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Salami made from Kanye West and James Franco would make for the weirdest sandwiches ever

bitelabs-celebrity-meat

Meat production is wasteful. Lab-grown meat is sometimes offered as a solution ... but not everybody's on board. BiteLabs thinks it can take you from a “meh” to a “YAY!” by creating meat from your fave celebs’ tissue. (Forget TMZ. This is how your celebrity sausage gets made!)

BiteLabs wants to offer salami made of meat cloned from James Franco, Kanye West, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ellen Degeneres, and is enlisting fans to tweet at the celebs and implore them to donate tissue samples. If nothing else, this would have made for the best Oscars Night charcuterie spread ever.

Is it just publicity stunt? Almost certainly, although Vice is oddly convinced. We don’t think Jennifer Lawrence salami will ever be a reality -- sandwiches on us if we’re wrong -- but it’s funny to think about:

jennifer-lawrence-salami

And obviously there’s the environmental angle. Writes BiteLabs:

Read more: Food, Living

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Pining for pines? Feeling fir-y? This map is like Yelp for trees

I've been waiting for a tree like you to come into my life.
Shutterstock
I've been waiting for a tree like you to come into my life.

When the late lunch hunger pangs come on, it’s become old-hat to whip out the smartphone and survey food options via Yelp. But what if the cravings are more along the lines of staving off screen fatigue and finding the best birch in town?

Open Tree Map has got your back. Seattle is catching up with places like San Francisco, Philly, and Tampa with a just-launched program using Open Tree Map’s software to help city folk catalog, find, and learn about the local trees living in the midst of their urban jungle.

Read more: Cities, Living

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Ask Umbra: Should I get my panties in a bunch?

gold-shiny-underwear-clothesline-cropped
Conor Ogle

Send your question to Umbra!

Q. I buy organic, U.S.-made undies from a very eco-conscious company, but have doubts about their packaging. They use "100% biodegradable," low-density polyethylene (LDPE) envelopes that claim to entirely disintegrate, turning into "humus and biomass" within months of composting or landfill disposal. I doubt that, since there's no oxygen in landfills. Or is this the type of plastic that just breaks down into small pieces? I think a recyclable paper envelope would be a lot better, even if it might get wet in transit on rare occasions.

Stephanie P.
Oakland, Calif.

A. Dearest Stephanie,

Three cheers for your skepticism -- a raised eyebrow is exactly the kind of response I like to see when my readers are confronted with marketing claims like this. We will not be greenwashed! But first, I have to ask: Are you acquiring new undies at such a rate that the envelope disposal is a major concern? If that’s the case, may I gently suggest that your first move be to slow down a bit and make those unmentionables last?

Whether you have one set of skivvies or a hundred, your letter raises an excellent question: Can plastic really biodegrade? It may say so right on the package, but unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

Read more: Living

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Hundreds arrested at anti-Keystone protest in front of White House

Keystone protest
XL Dissent

Nearly 400 anti-Keystone protestors were arrested on Sunday after zip-tying themselves to a fence in front of the White House. Activist group 350.org characterized the action as the "largest youth civil disobedience at the White House in a generation."

Those arrested were part of a larger student-led protest coordinated by XL Dissent. Organizers estimated that 1,200 people total participated in the march and rally that called on President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject plans to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

Here are some photos and tweets from the scene:

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Tempeh-rature rising: Here’s a tasty spin on vegan chili

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: A New Kind of Vegan ChiliNew Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw gives us a recipe for vegan chili with a classic texture, minus the meat. 

tempeh_chili
Food52

Editor's note: Did you miss National Chili Day on Feb. 27? Have no fear. This vegan chili is delicious any day of the year. Plus, if you perfect this recipe now, you'll be a shoo-in at your local Environmentally Friendly Chili Cook Off 2014!

Whether you knew it or not, there’s a good chance you’ve had meatless chili before. Chilis made with beans (for example, black bean and sweet potato chili) are fairly ubiquitous, and most of us have crossed paths with them at some point or another. But tempeh chili? Well, that’s another story.

Unlike fellow soy product, tofu, tempeh remains a somewhat exotic ingredient in American kitchens. This is a shame, because tempeh is versatile, nutritious, and satisfying in ways that some other meat substitutes are not; it has a dense, chewy texture and a nutty taste. And when you grate it on a box grater, it takes on a texture that is not unlike ground beef. Could anything be more perfect for a pot of vegan chili?

Read more: Food, Living

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Low-lying islands are going to drown, so should we even bother trying to save their ecosystems?

a low-lying island in the Indian Ocean
Shutterstock

Islands are hot spots of biodiversity, often home to rich and unique ecosystems. Despite covering just 5 percent of the Earth's land, the planet's 180,000-odd islands contain a fifth of its plant and animal species. Around half of recorded extinctions have occurred on islands.

Unfortunately, many islands have been infested in recent centuries with ecosystem-wrecking rats and other invasive species. So scientists the world over have clamored to remove the destructive pests and protect the original inhabitants. More than 900 islands have been cleansed of rats and other animal invaders so far, often through the controversial use of poisoned baits.

But a new paper published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution asks an unsettling question: When it comes to low-lying islands that will eventually be swallowed by sea-level rise, why bother?

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Five dumb bills just passed by the House would screw the environment

U.S. Capitol
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock

In an atmosphere of gridlock and partisan polarization, politicians in both parties produce legislative proposals while fully aware that they are wasting their time. Such was the case with the House of Representatives' latest flurry of activity this week.

To celebrate what they called "Stop Government Abuse Week," the Republican majority in the House passed a series of bills Thursday to muck up the regulatory process. Collectively, these bills would have an enormous negative impact on the EPA. Among all the other environmental regulations they would inhibit, they would prevent the forthcoming CO2 rules for power plants from being anywhere near as strong as they otherwise could and should be. Republicans don’t want to go on record voting to repeal the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, as that would be unpopular, so instead they would render the laws meaningless. Environmental groups such as Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council are horrified. Before the bills even passed, they signed a letter of protest in coalition with labor unions such as the AFL-CIO and consumer advocate groups like Public Citizen.

Here is a brief summary of what each of the bills would do to impede agencies from enforcing laws Congress has already passed:

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Celery’s an aphrodisiac — too bad no one told Steve Buscemi

Heirloom tomatoes: hot. Kale: hip. Brussels sprouts: dead sexy, especially with parmesan. But celery? Not so. In this characteristically bizarre yet amusing Portlandia sketch, a teaser for the new season, watch Steve Buscemi struggle to make celery the new “it” food -- OR LOSE EVERYTHING:

Celery, as Carrie Brownstein’s character points out, is kind of a hard sell. “It’s full of soluble AND insoluble fiber! You don’t understand -- that’s very hard on the digestive system,” she tells Buscemi. On the plus side, it’s also rich in vitamins K and A, which can help keep skin, eyes, and bones healthy.

Too bad Buscemi didn’t know that celery’s an aphrodisiac -- or at least the ancient Romans thought so. “It contains the pheromone androsterone, released by men’s sweat glands to attract females,” attests the U.K. Express. Adds food writer Amy Reiley:

Read more: Food, Living

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Organic eggs are so expensive because the chickens eat fancy imported food

organic eggs
Elle_Ann

There are lots of reasons to pony up a few extra dollars for organic eggs -- they have those rich, deep yellow yolks, for instance, and you get the satisfaction of knowing the chickens who laid them lived better lives than the chickens who laid the sad non-organic eggs. But man, they are spendy.

One reason, Dan Charles reports at NPR, that organic eggs are expensive is that the chickens eat fancy imported food. American farmers aren't growing enough organic feed to feed the chickens that produce organic eggs:

Most chickens eat feed made from ground-up corn and soybeans, but America's farmers are not growing enough organic corn and soybeans — especially soybeans — to feed the country's organic animals. ...

Read more: Food, Living

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Get an up-close, face-to-face view of a rescued pelican learning to fly

pelican copy
Screenshot

Bigbird the Pelican was a foundling. He swam in off Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika one day, alone and unable to fly, and he was adopted by a safari company, Greystoke Mahale, that makes its camp on the lake's banks.

And he grew up, and he learned how to fly, and his rescuers strapped a GoPro camera to his beak while he did it so you could get a bird’s-nose view of the whole thing. This video of Bigbird winging over the lake may essentially be a commercial for GoPro, but it's also pretty awesome. Look how big Bigbird's wings are!

Read more: Living