Dirty hippies with power tools

Farmer-scientist group wants to 'hack society' through open-source technology

The Open Source Ecology team's ambitious first project is the Global Village Construction Set -- a sort of life-size Erector set of the most essential machines for building a "small civilization with modern-day comforts."

The fungus conundrum

Mushrooms in the Minnesota winter [VIDEO]

Learn how oyster mushrooms are grown and how to make a delicious terrine out of them -- all while you ponder the local-versus-sustainable question.


Cups made of Jell-O are the unnecessary product du jour

Today in why-is-this-thing-real news, we have party cups made of Jell-O.

some of them want to be used by you

'Collaborative consumption' can put your underused stuff to work [VIDEO]

Rachel Botsman, coauthor of a book on collaborative consumption, details a 21st century economy rising up to take advantage of all our unused stuff.

Eat and run

My 5 best meals on the road in 2010

Over the past year, I've had terrific meals at unique, local-minded restaurants from Austin to Seattle. The holiday lull has given me the chance to write paeans to my faves.


Have $3,500 for a ritzy chicken coop?

A "luxury condominium for chickens" can be yours for only $3,500 ... making each dozen eggs cost you, uh, about $57.


Like Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds, is ‘The Whale’ on the rocks?

Documentary 'The Whale' is supposed to be released in summer 2011, but will it meet the same fate as Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johansson's marriage?

In one year and out the other?

Ask Umbra: A vision for 2011 and New Year’s (re)solutions

The year of a spilled-oil atrocity, Russian spies, and a psychic octopus is at an end. So is the decade. Now what? Lose weight, make more money? How about this for a New Year’s resolution: …

Gloria, I think you got their number

Gloria Steinem on population, sexual pleasure, and creating better fathers

Gloria Steinem says men need to be nurturing parents. "Men who raise children are much less likely to insist on having too many," she argues.