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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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In New York City, stealing a bike is easy

If a bike gets stolen in the middle of New York City, does it make it a sound?

With his own bike, a bunch of doomed locks, and a variety of tools, Casey Neistat (who you may remember from this video) proves that nope, it basically doesn’t.

The film above is a 2005 version of this experiment. On a busy Tuesday, at well-trafficked locations like Union Square, Astor Place, and 14th Street, Casey and brother Van steal their own bike using a bolt cutter, hack saw, power tools, and a hammer and spike. They act as suspicious as possible. Sometimes, passersby turn their heads and watch. But no one bothers the "thief."

Read more: Biking

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Indoor farm in Brooklyn helps feed hundreds of families

In Bedford-Stuyvesant, an increasingly hip but historically low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, one food pantry is also an indoor farm. The New York Daily News visited the Child Development Support Corporation, where every Thursday morning clients harvest lettuce, bok choy, and collard greens that help feed hundreds of families.

Right now the greens are all grown hydroponically indoors, but the farm has plans to expand, adding a rooftop garden with cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. It will also be offering hydroponics workshops and cooking demos.

Read more: Urban Agriculture

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Critical List: How red meat will kill you; Bo Obama photobomb

Eating red meat is really, REALLY bad for you, according to a study conducted by cows. I mean researchers at Harvard Medical School.

Twin Creeks Technologies can make thin, bendable layers of silicon just 20 microns thick. So what? So cheaper solar panels, that’s what.

In northern states, the amount of land covered in forest is increasing.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Instead of hacking the planet, should we hack our babies?

S. Matthew Liao, a philosopher and bioethicist, has some incredible ideas about how to deal with climate change. Instead of resorting to geoengineering, he suggests, why not consider engineering humans to cause less damage to the planet? Ross Andersen interviewed Liao, and one of the most fascinating ideas that they discussed is the possibility of selecting embryos that will grow into "smaller, less resource-intensive children." Here's Liao's argument:

It's been suggested that, given the seriousness of climate change, we ought to adopt something like China's one child policy. There was a group of doctors in Britain who recently advocated a two-child maximum. But at the end of the day those are crude prescriptions---what we really care about is some kind of fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions per family. If that's the case, given certain fixed allocations of greenhouse gas emissions, human engineering could give families the choice between two medium sized children, or three small sized children. From our perspective that would be more liberty enhancing than a policy that says "you can only have one or two children." A family might want a really good basketball player, and so they could use human engineering to have one really large child.

That starts sounding a little too dystopian a little too fast for my taste. But geoengineering ideas -- spraying the sky with chemicals that turn it white and reflect more heat back into space, for instance -- can fit just as easily into the creepy sci-fi "the robots are taking over" genre. Here are some of Liao's other ideas:

Read more: Living

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Nicaraguan military builds a battalion of climate-change-fighting soldiers

In Nicaragua, the military has a new mission -- fighting climate change and, specifically, the illegal loggers that are exacerbating deforestation in the country.

The Ecological Battalion’s 580 soldiers are currently engaging in Operation Green Gold, finding and intercepting loads of illegally logged timber.

Read more: Climate Change

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Critical List: Japan marks Fukushima anniversary; politicians agree fracking causes earthquakes

Japan marked the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster this weekend.

The Americans who are paying the highest gas prices live in blue states, so everyone else quit yer bitchin’.

Meet ten families who live right next a nuclear plant -- and love it.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Best light bulb ever will cost you $50

Remember the awesome LED that the government declared the greenest lightbulb ever? Well, you can buy it now. But you probably won't. Because you like to do things like eat and pay rent.

We knew this sucker was going to be expensive. The number that was floating around was $40, and green commentators near and far thought most consumers would have sticker shock at that price.

Turn out, Phillips is selling the bulbs for $50. Fifty bucks! That is HALF OF A HUNDRED DOLLARS.

I know -- rationally -- that the bulbs will last for 10,000 hours and will save money in the long run. But that's a huge investment to make in a light bulb. I just bought shoes that cost less than that! I could splurge on an amazing dinner for that! More topically, I could buy a whole bunch of CFLs for that!

Read more: Living

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Critical List: Senate voted against Keystone XL; CSA delivery by sailboat

The Senate voted against approving Keystone XL.

Japan has almost shut down its nuclear industry; next month only one out of 54 reactors will be working.

Those affected by the BP oil spill could get 60 percent of the settlement money they're owed as soon as a new program to pay out claims is set up.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Watch today’s solar flare erupt from the sun

Two solar flares burst out of the sun on March 6.

NASA notes: "One of the most dramatic features is the way the entire surface of the sun seems to ripple with the force of the eruption." Badass!

Image by NASA.

The first flare was the second largest of this solar cycle (which started in 2009), and it's traveling at 1,300 miles per second, which means it could sweep the continental United States in less than three seconds. It was scheduled to reach Earth at 1 a.m. EST this morning -- give or take 7 hours.

Which means it's already hit. And all's quiet in the New York City outpost of GristList -- no high-accuracy GPS failures, no massive internet shutdown.

Read more: Solar Power

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In 2014, corn biofuel is out, wood biofuel is in

Biofuel sounds like a pretty good idea -- down with power plants, up with regular plants! -- but if the country switches over to corn ethanol we will basically be unable to grow any other crops. A new study has calculated that corn destined for ethanol production would have to take over 80 percent of current farmland in order for the country to meet current biofuel goals. But next generation biofuels can come from many other plants besides corn. And for the first time, they might be commercially viable.

Read more: Biofuel