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Green Home

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Who’s got the greenest house on the planet?

It's pretty easy to determine the biggest pie, or longest fingernails, or fattest twins. But what about the greenest house? AOL's consumer finance site, of all places (they're into journalism now!) has a nice roundup of what, exactly, it means to have a green home. There are a number of buildings that have claimed or been awarded the "greenest home" tiara: A 2006 article called an eco-friendly Californa prefab the "greenest home on the planet" for being the first American home to get a "platinum" LEED rating. [F]or Glenn, the point is to live in a home that causes the …

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Silly science: Animals make friends too

As anyone with cats already knows, animals can be buddies. Now scientists have caught up with the rest of us: "At least five types of animals maintain relationships that are comparable to human friendships," says Discovery News. So which animals have BFFs? In addition to bats, the newest animal discovered to make long-term relationships, "elephants, dolphins, some carnivores and certain non-human primates, such as chimpanzees, have the ability -- just as humans do -- to maintain enduring friendships," reports Jennifer Viegas. Guess Milo and Otis were on to something. Ladybats are friendlier: "Female wild Bechstein's bats prefer to literally hang …

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An arts district brings life to Syracuse — and it’s green, too

Photo: SALT District Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Coauthored by Aaron Welch. Take one part Paducah (arts-driven revitalization), one part Old North Saint Louis (incremental restoration of abandoned historic properties), mix in some serious winter weather, and you might just come out with something a lot like the Syracuse (NY) SALT District, an ambitious and fascinating arts-and-technology-driven revitalization effort. According to the project's web site, the initiative is aimed at nothing less than creating "a new epicenter of artistic and cultural development in the Syracuse and Central Upstate New York area." It is being led by the Near …

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Ask Umbra Book Club: What makes a home?

Home is where the art is. And the war too.Photo: Stefano ADearest readers, Welcome to February’s book club conversation. I hope you’ve gotten some good couch time in at home to read At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. If you haven’t been able to cozy up next to this "history of the world without leaving home," worry not. Anyone who has ever lived in a home of any kind is qualified to join the conversation. (To set the right tone for our discussion, I recommend listening to and watching the song "This Must Be the …

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Keep the Solar Decathlon on the National Mall!

The Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in 2009.Photo: NREL Solar DecathlonThe National Mall has long served as the nation's front yard, a place where citizens can gather and display what's important to them -- whether it's a protest to end wars, a rally to restore sanity, or even a celebration of mid-Atlantic maritime communities. Every other year since 2002, the National Mall has played host to the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the Department of Energy that puts 20 solar-powered homes designed by college students from around the globe on display for a two week long design …