Living

Nuclear kids on the block

Ask Umbra’s pearls of wisdom on nuclear energy

Dearest readers, Not all of your questions are as manageable to navigate as selecting local versus organic apples or how to recycle your light bulbs/baby food jars/yogurt containers/cell phones. Some are downright difficult, controversial, and ambiguous, which is frankly all the more reason to dive into these quandaries. One such pickle: nuclear energy. It’s recently found a revival in the headlines via the Obama administration’s proposal to triple nuclear power loan guarantees in 2011 and Bill Gates touting high tech nuclear reactors at the TED Conference, which led me to the Ask Umbra archives to dig up some pieces of …

Is that a lettuce in your pocket?

The incredible edible urban jungle [SLIDESHOW]

How does your garden grow? Deeply urban denizens are ingenious at getting their greens. We’ve searched out some of the more outrageous efforts.  

Do I get my own balance beam?

Old Olympic village for rent: cheap!

Photo: Energy AustraliaWant to live rent free for a year, and pay no costs for energy and water needs? Not enough incentive for you? How about the possibility of having a plug-in electric car in your garage, as well? This is the deal that Energy Australia is offering, in concert with Sydney Water. They’ll be interviewing successful applicants, who will ideally be a family with kids to spend 12 months live-testing an energy and water smart home in the west of Sydney. The project that has been described by the NSW state government, one of the backers, as a ‘bit …

the breeding edge

Veggies not challenging enough? Try home ‘aquaponic’ gardening

Last year, thanks in large part to the White House kitchen garden, the country saw a resurgence in interest in backyard gardening. But this being America, where one-upsmanship sometimes seems like a national pastime, the vanguard has apparently moved on … to “aquaponics.” The New York Times illustrates what makes this “breeding edge” of backyard agriculture different with a visit to hobby farmer Rob Torcellini’s hand-built installation in Connecticut: There are fish here, for one thing, shivering through the winter, and a jerry-built system of tanks, heaters, pumps, pipes, and gravel beds. The greenhouse vents run on a $20 pair …

Do you know the muffin, man?

Ask Umbra on how to make organic dog treats

Brianne DiSylvester, owner of Get Lick’d Organic Dog Treats and Change Agent featured in today’s Ask Umbra video, was kind enough to give us this tasty treat recipe for your furry friends. Enjoy, dearests, and let me know how your pups like the muffins in the comments below (FYI, you can eat them too, but they may not be up to your palate standards). I’m the size of a muffin. Get Lick’d Organic Peanut Butter Carob Treats Makes 48 muffins 2 cups organic brown rice flour 1 cup water 1/4 cup vegan carob chips 1 Tb organic peanut butter 1 …

Polar Bears Endangered, But Cute

Olympic broadcast wins gold for vapidity

While eagerly watching Bode Miller and the men's downhill Olympic race yesterday, I was treated to an unbelievably vapid interlude by Mary Carillo on the Polar Bears of Churchill, Manitoba, which she showed to Bob Costas. The whole time I was waiting for someone to take this great opportunity to talk about climate change in front of a massive audience. After all, with the bears, there's really obvious stuff going on.