Living

Kate tested, nature approved

Kate Hudson launches eco-friendly haircare line

Kate Hudson’s no fool … her new haircare line, David Babaii For Wildaid, is free of sulfates, parabens, and animal products. The products were tested on Kate, not on animals — and proceeds will benefit Wildaid, a wildlife conservation org. So jealous that she gets to hang out with these guys!

The Betty Crocker’s Cookbook of low-carbon living

When I got to college, the best book I bought was a 3-ring notebook-style Betty Crocker's Cookbook. Not adventurous food, but for someone who knew very little about anything concerning food, it was a great first book. It assumes that you are reading a cookbook because you want to know what to do, step-by-step -- instead of just hinting, it lays it out, with pictures and plain language. Great stuff. A couple times a year my wife and I still will ask one another, "What does Betty say to do with these?" I always think of Betty (and the old How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive) as the epitome of good technical instruction books. They are all about practical information first, with a minimum of wasted words. Today I found a new one for that list.

Jay Leno Earth Day videos

Because I’m a video hu-a and will basically embed anything anybody sends me, I give you this from NBC:

New bulb on the block

Spendy mercury-free LED bulb supposedly lasts 50,000 hours

Somewhere, in school or on the job, every engineer learns about tradeoffs -- that there is no free lunch, and that, once a design is at all reasonable, gains in one dimension come at the cost of compromises in others. The shorthand statement of this is the pithy evergreen in design classes: "Good, fast, and cheap. Pick two!" There's a new bulb out: a 13-watt LED array bulb with an integral diffuser, so you don't see the annoying space-craft look of little tiny rows of LEDs like the first-generation LED lamps offer. It has no mercury, a boon, and lasts about five times longer than its 13-watt compact-florescent competitors, while being much faster-acting and producing a warmer light. It costs a boatload, at least now ($90). But I still have my first compact florescent bulbs from 1989: huge, heavy ballasts, barely "compact" at all. I'll buy one of these whenever I need a new bulb and gradually switch over all the hard-to-reach spots. An interesting video comparison with 100-watt incandescent bulbs and 13-watt compact florescent bulbs is available at the link.

Here’s a dressing that passes muster without cutting the mustard

Now that spring is well and truly here, I can’t wait for local produce to appear in the farmers’ markets. In New England, that moment is still many weeks away, sadly, but at least now it seems possible — unlike in the winter, when the farmers’ markets I frequent show off piles of dirty snow, not heirloom tomatoes. I love to make and eat salad, so while I while away the weeks waiting for local tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce, I am inventing new salad dressings. Get fresh with me. I wasn’t always so adept. For many, many years, I was …

What is the Vectrix?

Electric bike zips up Berkeley hills with ease

An ex-girlfriend of mine placed great diagnostic weight on the following question: Would you rather have one cookie now or two cookies later? I am generally a two-cookies-later person, and she ... well, now that I think of it, she was more of a two-cookies-now kind of person, which explains ... Photo: Sonietta46 I digress. The point is that if you have been reading all the recent news about the Tesla and the Volt, and now Think is coming to America, and apparently Project Better Place is going hook up everyone in Denmark and Israel -- and you are perhaps pissed at the oil companies, and food riots are scaring the shit out of you, and the rocketing price of gas makes you wonder if the peak oil kids are right -- well, who can blame you for wanting an electric car right now? Unfortunately, you are kind of screwed. I mean, the Zenn is kind of cute, but 35 mph? Tesla takes reservations, but a reservation doesn't really get you to the grocery store, does it?

F*ck the Earth Day

Warning: video below contains naughty words. Cover your ears.

Monopoly game gets hip to renewable energy

Photo: goat_girl via Flickr Refuse to play Monopoly because you fear Electric Company sources its power from coal? Fear not! Game-maker Hasbro is updating everyone’s favorite interminable game, and in the Here and Now: World Edition, Water Works and Electric Company will be replaced with Wind Energy and Solar Energy. It’s “a nod to the efforts of countries worldwide to increase the effectiveness and availability of renewable energy sources,” says Phil Jackson (the Hasbro executive, not the basketball coach). So Rich Uncle Pennybags doesn’t need water anymore, huh? Says the chair of the Atlantic Canada Water Works Association, “It just …

Strangers in the backyard

Why save the planet if you don’t know who lives here?

There were plenty of depressing numbers out there this Earth Day, from dwindling numbers of moose in Minnesota to ongoing honey bee decline. But to me, this takes the Prozac-frosted cake: a study found that while young people could identify a thousand corporate logos, they couldn't identify even a handful of plants and animals in their backyards. Will future generations care about protecting the planet if they can't even pick a starling out of a lineup? How can we start to change that? The No Child Left Inside Coalition has a simple idea: get 'em outside:

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