Living

Video

The most bare-chested grocery-bag video you’ll watch today

This is maybe not the most complex Tim Minchin song I've ever heard, but you have to admit it imbues canvas grocery bags with some much-needed rock star cachet. At least by the time the giant fan comes out. (Hat …

Green Living Tips

Ask Umbra: How can I de-stink secondhand clothes?

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I strive to reduce/reuse/recycle, but as someone who is sensitive to chemicals, purchasing used clothing presents problems. Sometimes soaking the clothes in borax or vinegar, and washing as much as a dozen …

Cities

Palestinians can’t get statehood, but at least they’ve got these zero-emissions schools

Yeah, it kinda sucks to be a Palestinian these days, what with the failed peace talks and everyone but you having an Arab Spring. That doesn't mean your non-state state isn't making progress, though: Just check out the plans for …

Energy Efficiency

A magical meter and friendly competition help one community dial back energy use

The Island Energy Dashboard gives residents a real-time look at how much electricity they’re sucking from the grid. When Puget Sound Energy announced plans to build a new substation to meet rising electricity demand on Bainbridge Island, Wash., in 2009, …

Living

What are we made of? One word: Plastics

This story originally appeared in Urbanite. In What’s Gotten Into Us? Staying Healthy in a Toxic World, McKay Jenkins sounds an alarm on the chemicals that we unknowingly ingest and inhale daily.Photo: J.M. GiordanoAfter the discovery of a tumor near …

Business & Technology

Samsung’s new Zombocalypse-proof appliances

Samsung's new line of energy-efficient, even solar-powered appliances that are robust in the face of power fluctuations and outages were built for Africa (that’s why they’re called “Built for Africa”), but they have “catastrophist stocking stuffer” written all over them. …

Living

Fleeced again: How microplastic causes macro problems for the ocean

On Black Friday, outdoor retailer Patagonia took out a full-page ad in The New York Times asking readers to “buy less and to reflect before you spend a dime.” Beside a photo of their iconic fleece jacket, the headline read: …

Living

My holiday wish? Ixnay on the iPod

The author’s beloved crap.Photo: Thomas HaydenCross-posted from Last Word on Nothing. Black Friday is behind us, and Cyber Monday too. But those are just start dates: The pressure to buy, buy, buy isn’t going to let up for another month …

Green Home

Ask Umbra: Which Christmas tree is the greenest?

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Which is greener — real Christmas trees or fake? I know you answered this question in the past, but I wonder if there’s any new data? Ginger C. Littleton, Colo. All this …