Boil and Trouble

Is it safe to cook with hot tap water?

A reader is eager to get a jump-start on his pasta by opening the hot-water tap -- but Umbra gives him a few heavy reasons to hold off.


Check out the finalists of this biomimicry invention contest

In this competition based on biomimicry, new ideas for improving the food system draw inspiration from earthworms, ants, and mangrove trees.


This tractor runs on BS — but it’s the real, eco-friendly deal

Meet the world’s first methane-fueled tractor.


Good news: Global health is actually improving. Huzzah, civilization!

The latest data shows we've made impressive strides on human life expectancy around the world.


McDonald’s to roll out organic hamburger in Germany

How big is the overlap between McD's customers and people who want organic beef? I guess we'll soon find out.

Ranchers with ties to the biofuel industry attack Brazilian tribe members

The Guarani people -- the largest indigenous group in Brazil -- are all too familiar with the destructive side of sugarcane ethanol.


Is Cargill backsliding on its promise to end deforestation?

Some environmental activists say yes. Cargill says actions speak louder than words.


Pumpkin beer brings summer’s end ahead of schedule. Thanks, climate change

An Oregon heatwave gave us ripe pumpkins in mid-August.

Finally, communal freezers offer space to store the whole hog

A group in upstate New York is bringing back the communal freezer.