Family

Winning ways

Philips wants to reward some innovative urban ideas

A rendering showing how rooftops in Sana’a, Yemen, could be used to collect water.The ideal of smart cities — technologically advanced, forward-thinking, and green — is big in corporate circles these days. IBM has its “Smarter Cities” program, Cisco has its “Smart+Connected Communities,” and the giant electronics corporation Philips has been promoting the concept of “Livable Cities” lately. (This webcast they put together with participants including urbanism guru Richard Florida and former London mayor Ken Livingstone gives a good overview of what they mean by that.) Philips is currently sponsoring a “Livable Cities Award” (“designed to generate practical, achievable ideas …

Urban family values

Family values for population hawks: adopting a foster child

Photo: jrodmanjrLast month, Lisa Hymas posted a list of eight things all of us can do about population. It was a great roundup (my favorite was No. 4), but I’d like to add an item: If you really want to be a parent — that is, if you’d like to help guide and shape and unconditionally love another human being, and you’re OK with sleepless nights, no time for novels, and very little alone time with your partner — consider adopting. I have nothing but respect for my GINK brothers and sisters. I think it’s important to say (out lout …

DIY Culture

Ask Umbra on making yogurt at home, with or without electricity

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I bought a yogurt maker in Germany eight years ago that consists of a glass jar and a sturdy styrofoam container. It cost about $20, works wonderfully, and doesn’t require electricity. Why can’t I find a similar product in the U.S.? KatherineCupertino, CA DIY that’s easy to digest.Photo: Johnny StilettoA. Dearest Katherine, It’s not every day someone writes to ask a homemade yogurt question. DIY yogurt has some hippie stigma around it. It’s as if yogurt-making is something only crunchy types who make their own granola do. (Also an unfortunate stigma, as homemade …

your water wings for the dating pool

TreeShagger: 10 great green date ideas

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you’ve got green dating questions, send ‘em our way! So Valentine’s Day came and went, and you’re in the doghouse since you couldn’t get a reservation at Olivebee’s Factory? Cheer up, smuckers! Lean in close for some non-obvious, mostly cheap green date ideas, many of which I’ve tested for you myself. These aren’t “green” in the sense that you’re eating hummus and watching An Inconvenient Truth outside on a blanket made of stars — boooring! — but they’re low-impact, legitimately fun things that don’t require buying crap. Bonus points if …

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE INSECTING

Beware, moms-to-be: Insecticides could make your kids dumber

No raid for you.Photo: Dhini van HeerenStop huffing the Raid, moms: In other “sh*t that makes kids dumber” news, toddlers’ brains developed more slowly if their mothers inhaled a lot of a common insecticide ingredient while pregnant, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Reuters explains: On average, women breathing the highest amounts of piperonyl butoxide, or PBO, had babies who scored 3.9 points lower on a mental development test at age three (85 points and above is considered normal). These changes are about the same as those seen in kids with low-level lead exposure, according to …

Grains of truth

Ask Umbra Book Club: Did Paleolithic hunter-gatherers eat healthier than we do today?

Corn of plenty? Maybe not so much.Photo: Big Grey MareDearest readers, Welcome to the second day of our conversation of At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. You can catch up on yesterday’s chat here. If you have yet to get a copy of the book, jump in anyway. As a quick catchup, you can listen to Bryson read the introduction here. Growing plants for food is really a very recent innovation. Early in the book, we learn that in Jericho, the “world’s first true city,” people settled but did not farm. They stopped wandering and …

You Don't Have to Grow Up

On eco-architecture and urban farming: Are you kidding me with your f-ing farm skyscraper?

Find a place, do some work, grow some stuff: it ain’t rocket science.Photo: Tracie LeeJust last summer, Broke-Ass was invited to speak on a panel at the New York Horticultural Society with such luminaries of the environmental architectural movement as Amale Andraos and Dan Wood of WORK Architecture Co.; Fritz Haeg, artist, Edible Estates; and the esteemed James Wines of SITE. Broke-Ass was supposed to be there to make intellectual distinctions between Baby Boomers’ self-aggrandizing revolutions and Generation X’s more practical, local movements, since this is thought to be one of her areas of expertise. But as she sat there …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×