Category Archives: Local Environment

Come see our Water Barometer @ Flux Science Fair

Two Weekends: June 5-6/12-13, 12-6 PM

Science Fair @ Flux Factory
39-21 29th Street, Long Island City

by SP Weather Station in collaboration with Daniel Robie

The first barometer wasn’t invented to measure air pressure.  In the 17th century, columns of water were used to disprove the church’s position that a true vacuum was impossible.  What people found (eventually) is that water can only be raised about 33 feet from the ground with any suction pump.  Galileo’s protege Evangelista Torricelli realized that such a column could be used to measure changes in the air.  He also realized that a much denser fluid, such as mercury, registers those changes on a much smaller (more scientifically convenient) scale.

Who needs convenience? At Flux Factory for the first two weekends in June, SPWS and Dan Robie, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, York College, CUNY, are measuring pressure with a tube of water the height of Flux Factory, in homage to the barometer’s history.  Come find out if it works!

Green on December 10th???

Here is the view from the SPWS roof on December 10. Note the weirdly green field replacing the giant contamination tents from the last few months. Green?

In the air

Anyone who’s been in the vicinity of SPWS in the past few months would have noticed (and smelled) the cleanup activity that’s happening at the end of the block.  One look at the site raises plenty of questions including: Are those some kind of filtration mechanisms attached by tubes to the giant tent? And what’s up with the school bus?  


Two recent links with some information about the NYSDEC toxic remediation project that’s happening next door to SPWS.

All of this just underscores the need for an SPWS air quality monitor!

“Primary contaminants of concern in the soil include elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), petroleum, and metals (lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium) above site specific soil action levels. Primary contaminants of concern in the groundwater include VOCs (benzene, tetrachloroethene) above Class GA groundwater standards and locations with a floating petroleum product layer on the groundwater.”