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Sarah Miller's Posts


Impress all your air-breathing friends with a car that runs on air

Look, down on the ground! It’s an orange mole with no face! It’s a Weeble that says "air" on the side! It’s an M&M with wheels! No, it’s an Airpod -- a car that runs on compressed air.

Read more: Cities


LEGO Brooklyn is just as cool as the real thing and has fewer obnoxious residents

Can you make me a Peter Luger's steak out of LEGOs?

You know when you were little and you loved LEGOs, and you were like, "one day, when I grow up and can buy all the LEGOs I want, I am going to make an extremely accurate LEGO replica of large parts of Brooklyn?"

That probably didn’t happen to you. But it presumably happened to Brooklynite Jonathan Lopes. His 400-square-foot mini LEGO replica of Brooklyn, crafted from his collection of half a million pieces, is accurate down to minute details and features landmarks like the Fairway in Red Hook, Fire Engine House 226, and the A train.

Read more: Cities


Former Twitter CEO’s dream home is SF neighborhood nightmare

"All I did to get this place was convince people to abbreviate stuff -- pretty cool"

Former Twitter CEO Evan Williams is obviously a very green guy, and all he wants to do is build a net zero energy home in San Francisco’s historic Parnassus Heights neighborhood. Who could possibly object to an internet entrepreneur using his hard-earned money to build a 7,700-square-foot home fitted out with eco-solar panels, an eco-roof and eco-windows?

A house that uses zero energy, people. Who could have a problem with that?

Well, for starters, the 240 people (some of them neighbors) who already like the 5,000-square-foot, Louis Christian Mullgardt- designed Arts and Crafts influenced property that sits on the site of William’s proposed house/project.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


The baby beluga who inspired ‘Baby Beluga’ has died at the age of 46

This could maybe pass as a Christoper Cross album cover?

Parents and nursery school teachers singing the beloved children’s song "Baby Beluga" by Raffi (a.k.a. Raffi Cavoukian) will have to wipe away a tear today after the final chorus: Kavna, the whale who inspired the song, died of cancer Monday at the Vancouver Aquarium at the age of 46. In other news, you are old.

Update: Raffi is now saying that the song wasn't "about" Kavna, simply "inspired by" her. This seems like a pretty academic distinction but okay?

Read more: Uncategorized


Electric DeLorean could get you back to a slightly less grim future

When we think about how we’re going to save the environment from the ravages of fossil fuels, our first thought is not generally “with gull-wing doors.” Well, luckily not everyone thinks inside the box, and this is why Stephen Wynne, the British mechanic who bought the entire DeLorean inventory, is going to revive the DeLorean DMC-12 as an electric car.


This kangaroo escape caper is ‘Dr. Doolittle’ meets ‘The Italian Job’

I'm so out of this German zoo, mate. (Photo by M. Kuhn.)

If you were a kangaroo in a zoo in Germany, would you say to yourself, “OK, well, I guess I’m never going to see Australia again, but hey, at least I like the smell of bratwurst”? Or would you say, “I bet it’s just a matter of time until the fox over there digs a hole in the bottom of this fence, and then that wild boar, well, he’s bound to get himself through that exterior wall at some point, and then it’s hello, 10:15 non-stop to Sydney!”

Over the past weekend, three kangaroos at the Hochwildschutzpark Hunsrück near Frankfurt chose the second option.

Read more: Uncategorized


Paris is building a crazy-looking indoor banana farm

I wonder how a banana would look in a scarf?

Man, Parisians are so grabby. They already have the Eiffel Tower, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Grey Poupon, and now they’re going to have locally grown bananas too?

Parisians at the the Agricultural Urbanism Lab are hard at work (if you can call a life with six weeks of paid vacation work) on a miniature vertical banana farm that will also function as an indoor park.

Read more: Cities, Food


All the plants in the Amazon would die without this tiny patch of desert in Africa

Here’s a little quiz: How does the Amazon, which has surprisingly nutrient-poor soil, manage to support such a diversity of plants and animals?

a.     Regular fertilizer deliveries from Home Depot.
b.     All that stuff just grows anyway because the Amazon is just super lucky.
c.     Natural fertilizer originating from a patch of desert in Africa about one-third the size of Florida crosses the ocean in the form of massive dust storms, depositing nutrients sufficient to support the entire Amazon, which is the size of the contiguous 48 states.

If you guessed C, you’re so smart -- you KNEW that there’s no Home Depot in the Amazon! And that generally entire rainforests don’t just get lucky -- although, if you think about it, choice C is sort of lucky in its own “wow, doesn’t nature sometimes have the coolest trans-continental bromance with itself” kind of way.

Read more: Uncategorized


Our Father, who art making the glacier smaller, please make it bigger now, OK?

The people in Fiesch, Switzerland, live near the massive Aletsch and Fiesher glacier, which, like most glaciers, is melting rapidly. But it’s OK -- because the town’s highly religious residents have come up with a solution with proven results: prayer.

They know it works, they say, because it’s prayer that got the glacier to recede. In the 1600s Europe suffered a mini-ice age, so the glaciers grew, which meant that sometimes pieces of them broke off, fell into nearby Lake Märjelen, and voila, massive floods, property ruined, lives lost, desperate desire to invoke help of Almighty Creator activated. So since 1674 the people of this strongly Catholic town have made an annual pilgrimage up to the mountains to intone a special prayer to make the glacier back off. And wouldn’t you know it? Around the 1860s -- wait a minute, isn’t that when the Industrial Revolution started? -- it started to do exactly that.

"We prayed for the ice to recede, and our prayer worked -- too well," said Herbert Volken, mountain guide and mayor of Conches, the district that includes Fiesch. Indeed.

Read more: Climate & Energy