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Holly Richmond's Posts

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See the complete evolution of the bicycle in 60 seconds

Got a minute and wanna see your fixie’s ancestors? Check out this lovely little video from Copenhagen design firm Visual Artwork:

Kind of interesting that the bicycle’s earliest incarnations from the early 1810s don’t look THAT different from what we ride today, with identical-size wheels and a seat positioned toward the back. It’s all those versions in the middle that look so funky: the high-wheel bicycle of the 1870s, with its huge front wheel, and the high-wheel safety, with a giant rear wheel.

Read more: Living

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Scientists figured out how to remove the valuable stuff from your pee

phosphorus-magnet-wastewater
© Knut Dobberke / Fraunhofer ISC

Phosphorus is some tricky stuff. Pros: It occurs naturally in milk and meat; we need it for strong bones; it’s vital for food production. Cons: It’s increasingly snuck into food, and when phosphorus hits rivers, it suffocates marine life. So basically it’s good if we can stop it early on in the waste stream, but in the past, that’s been “unnecessarily inefficient.”

Which is why it’s so cool that scientists have discovered a way to take the phosphorus out of our pee (and that’s a lot -- we piss out 3 million tons of it each year). And considering that people have been fretting about "peak phosphorus" for the past few years, the innovation just might have come in the nick of time.

The technique, as Gizmodo explains, sounds only slightly more complicated than holding a magnet in your toilet bowl:

Read more: Living

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This augmented reality bus shelter is both awesome and terrifying

Just about the last thing any weary, precaffeinated morning commuter needs is to think a meteor is smashing into her. And yet that’s what the geniuses at Pepsi thought would be huh-LARIOUS.

meteor-bus-shelter
Gizmodo

To promote one of their random new drinks, the beverage company installed an augmented reality panel on a bus shelter in London. Commuters saw a video feed of the sidewalk, but with several surprising overlays: UFOs, a tiger, and that giant meteor crashing down within startle-worthy proximity. Here’s the video:

Read more: Cities, Living

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Watching penguins trip over a rope is really funny for some reason

We should probably feel guilty for liking this so much, but whatever, IT’S HILARIOUS:

Penguins trippin’ is just one of the many problems caused by climate change. When it’s warm, penguins lose their natural inclination to jump rope; leaping becomes too sweaty. So the next time you’re at the Hummer lot about to sign your life away for a pollutey-mobile, just think of the penguins.

We jest, but the walking tuxedos actually are facing the effects of a warming world. Writes Smithsonian:

Read more: Living

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This new contract means the U.S. is finally really getting high-speed rail

siemens-high-speed-train-flickr
Darkroom Daze

Siemens and Cummins, a German engineering conglomerate and American engine manufacturer, want to help you shoot across America on high-speed rail. Beating out U.S. bids from Caterpillar and GE, Siemens won a $226 million contract to deliver 32 diesel-electric trains as soon as autumn 2016.

The trains will be used on routes Amtrak is planning in California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. (Illinois in particular is working on its Chicago­–St. Louis line, with max speeds of 110 mph, according to the AP.) If all goes well, Siemens could build another 225 trains for the U.S.

Siemens bragged about its green cred in a press release:

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Gardening plots at train stations let you raise veggies while you commute

No one hangs out at a train station for fun. But Tokyo is apparently changing that. With community garden plots atop train stations, the city is solving two seemingly unrelated problems: Transit hubs can be ugly and industrial-looking, and city-dwellers often don’t have space to garden.

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Fast Co.
Read more: Cities, Living

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SeaWorld celebrates 50 years of non-stop sucking

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tawest64

If 50 is considered over the hill, then here’s hoping SeaWorld will continue rolling down the hill and into the ocean, where it will sink and never be discovered. Oops, was that harsh?

We’re actually psyched that SeaWorld turned 50 on Friday. Thrilled. After all, the timing is perfect for a midlife crisis. SeaWorld could take this landmark birthday as a chance to increase its marine mammal rescue contributions to, who knows, more than 0.0006 percent of its revenue. Perhaps with its newly minted senior discount, SeaWorld can purchase a clue: The people have watched Blackfish, and we are pissed.

Writes Nathan Crabbe of The Gainesville Sun:

Read more: Living

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Can’t see Beijing’s tourist sites through the haze? Smog insurance is for you!

beijing-smog-china-flickr-animasuri
AnimaSuri

“China’s smog is so bad” is basically the new, less-awful “Your mom is so fat” joke, since you can accurately fill in the punchline with everything from “the government can’t spy on people” to “people are cramming cigarette filters up their noses.” Newest in the canon? China’s smog is so bad you can buy “haze insurance” in case pollution messes up your vacation.

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Pretty much the worst solution for Greenland’s melting ice: Ship leftover ice cubes from L.A.

ice-cubes-flickr-kenn-wilson
Kenn Wilson

Greenland’s northern ice sheet is a mile thick and melting quickly, infinitesimally raising sea level and freaking everybody out. But we can say with 90 percent certainty that the solution is NOT to ship ice cubes to Greenland from L.A. And yet that’s exactly what Robert Welkie of Ice Cycle wants to do:

Ice Cycle technicians will collect donated ice cubes from restaurants and other food service facilities in Los Angeles in specially designed containers ... The ice cubes will be stored in liquid form --

So ... water.

-- until there are enough to fill a cargo shipping container that will be shipped from Los Angeles Harbor to the port of Ilulissat, Greenland.

Once the five-gallon ice cubes dock in Greenland, volunteers will transport them to a government-approved site and assemble them into a “symbolic glacier.” Welkie says in a video that metaphors and symbols inspire action more than facts do; the goal is to make people feel like we have more agency in the face of climate change.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Treehugger founder’s 420-square-foot apartment can be yours for only $1 million

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Streeteasy

Living simply means making do with less -- less space, less stuff, less money. Oh wait! Make that MORE money. In fact, make that $995,000, because that’s how much you’ll need to shell out for Treehugger founder Graham Hill’s 420-square-foot apartment in Soho. (That may sound like a lot, but it’s only $5,000 a month!)

dinner-party-lifeedited-apartment
Streeteasy

This isn’t just ANY tiny apartment, though. Hill held a global design competition to come up with the layout for the gutted space. A sliding wall, murphy bed, and fold-down bunkbeds maximize the space, and a hidden, snap-together dinner table can seat 12. The place is also pimped out with everything from solar panels and fancy appliances to a built-in sound system, projector, and pull-down screen for movies (Netflix, of course -- DVDs are so passé). Check it out:

Read more: Cities, Living