Jeff Guida's soon-to-be-Kickstarted ShareRoller is a hack for your local bikeshare -- a briefcase-looking block that takes just a minute to attach to a bikeshare bike and that gives you an electric assist, up to 18 mph.
To interface with the bike, the ShareRoller uses a retractable powered wheel that relies on friction to drive the front tire. Acceleration is adjusted using a simple throttle control, temporarily mounted to the bike's handlebars, that propels the bike at varying speeds when pushed, but automatically turns it off when released. And braking is, of course, handled by what the bike already has in place.
Two hours of charge will get you 12 miles of riding.
All of this is rad! There are just three problems.
Speronis has been fighting the city of Cape Coral since November when a code enforcement officer tried to evict her from her home for living without utilities. The city contends that Speronis violated the International Property Maintenance Code by relying on rain water instead of the city water system and solar panels instead of the electric grid.
And now, a judge has ruled that living independently of the city's water supply is illegal. "She must hook up to the water system, although officials acknowledge she does not have to use it," says Off the Grid News.
The Arctic's "old ice" -- ice that had been around for at least four years -- used to make up about a quarter of all the ice in the Arctic sea. But it's disappearing, and in the NOAA video above, you can watch it happen. It’s kind of unnerving -- the ice cover looks almost like it's in pain, and if the Arctic could feel pain, this probably would hurt.
Replacing this thicker, harder old ice with young ice, which is generally thinner and melts more easily, is also contributing to the steep decline in summer sea ice extent and could trigger a feedback loop.
Here’s a reality show without any backstabbing, pregnancy scares, or limo hookups: Vanilla Ice Goes Amish. The ’90s rapper -- whose real name, Robert Van Winkle, is fittingly pastoral -- moved in with an Amish family in Holmes County, Ohio, where he helps them with home renovations and all manner of farm tasks. The first season aired on the DIY Network in October, and it’s been renewed for a second, so it’s not too late to tune in.
Van Winkle emphasized to Modern Farmer that he’s a family man, with a 16-year marriage and two kids. Ditching his computer and cellphone wasn’t a big deal, he said, because work ate up all his time. Writes Modern Farmer:
You know all those covers of Frozen’s “Let It Go” floating around the internet? Blame severe weather. At least, blame severe weather for this one, a Cincinnati traffic reporter’s version titled "Just Don’t Go." Watch Bob Herzog warn drivers to stay the heck off the dangerous, icy roads:
For the past couple months I’ve been trying out cargo bikes, city bikes, and electric bikes, in an effort to replace my stolen sleek and speedy ride with something more appropriate for a dad.
I wrote about the initial phases of my quest here and here. And now it's over -- I finally have a bicycle of my own. So, um, let me just get this out of the way: The forces that led me to my choice were hardly rational, and so far I’ve been too abashed to tally up the total monstrous cost. Still, I hope my shameful story may be useful in guiding others.
My goal at the outset was to find a bike that would be so useful and fun that I’d never want to fire up our new car. And I wanted something with a fundamentally different feel than my last bike: something built for pleasure, not for speed.
That last goal proved to be a lot harder than I’d expected. Walk into just about any bike shop in the U.S., and you’ll see row upon row of racing bikes with low handlebars and high seats that cock the rider aggressively forward, like a sprinter in the blocks. And then, off in a corner, you’ll find a couple more upright bikes -- but even those (for the most part) will have a similar frame geometry, with an erect seat post. If you want a seat post that lounges back over the wheel, giving the rider a relaxed posture, you pretty much have to go to Europe, or to one of the few specialty shops that imports Dutch bikes.
Q.I follow a largely vegan diet, but I often make exceptions for animal foods that have a lighter environmental impact, such as using local honey instead of sugar. I am wondering about butter and its alternatives. Coconut oil is a great butter replacement, but it must travel far. I have access to generic organic butter, but no local butter. What do you recommend?
Christine Little Rock, AR
A. Dearest Christine,
Butter and its assorted alternatives aren’t technically required for a healthy diet, so we can live without them entirely. All butter does is moisten our cakes, add creamy flavor to our crackers, impart rich mouthfeel to our sautés, and lend an irresistible flakiness to our pie crusts ... You know what? On second thought, we definitely can’t live without them. Please excuse me while I go grab a biscuit.
Since you’re open to cow-sourced products, I should start by pointing out that you do have access to local butter -- if you can connect with a local, grass-fed, pastured dairy and make it yourself, that is. From what I remember from elementary-school Pioneer Day, this is a tasty and fun process.
But then again, it’s also somewhat time-consuming and creates a product high in saturated fat, one of the artery-clogging bad fats we’d all do well to avoid. And because you’re largely limiting animal products in your diet, Christine, I suspect you’d be even more interested in some of the creative, plant-based alternatives out there. Coconut oil is a popular one, but as you note, it’s not exactly a local product. Let’s toss out palm oil too while we’re at it -- the stuff is linked to significant ecological destruction of the rainforest.
It might not be spring yet, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting a head start on some spring cleaning. You know you don’t need to add a trip to the store to your to-do list -- you’re already familiar with a few pantry items that double as cleaning tools. Here’s round two, with eight more items you already have in your kitchen.
New York state-based photographer Brandi Merolla was trying to figure out her next project when she looked around her house. Victorian prints, tiny charms, paintings, vintage postcards, and figurines she collected throughout the years suddenly stood out in ways they hadn't before. So she used her collection to illustrate something else close to home: fracking. In "Scenes from the Attic," Merolla tackles a big controversy with tiny art.
Public utility Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp. has had the nerve to plan a water tower in Bartonville, Texas – right next to Tillerson’s own personal horse ranch! Not only is the tower a blight on Tillerson’s very own piece of Texas forever, but it’s also going to bring all kinds of noise, traffic, and plebeians to his driveway. Oh, and one more thing – it’s also going to supply the energy companies that are quickly growing their fracking operations in the area. Included among these companies is XTO Energy, which ExxonMobil acquired in 2009.