Living

h2 the horsizzle

How to improve a Hummer’s mileage and add retro style

Improving a Hummer’s mileage doesn’t take much. And it doesn’t even require pricey, high-tech electric batteries. Artist Jeremy Dean says you have to go Back to the Futurama, which is more 19th century than lithium-ion centric. But how to actually improve a Hummer’s mileage? Easy: Put two horses in front of it and take it for a ride through Central Park. While we’re not sure how much you’d have to pony up to get this kind of horsepower, the video below is worth watching to see how Dean’s Hummer hoofs it.  —————————————————————————————————————————————————– Like what you see? Sign up to receive …

connect the DOTS

Do Americans really make the connection between transportation, oil use, and environmental impacts?

The national poll that Transportation for America released this week makes it clear that Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of increasing our access to transportation options, no matter where they live in America — big cities, suburbs, small towns, or rural areas. The majority believes that their community — and the country as a whole — would benefit from an expanded and improved public transportation system including rail and buses. Americans not only underestimate how much of their tax dollars actually go to roads and bridges, 58 percent think we should be spending more of those dollars on public transportation …

scrap that

McDonald’s scraps composting program because food won’t decompose [April Fools]

A McDonald’s composting initiative is going to the dump.Photo: bhamsandwich via Flickr UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! We’ve pulled your leg. Look who else is laughing: McDonald’s on Twitter. McDonald’s announced this morning that it would discontinue plans for a worldwide composting initiative after scientists confirmed that no item on the McDonald’s menu is compostable. The plan to keep food waste — more than 1.5 billion tons a month — out of landfills would have been the largest composting program in the world, with bright green composting bins at all the 31,000-plus restaurants around the world. But McDonald’s halted the …

It's uncanny

Ask Umbra on aluminum cans, the climate bill, and bathroom burdens

Send your question to Umbra! UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! Q. Dear Umbra, I just finished drinking a soda—actually, I still have a sip or two left but wanted to go ahead and email you, so I’d have an answer by the time I finish it. What should I do when the can is empty? Yes, I know I can just recycle it, but it’s really not my style to take such an easy way out. I’m more of a road-less-traveled kind of guy. Should I bury it? Fill it with water and drop in a couple goldfish? Lambast myself …

strip breeze

New Jersey to put ex-strippers to work weatherizing homes

The WeatherStrippers are good with caulk.Foxtongue via Creative Commons UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! The Garden State’s new jobs program, cheekily dubbed “WeatherStrippers,” will utilize Recovery Act funds to create an estimated 450 jobs while also reducing low-income residents’ energy bills through electricity savings. The WeatherStrippers will seek to put caulking guns in the hands of disadvantaged former strippers through a 12-week, hands-on training program focused on efficient building erection and maintenance. WeatherStrippers program director, Amber Heatless, commented, “A lot of the ‘green jobs’ attention goes to training ex-convicts to install solar panels, but we realized that the downturn in …

Our daily bread

In praise of the sandwich-shop trend

Simply delicious: the sandwich trend takes flight at Butcher in New Orleans.Photo courtesy Jason Perlow, via Flickr. In the late 1990s, if you wanted to go out for a skillfully cooked meal made from top-quality local/organic ingredients, you pretty much had to find to a cutting-edge white-tablecloth restaurant: say, Berkeley’s Chez Panisse or Manhattan’s Savoy. At such places, you could expect excellent food sourced with top-quality ingredients from the surrounding foodshed–and a pretty steep check. And while such restaurants remain a vital part of the scene and undeniably contribute to the food movement, they don’t do much to dispel the …

roll with it

Lawyer: No, you shouldn’t paint your own bike lane

Portland, where else? (This one’s legal, by the way.)Courtesy BikePortland via FlickrIn case you were wondering, attorney Kenny Ching at GOOD says painting guerrilla bike lanes on your favorite cycling streets is a trouble-ridden idea. What kind of trouble? Catastrophic trouble. Never mind property damage and vandalism. You could be responsible—legally, financially, and otherwise—for a car hitting one of your fellow cyclists.  You’d likely be found negligent because you should have known (a reasonable person would have) that by painting a bike lane in the street that didn’t really belong there, people would ride their bikes in it. You should …

In which I sound 400 years old

Walkshed dilemmas and the Nissan Leaf

The wife and I recently made a fairly difficult decision about where to send our 6-year-old to school for first grade next year. We had the following dilemma: he tested into the gifted program at our neighborhood school, but he also tested into the highly gifted program, which is run at a school across town. Our neighborhood school is quite nice, and to boot, once he’s old enough he could easily walk or bike there. It would be nice to have easy access to after-school events, volunteer opportunities, etc. And on a philosophical level, we both believe it’s worthwhile to …

The GINK manifesto

Say it loud — I’m childfree and I’m proud

In 1969, graduating college senior Stephanie Mills made national headlines with a commencement address exclaiming that, in the face of impending ecological devastation, she was choosing to forgo parenthood.  “I am terribly saddened by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all,” she told her classmates. I come here before you today to make the same proclamation—with a twist. I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all. Making the green choice too often feels like …

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