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“Vertical forest” apartment complex in China transforms into mosquito-plagued jungle hell

A pioneering effort to turn apartment buildings into a lush vertical forest has transformed into something more like a green hell teeming with mosquitos.

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(TMU) – The problem of improving air quality in heavily-polluted cities across the world is one of the big challenges faced by urban planners, especially in the 21st century as greenhouse gas emissions climb and temperatures increase across the world.

However, a pioneering effort to transform high-rise apartment buildings into a lush “vertical forest” has transformed what was meant to be a green paradise into something more like a green hell teeming with some of the most irritating and obnoxious insects known to mankind.

Residents at the experimental green Qiyi City Forest Garden housing complex in Chengdu, China, were hoping for a respite from the concrete jungle by moving into the manicured green space of the vertical forest.

The developer quickly managed to sell all 826 apartment earlier this year, but the ultramodern eight-tower complex touted as an “eco-paradise” now resembles a post-apocalyptic jungle nightmare – complete with incessant swarms of mosquitoes buzzing and nibbling away at residents’ health and sanity.

Because of this monstrous turn of events, only a small number of families have decided to brave the bug infestation and move into the complex. So far, 20 families have moved into the sprawling complex, as is clear from the pruned plants and outdoor furniture that adorns several balconies, along with the lights switched on inside the units.

But with plants sprawling between neglected balconies and branches twisting across the railings of towers and merging into one another, the 2018 development is quickly reverting to the primordial nature of the forest.

The idea of vertical forests was a concept developed by Italian architect Stefano Boeri, who designed the stunning vertical garden Bosco Verticale in Milan in 2014 before bringing the concept to polluted cities across the world, from Albania to Egypt and the Netherlands.

The general idea is to balance mother nature and biodiversity with the needs of the urban population by covering the buildings in balconies planted with species appropriate to local climate conditions, while maintaining a variety of heights and blooming seasons so that the buildings remain aesthetically pleasing year-round.

Plants on all levels of the building also provide natural shading and an improvement to residents’ air quality. The plants would also contribute to the ecological balance of the surrounding urban center, absorbing several tons of carbon dioxide while contributing even more oxygen annually.

The same fantastic idea has been used for dozens of other concepts, including Koichi Takada’s Urban Forest and the futuristic Cloud Corridor skyscrapers planned for Los Angeles.

However, the problem at Chengdu’s Qiyi City Forest Garden doesn’t mean that the concept itself is flawed – instead, this could just be a problem of the property managers neglecting the basic needs of the building itself, according to landscape architect and New York Botanical Garden instructor Daryl Beyers.

“Just because it looks cool, absorbs CO2, is a noise buffer, and offers psychological benefits, doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it properly,” Beyers told Curbed. “And I think [the developers] rushed into it. They didn’t think about the maintenance.”

“You can’t have a garden without a gardener,” he added. “They [developers] were touting it as a manicured garden outside on your deck. If it’s manicured, someone has to do the manicuring.”

Additionally, the humid climate in the Chengdu region also provides the perfect habitat for thirsty mosquitoes to thrive, while the overgrown plants also provide much-needed shade to the pesky insects.

Indeed, the lesson here is that sometimes nature wins – especially when people, or in this case landlords, slack off and ignore their responsibilities.

“It is sort of apocalyptic, and that’s what nature will do to all our cities if everything goes to hell,” Beyers said. “You see it in the movies. Plants will do those things.”

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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