The makers of this video seem to think they needed to improve on reality by intimating that the emu was dancing the tango with this battery-powered ball. But it’s not necessary to pretend that. It’s amusing enough to watch the emus go: Ball. Ball? Ball! Ball? OMG ball!
Yesterday, the British government announced that it would be exporting more than $73 million worth of pig semen, frozen and fresh, to China, where half of the pigs in the world live. Why does China need pig semen, if it has so many pigs? One government source told the Guardian, "China has an interest to increase the efficiency of their production, while minimizing the environmental impact of increased production."
In other words, as Philip Lymbery, the head of Compassion in World Farming, writes:
Our pigs grow faster, have a lower fat-to-meat ratio and higher reproduction rates than their Chinese counterparts. UK breeders have sows that could produce more than 30 piglets each year, while Chinese sows bear fewer than 16. It takes approximately a year for native Chinese pigs to reach slaughter-weight. Our pigs take just five months. China's rapidly growing urban middle-class has developed a taste for pork and demand for the meat is soaring.
So, with British pig semen in the mix, Chinese pigs will produce more pigs that will get consume even more resources even faster, as more Chinese people get to feed their taste for pork. It’s not great news for the planet or for the pigs, says Lymbery:
Add to this the fact that sows in China are almost certain to be kept in stalls. It is unacceptable that we will be exporting pig semen to a country that keeps pigs in conditions that are illegal in the UK. In addition, the abattoirs in China hugely vary in slaughter standards, but overall standards are far lower, as China has little animal welfare legislation.
Most of the inner chamber is your typical trash can, but there’s a separate space at the bottom with a pull-out tray for any edible trash. (The tray makes it both easier for cleaning and for you to dispose of your lunch remains.) The can's designers, Professor Bao Haimo and a team of four students, won an honorable mention in 2013’s Red Dot Design contest for their creation. The designers provide some context:
Watch where you put that power cord, because you could get cuffed for charging your EV in public. That’s what happened to Georgia dad Kaveh Kamooneh, who plugged in his Nissan Leaf for 20 minutes at Chamblee Middle School. A local cop showed up during this egregious city robbery and told Kamooneh he’d get arrested for electrical theft.
Kamooneh ended up spending 15 hours in jail for the crime of using 5 cents’ worth of electricity “without consent.” We get that most areas don’t have the infrastructure yet for widespread EV adoption, but seriously?!
Kamooneh said that the car, when plugged into a 110-volt outlet, draws a kilowatt an hour. "Over an hour, that's maybe eight or nine cents" worth of electricity, he said, depending on the rates. He was plugged in for less than 20 minutes, so he estimated the amount of power he drew from the school at less than 5 cents...
Q.I always buy organically raised beef, when I do buy beef. I read that ground beef you get is a mixture of beef from different animals. How do I know the beef I am getting is, in fact, organically grown? Could it be mixed with other feedlot beef? Also, when it comes to processing the animal, how are the organically raised cows treated? Any better or different than if they were just regular cows?
Suzy P. Denver, CO
A. Dearest Suzy,
When I got your letter, I imagined you reading it aloud in with a suave accent: “I don’t always eat beef. But when I do, I prefer organic.” And well that you do: There are important differences between the lives -- if not the deaths -- of organically raised cattle and their conventional, feedlot-bound siblings.
ShutterstockAustin, Texas. One of the simplest ways to measure our dependence on cars is to look at the share of commuters in a given city who get to work in a private vehicle. These are the people who rely on automobiles as part of their everyday travel patterns. They're people who live too far from work to walk there, who may prefer not to take transit, or who simply have no other options. They're the commuters for whom communities must widen highways for rush-hour capacity and build out parking garages for downtown businesses. Over the last decade, however, a new …
You may have heard that people-oriented cities are better than car-oriented cities, and Madrid is buying into this idea in a big way. The Spanish capital, which hasn’t previously distinguished itself as an especially awesome city compared to others in Spain or other European capitals, just published a long-term plan that privileges parks, gives planners flexibilities, and basically gives cars the finger.
The plan calls for 24 major Madrid streets to be radically overhauled, with car lanes removed, bike lanes added and trees planted to make them cool and shady. A new hierarchy will be in place: pedestrians come first, then public transport, then bikes, then cars. Overall, 66 percent of the affected street surface will be given over to people on foot. The irony is that before car-friendly policies reshaped central Madrid, many of these streets were just the sort of leafy, broad-sidewalked avenues the city wants, but they were remodeled to add extra motorist lanes. Now chastened by years of fumes and grime, the city is coming full circle back to its old ways.
On the moon, there's little gravity, little air, little water, and a whole lot of radiation and extreme temperature fluctuations. These are not ideal conditions for gardening. But NASA is going to try. It's designed a tiny habitat -- about as large as a coffee canister, according to NPR — that researchers think will allow plants to, if not thrive, at least exist on the moon:
The plant habitat that [plant scientist Bob] Bowman and his colleagues have designed contains seeds, as well as a nutrient-rich paper and enough air and water for the seeds to germinate and grow. The canister also has features that regulate light and temperature, and cameras that the researchers will use to track the plants' progress over five to 10 days.
The idea, of course, is that one day people will be living off-Earth for long enough periods that living off freeze-dried food will be unsustainable (and possibly cause space madness).
Every year, the MTA gets all misty around the holidays and runs a few vintage train cars. This year, the first four Sundays in December, you can ride the "Nostalgia Special" from Lower Manhattan to Queens on the M line.
There is also, this coming Sunday, a vintage subway dance party on the platform of the 2nd Avenue station from 11:45 to 6 p.m. It's organized by enthusiasts of '30s-era dances, like Lindy Hop and Balboa, which, according to Vanity Fair, are cool again. There will be music on the trains and dancing on the platform. The organizers say:
I just love the faces on people boarding what they think are “normal” subway cars, and see the old trains with wicker seats, fans, advertisements and a car full of people in period dress and bands playing great old tunes. (If you don't have anything vintage, just be creative! The photographers come out in force for this! Give them something exciting to look at!)
There will be two to three bands playing on this platform at the same time. Before the train leaves for its round trip to Queens, at least one band will board the train and play for the entire trip. Another band will then take up a spot on the platform. So there will be music on the trains and platform all afternoon!
We’re starting to think that just MAYbe, all the chemicals ‘n’ shit in our soap, makeup, birth control, and antidepressants are bad for the environment. (Wild, right?!) Because it seems like basically everything you pee out or rinse down the drain ends up right back in your drinking water -- that, or messing up fish. This time, medicated dandruff shampoos are to blame.
Dandruff shampoos keep dead skin outta your hair with fungicide, which is less fun and more -icidal than you’d hope. Wastewater treatment plants aren’t good at filtering it out, so it ends up killing algae and messing up the growth of fish and big plants. Scientific Americanhas the scoop:
Now a study has detected fungicides from anti-dandruff shampoos in the water. And even at concentrations as low as 0.5 micrograms per liter of H2O such fungicides can hurt many organisms, from tiny algae to big plants and fish. The study is in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.