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This “ski lift for cyclists” helps you get up hills


Not every cyclist has monster thighs or an electric bike (or access to switchbacks, for that matter). Trondheim, Norway, has a solution for those of us with Gumby legs: the Trampe CycloCable.

The city built “the world's first bicycle lift intended for urban areas” in 1993, and over the next 15 years it ferried some 200,000 cyclists up the 426-foot Brubakken hill. The way it works is that you stand on your bike with your left foot and rest your right on a foot plate that looks like a track-and-field starting block; the plate runs on a recessed cable that winches you up the hill.

Last year, Trondheim made safety upgrades, and now the CycloCable is functional again:


White House gets geeky on climate problem

Obama with an iPad
Pete Souza / White House
"According to this, Florida is fucked."

To see how the world is changing around you, sometimes it helps to lose yourself online.

The White House is plunging into a new geeky approach to climate adaptation. It has consolidated online climate tools into a new hub,, intended to help Americans understand how weather and sea levels will continue to change in their states and even their neighborhoods.


Bill Maher says you aren’t an environmentalist unless you care about overpopulation

OK, so the green movement needs to get away from the words “environment,” “Earth,” and “planet,” but TV host Bill Maher has a fantastic point (for once): If you care about sustainability -- hell, if you care about the future at all -- you should be seriously worried about overpopulation.

Maher spoke with Countdown author Alan Weisman in an insightful, much-needed conversation. “This is a topic most environmental groups won’t touch,” Weisman began. (We will!)

Weisman noted that Iran has the best family planning programs in history, with free birth control and premarital classes that teach just how frickin’ expensive it is to raise a kid. Plus, women are encouraged to stay in school, which delays parenthood. (As Maher says, “Education is the best contraception.”) Watch -- it’s eight minutes worth seeing:

Read more: Living


This bike glows in the dark when headlights hit it

Mission Bicycle Company

Aside from stringing your bike and entire body in flashing holiday lights, it’s hard to find an elegant solution to the cyclist night visibility problem. Enter Mission Bicycle Company’s new bike, the Lumen. The cycle, which comes in eight-speed or single-speed, is a normal charcoal gray during the day and shines radiantly when night drivers’ beams glance over it. Wired explains:

The entire bike -- frame, fork, and rims -- has been sprayed with a retro-reflective coating. Hundreds of thousands of tiny transparent spheres are embedded in a top-layer of powdercoat. This trick was mastered by a company called Halo Coatings, which joined Mission Bicycle Co. to develop the Lumen.

Or as Mission says, “Dark gray by day, bright white at night.” Genius, no?


Please, scientists: Tell us how you really feel about climate change


The apocalypse is always usefully cast into the future -- unless you happen to live in Mauritius, or Jamaica, or the many other perilous spots. - Zadie Smith

On Monday, the American Association for the Advancement of Science hit us with a report that is supposed to change the conversation around climate change. This report, called “What We Know,” is a “sharper, clearer, and more accessible” explanation of climate change “than perhaps anything the scientific community has put out to date,” according to Justin Gillis at the New York Times.

James McCarthy, one of the report’s authors, said in a statement that we need this report because, “Even among members of the broader public who already know about the evidence for climate change and what is causing it, some do not know the degree to which many climate scientists are concerned about the risks of possibly rapid and abrupt climate change.”

Reading it, though, I have to admit that I didn’t find much different than any other report on climate destabilization from at least the last five years. I’m sorry. That’s not meant to dis the scientists who I’m sure worked hard to create this document. They are experts on this crisis and they should be taken seriously. That said, I’m lost on how this will win them new followers.

Many Americans believe, no doubt, that climate change is a thing, and that it’s happening in one way or another. But what is that thing? And is it fucking with us yet? Because believing that climate change exists doesn’t do anything to motivate change unless we’re experiencing its fuckery ourselves.

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy


San Francisco’s Castro district is putting in rainbow crosswalks

A similar, temporary installation in Vancouver.
Sean Neild

Here's something to literally brighten your day: The Castro, a district of San Francisco that is historically gayer than Liza Minnelli riding a unicorn, has voted to perk up its streets by installing rainbow crosswalks.

There were other proposed designs, including one inspired by Muni cars and another that echoed the tiles on the Castro Theater, but proud residents opted for the straight-up (no pun intended) rainbow option. The city is paying $37,400 to install the bright new pedestrian crossings at the 18th and Castro intersection, and they've promised to have them finished by the time the Pride march rolls around in June.

If that's not sweet enough, other upcoming municipal improvements include recognition for San Francisco's history of LGBT activism:

Read more: Cities


Scientists to Americans: This climate change thing really is a big deal

global warming

One of the world's largest and most influential science organizations is launching a new campaign to cut through the noise of climate denialism and help the public understand the threat of climate change.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science kicked things off on Monday by publishing a 20-page report entitled What We Know. The gist: We know that global warming is real, risky, and demands a serious response -- "the three Rs of climate change."

“We're trying to provide a voice for the scientific community on this issue so that we can help the country, help the world move this issue forward,” AAAS CEO Alan Leshner said during a call with reporters on Tuesday morning. "If we don’t move now we are at tremendous risk for some very high impact consequences, many of which are laid out in the report."

The AAAS has also assembled a panel of a 13 leading scientists who will make public presentations and try to spread climate smarts far and wide.

Here's an explanation of those three climate Rs from the initiative's website:

Read more: Climate & Energy


Climate change could bring ancient moss back to life

Drilling for moss.
Peter Boelen
Sampling frozen moss in Antarctica.

The germs of microscopic jungles lay frozen at the poles, ready to burst into life as the ice and snow melt around them.

Deep moss banks growing on rocks and at the bottoms of lakes are defining botanical features in many cold and frigid environments. And as the poles melt, moss populations are quickly greening newly exposed earth.

But how could moss reach these remote locations? A new discovery highlights the fact that it doesn't need to. It's already there, frozen after previous warm spells and ready to resume the humble act of living.

Read more: Climate & Energy


Designer furnishes an entire room with trash


“In an increasingly deskilled society,” wrote the sociologist Richard Sennett, “‘making' can be viewed as a form of political resistance.” British designer Paulo Goldstein recently took this to heart, dumpster-diving not only as part of a design job, but as an opportunity for commentary on our culture of consumption.

London’s Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design tasked Goldstein with outfitting one of its entry rooms. Inspired by the idea that scarcity could be an opportunity rather than a constraint, the recent grad put together a team that scoured London for bits of broken furniture. Using only 980 feet of rope and pieces of old chairs and tables, Goldstein’s team furnished the entry room with 10 cobbled-together chairs, a side table, main table, and wooden mobile.

Writes Fast Company:


Finally, a way to actually make your office a comfortable temperature

You can finally do something about the frigid temperatures at work other than whine and pretend a Snuggie is business casual. New app CrowdComfort tallies employee votes about whether it’s too hot or cold straight from your smartphone, mapping out what parts of the office are uncomfortable and helping building managers save energy.

CrowdComfort’s creators are based in the Boston area, where humid summers and snowy winters make climate-controlled workspaces a must. The app, however, is more quantitative and, ultimately, more fair than just having your bossiest coworker get up to fiddle with the thermostat.