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Christopher Mims' Posts

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Millennials love cities because they provide the one thing their boomer parents couldn’t give them

Why is Gen Y migrating to the cities? Because millennials are craving the things they didn’t get in their suburban upbringings, like connectedness and adventure. Basically, they’re throwing off their cul-de-sac childhoods and seeking out authenticity.

Nathan Norris, urban infrastructure planner, lays it all out at the PlaceShakers blog:

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Swedish fast food chain makes bank by becoming ‘Klimatsmart!’

Sweden's No. 1 burger chain got rid of its kids'-meal boxes and, contrary to expectations, sales of the meals rose. Apparently parents who are facing the prospect of their children scrabbling for survival on this wrecked cinder of a planet don’t like creating needless trash? At least in Sweden, anyway.

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Scorcese doc ‘Surviving Progress,’ featuring Margaret Atwood, is now in theaters

Here's the trailer for the new documentary Surviving Progress, which hit theaters in New York on Monday and comes to the rest of the country on April 20.

I think it's important to make a distinction between progress and good progress. Things progress in the sense that they change. But when they reach a certain scale, they turn out to be dead ends.

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Turbine makes fresh water out of thin air in the desert

If you've ever watched water drip out of a window air conditioning unit, you've seen the operating principle of Eole Water's new wind turbine in action. Tests of the turbine in Abu Dhabi have yielded between 500 and 800 liters of water a day, and the company thinks it can get it up to a cool 1,000 liters -- not bad for a desert.

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Everyone in Beijing is ditching bikes, except for the foreigners

In 1986, 60 percent of the citizens of Beijing rode bikes; now 17 percent do. In an age in which every industrialized nation with even the slightest desire to get through the 21st century with its oil-dependent economy intact is ramping up efforts to make its cities more bike friendly, China is undergoing a grand reversal, a de-bikification on a scale only China could manage.

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America’s largest urban Superfund site gets cute new mascot

Now that gentrification has come to the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, N.Y., it's time to clean it up! The EPA is on the case, although it's going to take decades to cleanse this narrow cul-de-sac of a waterway so foul that nothing can live in its opaque waters.

In order to get people excited about the process of turning the canal into something that will stop depressing local property values, the Gowanus Community Advisory Group has decided that the project needs a mascot, reports Gary Buiso at the New York Post.

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Dude singlehandedly finds homes for 500 unwanted trees

O'Brien, on the right, is a one-man Humane Society for trees.

Members of a group called Plant Amnesty are kind of like real-life Loraxes (Lorices?), if the Lorax actually did something to save the Truffula trees instead of just wagging his finger like some kind of pre-internet concern troll.

Exemplifying their ethos is Bernie O'Brien, a resident of Seattle who has saved at least 500 trees, digging them up by hand -- including arboreal monsters that weighed up to 400 pounds, reports the Seattle Times.

Read more: Cities, Living

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Car-centric neighborhoods linked to childhood obesity, finger-wagging

Photo by Jym Ferrier.

It should come as no surprise that children who live in neighborhoods that aren't walkable, lack playgrounds, and are full of fast food joints are twice as likely to be obese as kids in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods with access to healthy foods.

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GOP’s worst nightmare: Green Muslims

The Quran is full of "lessons about water conservation, avoiding the wasteful consumption of resources, proper land use, stewardship of trees, and compassion for animals and birds," reports John Wihbey at the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.

This can mean only one thing: The entire environmental movement has aligned itself with our Muslim president to enforce an eco-Sharia -- especially in red states, whose general intransigence about environmental regulation is the last bulwark in that brewing global war of civilizations that Newt Gingrich keeps going on about.

Read more: Climate Change, Politics