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This house is so tiny it fits in your pocket

Two hundred square feet? SO last year. The newest tiny house folds up to fit in your pocket.

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Super-cute M.I.A. parody about home efficiency

Okay, this is not exactly new but it is totally charming and looks like it could use a wider audience:

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Ask Umbra: Why are my CFLs burning out so quickly?

Send your question to Umbra!

Q. Dear Umbra,

A CFL that I’ve had for less than a year just burnt out. It’s happened to me numerous times before. We’re told that one of the money-saving benefits of CFLs is that they last much longer than incandescent bulbs, but that’s not been my experience. Am I buying the wrong brands? Has demand for cheap CFLs caused manufacturers to cut corners? What’s the deal?

Caroline E.
Richmond, Va.

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‘Cabin porn’ fuels your Thoreau fantasies

Submitted to Free Cabin Porn by Andy Schaeffer.

If you've been daydreaming about packing up and moving off-grid, maybe to Walden Pond or the Lake Isle of Innisfree, the Free Cabin Porn Tumblr will help give shape to your fantasies. If you haven't, well, you just might now.

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How to start urban composting in your building

Dirt is great stuff: You can grow things in it, which means that in the future when the only thing left is climate change, zombies, and Terminators designed to look like Kardashians, it will be a kind of wealth. So you should probably be hoarding it like a Ron Paul fanboy hoards gold. The cool thing is that, unlike gold, you can produce your own dirt -- even if you live in a city.

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Survey: The American dream home is energy-efficient

It’s not news that utilities can be budget-killers, and apparently people are getting wise to the fact that energy-efficiency means lower utility bills. A recent Yahoo survey found that energy efficiency is the one feature everyone can agree on when they imagine their "dream home" -- ahead of water views, a custom build and all the other things Americans usually aspire to.

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Critical List: ‘Super fracking’; pollution threatens Lake Titicaca

Natural gas companies are looking into "super fracking," which uses larger, deeper cracks and draws power from our planet’s yellow sun. West Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and Ohioans are all hoping that Shell will choose to build a petrochemical refinery in their state, because the plant promises jobs. Maybe it's time to abandon Ulysses S. Grant's laws for federal land, which dictate that hard-rock mining is the best use for any plot. We could be losing Lake Titicaca to urban waste. Cool it, you pervs, this is is serious! Green gadget designers are still obsessed with bamboo.

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‘Passive House’ documentary is the last word on zero-energy buildings

Passive Houses are homes so well insulated that they require no heating at all, even in winter. They're super popular in Europe, because it’s a magical land where everything is made out of chocolate and any sexual encounter that ends in fewer than three orgasms is immediately reported to the happiness police. Journalist Charlie Hoxie realized that most people in America have never heard of the Passive House (or Passivhaus in the original, economical German) building movement, so he embarked on a documentary to spread the word. What follows are a series of excerpts from that film. You can also …

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This electrical socket spits out your power-sucking plugs

The PumPing Tap does not like wasted power. It's an electrical socket with a spring-loaded ejector seat, which pops plugs right out if they're slowly sucking energy when not in active use. The idea is to combat vampire power, the massive amount of energy slowly sapped by idling gizmos, like microwaves that aren’t cooking or chargers that aren’t charging anything. The PumPing Tap (which is still in the design stage, sadly) monitors the flow of energy, and if you don't use a device for 10 minutes -- ptooie! -- it's unplugged. Ten minutes seems like a pretty short window in …

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The world’s tallest treehouse

The Minister's House in Crossville, Tenn., is 10 STORIES HIGH, over 97 feet tall, and supported by six full-grown oak trees. If you're a total purist about your treehouses and believe they need to be entirely off the ground and supported only by limbs, then this doesn't qualify, but screw you because it's awesome.  You can see more photos here and here, and you know that you want to.

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