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This sexy cyclist calendar features a slightly unsettling human-bike romance

Is bike porn not quite, well, PORNY enough for you? Then you need the 2014 Bike Date Calendar, the equivalent of a cycling-themed Harlequin novel. Why content yourself with ogling bikes when you can ogle a bike that's about to GET SOME?

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Corie Spruill

Colorado photographer Corie Spruill wanted to make an alternative to male-gazey calendars like Cyclepassion, which features nearly nude female cyclists straddling bike parts. So she photographed her female friends on “dates” with their wheels. As Spruill told the Atlantic:

We need men because we need romance in life. But if a bike could provide romance, we might not need a man.

Interesting theory. Can someone tell her about lesbianism?

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Corie Spruill

 

Read more: Living

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Secondhand smoke: Why East Coast cities are still choking on Midwest pollution

smokestacks
Shutterstock

When pollution drifts by wind into other states, landing in people’s lungs and endangering their lives, it seems sensible to require the state where the pollution originated to put in controls so its industry stops harming its neighbors. It’s like a family of smokers in which a child has asthma: The onus is on the adults to limit their smoking so it doesn’t reach the crib or the playroom.

But what if the pollution is coming from several different states, and mixing in ways that it’s difficult to ascertain where each plume originates? Who determines how much pollution each state is responsible for? And who decides how best to control it? The states, the federal government, the courts?

The U.S. Supreme Court attempted to unravel this Gordian knot on Tuesday, hearing 90 minutes of oral argument for a case that will likely impact how hundreds of power plants and factories do business throughout the Midwest while helping clear the air in dozens of East Coast cities.

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Dallas — yes, Dallas — bans fracking in most of the city

Dallas
Shutterstock

The growing wave of local fracking bans is sweeping into Texas, where the state's third largest city has put a near-total kibosh on the practice.

The Dallas City Council adopted new rules on Wednesday that bar hydraulic fracturing within 1,500 feet of a home, school, church, or well. Dallas is now the largest of five Texan cities and towns that have imposed local restrictions on fracking. The city, which sits at the edge of the gas-rich Barnett Shale area, had previously imposed a safety buffer of 300 feet and banned fracking in parks and flood plains.

Because Dallas contains more than a half million homes, the new rule effectively outlaws fracking through most of the city. “[W]e might as well save a lot of paper and write a one-line ordinance that says there will be no gas drilling in the city of Dallas,” quipped a council member who voted against the new rules. “That would be a much easier ordinance to have.”

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Check the climate forecast in your county

thermometer
Shutterstock

The average maximum temperature in L.A. is forecast to increase to between 77 and 83 degrees by the end of this century, up from 73 degrees in the 1980s. Summertime average maximums in Boulder, Colo., have already increased to 75 degrees, up from the low 70s in the 1960s. Residents of Vermont can look forward to temperature rises of as much as 10 degrees this century.

That's according to a new U.S. Geological Survey tool that lets you focus in on climate trends and forecasts for counties throughout the U.S.

The online tool draws on data being produced through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's efforts to produce its fifth assessment report. "The maps and summaries at the county level condense a huge volume of data," said Matthew Larsen of the USGS Climate and Land Use Program.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Ice Cube, Conan O’Brien, and Kevin Hart have the best Lyft trip ever

Ridesharing (in theory, at least) gets cars off the road by letting you request a carpool only if you need it. But if you're still not sold on ridesharing apps like Lyft (and maybe you shouldn't be), consider this: If you offer to share your car, there's a slim chance that your next pickup could be Conan O'Brien, Ice Cube, and Kevin Hart.

Read more: Cities, Living

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Donald Trump hates wind energy, has no ability to recognize satire

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Ketan Joshi

It's probably no surprise that Donald Trump's ability to recognize smart, subtle satire is not in top form. But we're still laughing at him for retweeting this (frankly hilarious) graphic illustrating the flimsy anecdotal evidence for "wind turbine syndrome."

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Journalist for China’s state TV station says that smog makes you funnier and smarter

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McMaster Institute for Sustainable Development

Everybody is so mean to smog, but I think you’d really like it. I mean, I know you, and I know smog, and you’re a great match. You’d just hit it off, I’m sure. Just because you’ve “heard” “bad things” about smog doesn’t mean they’re true. Smog’s probably wary of YOU after seeing those old Facebook pics of you from college! Just give smog a chance, OK? Pleeease? (I may owe smog’s roommate a favor.)

Look, even a writer for a Chinese state TV station CCTV likes smog! And he’s probably around it ALL the TIME. Someone who hangs out with smog THAT much couldn’t be wrong. Writes the Telegraph:

Smog was making Chinese people equal since it affected the lungs of both rich and poor, the article argued ... It was also a boon for Chinese humor, since residents of mainland China were turning to comedy in order to keep “light hearts” in the face of what has been dubbed the “airpocalypse.”

See? Smog is funny! You two are gonna crack each other up. But don’t worry -- smog’s an intellectual too, just like you:

Read more: Cities, Living

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Is global warming stoking an Arctic cold war?

A reenactment of a battle involving the USSR
Shutterstock / Sergey Kamshylin

Militarization and geopolitical maneuvering is heating up in the Arctic as once-frozen tundras melt into the sea, unearthing a bonanza of oil fields and shipping routes.

Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin this week ordered his military brass to pay "particular attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic." He said Russia would open two new Arctic airbases and noted that a long-deserted Russian airbase on the Novosibirsk Islands was recently reopened.

That followed the November announcement by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel of the Pentagon’s first-ever Arctic military strategy.

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Get your fill of bananas now; they’re about to get destroyed by fungus

bananas
Kevin Trotman

Banana farmers live in fear of a fungus called Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense, or Foc, for short. As in, “oh Foc, a fungus is about to destroy all our bananas.”

A strain of Foc destroyed the Gros Michel bananas that used to be the mainstay of banana plantations, which were reportedly much more delicious than the bananas we eat today. And now it's coming for the Gros Michel’s replacement -- the Cavendish bananas that, if you're an American under the age of 50, are likely the only bananas you've ever eaten.

The Foc strain that could destroy Cavendish bananas has been living in Asia and Australia has now shown up in Mozambique and Jordan, Nature reports:

Nobody is sure how the fungus arrived in Jordan or Mozambique.

Read more: Food, Living

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At this cafe, you can get cheaper coffee by being polite

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tokai06

A journalist in Nice stopped by the local Restaurant le Petite Syrah and snapped a picture of its menu board. It outlined a very specific set of rules for how coffee would be priced.

Say, "Hi, a coffee, please," and your espresso will cost about $2, a typical price in France. A customer who doesn't say hi but does say please gets charged about triple the price -- almost $6. And for a rude customer who comes in and grunts "coffee,” the price is almost $10.

In other words, there's a politeness discount; the price drops four bucks for every increment of courtesy.

Read more: Cities, Food, Living