Living

A review of disposable eco-diapers

We got you covered. After having my first child this summer, I learned one thing right off the bat: The only thing I craved more than a good, long nap was a good, strong nappy. I had heard tales from other parents of astronomical blowouts, but not until I was faced with my own filial feces did I appreciate the wonders of a reliable diaper. In search of a green choice — and having passed up the cloth option for reasons I won’t go into here — I loaded up on the various “eco” disposables available, their claims ranging from …

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

Global recession? Must be time for the media’s alternative-energy backlash

My father used to say of his profession that newspaper editors are the people who come down from the mountaintop at the end of the battle and shoot the wounded. A massive credit crunch and a drop in the price of fossil fuels can mean only one thing to the editors of the traditional media — an excuse for their favorite activity in the whole world, the backlash story. Faster than you can say “Joe the Plumber” isn’t a licensed plumber, his name isn’t Joe, and he has a tax lien against him, you can be sure that if the …

The word of Lahde

The internets have been having lots of fun with a farewell letter sent by Andrew Lahde, who ran the hedge fund Lahde Capital Management. That fund was up 870 percent last year, so Lahde decided, screw it, he’s rich enough and he’s quitting. And going out with quite a bang too. The entire letter is worth reading. This is probably the best part: I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly …

Umbra on straw-bale homes

Dear Umbra, Do you recommend building straw bale homes? And/or can you insulate an existing home with straw bales on the outside of the home and then finish it using siding, wood, or stucco? I wonder why this renewable, economical, and easily available resource is underused and undervalued … am I missing something? What do you think? Leni E.Hollywood, Fla. Dearest Leni, Anyone who has seen a straw-bale home will not be making any of the traditional jokes about the Three Little Pigs. The plastered walls are filled with solid bales of straw at least 14 inches wide, and the …

Electric Mini Cooper coming to the U.S.

What’s cute and teeny and charged up? An electric Mini Cooper, which BMW will unveil at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Even more exciting — especially if you are among “select private and corporate customers” — a 500-vehicle test fleet will be available for lease in California, New Jersey, and New York early next year. While the creatively named Mini E will be manufactured in the United Kingdom and Germany, BMW is still mum on specific plans for a European release. The two-seater Mini E takes about eight hours to fully charge, then can travel 150 miles before …

Live, baby, live

Architecture 2030’s challenge targets would provide five times the energy as offshore and nuclear

Because America’s energy crisis is adversely impacting our economy and national security, it is critical to take a realistic look at the energy solutions currently being proposed by politicians, industry, and the media. Architecture 2030 in its latest E-News Bulletin illustrates that the centerpiece of America’s proposed "Bold Energy Plan," consisting of 45 new nuclear plants and offshore drilling, would supply a meager three percent of the 118 QBtu of energy that the Energy Information Administration projects America will consume in 2030. The other proposed big idea is “clean coal” technology, which is at best 15 to 20 years out, …

From Summer to Starr

Heel the world Summer Rayne Oakes and Payless make quite the pair … of shoes. The duo are stepping up to offer a line of eco-friendly kicks made from organic cotton, hemp, and recycled materials — all at a price even Joe the Plumber can love. Elephant out of room Hey Ranger, Coming 2 town. Meet 4 drink @ Babar? Got junk n the trunk, IYKWIM. I’ll never forget u. Luv, Elephant. Hair of the dog Need a new sweater? Look no fur-ther than your own woolly mammal. Put away the vacuum and take up the knitting needles — they’re …

The future is small

Gas-efficient and diesel ‘city’ cars are creating a buzz

This Guardian story was written by reporter Bibi van der Zee. Grist is a member of the Guardian’s Environment Network. —– The Paris Motor Show is so dazzling, so enormous and so festooned with models, champagne bars and plasma screens that it almost convinces you that everything is marvelous. The car salesmen are all smiles and handshakes — but what they would really like to do is fall to their knees and plead with you. Buy our cars! Please! The truth is that the motor industry is in freefall. In the U.K., between September 2007 and September 2008, new numberplate …

World Food Day 2008: Cooking and food preservation come to the table

Age-old cooking and preserving techniques could relieve food insecurilty worldwide

Today is World Food Day, and it’s time to assess the prospects for the short- and long-term future of our food. As I write this, there are more than 100 million new starving people in the world since last year. As I write this people in Iceland, one of the world’s richest nations, are wondering whether there will be any imported food coming into their country. As I write this, one out of every 11 Americans — and as many as one in seven in states with high levels of poverty — require food stamps to be able to eat. …

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