Living

Watch a jaw-dropping northern lights display

Here's the upside to a massive solar storm: Absolutely astonishing aurora borealis.

Ask Umbra: Where do chemical-sucking plants go to die?

Some plants remove nasty contaminants from the soil. What happens to those leafy overachievers when their time is up? Umbra explores.

Austin gets a super swank zero-energy suburb

How do you build a (nearly) net-zero-energy suburb in 2008, at the nadir of the economic crash, when no bank in the country is convinced you’ll be able to sell your more energy-efficient but pricier homes?

Compost gets you high

“I’m holding a bowl of dirt up to my nose, in hopes of getting high on the fumes of my backyard compost pile.” That’s Pagan Kennedy’s lede for an Atlantic story on the mind-bending properties of M. vaccae, a compost-dwelling …

This house is so tiny it fits in your pocket

Two hundred square feet? SO last year. The newest tiny house folds up to fit in your pocket.

The Muppets take on Fox News

Fox News thinks the Muppets have a bias against oil companies. The Muppets point out they spent the movie DRIVING TO FRANCE IN A CAR (uh, spoiler alert). Also, Miss Piggy does not much care for Murdoch and his enterprises:

Ask Umbra: Is it OK to pour beer down the drain?

A reader wonders about how to dispose of unwanted beer. Umbra considers everything and the kitchen sink.

Spoil sport: How I learned to stop worrying and love the dumpster

Armed with suggestions from readers, Grist’s green-living pioneer went back to the trash bins in search of sustenance. This time, she emerged with a spread fit for a king.

New toilet paper is recycled and brown, and that’s not QUITE as gross as it sounds

So if you were going to make a recycled toilet paper, would you make a huge deal about it being brown? Is that really the color that will evoke the most pleasant images when paired with the phrase “recycled toilet …