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3 tornadoes confirmed in NY area, 5 storm-related deaths

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The National Weather Service said Wednesday afternoon that an EF2 tornado with estimated peak winds of 110 mph moved through a path of 100 yards in Kent, according to a preliminary survey. An EF1 tornado with estimated peak winds of 100 mph also moved through a discontinuous path of 75 yards in Patterson.

Two people were killed in Newburgh, including an 11-year-old girl who died when a tree fell on her family’s car as it sat in the driveway. Authorities say the girl and her mother had arrived at their Robinson Avenue home around 4:15 p.m. and were unloading the car when police say the wind caused a large tree to topple. The girl was extricated by the fire department and transported to St. Luke’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The mother suffered minor injuries.

The victim’s identity has not yet been released. The second death happened on Albany Post Road, where a woman was killed when a tree toppled onto her car.

Two fatalities were also reported in Connecticut. Authorities say a person died when a tree fell on a car on Brush Hill Road in New Fairfield, and a man doing yard work at a residence at Candlewood Lake in Danbury took shelter in his pickup truck before a tree fell on top of it. Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said a teenager suffered serious injuries when he was hit by the roof of a dugout on a baseball field.

Finally, Ramapo police said an 80-year-old Chestnut Ridge woman died when her car was struck by a falling tree while traveling south on Red Schoolhouse Road just before 5 p.m.

Trees toppled onto homes and cars across New Jersey, and a $100,000 show car was destroyed when a tree crushed the owner’s garage in Mahwah.

“I looked out my window and I saw my garage crushed,” Al Vallese said.

Fortunately, the man and his family were not injured.

On Jefferson Street in Passaic, a roof peeled off a nursery school with children and adults inside. No one was hurt, but the roof remained in the street in front of the business.

“It makes me so sad to see part of my building on the ground, although I am relieved that nobody was hurt,” said Susan Dannemiller, executive cirector of Children’s Day Nursery.

Dannemiller said that when the storm hit, it was 5 p.m. and most of the children had been picked up for the day.

“We had about 10 or so children here at the time and about eight staff members,” she said.

Still, there were 18 people inside the building when the roof started to peel off.

“We notified our parents, so they were aware of what happened,” she said. “And all the children got home safely at the end of the day.”

She hopes to reopen the school as soon as possible.

Downed trees led to incredible property damage as homes and cars were crushed, and hundreds of thousands of residents remained without power due Wednesday. Crews were working around the clock to clean up the mess and restore service.

Source: http://abc7ny.com/weather/4-deaths-attributed-to-storms-thousands-still-in-the-dark/3480886/

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NYC transportation officials call for parking rate increases

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New York City officials say parking meter rates will go up citywide by the end of 2018 under a new plan.

City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said Wednesday that the plan calls for modest rate increases that would kick in during a second hour of parking. Officials say the move would encourage greater turnover in congested parking districts.

DOT also wants to add more parking zones to charge higher rates in certain parts of the outer boroughs, with Trottenberg noting that meters in heavily congested areas cost the same as less congested areas.

Parking meter rates last increased in 2013. DOT officials say there are currently about 85,000 metered spots throughout the city.

Source: https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nyc-transportation-officials-call-for-parking-rate-increases/

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Are electric cars more likely to catch fire?

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Another headline about a fiery Tesla crash has people wondering if those lithium ion batteries are safe.

“A battery powered vehicle having a fire incident is newsworthy. A gasoline powered vehicle having a fire is newsworthy only if it stops traffic,” said Steven Risser, senior research leader at Battelle, a nonprofit research and development firm, and one of the leading experts on the risk of fires in electric vehicles.

Here’s the answers to questions about the risk of electric car fires:

Are electric cars more likely to catch fire?

The simple answer is probably not. Chances are they might even be safer, though it’s tough to say that definitively.

“The propensity and severity of fires and explosions from … lithium ion battery systems are anticipated to be somewhat comparable to or perhaps slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels,” according to the results of an in-depth investigation into the relative fire risks of the two types of vehicles conducted by Battelle for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last fall.

About 174,000 vehicle fires were reported in the United States in 2015, the most recent year for which statistics are available from the National Fire Protection Association. Virtually all of those fires involved gasoline powered cars. That works out to about one every three minutes.

Tesla claims that gasoline powered cars are about 11 times more likely to catch fire than a Tesla. It says the best comparison is fires per 1 billion miles driven. It says the 300,000 Teslas on the road have been driven a total of 7.5 billion miles, and about 40 fires have been reported. That works out to five fires for every billion miles traveled, compared to a rate of 55 fires per billion miles traveled in gasoline cars.

But Risser said still there’s not enough data to make valid comparisons at this point.

How do lithium ion batteries powering electric vehicles catch fire?

There have been some other high profile fire problems involving lithium ion batteries in other uses – in cell phones, in laptops and even in Boeing passenger jets. But so far the fires involving electric vehicles have been caused by some kind of crash or other damage to the battery while driving.

“Tesla’s battery packs rarely incur serious damage, and when they have, the accident was highly unusual or severe,” said Tesla’s statement.

What happens with a lithium ion battery fire is typically a short circuit within one or more of the battery’s cells, which generates heat. The heat can then ignite the chemicals within the battery. That can cause problems in the adjoining cells and lead to the condition known as “thermal runaway” in which the fire spreads and builds. That’s apparently what happened in a fatal Tesla crash in Switzerland last week.
How else is a lithium ion battery fire different from a gasoline fire?

The biggest difference is the time it takes to ignite. Gasoline fires start almost immediately when gasoline comes in contact with a spark or flame, and spreads rapidly. Battery fires typically take some time to achieve the heat necessary to start the fire.

In some instances, that delay is very good news. It can let the occupants of a car involved in a crash to get out of the vehicle before the fire starts. But it can pose its own problems. Sometimes a battery can be damaged, perhaps by the car running over some debris, and the driver might not be aware of the damage. And then a fire can start well after the initial incident. That could theoretically cause a fire after the car is parked in a garage.

And even when the battery fire is obvious, Tesla warns first responders that it can take 24 hours for a battery fire to be fully extinguished.

Can the fire risk for electric cars be reduced?

Yes. And Risser and others say that is likely to happen.

Research is taking place for new materials that might not only make batteries lighter and more efficient, but could possibly make them safer. “Gasoline is a very risky material. We have had 130 years of designs and experience to make a gasoline powered vehicle as safe as possible. We’re still at early stages of understanding how to make lithium ion batteries safe,” he said.

Source: http://www.kitv.com/story/38215153/are-electric-cars-more-likely-to-catch-fire

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Unbound’s Ads Were Rejected For Being Too Sexual For The New York City Subway

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If you’ve ridden the New York City subway recently, you’ve probably seen ads for Roman, a new app that helps men discretely buy medicine for erectile dysfunction. Or perhaps you spotted an ad for The Museum of Sex, featuring the words SEX in bold type. Or maybe you spent your ride staring at an ad for breast augmentation surgery. One thing you haven’t seen, though, is a series of ads by the women’s sexual health company Unbound.

As reported first by Pavithra Mohan in FastCo, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA) has turned down a series of ads commissioned by Unbound, a woman-owned, feminist company that sells everything from vibrators to lingerie to lube. The Unbound ads don’t feature any nudity. They don’t even use the word “sex” or name any of the toys that are artfully scattered throughout the scenes. In fact, unless you looked really hard (like Where’s Waldo hard, but with sex toys) or were super familiar with current sex toys, you probably wouldn’t realize what the ads were for at all.

“The prompts that we initially gave the artist when we talked to them was ‘Show us what self-love means to you.’” Sarah Jayne Kinney, co-founder and director of content at Unbound tells Bustle. “And, in their style, what does that look like? A lot of our products either aren’t super phallic or aren’t obviously sex toys. We want them to be products that can be left on your nightstand. So we didn’t necessarily hide them — they’re all sort of just part of the scenery.”

According to Unbound, the third party company that approves MTA ads, Outfront Media, told Unbound that their ads were rejected because they break two New York laws, one that “prohibits the dissemination of indecent material to minors” and one that “prohibits the public display of offensive sexual material.” The ads were commissioned by Unbound and created by a series of artists — including Laura Callaghan, Loveis Wise, and Kristen Liu Wong — in aesthetics that will be familiar to anyone who spends time on Instagram. The only text in the ads is the Instagram handle of each artist, as well as the Unbound URL. (Bustle reached out to the MTA and Outfront Media for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.)

Unbound primarily sells sex toys and other sex-related items, but they don’t call themselves a sex toy company. Instead, you’re more likely to hear CEO Polly Rodriguez describe the company as “sexual wellness” or “women’s wellness” company. Kinney says that’s because sexual health is a wellness issue.

Source: https://www.bustle.com/p/unbounds-ads-were-rejected-for-being-too-sexual-for-the-new-york-city-subway-9109669

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