to be available to be stored — has become especially difficult as a result of climate change.

Ordinarily, storage would be the obvious solution to drought and dry years. You collect moisture in wet years and save it for times of need. But climate change has created a catch Storage may be necessary, but it has become more challenging to build and less water is available to capture. The cascading challenges of climate change have led water managers to think creatively about alternatives to traditional infrastructure. Greeley, for example, replaced a plan to expand an existing reservoir with one that will store water underground. Front Range districts collaborated to reallocate the space in Chatfield Reservoir, a flood storage basin, raising the water level to add permanent water storage supply. Water managers are growing increasingly innovative, out of necessity, to develop water storage projects that will work.

Everything from the location and size of reservoirs to the timing for capturing runoff and for making releases is being reviewed. Various climate models, including those used by the Colorado Water Conservation Board for state water planning, project warmer temperatures that will affect evaporation rates in rivers and reservoirs and seasonal shifts in precipitation, including reduced mountain snowpack and earlier runoff. Earlier and reduced flows could, for instance, necessitate dams releasing water earlier to meet demand. Temperature rise, too, makes storing water a challenge. Any pool will lose water through evaporation, and more during hot, dry times, but the loss is worse for reservoirs at lower elevations with more exposed surface area.

The science used to estimate evaporative loss is imprecise — estimates could be off by as much as 20 to 30 percent, according to the U. Bureau of Reclamation, which is conducting a study to refine its methods. The National Climate Assessment, published in , states that climate change is fueling stronger storms that could overwhelm dams and infrastructure designed to capture more moderate storm surge flows. The Technical Update to the Colorado Water Plan lays out a number of alternatives to new traditional storage projects, including rehabilitating existing infrastructure, reallocating flood storage to active storage, and using below-ground aquifer storage alternatives. But building those reservoirs also requires water to fill them, says Brad Udall, senior water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University.

Water rights are not as easy to come by in an era of constraint. But as climate change shifts the timing and magnitude of peak flows, reservoirs may not be as effective a tool for managing junior water rights. Balancing climate-complicated precipitation projections with population and water use trends, regulatory changes, and competition for resources can make the standard planning process a head-spinning endeavor. Realizing that a backward-looking dataset might no longer apply to a present and future defined by climate change, the utility took a state-of-the-art new approach to its planning process. Recently, Colorado Springs partnered with the consulting firm Black and Veatch, which expanded the multi-objective evolutionary algorithm MOEA to utilities to help them assess the complexities in planning.

The machine learning tool can project thousands of possible futures using precipitation, temperature and hydrological factors, then help planners narrow down their range of possible options. For Colorado Springs, the advanced IWRP process helped water planners see a range of climate and streamflow possibilities, then identify 14 storage options that could meet future water demand. Some, like a potential new reservoir on Williams Creek or one upstream of Rampart Reservoir, have been under discussion for years.

Others are more general concepts without specific sites, such as gravel pit storage along the Arkansas River. Among those identified projects, Colorado Springs has also been exploring Eagle River storage options, including the potential Whitney Reservoir, to collect and store Western Slope water, although nearby towns and others have objected to possible impacts on the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. More than anything, Lusk says, the advanced modeling helped the utility gain a better appreciation for the full scope of storage and transmission. To the north, the Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, has been moving through a decades-long process to obtain the necessary permits and to gain the favor of local stakeholders.

NISP has been reshaped, with operational changes and environmental improvements now built in, in response to stakeholder concerns. With the population of northern Colorado expected to double by , backers say that such a large shared storage project is necessary to efficiently serve booming towns like Erie, Windsor and Severance. Through water exchanges with farmers — which will average about 25, acre-feet per year — and the purchase of conservation easements on farms, Northern Water says the project will also help farmers reduce the negative impacts of buy and dry by keeping water on farms while serving the growing Front Range population.

But supplying those growing towns will necessarily require impacts. Highway will be relocated and the 45, acre-foot Galeton Reservoir. Northern Water will also build another forebay reservoir, five pump plants, and 80 miles of pipeline. That kind of construction naturally attracted opposition from environmentalists and some communities. Concerns include that taking water out of the already-stressed Poudre River could reduce its crucial spring peak flows, which flush sediment downriver and restore habitat.

Several environmental reviews as part of the permitting process concluded that the need for storage was there, even after accounting for planned water conservation savings. With so many communities involved, scrapping the collaborative project, as some environmental groups advocated for, would leave them all competing for limited resources. The idea is that water would be released from Glade Reservoir year round and no water will be diverted to storage when flows dip below 50 cubic feet per second cfs in the summer and 25 cfs in the winter to eliminate spots where the river already dries up.

Organizers will also build new fish passage structures and improve 2. NISP has continued moving through the federal permitting process, with final approval expected this spring or summer. Karlyn Armstrong, water project mitigation coordinator for CPW, says that the flow program will be a benefit to the river. Critics remain. In August , the Fort Collins City Council voted to oppose the project, citing the potential loss of spring flows, and some environmentalists say communities should explore options with less of an environmental footprint. Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates has been a long-time opponent of NISP and in released an alternative plan it said could meet the needs of Front Range communities without the footprint of new infrastructure.

Combined with flexible water sharing agreements between agricultural users and municipalities and more thoughtful expansion onto previously irrigated agricultural land that could come with water rights, WRA says their plan reimagines what adding supply could look like. The City of Aurora has also made conservation and reuse a foundational part of its water plan, including more efficient landscaping requirements, rebates for low water-use appliances, and requirements that new developers make their buildings less wasteful. The city is moving ahead on the proposed Wild Horse Reservoir project, a 96, acre-foot storage site in Park County. The mindset that you can conserve your way out of any drought is just not realistic.

Snowmelt and storm events, for instance, flash quickly through incised streams that are disconnected from their floodplains. Healthier connected floodplain-riparian areas can restore plant life, recharge underground aquifers, preserve flows for aquatic species, and even reduce flood risk. Stretching natural runoff releases into the hot summer months could help farmers irrigate for longer growing seasons without storing water above ground, but little research has quantified that potential. Researchers are eyeing projects meant to mimic beaver structures to see how they change flows. According to Melinda Kassen, senior counsel for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, restoration fits into a more natural philosophy of water systems. She hopes to see more municipalities begin to view natural infrastructure as just as valid as traditional infrastructure.

The South Platte Basin Implementation Plan, completed in to inform the state water plan, showed that, with a population expected to reach 6 million by , there could be a maximum annual water supply gap of , acre-feet. There are more water rights on the South Platte River than there is water to fulfill them in most years, which is why buy and dry — where cities purchase senior agricultural water rights, drying up a farm and gaining the priority to divert that water when flows are low — has been attractive to municipalities. As an alternative, new storage might help. Some flows are available for capture, just not every year.

The South Platte Storage Study, ordered by the Colorado Legislature in and completed in , found that while flows were extremely variable between and , a median flow of , acre-feet per year in excess of South Platte River interstate compact obligations crossed the state line into Nebraska. The amount of water that could be put to use in Colorado is much less, the study found, but additional South Platte storage could help with a variety of things — from compact compliance to water sharing agreements to river flows and to better utilizing reusable return flows from upstream municipalities.

It also found that a combination of storage pools working conjunctively up and down the river could be more beneficial than individual reservoirs. To explore ways to move beyond individual reservoirs to close the gap, Frank and other water managers throughout the basin are collaborating on the South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group, or SPROWG, and working toward a system-wide approach to storage and water use.

In a feasibility study published in March , SPROWG members identified four alternative concepts that could help close the supply gap without diverting additional water from the Western Slope or buying up valuable water rights from local farmers. The study analyzed the potential to store between , and , acre-feet of water in various generalized locations between Denver and the Nebraska state line. New storage would rely on available flows not obligated to existing water rights, water that can be reused, or temporary lease agreements with farmers. Stored water would then be used locally, transported through a pipeline for regional use, or exchanged between locations. In an era of constraints, he says, it will take all users — even those across state lines — working together to think about creative and efficient approaches to the storage dilemma.

Jason Plautz is a journalist based in Denver specializing in environmental policy. The project would last approximately 90 days beginning August The purpose of this project is to address the most immediate maintenance concerns to reduce the risk of dam failure. This project is a continuation of that important work and partnership. Work on U. Reaching the outlet and upstream site for the grade beam requires the reservoir to be fully drained.

The work proposed on Forest Service lands is expected to be cleared through the National Environmental Policy Act under a categorical exclusion. A preliminary evaluation of anticipated environmental effects indicate there are no extraordinary circumstances that would require preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. For additional information, questions or concerns, please contact Jonathan Hare at or jonathan.

Rejection of the NISP pipeline is yet another skirmish in a series of water and pipeline battles playing out in the northern Front Range. The Fort Collins planning commission on Wednesday rejected an application by Northern Water to run more than three miles of pipeline in a foot-wide construction zone through city parks and neighborhoods as part of the complex Northern Integrated Supply Project.

But the unrest in Fort Collins is another skirmish in a series of water and pipeline battles playing out this year in northern Front Range counties. The key to this approach is figuring out what aspects of an image matter most to human viewers, that is, how much they actually care about the visual information that is thrown out. We believe that evaluating compression algorithms based on theoretical and non-intuitive quantities is like gauging the success of your new cookie recipe by measuring how much the cookie deviates from a perfect circle. Cookies are designed to taste delicious, so why measure quality based on something completely unrelated to taste? By doing so, we found out that humans are pretty great image compressors, and machines have a long way to go.

Algorithms for lossy compression include equations called loss functions. These measure how closely the compressed image matches the original image. A loss function close to zero indicates that the compressed and original images are very similar. The goal of lossy image compressors is to discard irrelevant details in pursuit of maximum space savings while minimizing the loss function.

We found out that humans are pretty great image compressors, and machines have a long way to go. Some loss functions center around abstract qualities of an image that don't necessarily relate to how a human views an image. One classic loss function, for example, involves comparing the original and the compressed images pixel-by-pixel, then adding up the squared differences in pixel values. That's certainly not how most people think about the differences between two photographs. Loss functions like this one that don't reflect the priorities of the human visual system tend to result in compressed images with obvious visual flaws. Most image compressors do take some aspects of the human visual system into account.

The JPEG algorithm exploits the fact that the human visual system prioritizes areas of uniform visual information over minor details. So it often degrades features like sharp edges. JPEG, like most other video and image compression algorithms, also preserves more intensity brightness information than it does color, since the human eye is much more sensitive to changes in light intensity than it is to minute differences in hues. For decades, scientists and engineers have attempted to distill aspects of human visual perception into better ways of computing the loss function. Notable among these efforts are methods to quantify the impact of blockiness, contrast, flicker and the sharpness of edges on the quality of the result as perceived by the human eye.

The developers of recent compressors like Google's Guetzli encoder, a JPEG compressor that runs far slower but produces smaller files than traditional JPEG tools, tout the fact that these algorithms consider crucial aspects of human visual perception such as the differences in how the eye perceives specific colors or patterns. But these compressors still use loss functions that are mathematical at their heart, like the pixel-by-pixel sum of squares, which are then adjusted to include some aspects of human perception. In pursuit of a more human-centric loss function, we set out to determine how much information it takes for a human to accurately describe an image.

Then we considered how concise these descriptions can get, if the describer can tap into the large repository of images on the Internet that are open to the public. Such public image databases are under-utilized in image compression today. Our hope was that, by pairing them with human visual priorities, we could come up with a whole new paradigm for image compression. When it comes to developing an algorithm, relying on humans for inspiration is not unusual.

Consider the field of language processing. Knowing the entropy would enable researchers to determine how far the text compression algorithms are from the optimal theoretical performance. His setup was simple: he asked one human subject to select a sample of English text, and another to sequentially guess the contents of that sample. With these experiments plus a lot of elegant mathematics, Shannon estimated the theoretically optimal performance of a system designed to compress English-language texts.

Since then, other engineers have used experiments with humans to set standards for gauging the performance of artificial intelligence algorithms. Shannon's estimates also inspired the parameters of the Hutter Prize , a long-standing English text compression contest. We created a similarly human-based scheme that we hope will also inspire ambitious future applications. This project was a collaboration between our lab at Stanford and three local high schoolers who were interning with the lab; its success inspired us to launch a full-fledged high school summer internship program at Stanford, called STEM to SHTEM , where the "H" stands for the humanities and the human element.

Our setup used two human subjects, like Shannon's. But instead of selecting text passages, the first subject, dubbed the "describer," selected a photograph. The second test subject, the "reconstructor," attempted to recreate the photograph using only the describer's descriptions of the photograph and image editing software. In tests of human image compression, the describer sent text messages to the resconstructor, to which the reconstructor could reply by voice.

These messages could include references to images found on public websites. In our tests, the describers used text-based messaging and, crucially, could include links to any publicly available image on the internet. This allowed the reconstructors to start with a similar image and edit it, rather than forcing them to create an image from scratch. We used video-conferencing software that allowed the reconstructors to react orally and share their screens with the describers, so the describers could follow the process of reconstruction in real time. In order to ensure that the description and reconstruction exercise wasn't trivially easy, the describers started with original photographs that are not available publicly.

In many cases, this took an hour or less, in some, depending on the availability of like images on the Internet and the familiarity of the reconstructor with Photoshop, it took all day. We then processed the text transcript and compressed it using a typical text compressor. Because that transcript contains all the information that the reconstructor needed to satisfactorily recreate the image for the describer, we could consider it to be the compressed representation of the original image. Our next step involved determining how much other people agreed that the image reconstructions based on these compressed text transcripts were accurate representations of the original images.

Such a scale is admittedly vague, but we left it vague by design. Our goal was to measure how much people liked the images produced by our reconstruction scheme, without constraining "likeability" by definitions. In this reconstruction of the compressed images of a sketch left , the human compression system center did much better than the WebP algorithm right , in terms of both compression ratio and score, as determined by MTurk worker ratings.

Instead, we decided to compare how well a machine can do with an amount of information comparable to that generated by our describers. We used one of the best available lossy image compressors, WebP , to compress the describer's original images down to file sizes equivalent to the describer's compressed text transcripts. Because even the lowest quality level allowed by WebP created compressed image files larger than our humans did, we had to reduce the image resolution and then compress it using WebP's minimum quality level.

The verdict? The Turkers generally preferred the images produced using our human compression scheme. In most cases, the humans beat the WebP compressor, for some images, by a lot. For a reconstruction of a sketch of the wolf, the Turkers gave the humans a mean rating of more than eight, compared with one of less than four for WebP. When it came to reconstructing the human face, WebP had a significant edge, with a mean rating of 5. In tests of human compression vs the WebP compression algorithm at equivalent file sizes, the human reconstruction was generally rated higher by a panel of MTurk workers, with some notable exceptions Judith Fan.

This is good news, because our scheme resulted in extraordinarily large compression ratios. Our human compressors condensed the original images, which all clocked in around a few megabytes, down to only a few thousand bytes each, a compression ratio of some fold. The reconstructions also provided valuable insight about the important visual priorities of humans. Consider one of our sample images, a safari scene featuring two majestic giraffes.

The human reconstruction retained almost all discernible details albeit somewhat lacking in botanical accuracy : individual trees just behind the giraffes, a row of low-lying shrubbery in the distance, individual blades of parched grass. This scored very highly among the Turkers compared to WebP compression. The latter resulted in a blurred scene in which it was hard to tell where the trees ended and the animals began. The human reconstructors did best on images involving elements for which similar images were widely available, including landmarks and monuments as well as more mundane scenes, like traffic intersections. The success of these reconstructions emphasizes the power of using a comprehensive public image database during compression.

Given the existing body of public images, plus user-provided images via social networking services, it is conceivable that a compression scheme that taps into public image databases could outperform today's pixel-centric compressors. Our human compression system did worst on an up-close, portrait photograph of the describer's close friend. The describer tried to communicate details like clothing type hoodie sweatshirt , hair curly and brown and other notable facial features a typical case of adolescent acne.

Despite these details, the Turkers judged the reconstruction to be severely lacking, for the very simple reason that the person in the reconstruction was undeniably not the person in the original photo. Human image compressors fell short when working with human faces. What was easy for a human to perceive in this case was hard to break into discrete, describable components. Was it not the same person because the friend's jaw was more angular? Because his mouth curved up more at the edges? The answer is some combination of all of these reasons and more, some ineffable quality that humans struggle to verbalize.

It's worth pointing out that, for our tests, we used high schoolers for the tasks of description and reconstruction, not trained experts. If these experiments were performed, for example, with experts at image description working in cultural accessibility for people with low or no vision and paired with expert artists, they would likely have much better results.

That is, this strategy has far more potential than we were able to demonstrate. Of course, our human-to-human compression setup isn't anything like a computer algorithm. The key feature of modern compression algorithms, which our scheme sorely lacks, is reproducibility: every time you shove the same image into the type of compressor that can be found on most computers, you can be absolutely sure that you'll get the exact same compressed result. We are not envisioning a commercial compressor that involves sets of humans around the world discussing images.

Rather, a practical implementation of our compression scheme would likely be made up of various artificial intelligence techniques. One potential replacement for the human describer and reconstructor pair is something called a generative adversarial network GAN. A GAN is a fascinating blend of two neural networks: one that attempts to generate a realistic image "generator" and another that attempts to distinguish between real and fake images "discriminator". Our human compressors condensed the original images, which all clocked in around a few megabytes, down to only a few thousand bytes each.

A GAN similarly designed to create images using a stunningly low number of bits could easily automate the task of breaking down an input image into different features and objects, then compress them according to their relative importance, possibly utilizing similar images. And a GAN-based algorithm would be perfectly reproducible, fulfilling the basic requirement of compression algorithms. Another key component of our human-centric scheme that would need to be automated is, ironically, human judgment. Although the MTurk platform can be useful for small experiments, engineering a robust compression algorithm that includes an appropriate loss function would require not only a vast number of responses, but also consistent ones that agree on the same definition of image quality.

As paradoxical as it seems, AI in the form of neural networks able to predict human scores could provide a far more efficient and reliable representation of human judgment here, compared to the opinions of a horde of Turkers. We believe that the future of image compression lies in the hybridization of human and machine. Such mosaic algorithms with human-inspired priorities and robotic efficiency are already being seen in a wide array of other fields. Human computer interface research, in particular, has long taken cues from humans, leveraging crowdsourcing to create more conversational AI.

It is time that similar partnerships between man and machine worked to improve image compression. We think, that with our experiments, we moved the goalposts for image compression beyond what was assumed to be possible, giving a glimpse of the astronomical performance that image compressors might attain if we rethink the pixel-centric approach of the compressors we have today. And then we truly might be able to say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The agency prioritized the evacuation of Zero unit members and their families even as many vulnerable U.

Five years ago, the remote village of Lingshed in the Ladakh region of the northern Himalayas finally got electricity. A team of IEEE volunteers installed 14 solar-powered microgrids at the monastery and a nearby elementary school. The Lingshed project was done in collaboration with the Global Himalayan Expedition , an organization that couples tourism with technology to deliver solar energy to remote communities. He found that the IEEE project has helped the villagers improve their living conditions with modern conveniences and inspired the construction of a new kilometer-long road to make it easier to travel between Lingshed and Leh, the largest city in the area.

It is hoped that the route, which is still in progress, also will increase tourism in the area. The road replaces a gravel trail that could be traversed only by foot, with donkeys carrying any luggage or packages. The new road is expected to transform a two-day walk to a six-hour drive by car. The lab has a satellite Internet link and "offline Internet," a collection of encyclopedias on a hard drive that students can use for school. Each microgrid includes a watt photovoltaic panel, a pair of volt lead-acid deep-discharge tubular batteries designed for solar systems, and about 30 3-W LEDs, according to Jean Kumagi 's article in IEEE Spectrum about the expedition, in which she gave her first-hand account. The monks were dependent on kerosene lamps, not only for light but also to heat the monastery.

Now, thanks to the microgrids, the room where they conduct the prayer ceremonies has light. Students can now study at night, and the satellite Internet link, which was active until when the services stopped, allowed students to stay up to date on news. Monks using the lights inside the Lingshed Monastery's main prayer room where monks conduct pujas. Sonam Dorje. Some villagers now use space heaters during the winter at home instead of kerosene lamps.

Some even purchased televisions. The mayor told Loomba that the villagers now want to focus on motivating their children to pursue higher education. Kumagi described the trek in her Spectrum article. The team traveled the first leg of the trip to Lingshed in an SUV. Unable to drive the rest of the way, the team loaded its luggage onto donkeys. The engineers trekked alongside them. They traveled through two mountain passes up to the village. That section of the journey alone took nearly 10 hours. The unpaved, single-lane route allows for four-wheel drive Jeeps to travel through the mountain pass, but it's not wide enough to accommodate vans or buses.

Thanks to the road, "it became easier for the people to transport materials and medical supplies," Dorje says. People now can be transferred to the hospital if they need urgent medical attention. Because of heavy snowfall in the winter, the route is open only from June to October. The road will help attract tourists to the area and increase local businesses' revenue, he told The Institute. The route is currently being extended to reach Zanskar Valley, an up-and-coming tourist destination, he says.

The valley is 40 km from Lingshed and is known for its scenic landscape. Thanks to the road, the trip from Lingshed to the valley will take about 10 hours, he says. Loomba says he never could have foreseen how big of an impact electrification would have on Lingshed. US sanctions targeting China's telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies have crippled the company, effectively forcing it out of the global smartphone market and now threatening its domestic phone business as well. They have also shrunk Huawei's market for fifth-generation wireless network infrastructure around the world.

Xu had said earlier that the company's goal now is to simply survive. Xu's latest comments came as the US dropped its extradition battle over Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder, who had been trapped in Canada for three years. That led to the release two Canadian citizens who had been held hostage in China as a result. But it may also signal a de-escalation of the pressure Washington has brought to bear on the Chinese company now that Huawei is on its heels. What's at stake is control of international 5G networks, which are expected to transform global communications.

Three years ago, Huawei was on the cusp of dominating the world's 5G infrastructure with equipment priced far below competitors. Huawei has said it would not comply with such a request and believes that it cannot be legally forced to do so. Washington embarked on an intense campaign to block Huawei, and Ms. Meng's arrest on fraud charges was widely seen as part of that campaign. Huawei has long been regarded as a rogue player in the international telecoms market with deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party. It was founded in by a former People's Liberation Army officer and Party member and got its start reverse engineering telephone switching equipment from Hong Kong.

By the mids, China was promoting it as a 'national champion' in the country's effort to build up industrial giants that could compete on the world stage. In subsequent decades, the company was accused of stealing Western intellectual property , supplying sensitive telecoms equipment to North Korea and Iran , and expanding its global market share by undercutting Western telecom equipment prices by as much as a third.

Huawei benefits from various Chinese government policies that act as subsidies to its operations. It's very difficult to tell the difference between sloppy programming and deliberate backdoors. Most explosively, Huawei is accused of installing backdoors in its software that could allow China to monitor data flowing through its international networks or even shut networks down in the event of a war. Huawei denies doing so, but as a result, the U. The global adoption of fast, high capacity 5G is expected to usher in a new era of smart devices, extending AI deep into the Internet of things, including autonomous vehicles. AI models in the cloud that are too large to reside on an edge device, such as a phone or security camera, will be able to receive and process data from those devices through the network in near real time.

With 5G, he said, "the edge is not distinct from the core" in the way that it has been for previous generations of wireless technology. The National Security Agency, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have determined that if Huawei equipment is embedded even at the edge of 5G networks, China could write in code, siphon data and cover their tracks minutes later by writing out that code.

There would be no way to track it. As a result, the US banned American companies from using Huawei equipment, but it had trouble convincing allies to do the same. Part of the problem was a lack of alternatives. That frequency has greater reach and better penetration through solid objects than higher frequencies. In most of the world, the frequencies between 3 GHz and 4 GHz, called mid-band, were not being used extensively, while in the US they were used by satellite communications providers and the military. This allowed Chinese manufacturers to build 5G equipment for their vast domestic use and export it internationally. So once a country or company starts with Huawei, it's very difficult to change. To switch vendors, they have to rip out the entire network and start again, which is a very expensive proposition.

This fact has allowed Huawei to expand its already formidable 4G market share into 5G, as it had many carriers already locked into the Huawei equipment universe. In addition, Huawei benefitted from the economies of scale that came with a massive home market. As a result, many companies around the world began building 5G networks using Huawei equipment. A Huawei spokesperson, Glenn Schloss, says that its employees would only have access under strict supervision by the network operators, and that Huawei employee keystrokes are recorded for verification.

In , a U. The next year, the center found "critical, user-facing vulnerabilities" that it asked Huawei to fix. Last year, it reported that it had found a vulnerability "of national significance" and said Huawei had failed to instill confidence that such vulnerabilities would be addressed. Also last year, a decade-old confidential report from Dutch telecommunications company KPN, leaked to the press, claimed that China could eavesdrop on the conversations of anyone using its Huawei-built network.

Both KPN and Huawei deny that any data has been stolen, but the disclosure rattled the country. Huawei has since been blocked from 5G networks in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, the US had put Huawei on a blacklist , forbidding US companies and citizens from doing business with the company, and in tightened those sanctions, barring vendors worldwide from using US technology to produce components for Huawei. The U. The country banned new 5G equipment purchases from the company beginning this month and ordered that existing equipment be removed by The fifth member, Canada, has effectively done so , forcing its telecom companies there to seek other vendors.

Other countries are following suit, though Huawei still has a stronghold in Africa and Southeast Asia. The troubles quickly spread to Huawei's smartphone business. So the U. As a result, Huawei, which was briefly the largest smartphone supplier in the world, has dropped out of the top five. How many chips Huawei was able to collect has been a matter of debate, but a series of statements and actions by the company indicate that it is running out. Meanwhile, the outlook for Huawei's fabless semiconductor company, HiSilicon , which designs and packages Huawei's 5G chips is increasingly dim.

Without a manufacturing partner it cannot produce its flagship 5nm, 5G-enabled Kirin Huawei has delayed the release of its high-end Mate 50 smartphones. They are supposed to be powered by the Kirin Jetpacks might sound fun, but learning how to control a pair of jet engines strapped to your back is no easy feat. Now a British startup wants to simplify things by developing a jetpack with an autopilot system that makes operating it more like controlling a high-end drone than learning how to fly.

Jetpacks made the leap from sci-fi to the real world as far back as the s , but since then the they haven't found much use outside of gimmicky appearances in movies and halftime shows. In recent years though, the idea has received renewed interest. And its proponents are keen to show that the technology is no longer just for stuntmen and may even have practical applications. Flying jetpacks can take a lot of training to master though.

That's what prompted Hollywood animatronics expert Matt Denton and Royal Navy Commander Antony Quinn to found Maverick Aviation , and develop one that takes the complexities of flight control out the pilot's hands. The Maverick Jetpack features four miniature jet turbines attached to an aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber frame, and will travel at up to 30 miles per hour.

But the secret ingredient is software that automatically controls the engines to maintain a stable hover, and seamlessly convert the pilot's instructions into precise movements. It's all computer-controlled and you'll just be using the joystick. One of the key challenges, says Denton, was making the engines responsive enough to allow the rapid tweaks required for flight stabilization. This is relatively simple to achieve on a drone , whose electric motors can be adjusted in a blink of an eye, but jet turbines can take several seconds to ramp up and down between zero and full power. By shifting the alignment of the four engines the flight control software can keep the jetpack perfectly positioned using feedback from inertial measurement units, GPS, altimeters and ground distance sensors.

Simple directional instructions from the pilot can also be automatically translated into the required low-level tweaks to the turbines. It's a clever way to improve the mobility of the system, says Ben Akih-Kumgeh , an associate professor of aerospace engineering at Syracuse University. The software is fairly similar to a conventional drone flight controller, says Denton, but they have had to accommodate some additional complexities. Thrust magnitude and thrust direction have to be managed by separate control loops due to their very different reaction times, but they still need to sync up seamlessly to coordinate adjustments.

The entire control process is also complicated by the fact that the jetpack has a human strapped to it. In the long run, says Denton, the company hopes to add higher-level functions that could allow the jetpack to move automatically between points marked on a map. The hope is that by automating as much of the flight control as possible, users will be able to focus on the task at hand, whether that's fixing a wind turbine or inspecting a construction site. Surrendering so much control to a computer might give some pause for thought, but Denton says there will be plenty of redundancy built in. It might be sometime before you can start basic training, though, as the company has yet to fly their turbine-powered jetpack.

Currently, flight testing is being conducted on an scaled down model powered by electric ducted fans, says Denton, though their responsiveness has been deliberately dulled so they behave like turbines. The company is hoping to conduct the first human test flights next summer. Don't get your hopes up about commuting to work by jetpack any time soon though, says Akih-Kumgeh. The huge amount of noise these devices produce make it unlikely that they would be allowed to operate within city limits. The near term applications are more likely to be search and rescue missions where time and speed trump efficiency, he says.

On 9 April , less than a month before the end of hostilities in Europe, a young Luftwaffe pilot named Hans Guido Mutke put his jet-propelled Messerschmitt Me fighter-bomber into a steep dive, intending to come to the aid of a fellow airman below. As the Messerschmitt accelerated downward, the plane began to shake violently, and the controls became unresponsive. Mutke managed to regain control and lived to describe the incident, in which he later laid claim to having exceeded the speed of sound, a controversial but plausible assertion.

Piloting the bullet-shaped Bell X-1 rocket plane in , Chuck Yeager became the first person to exceed the speed of sound while in horizontal flight. The aircraft that unquestionably tore down that metaphorical wall was the Bell X-1 , a bullet-shaped experimental rocket-plane. In October of , test pilot Chuck Yeager coaxed his bright orange X-1 to a speed that slightly exceeded that of sound while the plane was in horizontal flight, although the U. Air Force didn't officially announce the feat until the following year. Even the Northrop T Talon jet trainer, introduced in , could do so.

And some military jets can fly much faster. The SR Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, which first flew in the s, can travel at better than Mach 3. Although military aircraft were breaking the sound barrier daily during the s and '60s, commercial passenger flights during this time remained limited to subsonic speeds. That situation didn't change until early in , with the first scheduled flights of the French-British Concorde supersonic airliner, which could reach Mach 2. The Soviet Union's Tupolev TU, which could fly just as fast and had been used to transport mail and freight the previous year, began carrying passengers in It would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now.

But, of course, we're not. At the time, it would have been reasonable to project that we'd all be zooming around the globe at supersonic speeds by now. The Concorde last flew nearly two decades ago. Now, several aircraft manufacturers and NASA are intent on ushering in a new era of supersonic commercial aviation. They're preparing prototypes for flight and they've got designs for full-blown airliners capable of carrying scores of passengers. And this time, their biggest challenge probably won't be the sonic booms, which backers insist they can adequately address. The main obstacles will be regulatory and, especially, environmental: Supersonic airliners could be hugely more polluting than their subsonic counterparts.

Are we nevertheless on the cusp of a new, golden age of high-speed commercial aviation? Will people soon be jetting across the Pacific in three hours? To answer those questions requires a deeper understanding of what went on, and what went wrong, during that first push to develop supersonic airliners more than a half century ago. The Concorde, shown here at the start of a test flight in , was particularly noisy, both during takeoff and when exceeding the speed of sound, which subjected people below to the loud double bang of its sonic boom.

In , nine years after Yeager's history-making flight, the U. And in the French and British governments forged an agreement to cooperate in the development of what soon became known as the Concorde. The sleek delta-winged airliner made its first supersonic test flight in Kennedy announced plans to develop a U. Shortly afterward, the federal government issued a contract to Boeing, which had prevailed over Lockheed and others in a design competition, to develop such a plane.

The last of these issues was perhaps the most vexing, prompting the U. Federal Aviation Administration to mount various exercises to gauge how the public would react to sonic booms. The most extensive such experiment took place over Oklahoma City in For months, supersonic aircraft flew over the city, eight times a day, seven days a week, at unpredictable times but always during daylight hours. Dominic Maglieri , an expert on sonic booms whose career began in the early s, recalls the results of those months-long tests. The Oklahoma City tests involved more than 1, flights, which sparked more than 15, complaints, as documented in a report prepared by the National Bureau of Standards.

Environmental Protection Agency. Clearly, nobody would accept stone-fracturing sonic booms. Despite strong support from the FAA, the airline industry, and aerospace companies, the U. Senate ceased funding the development of a supersonic airliner in Two years later, the FAA banned supersonic flight over land , a prohibition that remains to this day. The Concorde went on to serve various destinations, including some in the United States, flying at supersonic speeds only over water. That continued until , when British Airways and Air France retired their fleets, together amounting to just 12 aircraft. Fourteen production aircraft were manufactured, but one was scrapped in and another crashed in While the Concorde successfully overcame the technical hurdles standing in the way of supersonic passenger service, it succumbed to economics: The cost of fuel and maintenance was especially high for these planes.

A new generation of aeronautical engineers and entrepreneurs are, however, keen to once again take on the technical, environmental, and economic challenges. It's perhaps unsurprising that the 21st-century push for supersonic travel is being led by newcomers rather than established manufacturers. The best-funded of this group is Denver-based Boom Technology which also goes by the trade name Boom Supersonic. This artist's rendering shows Boom Technology's future Overture airliner, which will be able to carry as many as 88 people.

Boom Supersonic. In , while it was still in Y Combinator's startup incubation program , Boom got a big shot in the arm from the Virgin Group, which offered engineering support and optioned the first 10 of Boom's airliners. More recently, Virgin Galactic has been designing a supersonic airliner of its own. Virgin's interest in this sphere shouldn't be surprising: 13 years earlier, the group's founder Sir Richard Branson attempted, unsuccessfully, to purchase the seven Concorde airliners British Airways was retiring, for use by Virgin Atlantic. It has used that money to build a one-third scale prototype, called the XB-1, of an airliner that will be able to carry as many as 88 passengers.

The company expects commercial flights of the larger plane, which it calls Overture, to begin in What these aircraft manufacturers are contending is that their eventual customers are going to be willing to pay to prevent net carbon emissions. Boom is emphasizing its plans to mitigate the environmental impacts that inevitably arise with supersonic flight.

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