No one plans to get a massive head injury when they hop on a bike. And most of the times you bike somewhere, you do arrive safely at your destination without a massive head injury. So it's easy to rationalize riding without a helmet -- especially as bikeshares become more popular and it becomes that much easier to take a spontaneous bike ride. How many people, really, are going to carry around an unwieldy piece of dome-shaped plastic everywhere they go, just in case?
So far, most of the solutions to this problem have been along the lines of reusable helmet dispensaries linked to bikeshare stations. But here's a simpler one: Make a helmet that's easier to carry around. That's British inventor Jeff Woolf's plan, anyway. His "Morpher" is a helmet that folds flat in half.
Initially, James Raby just wanted to save his school, Walter L. Cohen High, in New Orleans. Named after a prominent black businessman and political leader, the school sits in one of the more diverse neighborhoods in Uptown New Orleans, and has served a mostly black student population. Raby graduated three years after it opened in 1953.
Cohen High was one of the first schools to reopen after Hurricane Katrina, but it has struggled to stay alive since then. The school was in one of the few neighborhoods that didn’t flood, so it was filled with a lot of students dealing with the traumatic stress and disorder that came with Katrina. Since 2006, it’s had three different administrative operators, at least a half-dozen principals, and a ton of teacher layoffs as a consequence of the shifting leadership.
Cohen High was not included in the city’s “Plan for the 21st Century,” the post-Katrina reconstruction strategy devised through a city-wide community participation process to decide what would be rebuilt and how. The state wants to shutter it completely by 2015, and send the students to a new mega-high school, called Booker T. Washington, that is slated to be built about two miles away.
The Walter L. Cohen Alumni Association, over which Raby presides, opposes moving its alma mater to the new high school, arguing that, with the right leadership, Cohen High’s small class sizes could lead to better academic performance than a larger school. And as Raby learned during his campaign to keep Cohen alive, environmental assessments of the soil at the new site show high concentrations of dangerously toxic metals, including lead, arsenic, chromium, mercury, and barium.
Now, Raby’s mission has changed from saving his school to saving any student from having to go to a school that’s planted on contaminated land.
Normally, you don't want to leave a piece of furniture that looks an upholstered 18th-century chaise out in the rain. But this bench has a secret power. Water doesn't destroy it; in fact, it slurps up rain and traps the water inside. Fast-forward about three minutes into this video, and you'll see what I mean:
The bench, designed by Mars Architects, is meant to be a cheaper and smaller-scale -- and comfier -- way to harvest rainwater and create more water availability, FastCoExist writes.
Benedetto Bufalino, who is French and an artist, is known for his "visually humorous transformations of consumable cultural objects," designboom says. His latest project, "La Voiture de Police Poulailler," is a 1970s police car transformed into a chicken coop. It's a clever bit of upcycling, and according to Treehugger, a clever bit of punning as well:
It's also a bit of word play on the fact that in the francophone world, the police are sometimes colloquially referred to as "chickens" (similar to the anglophone reference of police as "pigs").
The chickens don't seem empowered to arrest anyone:
There's somuchplasticcrap floating in the Pacific Ocean and washing up on shorelines that one atoll in the midst of the mess could be declared a Superfund site.
Tern Island is the largest island in the French Frigate Shoals, a coral archipelago 550 miles northwest of Honolulu, part of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Replete with lagoons, wildlife, and alluring white sands, the island could be a paradise on Earth. But it’s not. Plastic pollution there is so bad that a year ago the Center for Biological Diversity asked the feds to consider adding Tern Island and the rest of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, plus a part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that's in federal waters, to its Superfund list — a list of the nation’s most polluted places. From the petition [PDF]:
The reefs and shores of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands are littered with hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic garbage. Derelict fishing gear and debris entangles innumerable fish, sea birds, and marine mammals, often resulting in injury and death. Plastic pollution harms wildlife via entanglement, ingestion, and toxic contamination, causes substantial economic impacts, and is a principal threat to the quality of the environment.
A 14-year study has -- SHH! Please stop crowing, “Meat causes diabetes! Meat causes diabetes!” It is not quite that simple. Can you slow your roll? Get back to me when you’re ready to listen, OK?
As I was saying! A 14-year study of more than 66,000 European women shows that a diet high in acidic foods leads to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. You’d think this means oranges cause type 2 diabetes, right? But actually meat, cheese (NOOO!), and fish boost the acid in your kidneys and pee WAY more than citrus fruits. (Fruits and veggies, believe it or not, LOWER your body’s acidity -- at least your potential renal acid load.)
Magnapinna squids are one of the deep-sea more ethereal creatures. Little is known of these squid as very few have ever been captured … They are unusual in both that the fins are up to 90% of the length of the body, i.e. the mantle, and the ridiculously long length of the arms. The squid often will hold some of the arms at a 90˚ angles from the side of the body.
It looks like your standard caterpillar. Little, squirmy, kind of creepy, kind of cute. It turns, eventually, into this distinctly less cute fat moth:
But that's not why Brazil is freaking out about it, declaring emergency in two states. Brazil is freaking out because this thing can eat. Momma Helicoverpas can lay hundreds upon hundreds of eggs on a single plant, and those caterpillars will eat pretty much whatever plants they encounter: tomato, cotton, okra, beans, chickpeas, sorghum, tobacco, potatoes, any number of fruit and ornamental plants. And, oh yeah, soy and corn and cotton -- Brazil's big commercial crops.
In New York City, car owners complain all the time about parking. (Like, bike lanes are making for less of it, boo hoo!) And while there is a fair bit of competition for these public and often free resources, it can't be that bad, because there are a handful of people in the city who have found places to park giant RVs and live in them.
In an end run around high, high apartment costs, the Los Angeles Times reports, at least three people are living full-time in RVs in the city. It's actually a pretty brilliant idea: One urban RVer paid $5,000 for his RV and parks it in Gowanus -- close to yuppie neighborhoods but in a more commercial area where parking tends to be a little more available. Another paid $15,000 for his place. The median rental price in Brooklyn right now is $2,800 per month, so the RV starts to make financial sense really quickly.