When the late lunch hunger pangs come on, it’s become old-hat to whip out the smartphone and survey food options via Yelp. But what if the cravings are more along the lines of staving off screen fatigue and finding the best birch in town?
Open Tree Map has got your back. Seattle is catching up with places like San Francisco, Philly, and Tampa with a just-launched program using Open Tree Map’s software to help city folk catalog, find, and learn about the local trees living in the midst of their urban jungle.
Q.I buy organic, U.S.-made undies from a very eco-conscious company, but have doubts about their packaging. They use "100% biodegradable," low-density polyethylene (LDPE) envelopes that claim to entirely disintegrate, turning into "humus and biomass" within months of composting or landfill disposal. I doubt that, since there's no oxygen in landfills. Or is this the type of plastic that just breaks down into small pieces? I think a recyclable paper envelope would be a lot better, even if it might get wet in transit on rare occasions.
A. Dearest Stephanie,
Three cheers for your skepticism -- a raised eyebrow is exactly the kind of response I like to see when my readers are confronted with marketing claims like this. We will not be greenwashed! But first, I have to ask: Are you acquiring new undies at such a rate that the envelope disposal is a major concern? If that’s the case, may I gently suggest that your first move be to slow down a bit and make those unmentionables last?
Whether you have one set of skivvies or a hundred, your letter raises an excellent question: Can plastic really biodegrade? It may say so right on the package, but unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.
Editor's note: Did you miss National Chili Day on Feb. 27? Have no fear. This vegan chili is delicious any day of the year. Plus, if you perfect this recipe now, you'll be a shoo-in at your local Environmentally Friendly Chili Cook Off 2014!
Whether you knew it or not, there’s a good chance you’ve had meatless chili before. Chilis made with beans (for example, black bean and sweet potato chili) are fairly ubiquitous, and most of us have crossed paths with them at some point or another. But tempeh chili? Well, that’s another story.
Unlike fellow soy product, tofu, tempeh remains a somewhat exotic ingredient in American kitchens. This is a shame, because tempeh is versatile, nutritious, and satisfying in ways that some other meat substitutes are not; it has a dense, chewy texture and a nutty taste. And when you grate it on a box grater, it takes on a texture that is not unlike ground beef. Could anything be more perfect for a pot of vegan chili?
Heirloom tomatoes: hot. Kale: hip. Brussels sprouts: dead sexy, especially with parmesan. But celery? Not so. In this characteristically bizarre yet amusing Portlandia sketch, a teaser for the new season, watch Steve Buscemi struggle to make celery the new “it” food -- OR LOSE EVERYTHING:
Celery, as Carrie Brownstein’s character points out, is kind of a hard sell. “It’s full of soluble AND insoluble fiber! You don’t understand -- that’s very hard on the digestive system,” she tells Buscemi. On the plus side, it’s also rich in vitamins K and A, which can help keep skin, eyes, and bones healthy.
Too bad Buscemi didn’t know that celery’s an aphrodisiac -- or at least the ancient Romans thought so. “It contains the pheromone androsterone, released by men’s sweat glands to attract females,” attests the U.K. Express. Adds food writer Amy Reiley:
There are lots of reasons to pony up a few extra dollars for organic eggs -- they have those rich, deep yellow yolks, for instance, and you get the satisfaction of knowing the chickens who laid them lived better lives than the chickens who laid the sad non-organic eggs. But man, they are spendy.
One reason, Dan Charles reports at NPR, that organic eggs are expensive is that the chickens eat fancy imported food. American farmers aren't growing enough organic feed to feed the chickens that produce organic eggs:
Most chickens eat feed made from ground-up corn and soybeans, but America's farmers are not growing enough organic corn and soybeans — especially soybeans — to feed the country's organic animals. ...
Bigbird the Pelican was a foundling. He swam in off Tanzania's Lake Tanganyika one day, alone and unable to fly, and he was adopted by a safari company, Greystoke Mahale, that makes its camp on the lake's banks.
And he grew up, and he learned how to fly, and his rescuers strapped a GoPro camera to his beak while he did it so you could get a bird’s-nose view of the whole thing. This video of Bigbird winging over the lake may essentially be a commercial for GoPro, but it's also pretty awesome. Look how big Bigbird's wings are!
Enjoy weed; don’t spread your seed! That SHOULD be the slogan for Cannadoms, an awkward portmanteau for cannabis and condoms (maybe “Condabis” was taken). You have the Dutch to thank for combining your two favorite things: toking and not making a baby.
These pot-flavored condoms smell and taste as you’d expect, plus they’re green -- literally, the color green, in case you needed to be reminded of the marijuana connection in some post-4:20 haze. We have a feeling Miley’s gonna love these.
According to the U.K.'s Sunday Times, the Forest Stewardship Council has banned disposable-furniture retailer IKEA from cutting down trees in Karelia, Russia. The FSC investigated the Karelia logging operations of Swedwood, the furniture giant's forestry subsidiary, and found it was cutting down trees that were up to 600 years old.
The Times says that the FSC, an international nonprofit that promotes responsible woodland use, found that Swedwood had several "major deviations" from its logging agreement, which stipulates that the company will back off of old trees and trees growing on slopes (which would erode without root systems holding them in place). So Swedwood's forestry stewardship certificate has been suspended, which seems like a fitting punishment for lousy forestry stewardship.
Google Street View published a project today that lets you hang out with polar bears. I mean, not in real life, but there is this nice video:
If you want to get a sense of how much more fun it is to actually travel to Canada and see polar bears IRL than to look at Google Street View photos of polar bears, we recommend this PopSci feature that has a lot of reporting about polar bears and not all that much about the Google project. But there is this helpful bit about what Google is hoping to accomplish: