Sarah Laskow

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

Living

Wool balls keep your laundry soft, and maaaaybe save energy

When I was taught to do laundry, I was told that a Bounce dryer sheet went into the dryer with every load of wet clothes. But the green-minded among us have come up with a better solution to keeping your clothes static-free and soft (without involving PVC in the process): wool dryer balls. Get a few of these thingies, and you will not need to buy dryer sheets for years. You can even make your own, with minimum craftiness required. The companies that make balls like these claim that they save energy, too, which would be great if it were …

Cities

New perfume lets you smell like New York City, because THAT sounds great

I don’t know about you folks, but when I think of the “essence and spirit” of New York City “in an olfactory memento” … well, if it’s summer, I mostly think of quickly rotting trash. If we’re talking Queens, I’ll give you the smell of Indian spices in Jackson Heights. Brooklyn smells like the sea in some places, though that may just be the roving gangs of artisanal picklers. But never, never would I think of the scene that Gerald Ghislain and Magali Senequier chose for their Scent of Departure fragrance line: A lovely sunny day in the Big Apple …

Food

Heritage wheat could let gluten-sensitive people eat bread again

One of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll find out I’m gluten-intolerant, because there is almost nothing I love to eat more than really good bread. (I know that there is bread made with non-wheat flour, but … it’s just not the same.) But it turns out, according to Pacific Standard, that there’s a strain of heritage wheat that even gluten-sensitive people might be able to digest. It’s nutty-tasting, and it has an excellent name: “einkorn,” which I’m going to roughly translate as The One True Grain. Einkorn was apparently the first cultivated wheat, and it has an …

Climate & Energy

This 11-year-old environmental activist is oil companies’ worst nightmare

If we were Big Oil, we'd definitely be scared of this kid.

Living

Ikea won’t tell where it gets its wood — and Congress is about to give it a pass

Particleboard is the furniture equivalent of mystery meat -- and Ikea, which in the past has been a leader in responsible wood sourcing, is helping keep it that way.

Animals

Finally, a good use for drones: Catching poachers

Conservationists are taking a page from the U.S. government in the fight against poaching — they’re sending in the drones. Already in use in Indonesia and soon to be in the air in Nepal, the drones can monitor protected areas where endangered species are hanging out. If they see a poacher, they leap into action. Unlike the U.S. government’s drones, though, they do not send quantities of explosives down to blow up a wedding destroy the enemy. They merely alert humans to go check out the situation.

Animals

Flock of 5,000 ducks stops traffic in city of 6 million people

Taizhou lies 190 miles south of Shanghai and has 6 million people, putting its size at “somewhere in between Los Angeles and New York City” on a U.S. scale and “just some town” on a Chinese one. One day recently, though, the streets were filled not with cars, scooters, or pedestrians, but with ducks. Thousands upon thousands of ducks:

Living

The Christmas lights of the future will run on firefly juice

Fireflies make light without electricity, and by copying them, scientists have figured out how to do the same thing. Only instead of the yellowish light of fireflies in the night, a team at Syracuse University has figured out how to make green and orange and red light — all out of firefly juice.

Food

Domino’s thinks pizza is too complicated for calorie counts

Domino’s doesn’t want to tell you how many calories are in that Bacon Cheeseburger Feast pizza, so they’re pulling out the Teen Talk Barbie defense: “Math is hard!” According to the company, there are 34 million ways to customize a Domino’s pizza, all of which result in a meal that tastes like wet cardboard. With so many permutations, Domino’s argues, how could they POSSIBLY post calorie counts? Proposed FDA rules would require food chains to reveal some info about what, exactly, they’re selling us. But Domino’s says they couldn’t possibly comply, because freedom! So much freedom to put whatever crap …

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