Interactive images show what U.S. cities might look like without the Clean Air Act

smog clean air act losangelessmog
Creative Commons
American air quality isn’t perfect in major cities but it might have been a whole lot worse if the federal government hadn’t passed the first Clean Air Act of 1963 and the more sweeping Clean Air Act of 1970. Two amendments and over 45 years later, the quality of American air is on the rise.

But what if these laws had never been enacted? How would American cities look if emissions were allowed to run rampant?

In a study funded by energy research firm Save on Energy, researchers have attempted to illustrate what major American cities might look like without federal measures to control air pollution. The results make a strong — if exaggerated — case for regulation.

“On a global scale, millions of people are dying and getting sick as a result of poor air quality.”

With the Chinese city of Xingtai as a baseline, the researchers used an equation to determine how air particles affect visibility. They added a smog filter to clear sky images of 10 of America’s most populated cities and adjusted the visibility effect based on population and potential pollution. Xingtai is one of the world’s most polluted cities so the images can be seen as worst-case scenarios.

Save on Energy researcher Emily Pierce explained the reasoning for using Xiangtai as a baseline. “There were assumption to be made about how much pollution would exist and what that could look like,” she told Digital Trends. “The biggest contributors to pollution are vehicle exhaust, factories, and mines. Some of our cities have more cars and some of our cities have more industrial produced pollutants, like Xingtai.”

The images are intended as support for regulations already enforced by the federal government but also as a sign to other nations about the importance of controlling emissions.

“Thankfully, the U.S. has been proactive in its approach to curbing atmospheric pollution,” Piece said. “However, on a global scale, millions of people are dying and getting sick as a result of poor air quality.”

Computing

Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

There’s a new lab-grown meat startup on the block — and it has a secret weapon

Aleph Farms is developing lab-grown steaks with the same flavor, shape, texture, and structure as the real thing using beef cells isolated from living cows. Coming soon to a store near you?
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.