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Sarah Miller's Posts


This cooking pot charges your gadgets while heating your soup

Because you can live without electricity but you can't live without your phone.
Because you can live without electricity but you can't live without your phone.

If God wanted us to camp he wouldn't have invented hotels. But sometimes one finds oneself caught in a hurricane, or living off the grid, or even camping if there's someone one wants to impress. And for these occasions it would be wonderful to have a PowerPot, the nifty invention that uses a thermo-electric differential transducer to charge your cell phone as you cook your food.


The oldest known wild bird, a 62-year-old albatross, just hatched a miracle baby

This is a different albatross, obviously Wisdom wouldn't look this good right after having a baby
Dick Daniels
This is a different albatross; obviously Wisdom wouldn't look this good right after having a baby.

Wisdom the Albatross is 62, the oldest known wild bird in the world, and she just had a baby. No, she didn't decide to "wait until she had her albatross career" -- in fact, she's already hatched five sets of eggs, and is mother to as many as 35 albatrosses. Apparently she's just popping out eggs at 62 because she's like "bitches, I am the oldest wild bird there is and I will have as much bird sex as I please."

Wisdom is in good shape overall. She is estimated to have flown over 3 million miles in her life, which isn't necessarily related to her superpowered bird-womb but is very impressive and suggests that a healthy physique may contribute to late-life fertility, if you are an albatross.

Read more: Living


This gross story about a human tooth in a sausage might prompt you to go vegetarian

Not the actual tooth in question
Not the actual tooth in question.

Once upon a time, like, last August, in a town in Kent, England, Lauren Gooch opened a package of pork and chive bangers (British for "sausages"), intending to make sausage rolls for a birthday party. (Are sausage rolls a big birthday party food? This is perhaps a conversation for another time). As you would expect, Gooch did find sausage inside the package, but she found something additional and, more importantly, disgusting: a human tooth. And not just a human tooth, but a human tooth with a filling in it. Yeah.

Teeth are just gross in general and this is a particularly gross tooth, what with having a filling and showing up randomly in bangers. Gooch reportedly couldn't eat sausage for a month. Wow. Maybe this is the boost I need for my adventures in vegetarianism. Anybody have a spare tooth?

Read more: Food


Soon you’ll be able to dry your hands with cold air straight from the faucet

We dry hands faster, better, and just well, in a more Dyson-like manner.
We dry hands faster, better, and just in a more Dyson-like manner.

I'm optimistic about this zippy little hand dryer Dyson's about to proudly roll out. It's actually attached to the faucet. So you put your hands under the faucet to wash, and then move them to the side to be greeted by cold air whooshing out at an amazing 430 miles an hour. (Dyson's big innovation with hand dryers is discovering that fast cold air works better than slow warm air, which you may already know based on its AirBlade dryers -- you know, those bottle-opener-looking things frequently seen mounted in restrooms under the paper towels that you use instead.)

In addition to cleverly attaching to the faucet and looking like a tiny windmill, this new dryer has a motor four times faster than other dryers -- it revs up to full power in under a second, which uses a lot less energy. It's so efficient that it can dry 15 people's hands for the cost of a paper towel. The only problem? It costs $1,200, which is as much as like 8,000 paper towels. So it only becomes cost-effective once you've dried your hands 500-plus times.


KFC’s ‘fried chicken instead of bread’ thing is now infecting other countries


I so wish I had been there the day a KFC exec, having spearheaded distribution of enough hideously disgusting food in his own country, said to his partners, "Hey guys! Perhaps the people of Japan would enjoy a food item comprised of ketchup-flavored rice, sandwiched by fried chicken, with some mayonnaise in it. We will call it the Kentucky Chicken Rice, and, based on the success of the KFC Double Down, which also inexplicably uses chicken for bread, I think it will be a hit." And his boss was like, "Wow, that's a good idea, Brian/Brandon/Brent! Japanese people love rice, and all people everywhere love fried chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches. Let's charge five bucks for it. Job well done. When it takes off I look forward to giving you and your family a free trip to Atlantis."

And lo, it came to pass that the people of Japan will be able to get one of these things on Feb. 7. In the meantime, they will have to make do with their amazing and ancient cuisine, one of the finest -- and healthiest -- in the world.

Read more: Food


Superpowered squirrel has subzero body temperature for eight months of the year

D. Gordon E. Robertson

The arctic ground squirrel lives (appropriately enough) in the Arctic, where it is very cold and very boring and there isn't a lot of food. In fact, it's so boring, and food is so scarce, that the squirrels essentially put themselves in cold storage for eight months out of the year, hibernating with a body temperature of minus 3 degrees C. Now, some nice scientists with cameras have managed to film this squirrel waking up from its epic slumber, and you can watch this chilly little guy wake up and warm up.

Read more: Uncategorized


The sad story of climate change, told through neighborhood ice rinks


We're always looking for new ways to make naysayers understand the seriousness of climate change, but in Canada it's pretty clear: If you want people to be concerned about global warming, remind them that it threatens hockey. To help you in this endeavor, a Canadian organization has built an interactive map of Canada and the northern U.S. that lets you see the location of outdoor skating rinks, and whether or not they have managed to freeze.

Read more: Climate & Energy


This guy is babysitting 27 orphaned bear cubs, and he could use your help

Please look after these bears. Thank you.
Please look after these bears. 

Every year, Ben Kilham of Lyme, N.H. -- the state's only bear rehabilitator -- looks after a handful of orphaned bears. This winter, because food was so scarce, and so many mothers were shot foraging for food, he has 27 orphaned bears to contend with.

When you think of 27 orphaned bear cubs, what do you think of next?  Extreme cuteness? Well. That's nice for you, because Kilham thinks of dog food and the money it costs to buy dog food. It's going to take a lot of both to keep these poor critters alive until they're ready to take care of themselves -- Kilham has already spent a $2,500 grant on dog food and corn. 

Read more: Uncategorized


Bacon wrecks the best-laid plans


I have now gone 30 days without eating meat. Well, that is not entirely true: The other day, I was making my boyfriend a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich and without even thinking about it, I ate a piece of bacon.

It was pretty small -- about the size of a postage stamp. But I ate it.

I told a friend, and he asked me if I felt guilty. I have to say I really didn’t. Maybe I am too easy on myself, but I am conducting a sort of experiment, and what I do or don’t do is just data, results, information. The information here was: I really wanted to not want to put the bacon in my mouth. And I clearly wasn’t there yet. So it was probably a good thing that this week I was focusing on the part of the book Eating Animals that describes how pigs are killed. (I’m saving cows for next week, because I am going to compare grass-fed and grain-fed, which is a big and complicated topic.)

Without further ceremony, then, let’s get straight into how Jonathan Safran Foer describes the pork industry in Eating Animals. Again -- I’m focusing on commercial pig farms. There is a large section of the book about places like Niman Ranch where yes, indeed, pigs have much better lives and deaths than they do on most pig farms. But this bacon wasn't Niman Ranch bacon; it was whatever brand from the supermarket. And, without thinking, I ate a piece of it. And I served it to someone.

Read more: Food


British man’s dog sniffs out smelly whale secretion worth thousands


Ken Willman was walking along Morecambe Beach near Lancaster, England, when his dog started paying eager canine attention to something marine-oriented and stinky. The guy poked at it and was like, oh, whatever. And then he went home and checked out Google. And then he thought, "Hmmm ... Better go check that thing out more closely," and good thing he did, because that seemingly yucky thing was a chunk of this sticky bad-smelling by-product of whale digestion called ambergris that just happened to be worth about $70,000.