Living

‘Passive House’ documentary is the last word on zero-energy buildings

Passive Houses are homes so well insulated that they require no heating at all, even in winter. They're super popular in Europe, because it’s a magical land where everything is made out of chocolate and any sexual encounter that ends in fewer …

The sharing economy doesn’t always work: Luxury car theft edition

Peer to peer sharing of everything from apartments to cars is taking off, except when it comes to luxury cars, because they are valuable and people will steal them.

This electrical socket spits out your power-sucking plugs

The PumPing Tap does not like wasted power. It's an electrical socket with a spring-loaded ejector seat, which pops plugs right out if they're slowly sucking energy when not in active use. The idea is to combat vampire power, the …

The Change Gang: people making waves

Heart to hearth: Darfur Stoves Project’s Andree Sosler makes survival sustainable

From her Berkeley office, Andree Sosler distributes cheap, clean, efficient cooking stoves to women in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Water cyclists: An epic ride to raise awareness of a scarce resource

A year and a half ago, two Dutchmen set out by bike to spread the word about the global water crisis. Fourteen thousand miles later, they say the real work still lies ahead -- but first, they'd like to kick …

Ask Umbra: Can I really put all my recyclables in one bin?

A reader wonders if it's better to separate recyclables or to just throw everything in one bin. Umbra sorts out the truth.

Rick Santorum wants women to have lots of babies, whether they like it or not

Rick Santorum isn't just a climate denier -- he's a contraception denier. He believes contraception exists, but he's eying ways to deny you access to it.

Mmm, vegan beefcake

There are vegan bodybuilders. Yes, this is going to blow the minds of people who look at vegetarians blankly and ask, "But how do you get enough protein?" A New York Times trend piece (it's in the Sports section! That …

C1ty By NuMb3r5: A formula for growing better cities

Theoretical physicist Geoffrey West says he's found the secret to bringing cities back from the brink. It's all in the numbers, he says. But numbers also may be our downfall.