"Oh, there's no way I'm that much of a hipster," you say. "Sure, I like to bike to my community garden to pick up some herbs to go with the eggs from my rooftop chicken coop while listening to Dave Roberts' latest music recommendation, but ironic facial hair for a bike — it's just a bridge too far." Bull crap. You know you want a handlebar mustache for your handlebars. Just go with it, they're only $5 for crying out loud. (Via @brainpicker)
Okay, so this is more amazing folk art than realistic urban design, but think of it as your Friday 10 minutes of Zen. Jerry Gretzinger has been making and remaking his incredibly detailed maps since 1963, and he's basically generated an entire alternate universe. In this mini-documentary, he details his complicated creative process, which is really not any more arbitrary than the way a lot of actual cities are laid out.
Unable to tell shiitake from Shinola? Don't know sea bass from a hole in the ground? Don't worry -- as long as you're willing to pay a giant wad of cash every month, you never have to be confused about what a "vegetable" is again. For a mere $49 a month -- only like a quarter of the average person's food budget! -- Whole Foods will hold your hand while you purchase their exorbitantly-priced groceries. In other words, if you're rich enough to eat healthy, you can spend more money to be assured you're eating healthy.
On the hottest days of the year, it's not uncommon for regional electricity systems to become so overloaded by demand that they come within a hair’s breadth of failing completely. (It happens in Texas all the time.) Fortunately, utilities have come up with a cheap and easy way to overcome this problem: they offer their customers a cash incentive to sign up for a special kind of thermostat over which the utility has limited control. Then, when it gets nasty out, the utility can literally save the grid by turning up the temperature in your home just a teeny tiny bit. This is what's known as "demand response."
The atmospheric pressure is dropping in D.C. as the hurricane prepares to move through. But in front of the White House, where protestors are pushing Obama to nix the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, the pressure has probably just ratcheted up. The State Department just released a report saying that the pipeline would have "minimal" environmental effects, which is a big step towards approving its construction. Thanks a lot, State Department.
Texas' over-the-top, economically devastating, record-breaking drought is likely to turn into a grinding, multi-year drought, reports Kate Galbraith in the Texas Tribune. That could put it on track to compete with the state's worst-ever dry spell in the 1950s, which in turn can barely compete with the prehistoric mega-droughts Texas used to experience. In other words, Texas is a dry state with a delicate climate, and climate change is only going to make things worse.
Buying a knock-off Louis Vuitton bag is one thing, but in Europe, farmers are buying knock-off pesticides. Counterfeit pesticides have become a multimillion industry over there, and if that sounds like bad news, it is: According to the Wall Street Journal, these knock-offs contain a solvent that the European Union banned because it's a huge problem for pregnant women. The WSJ's article also makes the E.U.'s efforts to deal with the problem sound like a giant clusterf*ck. There are loopholes in counterfeiting laws that mean customs can't seize the fake pesticides. The company that's been ripped off has to deal with the goods and try to recoup costs from counterfeiters, who are obviously the sort of people who'll say, "Whoops, you found me! Here are the millions of euros I made selling nasty, dangerous goods under your name!" (Or, as the WSJ puts it: "[P]ractically this can prove complicated and even impossible, as many of these companies are beyond EU jurisdiction or completely bogus.")
With Hurricane Irene on its way, New Yorkers head to Trader Joe's and make jokes (I think they're jokes?) about the proper amount to tip delivery guys who come out during a hurricane. Why does a super-walkable condo building in Denver include eight floors of parking spaces? (Answer: There's no good answer.) So weird: Even Sen. Jim Inhofe wants Mitt Romney to stop waffling on climate change. This may be the only issue Inhofe and environmentalists have ever agreed on.
"Oops," says the United States Geological Survey, "We used to think the shale on the East coast of the U.S., which gas companies are currently fracking into submission, had a metric buttload of natural gas. Turns out it only 0.2 metric buttloads." (I'm paraphrasing.)
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