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Cops want you to stop crime by hanging out in sketchy areas

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Renee McGurk

The LAPD is giving crowdsourcing a try by asking residents to hang out in high-risk areas. Thankfully, it’s a little different than, “Yo! Can you chill in this scary dark alley for a while?”

The cops are using “predictive policing,” in which a computer analyzes neighborhood crime locations and spits out recommendations of certain blocks where a police presence would prevent future infractions. (“The idea is that the more time spent in the box areas, the more crime will be deterred,” writes the police department.)

But since cops can’t be everywhere at once, the LAPD’s Pacific Division recently asked neighbors to chip in. The police department will post an updated map of suggested hangout spots every day using social media, sending cops to those areas when possible, but also relying on residents to jog or walk their dogs there. Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic, for one, is willing:

Read more: Cities, Living

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Even better than more cowbell: Doctors are prescribing bikeshare memberships

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Mr. TinDC

Feeling the wind in your hair is way more fun than popping a pill. And now Boston residents can say, “I HAVE to go for a bike ride. Doctor’s orders!”

Beantown physicians have started offering poor patients $5 memberships to the Hubway bikesharing program, which normally costs $85 a year. It’s called Prescribe-a-Bike, and the goal is to help reduce obesity. Writes Streetsblog:

The program is being administered by Boston Medical Center in partnership with the city of Boston. Qualifying patients will have access to Hubway’s 1,100 bikes at 130 locations. Participants will also receive a free helmet ...

Local officials hope the program will result in about 1,000 additional memberships.

Read more: Cities, Living

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These sad photos of NYC’s gentrification show chain stores replacing local businesses

Sometimes you can see a building's history in its architecture -- old Pizza Huts, with their distinctive trapezoidal architecture, are a great example. But just in case you forgot what preceded that Verizon store in Hell’s Kitchen, photographers James and Karla Murray will remind you.

The duo juxtapose photos of defunct New York City mom-and-pops with their depressing corporate replacements in a new book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. For instance, East Village institution 2nd Ave Deli -- which opened in 1954 -- became a Chase bank in 2006 when the deli moved:

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James and Karla Murray

Greenwich Village's Bar Martins on West Houston Street got turned into a Subway:

Read more: Cities, Living

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Fish massages are the secret to sustainable caviar

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Sparky

The old way of getting caviar: Kill a fish and steal its eggs. The new way: Give a pregnant sturgeon a stress-relieving aromatherapy massage and, once she's completely relaxed, her eggs’ll just pop right out. Repeat massage every couple years.

There are no hot stones or bamboo flutes, but that’s the gist of a big breakthrough in caviar. This no-kill method is a huge improvement over waiting for a fish to turn 10 or so, then killing it as soon as it gets knocked up (RUDE). The deets from NPR:

The new method, being practiced at a small farm in Loxstedt, Germany, called Vivace GmbH, involves first viewing a sturgeon's eggs by ultrasound. If they are deemed ready, a signaling protein is administered to the sturgeon several days before the egg harvest.

This ... "induces labor" and releases the eggs from a membranous sack in the belly cavity. At that point, the eggs can be pumped from the belly with gentle massaging.

This ultra-fancy, no-kill caviar IS more expensive than normal -- up to $135 an ounce instead of about $105. But it’s a dumb luxury food based on exclusivity, so foodies probably won't mind ... and besides, SOMEbody’s gotta pay for the scented candles.

Read more: Food, Living

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Hawaii might legalize hemp — for environmental reasons, of course

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Jeremy Brooks

With 20-some states already on the legal-cannabis train, no wonder Hawaii wants to join in. Except that instead of its more popular cousin, marijuana, whom EVERYBODY wants to sit next to at lunch, Hawaii is in the process of legalizing hemp. (Unfortunately, if you put THAT in your pipe and smoke it, you’ll be sorely disappointed.)

But wait! Hemp has a great personality, honest! It may be low in THC, but the plants are great for sucking up metals, pesticides, and even crude oil, keeping them out of the soil -- and thus the food and water supply. So says a bill that just passed Hawaii’s House of Representatives and is on its way to the state Senate:

Read more: Living

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Sped-up video of ocean creatures is kind of terrifying

You know what? We take it back. Don't save the oceans. There's some really freaky stuff in there.

This video consists of 150,000 shots of corals and sponges, compressed into less than four minutes. A lot of the motion is intended for desedimentation, shaking off detritus like sand and fish excrement that threaten to bury them. At normal speed, it might take weeks for some of these changes to be obvious, but in the video the creatures judder alarmingly or throw tentacles at your face.

Read more: Living

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It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying wind turbine!

wind-turbine-blimp-BAT

Are we the only ones who can't think of blimps without thinking of Blimpie's sub sandwiches? (We also have a hard time thinking about submarines without getting hungry.) If so, we're sorry to make your mouth water, but Massachusetts company Altaeros has cooked up the Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT), a scrumptious, 60-foot blimp that can float 1,000 feet high. Instead of delicious smoked turkey and provolone, its tasty filling is a wind turbine.

Once airborne and tousled by the wind -- which blows two to three times stronger up there -- the BAT sends power down to earth through wires.

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It’s ideal for remote areas that aren’t fit for solar or traditional wind turbines, like parts of Alaska with thinning permafrost. In fact, the BAT is planning to launch a pilot project in Alaska, powering about 12 homes. Fast Company adds pricing details:

Altaeros says the BAT will deliver power at about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is more than most of the country, but still below what some Alaskan communities currently pay.

Now all we have to do is get the blimp to deliver lunch too.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Real hippies drink beer made from tree branches

If you really care about the planet, you'll eat, sleep, and especially drink the outdoors. That's why one Canadian brewery is making beer out of tree branches, because NATURE.

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Sarah Farthing

Prairie Sun Brewery isn't just proving its hippie bona fides -- it's also raising money for outdoorsy pursuits. The brewery created Meewasin 80 ale to help expand the Meewasin Trail in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Adding 10 miles to the trail will connect two public parks, but the Meewasin Valley Authority still needs a little over $1 million to finish the job. Graciously, Prairie Sun is donating all proceeds from Meewasin 80 to the project!

But what’s it taste like? Writes CBC News:

Read more: Food, Living

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Here are the fair-trade hipster shoes you’ve been waiting for

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Oliberté

Forget giving hipster shoes to people in Africa (cough, TOMS). How about giving them jobs? Oliberté is that shoe company -- with the added perk of giving you a way to buy your chukka boots and flats with less guilt.

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Oliberté

Oliberté bills itself as a fair-trade, sustainable clothing brand based in sub-Saharan Africa, paying its workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, more than double the minimum wage. The factory is the world’s first to be certified by Fair Trade USA. So in addition to fair pay, workers get benefits like 90-day maternity leave, reasonable work hours, no exposure to certain toxic chemicals, and decisionmaking via employee committee.

Adds Treehugger:

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Here’s a solution to most bikes’ dirty secret

Ever been biking in a park and been dismayed that your shiny metal bike didn’t quite fit in with your earthy, natural surroundings? So has designer Daniel Gestoso -- so he dreamt up the Boske wooden bike.

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Daniel Gestoso

Like its predecessor, the Sandwichbike, the Boske is flat-packed in IKEA fashion; you only need an Allen wrench to put it together. Its frame is a bony figure eight made from laminated, sustainably harvested maple. Recycled pop cans provide the aluminum for the seat base and front fork. “All of this will allow production to stay local, reducing energy usage in transportation and distribution,” Gestoso told Fast Company.