Here's an object lesson in how messed up America's food culture is. A few years back, Chad Ettmueller went to Atlanta's Which Wich sandwich shop and ordered the Double Wicked, which the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes as "a glorious pile of double portion of beef, bacon, turkey, ham pepperoni, three cheeses and a wad of fixing on a whole wheat bun."
He opened up his mouth wide to take a bite.
And he dislocated his jaw a whole inch on both sides. It was stuck for 14 hours.
Mexico City is super awesome. It's kind of like L.A. with all the cool people and none of the annoying ones, and yeah, no beach, but whatevs. The existence of Peatónito makes it even better. Peatónito is the alter ego of one Jorge Cáñez, a 26-year-old political scientist by day who, at the blink of an eye, transforms into a traffic-stopping superhero.
Planning on barreling through an intersection without even pinche looking? Well you are going to meet the wrath of Peatónito, who will jump out and stop you in your tracks. You will be surprised. You will feel dumb. You will perhaps begin to drive in a way that acknowledges the existence of other people.
Moving is so much fun, except for the part where you actually pack all your crap into boxes and move. I’m not sure you can beat its potent combination of stress, mess, and backbreaking toil outside of a prison hard-labor crew, and even those guys can find where they packed their pants at the end of the day.
And then there’s the waste. With all the cardboard boxes, Styrofoam packing peanuts, plastic bags, and transport trips involved, you can certainly add trash-producing and gas-guzzling to moving’s list of charms.
So what’s a green-minded relocator to do? I asked myself this question last week as I stared down the barrel of my impending move across town. My boyfriend, Ted, and I were headed to a nearby apartment (1.5 miles away, to be exact), and we didn't have much time to prep -- just a few weeks, and busy weeks at that. But we wanted to try for the most earth-friendly, least wasteful move possible.
While plotting the move, we identified three major offenders on the green front: packing materials, transport, and unnecessary trash. Then we set goals to attack each one. Here’s our plan -- and how it all went down in reality.
Eat organic all you want. Avoid plastic like the plague. It may not matter after all -- you could still be ingesting a lot of nasty bisphenol A and phthalates, chemicals that leach from plastics and potentially disrupt human endocrine systems.
A study by Sheela Sathyanarayana published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology compared one group that avoided BPA and pthalates in accordance with written directions and another group that ate a catered, local, organic diet prepared without use of plastic for cooking or storage.
The researchers assumed that urinary BPA and pthalate levels would drop in the catered group compared to the group using written instructions -- people are generally bad at following advice from their doctors after all. "Instead we saw big spikes and increases in the catered diet group and no changes at all in the written education group," she says.
Nearly 100 years ago, Dust Bowl refugees from the middle of the country sought new lives and livelihoods in the Golden State. Now California is fixing to become its own damn dust bowl. The last two months in the northern Sierra Nevada, normally the wettest time of the year, have shattered an all-time weather record as the driest January and February in recorded history.
The northern Sierra is crucial to statewide water supplies because it is where snowmelt accumulates to fill Shasta and Oroville reservoirs. These are the largest reservoirs in California and the primary storage points for state and federal water supply systems.
If February concludes without additional storms -- and none are expected -- the northern Sierra will have seen 2.2 inches of precipitation in January and February, the least since record-keeping began in the region in 1921.
That is well below the historical average of 17.1 inches.
Piranhas could be poised to invade South Carolina.
Scarier than the possibility of being eaten alive while taking a dip in Palmetto State waters is the fact that government officials tried to keep the danger a secret from the state's people.
An onslaught of piranhas is one of many hazards South Carolina faces as the climate changes, according to a 102-page report drafted in 2011 by scientists working for the state Department of Natural Resources. The draft was shelved by department board members, despite earlier plans to distribute it for public review, meaning the scientists' warnings could have been kept from the public had The State newspaper not recently obtained a copy.
Last summer, New York mayor and soda-hating bazillionaire Michael Bloomberg's charity launched "The Mayors Challenge" to award $9 million to five cities "that come up with bold ideas for solving major problems and improving city life." The field has now been whittled down to 20 top concepts.
"From sustainability and public health, to education and economic development, cities are pioneering new policies and programs that are moving the country forward," said Bloomberg in announcing the contest. "Historically, cities have seen each other as competitors in a zero-sum game, with neighbors pitted against each other in a battle to attract residents and businesses. But more and more, a new generation of mayors is recognizing the value of working together and the necessity of borrowing ideas from one another."
Bloomberg seems to miss his own point, though, in setting up a battle for funds between cities, some of which have far more resources and innovation street cred than others (I'm looking at you, San Francisco). That's part of why I want to give a special shout-out to Milwaukee's entry for the city's HOME GR/OWN project.
Everyone knows the hiker's code: Take only pictures, leave only painfully cute apology notes for accidentally taking sticks as well. Or at least, that's the code of a Yosemite Junior Ranger named Evie, who was so chagrined at discovering she'd removed two sticks from the park that she sent them back to rangers with a heartfelt letter.
Possibly-crazy rich guy Clive Palmer is spending his hard-earned fortune on building a replica of the Titanic. A pretty exact replica, which, on its maiden voyage, will try to finish the journey the original Titanic started, through the icy Atlantic.
But don't worry about that, Palmer told reporters:
One of the benefits of global warming has been that there isn’t so many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days.
Which would make us feel better … if it were anywhere close to true. But as National Geographic reported in April, there actually could be more icebergs on that route now than in the late 19th century:
As more ice melts under glaciers and ice sheets -- particularly in Greenland and Antarctica -- the water lubricates the ice masses, sending them to sea, and eventual breakup, at a faster rate.