There's a small species of shark, just about 17 inches long, that lives deep in the dark ocean. This is that section where it's so deep and dark that practically the only light comes from the bioluminescence of the sea creatures swimming around. Living in this kind of dicey neighborhood and being only 17 inches long, the shark needs some protection from predators. Which is why it’s got long, creepy spines that look like the nails of some creature Tim Burton dreamed up.
But it's dark down here, and the shark needs some way to let predators know what's up.
You probably learned at an early age that sheep say "baa" and goats say ... well, actually, I don't know what goats were supposed to say. "Maa," maybe, or "pass the delicious tin can," or "hail Satan." Anyway, it turns out that this was yet another way in which your parents and teachers tried to insulate you from the barbarity of the world, because in fact goats either scream like horror-movie victims or shout "BAA" all aggressively like a shitty actor pretending to be a sheep. Well, and one of them makes a noise that kind of reminds me of Mrs. White from Clue.
Even those of us who are committed to biking, walking, and public transit often have to drive sometimes. We tell ourselves it's out of necessity -- we have too far to go, we have to take the highway, we've got a lot of stuff to haul. But you know and I know the real reason: We're just waiting for the day we can trade our car for a rideable robot ostrich.
Here's shark conservationist Ocean Ramsey -- wait, her name is Ocean? Is that for real? Is she a mermaid who got confused about human names? She is probably a mermaid who got confused about human names. I mean, look at her! Anyway, here's shark conservationist Ocean Realhumanname Ramsey playing finsy with a great white. Because you should definitely live every week like it's Hitch a Ride on a Shark Week.
"Man, Europe," we think, shaking our heads with superiority. "Those weirdos are eating horse instead of beef. What a mixed-up, topsy-turvy continent." Shrugging, we then pick up our fish sandwiches from McDonald's or, if you're fancy, throw a little snapper on the grill.
That tempting seafood delight glistening on the ice at the market, or sizzling at the restaurant table in its aromatic jacket of garlic and ginger? It may not be at all what you think, or indeed even close, according to a big new study of fish bought and genetically tested in 12 parts of the country -- in restaurants, markets and sushi bars -- by a nonprofit ocean protection group, Oceana.
In the 120 samples labeled red snapper and bought for testing nationwide, for example, 28 different species of fish were found, including 17 that were not even in the snapper family, according to the study, which was released Thursday.
The study also contained surprises about where consumers were most likely to be misled -- sushi bars topped the list in every city studied -- while grocery stores were most likely to be selling fish honestly. Restaurants ranked in the middle.
Great minds think alike. And so it was that this weekend the country’s two most prestigious daily newspapers both brought us stories of how sleepy, prosperous suburbs of their respective cities are developing hip downtowns with all the accoutrements of a gentrified urban neighborhood. Out with the chain store surrounded by parking lots, in with the yoga studio and “vintage” clothing boutique on Main Street.
The New York Times reports that hipsters are fleeing Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Village for towns along the Hudson River. “You no longer have to take the L train to experience this slice of cosmopolitan bohemia,” the Times claims. “Instead, you’ll find it along the Metro-North Railroad, roughly 25 miles north of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post published a story about Montgomery County, Md., a collection of leafy, wealthy suburbs, that, in the hopes of appealing to young professionals, is making plans to build pedestrian-friendly downtown areas and seeking trendy stores to fill them. “For all its prosperity and family-friendly suburban appeal, Montgomery is in the throes of a midlife crisis,” the Post writes. “That angst has led to a new item at the top of the public policy agenda: a yearning to be hip.”
No justice, no ride to work! The vast majority of transit systems in the U.S. have cut service, raised fares, or both over the last two years, affecting those who rely on public transportation especially hard.
For millions of American families, the commute to work is more than stressful: it can also be cripplingly costly. While the average family spends around 19 percent of its budget getting around, very low-income families (defined as families who make less than half of an area’s median income) can see as much as 55 percent of their earnings eaten up by transportation costs, according to a report by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development. ...
Keystone is getting all the attention, but the brewing battle over coal exports in the Pacific Northwest is, from a pure carbon standpoint, far more significant. Right now one of the main problems for climate hawks is that all the decisions about new coal trains and coal export terminals are being made locally, one at a time, as rail and coal companies bribe this town and that town with promises of economic development. There's no global assessment being done and no real plan in place.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has refused thus far to do a comprehensive assessment, which is absurd -- something to rally behind after the Keystone thing is resolved, perhaps. But most of the real authority lies in the hands of state lawmakers. So climate hawks have been watching new Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) like, um, hawks.
Kitzhaber, who has called for a federal review of coal ports before, had some interesting things to say yesterday at a summit of the American Wind Energy Association. Here's a short clip:
Cyclists may be the happiest commuters, but not when they're getting shit from passing drivers. Flashback to the summer of 2011, when Los Angeles passed an ordinance to make harassing cyclists a civil and suable infraction. Throw a thing at a cyclist and they can take you to court and seek damages -- revolutionary!
Well, we're not quite there yet, but in the year and a half since L.A. passed its law, Washington, D.C., and the California cities of Berkeley, Sunnyvale, and Sebastopol have all passed similar ordinances. Healdsburg, Calif., is now considering one, too.
To be fair, Columbia, Mo., was actually the first city to enact an ordinance banning harassment of cyclists in 2009, but it didn't include the all-important civil infraction bit. L.A.'s law and those modeled after it make it possible for cyclists to take their harassers to civil court, where there is a lower burden of proof.