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we audi know better

The unheralded significance of the Audi ‘green police’ ad

Is it me or were the Super Bowl commercials this year unusually ugly, misogynistic, and, worst of all, unfunny? Some of America’s biggest corporations seemed to be trying to play to Teabag America, and the …

Solid gold

Ask Umbra on engagement rings, straws, and napkins

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, My boyfriend and I are talking seriously about marriage, and he knows I don’t want a diamond ring (at least not a new one) because of the …

Get a heart on

Ask Umbra’s pearls of wisdom on Valentine’s Day

Dearest readers, Sometimes when I’m down in the stacks researching answers to your latest dilemmas, I enjoy taking a stroll down Ask Umbra archives lane. Here are some sparkly tidbits I culled from my past …

Fish for Thought

Editor’s Note: Anna wrote this post (and several others) before leaving on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in December. To eat fish, or not? If you’re pregnant, nursing, or even …

(IS IT REALLY SO) SMART GROWTH?

My whiz-bang light rail is your pain in the asphalt

Seattle light rail. Photo courtesy LeeLeFever via Flickr One train, two views: Getting to the airport from Seattle’s north side — its wealthier, whiter half — on public transit first involves a bus ride downtown. …

grow job

The jobs are in the trees

With Congress and the White House considering spending scarce dollars to jump-start employment, they’ll need to get the biggest jobs bang for the buck to give Americans confidence that they’re spending our money wisely. Probably …

No reason to be hopeful?

On talking to our kids about the future

Now that the first month of the new year in the new decade has come to an end, a first month that has brought much to mourn and not much to celebrate, I’ve been thinking …

Sweat the Small Stuff

How personal actions can kick-start a sustainability revolution

Step it up! Small is the new big.The environmental movement is divided over the importance of small steps — are they a critical starting point or a distraction from needed policy and institutional changes? A …

Edible Oscar

Oscar smiles upon ‘Food, Inc.,’ stiffs ‘Mr. Fox’

Food, Inc., Robert Kenner’s hard-hitting exposé of the food industry, has snagged a Academy Award nomination in the “best documentary” category. (Full list of nominess here; Food Inc. is up against another food politics-themed film, …

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