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A five-fingered review of less-toxic nail polishes

If you've ever gone in for a manicure and, getting a good whiff of the stuff, wondered what sort of chemicals create a smell like that, you've hit the nail polish issue on the head. Those tiny little glass bottles of paint that we apply so gingerly to our fingernails and toenails -- and unless you're a manicure Michelangelo, often our skin as well -- contain a long list of chemicals, some of them known to cause a host of health problems ranging from infertility to cancer. And lest you think the FDA is keeping a close eye on your …

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Festival-goers hop free ride — and stay car-free, too

As we've reported in the past, music festivals across the country are making moves to be more sustainable -- mostly involving recycling efforts, compostable utensils, and biodiesel generators. But this year's Coachella music festival, held in Indio, Calif., April 25-27, took an interesting track, chartering an Amtrak train to transport festival folk to and from L.A. The Coachella Express was set up by the creative minds behind Global Inheritance, a group focusing its attentions on a young, hip, festival-going audience, and involved creating a new train platform in Indio to accommodate the arriving campers. For the 300+ riders who took …

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Umbra on lead and gardens

Dear Umbra, In your reply to the question about pollution and rooftop gardening, you talked a fair amount about lead pollution. Since gasoline is no longer leaded, and since it's container gardening that wouldn't have any lead paint in it, and surely nobody has lead water pipes any more, why is lead even a concern? Teresa Brenham, Tex. Dearest Teresa, Our ecological history hangs around our necks like a lead weight. Still heavy after all these years. I apologize for lack of clarity on the rooftop gardening issue, and would like to offer additional information useful to all gardeners. You …

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There’s a metaphor in here somewhere

Why the seal attempted to have sex with the penguin is unclear.

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Friday music blogging: The Ruby Suns

In 2005, New Zealand indie band The Ruby Suns put out a (self-titled) dreamy, beautiful psych-pop album that's been one of my favorites for years. Now they've finally released the follow-up: Sea Lion. The product description at Amazon is unusually accurate: The melodic musings of "Sea Lion" found inspiration in the natural world and Ryan McPhun's travels with in it. With a Dictaphone, he ventured into the wilds of Africa, the ancient monasteries of Thailand, and the haunting landscapes of New Zealand that surround his everyday. It was intended to be a world music album, but reverb and psychedelic pop …

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From D’oh to Dash

Jessica and Ashlee not included Universal Studios is launching a Simpsons-themed ride, but don't have a cow, man! It uses LED lighting and energy-efficient electronics -- so it's as green as Ned Flanders' sweater. Ay, caramba! Though, not, of course, as green as having no ride at all ... D'oh! © 2007 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved. Can't see the chest hair for the trees Looking for the best way to "showcase the pain involved in deforestation"? Hairy Harrison suggests a nice chest wax. More than we can stomach Oh, PETA, lettuce say this: the half-naked chick thing? Getting a …

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Target launches eco-friendly line by Rogan Gregory

Photos: Target Big-box store Target -- or Tar-zhay, as I like to call it -- is launching its first eco-friendly line of apparel ... at luxury retailer Barneys New York. The collection, designed by Rogan Gregory of Edun and Loomstate denim fame, uses organic cotton, hemp, linen, and bamboo to create a "beach safari vibe" and "relaxed silhouettes." And this guy doesn't skimp on eco-materials ... no "5 percent organic" here. Says a Target rep, "[Gregory's] expertise at fusing organic material with skillful design will show women everywhere how easy it is to be environmentally conscientious while remaining stylish." The …

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Today, No Pants Day will undoubtedly spark dialogue about climate change

Arguably, a far superior cousin to Earth Day: No Pants Day. It may seem to be an innocuous, juvenile ritual devoid of underlying political intentions, but neglecting one's trousers provides unavoidable commentary about global warming. Conversation starter: "My legs are hot ... and so is the planet." (Bringing up body hair and deforestation is optional.) After all, "When large groups of people parade around in public without their pants, amazing things are bound to happen."

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An interview with Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

Stacy Malkan. Beauty, they say, is only skin deep. But given the load of toxic chemicals in everyday products like shampoo, deodorant, and makeup, that superficial truth is still cause for concern. With increasing frequency, studies point to hidden dangers in the medicine cabinet: things like lead in lipstick, phthalates in baby lotions, aluminum in deodorant. While the amount of each toxic may be tiny on its own, the number of products most people use each day means we're exposing ourselves to unnecessary risks -- all in the name of looking and smelling good. In 2002, the Campaign for Safe …

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