Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things.

Animals

Tiny squid may be killing themselves by having too much sex

Marathon three-hour sex sessions may SOUND like a good idea, but if you’re a 2.8-inch long southern dumpling squid, it may tire you out so much that you can’t feed or protect yourself, says a new study.

Cities

19th-century London had a train line just for dead people

Back in mid-19th century England, public transportation was popular enough that even dead people had their own railway. P. D. Smith writes: The London Necropolis Railway station was constructed by the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company, specifically to serve their Brookwood Cemetery, 25 miles away in Woking, Surrey. The Company’s logo was, somewhat ghoulishly, a skull and crossbones. The railway transported the deceased, in their coffins, to the cemetery, as well as some living people — the mourners headed to the cemetery for the funeral. In the late 19th century, the train ran every day, a “daily funeral express.” …

Cities

City takes your collected trash, gives you fresh food in return

A growing number of cities in Central and South America are giving residents what may be the best deal ever made: You give us trash, and we give you food.

Living

‘Weed dating’ is like speed dating, but dirtier

I don’t know what you all look for in a mate, but if one of those qualities is “a willingness to trade farm labor for the possibility of romance,” you might skip speed dating and go for “weed dating.” The AP explains: Typically, speed daters meet at a bar or restaurant and switch conversational partners every few minutes, in hopes of finding someone compatible. With weed dating, this rapid-fire courtship takes place on the farm, with singles working together in the fields. Women are assigned to particular rows and instructed in the art of weeding. Men have to switch rows …

Climate & Energy

16-year-old scientist could turn Egypt’s plastic problem into a biofuel boom

What have you done for your country lately? Sixteen-year-old Azza Abdel Hamid Falad has figured out a way to make Egypt $78 million worth of biofuel each year. The key: an inexpensive catalyst that will turn plastic into fuel.

Animals

Mayor Stubbs, cat, celebrates 15 years in office

Talkeetna, Alaska, isn’t going to the dogs. It’s going to the cats — or really, one cat, which has been mayor of the town for 15 years. Mayor Stubbs was voted in by a write-in effort when locals got fed up with their human rulers.

Living

This truck travels the country collecting stories about seeds

Seeds are natural beginnings for stories: From a small start, they grow into a larger world and eventually end. They’re also good subjects of stories: Where did they come from? Who loved them enough to keep them around? How’d they reach the person who planted them in the ground? What happened when they went viral on the internet? (Wait, does that not happen to most seeds?) The Seed Broadcast Station, a converted bread truck manned by the Fodder Project Collaborative Research Farm, is traveling the country, gathering those stories: Come and share your personal seed stories. We would like to …

Cities

New York’s newest street, 6 ½ Ave., is just for pedestrians

For years, 1,200 people an hour have been seeing this six-block stretch of street in secret. But finally, New York City is bringing these back-alley relationships into the light, and giving them the official municipal seal of approval. Now the street can announce to the world: “I’m here. I’m part of the city. I’m not an unnamed pedestrian walkway you’d be ashamed to walk your mother down. I’m 6 ½ Avenue.” The newly named avenue runs from 51st to 57th Street. It’s primarily a pedestrian walkway, and as Transportation Nation says, that makes the city’s official approval more significant: In …

Cities

Uber lets you summon the ice cream truck right to your doorstep

Today six U.S. cities (and Toronto, but who cares) have access to the most cherished dream of every American child: ON-DEMAND ICE CREAM. This changes summer forever. Uber, the start-up that will send a livery-service car to you at the touch of a smartphone-app button, is expanding for one day into ice cream. Touch one little button on your iPhone and it will, as it promises, “BRING ON THE ICE CREAM.” There is a catch. (Of course there is a catch.)

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