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Christopher Mims' Posts

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One mile on a bike is a $.42 economic gain to society, one mile driving is a $.20 loss

Photo by Mikael Colville-Andersen.

Copenhagen, the bicycle-friendliest place on the planet, publishes a biannual Bicycle Account, and buried in its pages is a rather astonishing fact, reports Andy Clarke, president of the league of American Bicyclists:

“When all these factors are added together the net social gain is DKK 1.22 per cycled kilometer. For purposes of comparison there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69 per kilometer driven by car.” 1.22 Danish crowns is about 25 cents and a kilometer is 6/10 of a mile, so we are talking about a net economic gain to society of 42 cents for every bicycle mile traveled. That’s a good number to have in your back pocket.

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Would you like a bamboo keyboard? Of course you would

The iZen bamboo keyboard is 92 percent bamboo, because normally keyboards are made from plastic, and plastic is made from oil and we'd rather not.

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Photos of students with all their possessions show how to live with less

Like their American counterparts, the current generation of Swedish teenagers is the first since the Great Depression to be financially worse off than their parents. Unstable employment opportunities have turned them into nomads who have to live light to get by. 

Read more: Cities, Green Home, Living

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Aging boomers who can’t drive will be trapped in unwalkable cities of their own making

Judging by how pedestrian-unfriendly the average American city has become, all our aging parents apparently enjoy being prisoners in their own homes, reports the AP. Because, oops: There comes a point when you can't legally drive any longer. And if you depend on your car, that means you’ll have to … depend on your children instead. Fuck.

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Climate scientists: It’s basically too late to stop warming

Photo by Akuppa John Wigham.

If you like cool weather and not having to club your neighbors as you battle for scarce resources, now's the time to move to Canada, because the story of the 21st century is almost written, reports Reuters. Global warming is close to being irreversible, and in some cases that ship has already sailed.

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‘Point Nemo’ is the farthest you can get from land without being in outer space

The Pacific Ocean's Pole of Inaccessibility, aka Point Nemo, is 1,670 miles from the nearest land. It's the furthest you can get from terrestrial lifeforms without launching yourself into space.

Read more: Climate Change

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The only funny music video ever about organic, gluten-free hipsters

"We have a healthy lifestyle by the sea /

We eat organic and gluten-free

Do bikram yoga, and pilates /

We like soy lattes and goji berries"

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DIY printable furniture ships as information, not parts

If your modular furniture from IKEA was fashioned from wood harvested on one continent, cut and finished on another, and shipped to yet a third, that’s not exactly sustainable. That's why design firm Filson and Rohrbacher decided to replace actual furniture with its evanescent, Platonic ideal: pure information. Download the computerized machine-ready plans at their website and you can use them to build just about anything out of anything.

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Batteries could make power grid unnecessary in some countries

One and a half billion citizens of planet Earth aren't connected to the power grid, and if Aquion Energy has its way, they will remain so forever. But not because they will be turned into Soylent Green! If that's what you were thinking.

Aquion specializes in making large batteries, cheaply. They don’t look like much -- they live in a former TV factory outside Pittsburgh, and you'll probably never buy any of their products. To the world's poor, however, they're working on something that could make a profound difference to their quality of life, reports Kevin Bullis at Technology Review.

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A road made of crushed toilets

"Poticrete" is what Bellingham, Wash., is calling their new road material, which incorporates ground-up toilets. Clever! No doubt whichever worker bee thought up that one got an extra slice of sheet cake at the office party.

Bellingham used poticrete in its Meador Kansas Ellis Trail Project, which is the first road ever to be certified by the Greenroads Foundation: