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Narwhal-horn smuggling ring busted in Maine

Narwhals_breach

There's not much going on in Maine, unless you count the prostitution ring that's being running out of a Zumba studio, and, most recently, a busted-up illegal narwhal tusk importing racket. Two unnamed Canadian smugglers are being charged in Canada for arranging the sales of around 150 narwhal tusks via Fed-Ex, and two American men, Andrew Zarauskas and Jay Conrad, will be arraigned this week for receiving the tusks. At least one of them is being represented in court by a public defender, probably because he spent his rainy-day lawyer money on narwhal tusks, which can sell for up to $7,000 each.

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Starbucks is now selling reusable cups for a dollar

starbucks_mug

You know you should be bringing reusable cups to the coffee shop, but let's be real: It's haaaaaaaaaard. It costs MONEY and you have to REMEMBER it and shit. Well, Starbucks has just kneecapped your excuses, because you can now buy a reusable cup for a dollar.

This is a win-win solution. You win because the cup pays for itself -- you can fill it again and again, and Starbucks will take a dime off the price of each coffee you order. The planet wins because you throw away fewer plastic and Styrofoam cups. And Starbucks definitely wins, because it continues to make a shitload of money peddling coffee and the idea of some sort of genteel, caffeinated intelligence. (The cups are made in China, so the U.S. economy is perhaps the one big loser here.)

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Hot chocolate tastes better in an orange cup

hot_chocolate
Memphis CVB

If you have drunk a really delicious cup of hot chocolate lately, there is a very good chance it was served in a white or orange cup. This is because, according to researchers, hot chocolate actually tastes better to people when served in certain colored cups. No, it is not different hot chocolate. It's just in a different-colored cup, which makes people think it's better. Does that sound weird? Well. Sorry, because it's just true. Scientists said so.

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Concord, Mass., is the first city to ban plastic water bottles

water_bottles
Klearchos Kapoutsis

Leave it to Massachusetts: trailblazers in gay marriage and just all-around good old-fashioned community-minded liberal folks. Mitt Romney notwithstanding, can the world really be surprised that the adorable Massachusetts town of Concord is the first city in the country to ban single-use water bottles? (Some college campuses have enacted bans already, but not even so many of those.)

The ban comes as the result of a three-year fight from local activists, who are quite understandably appalled that Americans use 1,500 bottles every second. A small percentage of these are recycled to make things like jeans and birdhouses, but mostly, they just get thrown out. Which sucks.

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Supermarket is saving $80 million a year just by putting doors on its refrigerators

Thank you in advance for putting doors around us so as to conserve energy
Daderot
Close the damn door!

You know how when you were a teenager (or a 20-something living on your parents' couch) and you stood around with the refrigerator door hanging open, and your mom would be all "hey, I'm not paying to cool the whole neighborhood"? Well, when supermarkets leave the produce and meat and dairy sitting out in the open, they are paying to cool the whole store, because those veggies are essentially sitting in an open refrigerator. That costs a lot, first of all, and second of all it wastes a lot of energy and precious resources. U.K. supermarket chain the Co-operative has decided to put an end to this rather silly practice, and has equipped 100 of its stores with produce refrigerators that have doors. The Co-operative estimates it will save about $80 million a year with this practice.

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Plastic bottle birdhouse is the most sickeningly adorable recycling ever

bottle_birdhouse_colectivo_da_rainha
Colectivo da Rainha

It was only a matter of time. They make everything out of plastic bottles. Jeans. Furniture. Buildings. Mayonnaise. And now, the most twee, Portlandia-esque plastic bottle object possible: bird feeders. Is that adorable or what? Look at that thing. Look at that adorable bird in her hand. Jesus.

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If you were affected by Sandy, these scientists want your dirt

sandy_mud
drpavloff

Hey, people living near the Rockaways or Newtown Creek or the Gowanus Canal: Scientists want to look at your dirt. If you happen to have saved the dirt that entered your house as a result of superstorm Sandy, you're going to want to make sure you get it to Neil Fitzgerald of Marist College and Alison Spodek Keimowitz of Vassar College so that they can check it out. If you already cleaned off all the dirt, well, I guess you just hate science.

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More and more hospitals are telling McDonald’s to take a hike

big_mac
Evan Amos

For over 20 years, if you found yourself at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., with a big craving for a Big Mac, you would have been in luck. You could have gone right past the cafeteria, with its presumably medically approved food, and had yourself a ball stuffing your face with fat, carbs, and non-organic animal protein. Alas, this magical experience is no longer going to be available to you, because Truman Medical Center is getting rid of its McDonald’s. So are a lot of other hospitals. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago moved this year, but did not pack the McDonald’s. At Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., the lease with McDonald's ends in four years, and the hospital does not plan to renew.

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People will go out of their way to hit turtles with cars, because people are jerks

Bad People Run Me Over
Screw all y'all.

A student at Clemson University made a disturbing discovery when he placed a rubber turtle in the road and spent an hour watching what passing cars would do. Out of 257 cars that passed, seven of them tried to hit the turtle. Down the road at Western Carolina State University, a psychology professor asked a class of about 110 students whether they had intentionally ever run over a turtle. Thirty-five of them had.

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Got a New Year’s hangover? Chicago has a clinic just for you

There is help for you even if you drank a lot
Scott Feldstein
There is help for you even if you drank a lot

Other than being terminally ill or getting dumped or fired, and maybe being forced to work in a quarry since the age of three, there is nothing worse than having a hangover. Hangovers hurt physically, they hurt mentally, and the worst thing is that you did it to yourself, because apparently it is impossible for you to have a good time unless you're absolutely trashed, you fucking lush.

Needless to say, it would be a miracle if someone would just take your hangovers off your hands, and now, for just $99, a Chicago clinic will actually do just that. That’s right. You can just hand it over to them, as if it were a re-gifted bottle of Cîroc vodka or a copy of Moby-Dick or, well, a hundred dollar bill.

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