Suburbia sucks for a lot of reasons: Public transit usually isn’t as timely or extensive; commuting takes longer; amenities like fresh food aren’t as accessible. (This guy even says they’re worse for our health.)
Now two maps from Sightline Institute illustrate what you probably knew all along: It’s just plain harder to get places. (Or as former Grist writer Sarah Goodyear put it, “A mile in an American suburb is a lot longer than a mile in Rome.”) Sightline compares Seattle with one of its suburbs, Bellevue, to show that walking or biking a mile in the latter doesn’t get you as far as the former:
On Monday morning, the EPA announced the adoption of new rules that will require oil refiners to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline.
As The New York Timesexplains, “When burned in gasoline, sulfur blocks pollution-control equipment in vehicle engines, which increases tailpipe emissions linked to lung disease, asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, aggravated heart disease and premature births and deaths. Proponents of the rule say it will be President Obama’s most significant public health achievement in his second term, but opponents, chiefly oil refiners, say it is unnecessarily costly and an unfair burden on them.”
If oil refiners say it's costly and unfair, that's a good sign. If they were not complaining, it would probably mean the rules were too weak. Transferring the public health cost of pollution to the companies that produce it is exactly what EPA rules should do.
The slow loris may be an adorable, big-eyed creature that you want to tickle, but it’s done taking your shit. Specifically YOU, Lady Gaga.
The Gags was filming the music video for her upcoming single “G.U.Y. (Girl Under You)” at Hearst Castle -- where she paid more than $250,000 to have the pool filled during California’s emergency-level drought -- when a slow loris bit her on the finger.
It was supposed to be a cute, cuddly prop (I guess a monkey in a top hat wasn’t available?) but it quickly got 86ed from the video shoot. “They put it back in its box and took it away in disgrace,” an unnamed source told the Sydney Morning Herald. Probably for the best: Dumbass teenagers adopt (and abandon) enough wild animals without needing Mother Monster to give them ideas.
To make matters worse, Ecorazzi suspects the slow loris was illegally obtained:
Last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that she had some “dramatic new information” to share. The information: Heavy crude from tar sands isn’t just going to bring us back to the hot mess of the Cretaceous, it’s also going to make us sick. Or some of us, anyway.
The information is dramatic, though not new. Every time you’re around crude, heavy or light, it’s not great for you. Anyone who uses the EPA’s website to search for pollution near their zip code is going to find a lot of old gas stations and auto body shops. The health risks Boxer highlighted — asthma, respiratory ailments, increased risks of heart disease and cancer — are ones that community activists near oil refineries, power plants, and drilling operations have been warning about for years. But extraction of heavy crude releases more emissions than extraction of light. And when a pipeline carrying heavy crude ruptures, the resulting spill is much more difficult to clean up, meaning that -- so far, at least -- more of it stays in the ecosystem it spills in, up to and including the people in that ecosystem. So Boxer is not so much making a new argument as reformulating an old one and, in the process, giving anti-Keystone activists another line of attack: human health.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.