In the News—Week of August 17, 2020

 In The Title Trove
The storefront of the last Blockbuster Video store.

Around the Nation

Make it a Blockbuster night: Last outlet available to rent on Airbnb
Once there were more than 9,000 Blockbuster stores. Now there is just one – in Bend, Oregon. And it is available for three one-night stays in September for just $4, one cent more than the rental fee of a video, The Real Deal reports. You can book it through Airbnb. A press release says the store will be stocked with all the videos you could want. There’s a catch. (Isn’t there always?). You have to be a resident of Deschutes County. Understandably, the folks there don’t want a bunch of out-of-towners bringing in COVID-19.

Energy & Environment

With no solar available at night, system can generate low-cost power
Everyone knows that you can’t generate solar power in the dark. Well, maybe not everyone. We recall some Super Bowls that claimed the lights were kept on by solar energy. Sci Tech Daily reports that researchers for Stanford have come up with a way to generate green energy at night using the radiant cooling effect of cold space to generate electricity. “We are working to develop high-performance, sustainable lighting generation that can provide everyone – including those in developing and rural areas – access to reliable and sustainable low-cost lighting energy sources,” says Lingling Fan, one of the authors of a paper on the process.


Rooftop venue, 5-acre park slated for project in downtown Houston
Lovett Commercial’s plans for redeveloping an old post office in downtown Houston include a rooftop venue, an organic farm, and a 5-acre park, the Houston Chronicle reports. Lovett Commercial says the rooftop will host weddings and other events. The property is near Franklin and Bagby, across the Buffalo Bayou from most of the city’s high-rise buildings. “The special event space, which is part of Skylawn’s rooftop park and farm, is unlike anything ever seen before in the city of Houston,” Lovett Commercial’s Frank Liu says.

Modular-home company from California wants a North Texas plant
Murrieta, California-based S2A Modular is looking for a site in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a plant, The Dallas Morning News reports. The company bills itself “the creator of the first electrically self-sustaining, custom, and smart-connected luxury residences and commercial buildings.” The homes use solar and a Telsa battery system. S2A Modular has two plants in California. The company says it is looking for 20 to 40 acres. The plant would employ about 250.

The top floors of a tall building with a blue sky in the background.


Phoenix office towers adding high-tech systems to sterilize air
To address concerns in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, two office towers in downtown Phoenix will install Plasma Air systems, Connect Phoenix reports. One Arizona Center and One North Central will install the systems, which are designed to proactively attack pathogens with oxygen ions. San Diego-based Parallel Capital Partners owns both buildings. “There is growing evidence that clean, disinfected air can help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and we believe this system is one of the safest, most energy-efficient and effective ways to reduce or eliminate pollutants in the air – which are also believed to be a factor in causing or exacerbating asthma, allergies, headaches and irritation,” Parallel Capital Partners’ Matt Root says.

A beach in Mexico with caution tape strung between two palm trees


Playa del Carmen says its beaches will reopen despite state’s status opening
Playa del Carmen plans to reopen its beaches between this week and next despite the state of Quintana Roo’s level orange designation on the risk map, Mexico News Daily reports. Officials say the city will rely on social distancing to protect beachgoers. Mayor Laura Berinstain says she made the decision because she believes the state risk level is going to drop. Playa del Carmen will use protocols based on information shared by Los Cabos.

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Open land with the sun setting in the distance