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Articles by Andy Brett

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  • Bottled v. tap

    Tom Standage, technology editor of The Economist, writes in the New York Times op-ed pages on the lack of difference between bottled and tap water.

    He notes that for less than a quarter of global annual spending on bottled water, clean water and adequate sanitation could be provided for everyone on earth. Standage recommends that instead of buying bottled water, people donate the money to water charities to achieve this goal.

  • The human and the sublime

    While we're on the topic of wild spaces, there's a great article in the New York Times this morning. Even though the author, Edward Rothstein, did some of his exploring in a car, he captures the awe-inspiring beauty of nature in way that will wake you up faster than that cup of coffee.

  • Highway bill passes the House

    Both Gristmill and the nation's editorial boards have been abuzz about the recently passed energy bill, and rightly so. However, another piece of legislation found its way through the House today: the highway bill. Typically described as "pork-laden," the bill passed the House by a wide margin and contains $286.5 billion in pork spending. It's expected to pass the Senate as well.

  • Development in NYC

    Way back in June (seems so long ago, doesn't it?) I posed the question of what constitutes a city. People frequently cite the statistic that half the world's population will soon live in cities, but those 3.4 billion people will not be living in anything close to downtown Manhattan. The definition of "urban" under which the majority of the planet's people live in urban areas is more inclusive than what people usually think of as a city -- the mega-cities like New York or London.

    Considering this, I picture the view looking west from Manhattan. The first time I saw it, it hardly looked like a major city at all, just abnormally dense suburbia. While it does have the efficient mass transportation net characteristic of many cities, Brooklyn is lacking in density.