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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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Pittsburgh’s trees are worth $2.4 million

money_tree
Emma Line

Pittsburgh, like many a post-industrial city, is not exactly awash in cash. But it turns out the city is sitting on a goldmine -- a recent audit found that its trees are worth $2.4 million.

Trees are usually thought of as a luxury for a city (you can tell because of how much greener it is in wealthier areas), and luxuries are something Pittsburgh can ill afford. So Pittsburgh, as Nate Seltenrich explains at Next City, decided to actually find out whether its trees were worth the cost of the maintenance they require. In other words, the city decided to measure its trees as it would any asset.

Read more: Cities, Living

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With the Kickstand desk, you never have to leave your bike, even for work

bike desk
Kickstand Furniture

If you love biking so much that the idea of getting off your bike to do work makes your stomach curl just a little bit, here is your solution. It's called a Kickstand desk, and it lets you hook your bike up to your work surface so you can ride while you do your TPS reports.

Its designers have nothing but the purest of intentions:

We're cyclists. We want to ride, but we have to work. Unless you're riding for work, you're not riding at work.

Read more: Living

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New whale species discovered under highway

In California, a road crew -- which, according to state law, must for real include an on-site paleontologist and an archaeologist -- dug up a boneyard of hundreds of marine mammals, ScienceNOW reports. Among those bones, they came up 30 whale skulls. And four of those skulls belong to "four newly identified species of toothed baleen whale -- a type of whale that scientists thought had gone extinct 5 million years earlier."

Read more: Uncategorized

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Dried-up pee from small fuzzy creatures has a lot to offer climate scientists

rockhyrax
seagers

Some climate scientists take ice samples from glaciers to understand climate history going back thousands of years. Some take samples from trees. And some scientists take samples of dried-up layers of 1,000-year-old pee belonging to small fuzzy creatures called rock hyraxes.

The Guardian explains:

"Hyraxes use the same place to pee every day," said project leader Brian Chase of Montpelier University in France. "The crucial point is that hyrax urine -- which is thick and viscous and dries quickly -- contains pollen, bits of leaves, grasses, and gas bubbles that provide a clear picture of the climate at the time.”

Hyrax communities also tend to settle in at particular spots. So these pee records can go back millennia -- scientists found one spot where hyraxes have been peeing for 55,000 years.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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‘Super mega-pod’ of 100,000 dolphins covers 35 square miles

dolphins_antonio_ramirez
Antonio Ramirez

As we've written before, we're not sure if we should be scared of dolphins or not. So we don't quite know what to make of this "super mega-pod" of dolphins sighted off the San Diego coastline. It was seven miles long, five miles wide, and it contained an estimated 100,000 dolphins.

NBC San Diego reports:

[Captain Joe] Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for more than an hour and said he’s never seen anything like it.

“When you see something that is honestly truly beyond belief,” the captain said. ...

“They were coming from all directions, you could see them from as far as the eye can see,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of stuff out here … but this is the biggest I’ve ever seen, ever.” …

“You had to be there to experience it,” he said.  “It was truly spectacular.”

Truly spectacular? Or truly terrifying?

Read more: Living

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Rampaging bunnies are attacking cars in Denver

python_bunny

The Denver International Airport has been invaded by rabbits. Dozens and dozens and dozens of rabbits. And those rabbits aren't just sitting around, looking cute and fuzzy. They're destroying cars.

Airport employees think that they're seeking refuge under cars because it's warm there. But we know the truth: The bunnies are a secret guerilla force on the rampage, out to undermine the prevalence of cars in this country. They're fighting back, by eating the insulators on ignition cables and rendering the cars non-drivable.

This is war.

Read more: Uncategorized

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This company makes new bikes out of broken-down cars

Junked cars make us sad. They're like old smokers: you feel bad for them and their broken-down bodies, and also angry at the companies that sold America on a dangerous addiction. But the company LOLA Madrid has come up with a way to give old cars a second life -- as bicycles.

The upholstery becomes a part of the seat. The door handle becomes a seat clamp. The turn signal becomes a reflective light.  The transmission belt becomes a bike chain.

Read more: Uncategorized

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A meteor hit Russia this morning, and here’s what it looked like

streak
Screenshot via Youtube

A meteor weighing an estimated 11 tons streaked through the atmosphere at 33,000 miles per hour, hitting Chelyabinsk, Russia, where it injured hundreds.

Imagine hearing this and not knowing what was happening:

Here you can see how incredibly bright it is:

And here, look how it streaks across the sky:

Read more: Uncategorized

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This restaurant fines customers who waste food

roe
necopunch

Americans throw away half their food every year -- and why not? There's no immediate consequence. (Just the slow diminishment of the natural resources that keep us all alive.) But this Japanese restaurant has a genius fix for that problem: It fines customers who don't finish their bowl of rice with salmon roe.

Gawker explains:

On its menu, Hachikyo clearly states that failure to consume every last bit of their signature dish — a bowl of rice topped with all-you-can-eat salmon roe — will result in a surcharge which will be donated to the fishermen who made the food possible.

“All-you-can-eat” seems like something of a misnomer here. It’s more like “all-you-must-eat.”

Read more: Uncategorized

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World’s most expensive Starbucks drink cost almost $48

starbucks
Beau Chevassus

Beau Chevassus, a videographer whose website describes his work as "atypical," "creative," and "fantastic," went to Starbucks and ordered the most ridiculous thing he could imagine. You can't really call this coffee -- although it does have a heart-stopping amount of caffeine in it. It's a vanilla spice venti mocha frappuccino with 48 shots of espresso, two bananas, strawberries, vanilla, soy, matcha powder, protein powder, caramel drizzle, frappuccino chips, dark chocolate curls, and whipped cream.

Read more: Food