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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Watch kindly humans rescue a baby moose stuck in a fence

As our human habitations encroach more and more on animal habitats, interactions become inevitable -- whether that means bears eating from trash cans, seals sleeping on sofas, or baby moose caught in fences. Luckily this little buddy ran into kind-hearted humans when he got himself trapped in a wooden gate in a Canadian suburb.

Read more: Living

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Let this mesmerizing video show you the beauty of Alaska’s ice caves before they’re gone

After the winter we've had in a lot of the U.S., we're not inclined to see a lot of beauty in ice. But the truth is, when you're not ready to smother yourself with a North Face if you see another flake, icy landscapes can actually be stunningly lovely. And global warming means we should probably enjoy them while we can.

This video, taken by a GoPro-enabled drone in Alaska, should do nicely. It's so lovely and relaxing, it might even make you smile benevolently on the much less beautiful frozen wasteland outside your window.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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“The Simpsons” now has an extensive public transit system

Bart Simpson doesn't just ride around on a skateboard because he was invented in the '80s. Until recently, if you weren't old enough to drive a Canyonero, there just weren't that many ways to traverse the famous fictional town of Springfield. It's not surprising that the town would be a little gun-shy after the monorail flop, but look at the sad state of this old public transit system:

springfield_old_transit
Alexandersig

As of this past Sunday's episode, though, Springfield's rail system is looking spiffed-up, with eight color-coded lines serving areas like Ethnictown, Albino Heights, and the Varmint District, and easy access to tourist attractions like the Duff Brewery and the Giant Magnifying Glass.

Read more: Cities, Living

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San Francisco’s Castro district is putting in rainbow crosswalks

A similar, temporary installation in Vancouver.
Sean Neild

Here's something to literally brighten your day: The Castro, a district of San Francisco that is historically gayer than Liza Minnelli riding a unicorn, has voted to perk up its streets by installing rainbow crosswalks.

There were other proposed designs, including one inspired by Muni cars and another that echoed the tiles on the Castro Theater, but proud residents opted for the straight-up (no pun intended) rainbow option. The city is paying $37,400 to install the bright new pedestrian crossings at the 18th and Castro intersection, and they've promised to have them finished by the time the Pride march rolls around in June.

If that's not sweet enough, other upcoming municipal improvements include recognition for San Francisco's history of LGBT activism:

Read more: Cities

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Self-cleaning subway strap could make your commute a little less sickening

cyclean

As I write this, I am coming off of a week-long bout of flu, and since none of my friends will admit to more than a mild cold I can only assume I caught it the way most New Yorkers catch the flu: by riding in one of those underground germ-boxes we call a subway. So I am very, very intrigued by Cyclean, a (hypothetical) self-disinfecting handle for buses and trains. (No, I really am very intrigued! I just don't have the energy to lift my head up all the way.)

Cyclean, which won a 2014 Red Dot Design award, was conceived as an alternative to the bars and straps we normally put our grubby mitts all over in the subway, which -- sorry -- are so encrusted with invisible grime that it doesn't bear thinking about.

Read more: Cities, Living

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These artists will take you on a journey to the melting Arctic

Banks' ink-on-mylar painting "Micro/Macro" hangs in one of the gallery's windows. It depicts the effect of climate change on Arctic ice.

If you've always wanted to visit the Arctic, you might have to hustle, because climate change will eventually render the region unrecognizable. But if you don't have the time, money, or inclination it takes to burn carbon getting to one of the most remote places on Earth, an art exhibit at the American Association for the Advancement of Science is investigating the ways that global warming will change this iconic landscape.

Watch a video of the artists talking about the exhibition:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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This amazing footage of whales and dolphins will change the way you look at drones

Drones get a bad rap, what with the killing people. Even offering to deliver our Amazon packages hasn't really endeared them to most of us (although taco delivery did a lot to salvage drones' reputation). But there's nothing inherently evil about unmanned flying vehicles, and this video footage proves it.

A drone took this video, which shows an astonishing dolphin stampede followed by heartwarming footage of a mother whale with her baby. It took a human -- Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, Calif. -- to edit it together, but he's giving the drones a lot of credit:

Read more: Uncategorized

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IKEA is in trouble for cutting down 600-year-old trees

PhotoRepro:1 Adam BPhotorepro: 2 Adam B
Ambcinpi

According to the U.K.'s Sunday Times, the Forest Stewardship Council has banned disposable-furniture retailer IKEA from cutting down trees in Karelia, Russia. The FSC investigated the Karelia logging operations of Swedwood, the furniture giant's forestry subsidiary, and found it was cutting down trees that were up to 600 years old.

The Times says that the FSC, an international nonprofit that promotes responsible woodland use, found that Swedwood had several "major deviations" from its logging agreement, which stipulates that the company will back off of old trees and trees growing on slopes (which would erode without root systems holding them in place). So Swedwood's forestry stewardship certificate has been suspended, which seems like a fitting punishment for lousy forestry stewardship.

Read more: Living

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Bicycle pizza cutter lets you bring your love of bikes to the table

fixie_pizza_cutter

Doiy Design’s Fixie pizza cutter lets you combine your two main loves: bikes and pizza. (We assume these are your two main loves because we assume nobody's preferences have changed since third grade.)

fixie_pizza_cutter_2

Read more: Living

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Turn California’s drought into a game with the water-saving equivalent of Flappy Bird

captain_plop

Sure, if you live in drought-stricken California, it's very important that you save water. But it's also soooooo booooooring. Can't anybody turn this into a game we can compulsively play on our iPhones? Oh, they can? Oh good, maybe agriculture will be saved.

San Jose's Mercury News reports on free apps that will help make saving water (and money) a little more fun. Some, like "Drip Detective" and "Tap the Tap," rely, Flappy Bird-like, on our innate human tendency to want to tap compulsively on screens. Drip Detective has you tap the screen every time a drip of water falls from the tap, then scolds you for your own wastefulness:

Others, such as the Drip Detective app, up the ante by having users tap their screens every time a drop falls out of a leaking faucet. Or they can measure the rate of a more serious leak, whether by teaspoon, tablespoon, pint or gallon.

Either way, Drip Detective then calculates the amount of water -- and money -- being wasted every day, week, month and year based on your current water bill.

"Tap the Tap," meanwhile, does basically what it says on the tin: 

Read more: Living