Sarah Laskow

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

Business & Technology

This gigantic hybrid ship can run on a battery

Although gigantic ships are relatively efficient — compared to, say, transporting massive amounts of stuff by airplane — they do use an astounding amount of fuel. The shipping industry is working on this problem. In particular, a Norwegian shipping company and a marine energy company are partnering to work on a hybrid ship, the Viking Lady. The Viking Lady (how awesome is that name?) already has a fuel cell installed that helps reduce its energy impact. Next year it should be getting a battery. Together, those features will mean it won’t have to burn gas while it’s hanging out in …

Business & Technology

Power your laptop with your butt

Swedish designer Eddi Tornberg has turned the plight of modern workers — sitting like lazy larvae in front of computer screens all day — into a form of renewable energy. He uses the heat of our rear ends to create electricity. You’ll still die from sitting, but at least your energy bills will be lower!

Transportation

Sidecar lets drivers rent out their empty backseat

In theory, Sidecar is about sharing. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: You’re headed downtown in your car, but before you leave you check your Sidecar app. A user a few blocks down is looking for a ride in the same direction. You swing by, pick her up, and drop her off. Everyone wins by sharing — she gets to her destination, and you get to feel good that the gas you just burned went towards transporting more than one human being. (Plus, Sidecar suggests that she “donate” a little cash to you for your trouble.) In practice, Sidecar seems …

Cities

Mayor Bloomberg uses a full-sized room A/C unit to cool his SUV

It really would be interesting to find out what moral calculus goes into Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s environmental decisions. It must go something like “I’m a big city mayor, working hard to draw down emissions on a municipal scale. Therefore, it is 100 percent justifiable that in my personal life, I fly regularly to the Bahamas and use A/C units intended for a whole apartment to keep my SUV a comfortable temperature.” Because that’s what he had his staff do this week: take a standard room air conditioner and try sticking it into the window of an SUV. The New York …

Living

Magical tree tunnel was carved out by a train

In Klevan, Ukraine, this two-mile long tunnel of trees was formed when the vegetation grew around the path of a regularly passing train. Locals calls this beautiful and romantic place the Tunnel of Love. Even without the green, leafy border, it’s haunting.

Food

Cheeseburger-crust pizza is not even recognizable as pizza

We need to think of a new name for the monstrosities that pizza companies are coming up with, because, really, this is NOT pizza: Pizza Hut is selling this mutant creature in the Middle East, where, if the ad is to be believed, ordering a hamburger at a pizza place is a GIANT AND HILARIOUS JOKE and Pizza Hut just wants to shut those douches up. In what might be the greatest anti-monarchial movement in recent Middle East history, it’s also being marketed as the “most royal” pizza. Here’s what the thing looks like up close:

Animals

Greenland is feeding endangered whale meat to tourists

Denmark wants permission for indigenous communities in Greenland (which it rules) to catch more whales for food, The Guardian reports. Problem is, an environmental group has found that the whale meat’s not actually going to feed indigenous communities. It’s going to tourists who I guess get a kick out of eating something endangered: The [Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society] chief executive, Chris Butler-Stroud, said: “The Danish government’s claims that Greenland needs to kill more whales for nutritional and cultural needs is laughable. Who is this meat really for? Our investigation report shows that this demand for more whale meat is …

Cities

Clear Channel chops down tree to improve view of billboard

Looking at a tree relaxes people. Looking at a billboard makes them wish they were looking at anything else — but it makes money for somebody! So it totally makes sense that Cleveland let Clear Channel chop down a 30-year-old linden tree in order to provide clear sight lines to a billboard advertising some local radio station. If by “totally makes sense” you mean “HULK SMASH.” Here’s the city’s defense, for what it’s worth (not much): There are instances in which trees are trimmed due to the lack of visibility of a sign; however, in this particular situation tree trimming …

Cities

Bookshelf that hides extra furniture is small-apartment genius

Orla Reynolds' furniture emerges "as if from nowhere" -- her bookshelves hide a table and four extra chairs.

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