there's an app for that

Beloved Houston weather website launches new app

Space City Weather's new app tracks humidity (yes!). Screencap via Space City Weather

If necessity is indeed the mother of invention, Houston is oddly lucky that longtime Houston science/tech writer Eric Berger was compelled to launch his Space City Weather website.

Departing the Houston Chronicle, Berger realized that in the city, "a calm, rational approach to weather reporting works really well," he told this writer in 2016.

For six years, devotees have flocked to his site on the daily for that no-nonsense, rational reporting (no "wishcasting," as he calls it, here). Now, Space City Weather has reached yet a new milestone with the launch of a clever, Houston-centric app.

The just-launched app is available on Android and iOS devices; fortunately, few differences exist between the two platforms. As pointed out by Dwight Silverman on the site, users can choose from one of five zones closest to them for forecasts and conditions: Houston (Bush Intercontinental Airport), Hobby Airport, Conroe, Galveston, and Katy.

Users can find three simple screens. At the top of the initial screen are current conditions, the hourly forecast, and most-recent Space City Weather posts. Scrolling down reveals a seven-day forecast and the current radar from the National Weather Service.

Push notifications are also available and the creators stress that no ads, in-app purchases, no tracking or hoovering of your personal information exist." We gather diagnostic data to make sure the app is working properly, and that's it. We respect your privacy," Silverman writes. (Much appreciated.)

Hair day planning locals will love that this whimsical app finds humidity sharing equal billing with the current temperature atop the home screen.

With Version 1 in the books, app creators urge users to report bugs as updates arrive. If the app explodes in popularity in the same way as the parent site did (we'll go ahead and call it now), the forecast is clearly bright for Space City Weather.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity. Photo via Getty Images

Three big businesses — Air Liquide, BASF, and Shell — have added their firepower to the effort to promote large-scale carbon capture and storage for the Houston area’s industrial ecosystem.

These companies join 11 others that in 2021 threw their support behind the initiative. Participants are evaluating how to use safe carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology at Houston-area facilities that provide energy, power generation, and advanced manufacturing for plastics, motor fuels, and packaging.

Other companies backing the CCS project are Calpine, Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, INEOS, Linde, LyondellBasell, Marathon Petroleum, NRG Energy, Phillips 66, and Valero.

Business and government leaders in the Houston area hope the region can become a hub for CCS activity.

“Large-scale carbon capture and storage in the Houston region will be a cornerstone for the world’s energy transition, and these companies’ efforts are crucial toward advancing CCS development to achieve broad scale commercial impact,” Charles McConnell, director of University of Houston’s Center for Carbon Management in Energy, says in a news release.

McConnell and others say CCS could help Houston and the rest of the U.S. net-zero goals while generating new jobs and protecting current jobs.

CCS involves capturing carbon dioxide from industrial activities that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and then injecting it into deep underground geologic formations for secure and permanent storage. Carbon dioxide from industrial users in the Houston area could be stored in nearby onshore and offshore storage sites.

An analysis of U.S Department of Energy estimates shows the storage capacity along the Gulf Coast is large enough to store about 500 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to more than 130 years’ worth of industrial and power generation emissions in the United States, based on 2018 data.

“Carbon capture and storage is not a single technology, but rather a series of technologies and scientific breakthroughs that work in concert to achieve a profound outcome, one that will play a significant role in the future of energy and our planet,” says Gretchen Watkins, U.S. president of Shell. “In that spirit, it’s fitting this consortium combines CCS blueprints and ambitions to crystalize Houston’s reputation as the energy capital of the world while contributing to local and U.S. plans to help achieve net-zero emissions.”

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