Sarah Laskow

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

Animals

Biologists coax amazingly cute tiny rabbits back from the brink of disappearance

In Urban Dictionary, the fourth definition of “cute” is “pygmy rabbit.” Or actually, it’s probably some gross made-up sex act, but it SHOULD be “pygmy rabbit.” Just look at this thing! It fits into the palm of a human hand! But it has also been disappearing from its habitat in Washington State. Coyotes, badgers, weasels, and big bad birds chow down on these little suckers, because they are small, vulnerable, and (we’re assuming) delicious. Despite the best attempts of scientists to prompt the rabbits to breed in captivity, the bunnies were just not doing their bunny thing. So instead, the …

Living

Dress shirt uses spacesuit technology to keep you dry on your bike commute

You know how you don’t bike to work because you get hot and sweaty and gross? A group of MIT graduates has stolen that excuse. They copied technology from spacesuits and used it to make what BikeBlogNYC has rightly dubbed “the TANG of dress shirts” — a sharp-looking top that regulates your body heat. No sweaty pit spots! No overheating before your meeting! Now helmet up. The shirt’s called the Apollo shirt, because it’s space technology and presumably also makes you look like a Greek god. The creators, whose company is called the Ministry of Supply, say that it pulls …

Living

Canadian high-schooler makes her own graduation dress out of old homework

Kara Koskowich is going to take the world by storm. Girlfriend just graduated from high school in Canada, and instead of shelling out for a fancy graduation dress, she decided to reuse old homework and post-it notes to make one herself: The dress took almost 75 pieces of paper to make, Koskowich said. She started back in March but, in true teenage style, finished it the night before she needed to wear it. She also broke her sewing machine in the process of putting it together and had to hand stitch the last bits.

Food

Americans spend twice as much of our budgets on processed food as we did 30 years ago

As a proportion of our income, Americans spend a lot less money on groceries than we used to. But we’re buying crappier food — a greater proportion of our grocery spending goes to processed foods and sweets. NPR whipped up a handy chart to show how much this has changed in the past 30 years: The other big change is that we’re spending less on meat. Pork chops, chicken legs, steak, ground beef, bacon — it’s all cheaper (and NPR has another handy graph to illustrate that point). We’re spending about the same on vegetables, though some of those have …

Climate & Energy

12-year-old whose awesome speech floored 1992 Rio Summit returns to Rio+20 as a mom

At the original Rio summit,12-year-old Severn Suzuki became "the girl who silenced the world for six minutes" by giving a kick-ass speech to the assembled delegates.Twenty years later, her perspective has changed but her message hasn't.

Animals

Catch of the day: Weird blue lobster!

A fisherman in Nova Scotia named Bobby Stoddard has been catching lobsters for decades. And in early May, he had a catch unlike any he had seen before: a bright blue lobster. Blue lobsters are not cold. Well, they might be cold, since they live in the water in Nova Scotia, but that’s not why they look like that. Instead, they are in possession of a genetic variation that makes them a much more exciting color than normal greenish-brown lobsters. (They still turn orangey red when cooked, though.) One in 2 million or so lobsters is blue.

Living

Google is making a Street View for hiking trails

Lucky Google employees get to hike around all day with a camera and call it work, so that you can know what to expect when you get out on the trail.

Climate Change

‘Himalayan Viagra’ is going extinct

A parasitic caterpillar fungus that grows in the Himalayas has many names, according to Scientific American — yarsagumba, yarchagumba, yartsa gunba, yatsa gunbu. But we are only going to remember one name: Himalayan Viagra. This fungus, which leeches off of Tibetan ghost moth larvae, is said to get the fellas going when boiled and consumed in tea or soup. Oh, it also cures cancer and fights fatigue. Miracle drug! (Scientific American — always with the science! — notes, “These medical claims have not been borne out scientifically.”) As a result of its awesome properties of making everything sexy and cancer-free …

Living

This graphic novel about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch looks awesome

I’m Not a Plastic Bag is a graphic novel about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the agglomeration of plastic flakes that is swirling around in the Pacific Ocean. The book follows the journey of several pieces of trash destined to become part of the patch. The images are beautiful, and the story’s reminiscent of The Brave Little Toaster, updated for a world in which trash doesn’t get to live a second life. The book is by Rachel Hope Allison, who describes herself as “a white girl with curly hair” who is nevertheless “not Jewish, nor am I Chelsea Clinton.” We …

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