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Designer furnishes an entire room with trash

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“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:

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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.

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Two-thirds of Republicans think the media exaggerates climate change

old newspapers
Shutterstock
Do they at least believe in recycling?

Major media outlets in the U.S. are doing a piss-poor job of covering climate change. But even when they do cover it, many of their audience members don't believe them.

On Monday, Gallup released recent survey data showing that 42 percent of Americans polled believe news outlets exaggerate the seriousness of climate change.

As you might expect, there's a big partisan divide on the question. More than two-thirds of Republicans think the media exaggerates, while nearly half of Democrats believe the seriousness of climate change is actually underestimated by the media.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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This tandem bike shrinks to a solo one for after you’ve been dumped

Before your breakup.
Gizmag
Before your breakup.

Calfee Design makes some pretty sweet bamboo bikes, but now it's even anticipating your change in Facebook relationship status. To make breakups a little less painful -- or just make tandem bikes more versatile -- the cycle company created a convertible tandem that you can turn into a solo bike. (It’s a bicycle built for two! Slash one!)

...aaand after.
Gizmag
... aaand after.

The carbon fiber bicycle was a custom design for a couple, so it’s not widely available (yet), but it was recently on display at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show for people to drool over. Gizmag explains the bike’s logistics:

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Turn your poop into charcoal and cook with it!

charcoal-briquettes-flickr
MooBob42

Turds may LOOK like little lumps of charcoal, but, in one of nature’s cruelest tragedies, you can’t really roast a hot dog over them. OR CAN YOU?!

University of Colorado environmental engineering professor Karl Linden thinks you can, and not because he’s been legally smoking doobies. He's working on a solar-powered toilet that turns waste into biochar, which can be used as fuel. This takes lighting your farts to a whole new level:

Read more: Living

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Pat Robertson: God caused a power outage to punk politicians who care about climate change

Can you believe those Democratic senators, staying up all night to chat about something as frivolous as climate change? Well, thankfully a straight white evangelical male God had a hearty chuckle at their expense, at least in confirmed wacko Pat Robertson’s version of things.

The fundamentalist TV preacher, who is essentially just a neckless sack of fear and hate, recently said on air that Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, and others got a prank for the ages when the guy in the sky sent them a brief power outage:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Grist is looking for the next class of fellows

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© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Are you an early-career journalist, storyteller, or multimedia wizard who digs what we do? Then Grist wants you!

We are now accepting applications for the next class of the Grist Fellowship Program.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Sticky green

Can the pot industry make buds with sustainability?

marijuana plant
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The first thing Scott Durkee does when he picks me up at the ferry dock is laugh. "You’re funny," he says. "You thought you could just hail a cab on Vashon Island, just like that? This isn’t Seattle!"

And indeed, Vashon is not. With its winding rural roads, vegetable stands, and slow-paced island charm, it's hard to believe that the island of a little more than 10,000 residents is only a 20-minute ferry ride across the Puget Sound from the city.

Durkee's lived on Vashon since 1990. A self-described "freelance factotum," he reuses just about everything he can find from his various jobs around the island. He makes garden beds out of old barrels from his job at a nearby winery. He powers all three of his cars with vegetable oil from his gig inspecting grease traps for restaurants. He used to build water systems and wants solar panels to make his rainwater catcher "carbon footprint free."

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How seeds could be our saviors — if we save them first

The seed vault "ark" in Svalbard, Norway.
Seeds of Time
The seed vault "ark" in Svalbard, Norway.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Irish conciliator John Hume once observed that when people are divided, victories are not solutions.

The insight works just as well for modern agriculture as it did in the context of the Irish troubles, and Cary Fowler, an evangelist for seeds, repeats the observation part way through the new documentary, Seeds of Time. “Victories and solutions are not the same thing,” Fowler says, “and, I think, too often people try to win without actually looking to create solutions.”

The documentary, directed by Sandy McLeod, is a portrait of Fowler -- one that also provides an object lesson in what it looks like to search for genuine solutions.

It’s a welcome change in tone. As eaters have moved farther from the places where their food grows, a lot of the media about farming has taken the form of exposés, alerting us to the hard realities of agriculture. There's a place for exposés, but if we spend all our time talking about the people who are doing agriculture wrong, we may forget that no one has figured out a way to truly do it right.

Read more: Food

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Birthday, it’s ya birthday: Fracking technology turns 65

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Gather round, ladies and gentlemen, for today the technology behind hydraulic fracturing turns 65. We’d personally like to take this moment to remind all the fracking wells out there that they’re now eligible for a free beverage at Taco Bell. Get that Pepsi, girl! The American Petroleum Institute has thoughtfully organized a publicity campaign around this momentous occasion. In the spirit of birthdays being the time of year that we lie to ourselves to feel better about our lives, API’s "happy birthday, fracking!" press release is basically chock-full of fun falsehoods: “Americans have long been energy pioneers, from the 1800’s …