Living

Ask Umbra: Should I buy my drinks in bottles or boxes?

A reader wonders about the greenest beverage packaging. Umbra sorts through the materials.

Graduation caps and gowns made from recycled bottles

Seniors at Michigan Tech will be sporting the finest in recycled-bottle couture at their commencement next month. The school’s graduation caps and gowns just look like the standard Hogwarts-uniform deal, but they’re actually made of recycled water bottles. 

New fashion line creates a year’s worth of outfits with only 10 items of clothing

Many of us try on more than 10 items of clothing in a single morning. Malaysian fashion label “We are ULTRA” wants you to wear only 10 articles throughout the entire year. The label’s new ULTRA 10 line aims to …

Kids’ books that take the SCARY out of science

Science writer Michelle Nijhuis goes in search of books that will inspire her toddler to think of science as a world of possibilities, not a frightening place where intimidating grown-ups have all the answers.

Gecko-inspired adhesive lets your TV cling to the wall like a lizard

With its Tom Cruise-like talent for scattering straight up walls, the gecko has become one of biomimicry’s favored muses. Studying its feet, scientists have come up with a variety of gecko-inspired tapes, but now a team at the University of …

Temporary tattoos for bike lovers

Are you a little more badass than your typical bike commuter, but maybe a little less than your typical bike courier? Then temporary tattoos are perfect for you, and conveniently, temp-ink emporium Tattly has just launched three new bike designs.

Man braves radiation exposure to care for Fukushima’s abandoned animals

Meet the modern-day, post-apocalyptic Dr. Doolittle. Naoto Matsumura lives right inside the Fukushima evacuation zone in the town of Tomioka, just 10 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The reason he’s stayed in the poisoned region post-nuclear meltdown …

How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change?

Are gas prices high enough to get Americans junking their minivans in favor of cargo bikes, or ditching their exurban McManses for walkable city living? Two new polls offer a little insight.

Anheuser-Busch turns beer leftovers into usable products

Now you can feel good after knocking back a few brewskis — and not just because you’re tipsy. Beermaker Anheuser-Busch has found a way to turn its waste grain into an array of products, from clothes to cosmetics to biogas. …