Green Living Tips

Ask Umbra: Is my single-serve coffeemaker wasteful?

A reader frets about his caffeine-delivery equipment. Umbra gives him a dose of reality.


Transit workers stop train to save toy bunny

Casey Carey-Brown, a Boston woman who blogs about her daughter “Roozle,” has chronicled a harrowing story about childhood trauma narrowly averted by big-hearted transit workers. It concerns Roozle’s toy bunny Nummy, pictured above. (Roozle is the human child, Nummy is …


New York kids need a doctor’s note to use sunscreen in school or at camp

Once upon an innocent American summer, sun-kissed cheeks were all the rage for lithe, beautiful children freckling in the clean air. But now we know that evil sun rays will kill you — not now, but later, with skin cancer …


The coolest photos of Earth from space we’ve ever seen, hands down

NASA astronaut Don Pettit takes pictures from the International Space Station, and they are mind-boggling. In the long-exposure photos, cities appear as streaks of light as the ISS orbits Earth at Ludicrous Speed. And those blotches? Those are lightning. Holy …

Green Living Tips

Umbra’s second helpings: Untangling the garden hose problem

A reader wonders how to find a hose that's not made of PVC plastics. Umbra's not going to water down this answer.


Off our chests: What breasts tell us about the state of our world

Breasts are amazing things, says Florence Williams, author of the new book "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History" -- but maybe not for the reasons you think they are.


GZA and Neil deGrasse Tyson team up on a hip-hop record about science

I do not know much about writing rap lyrics, but I’m guessing that most rappers do not meet with physicists and cosmologists from MIT and Cornell before sitting down to write. But that’s exactly what Wu-Tang Clan founding member GZA …

Urban Agriculture

How to make a fold-out window garden

This garden design gives you three times as much growing space as a window box.


The coolest images and video of the transit of Venus

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured terrific footage of Venus' path across the sun.