Since reports of endangered animals usually follow the same trajectory, I’m thrilled to report an anomaly.
For three-quarters of a century, the Mauritius Echo Parakeet has been dying out at an alarming rate. When the breed entered the “critically endangered” category on the World Conservation Union’s annual Red List of threatened species, it was expected to go the way of the dodo.
But after years of controlled breeding experiments, this bird has done an incredible thing: not only has it managed to hang on to life, it’s actually upped its status from “critically endangered” to simply “endangered”. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
There’s no excuse for not carrying your own reusable shopping bag. Easy words, I know, but now it’s true. The excuse I hear (and use) most often is “I keep forgetting to put the bag in my car” or “It doesn’t fit in my glove box” or “my purse” or “my pocket”.
Clearly, Flip & Tumble had that in mind when they developed their low-density, strong nylon 24-7 bag. Small and lightweight, it’s designed to be with you at all times, whether you keep it in your purse, your backpack – or your car’s cupholder.
How does a reusable bag fit into all those places? Four simple words: scrunch, flip, flip, tumble. (Okay, technically that’s three words. But it’s four procedures.)
When not in use, the 24-7 Flip & Tumble lives in a small ball-shaped pouch only 3” in diameter (approximately the size of a peach). And if you find yourself suddenly buying organic produce on your way home from work, all you need to do is (from the Flip & Tumble site):
In Toyota’s enduring attempt to improve mobility and facilitate the evolution of new and ever-evolving locomotion, here cometh the i-Real concept “car.” Toyota’s successor to the iUnit, this vehicle is a car in only the most basic sense of the word. If you define a car as having wheels, allowing the driver the ability to steer, and moving by facility of its own internal power source, then yes I suppose the i-Real could be construed as a car.
It is, however, the trippiest (I know the Websters people are having a conniption fit over that one) looking “car” I have ever seen.
According to the Toyota i-Real pitch, this is a car that wraps around your body, allowing you to zip through life with little encumbrance from mortal legs. I drive a Saturn around town and a Schwinn within a fifteen-mile radius of my house. And never in the purchasing of either vehicle did the idea of “lessening the encumbrance my mortal legs” enter the equation.
No offense to well-meaning electric scooter boys and girls out there, but Brammo’s Enertia may finally be the real deal when it comes to electric two wheelers. It seems appropriate, if unfortunate, that it also comes at a very real-deal price.
Debuting early next year (with a full roll-out later in 2008), but already boasting plenty of reviewer rides behind it, the Enertia screams quality even as it glides almost soundlessly down the street. At a top speed of 50 mph, no less. Cruising at a more modest 25, the bike can go some 45 miles before needing a recharge. Two hours plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet charges the bike’s six lithium phosphate batteries to 80 percent capacity, with a full recharge requiring three hours’ juice.
Given the U.S. average commute of 29 miles at substantially faster clip (we hope, for sanity’s sake) than residential-zoned limits, the Enertia isn’t really meant to serve the average commuter.
As someone who’s lived in Hell’s Kitchen, worked in the fashion district and spent every Sunday in Central Park, I understand the need to see grass whenever possible… but in New York’s lower Westside or on top of some rundown railroad tracks? No way. I’ve walked to the Piers a million times, but never in a million years would I have believed there was a field of grass growing 20 feet above my head that will soon be turned into a luscious green park. Then again, I’d walked all over the Meat Packing District as it transitioned from loading docks to the latest NYC hot spot for art, fashion, and food, so anything’s possible.
For decades, the grass and wildflowers have been collecting dust while sucking carbon dioxide out of the dirty air and spewing out oxygen as a waste product. The idea of developing a park in the lower Westside is much needed, perfectly located and environmentally viable. Planting more trees and adding more plants will only help convert more carbon dioxide to oxygen, not to mention bring friends and families together to see a little bit of history on the tracks.
What a difference a rear end makes. The iconic MINI recently confirmed and released official photos of its much-rumored MINI Clubman, the make’s first major update since its 2001 re-release as the rambunctious stepchild of BMW. This boxy-behinded bulldog shares the base MINI Cooper’s front 2/3, which may cause a epidemic of double-takes when the first Clubmans (Clubmen?) zip by in the U.S. early next year.
All design changes come aft of the B-pillar, and what an aft it is: a roofline that just won’t quit, an extra 9.45 inches of overall length and fold-flat rear seats mean this utili-MINI boasts more than 32 feet of cargo space. A MINI driver’s friends, newly mollified by a 3-inch dose of surplus rear legroom, can access all this extra interior room in two ways — tiny versions of the clamshell doors more commonly handled by the SUV set and a set of unusual, asymmetrical, “butterfly” doors on the car’s right side.
The updates make for a cargo-capable-ish small car akin in overall philosophy to the Honda Fit, although with a price tag placing it somewhere between the MINI hardtop and convertible.
We should all be so practical as the Citroën C-Cactus. We should all look upon ourselves with such a discerning eye.
We should all cut out those things we don’t really need. This new ecological car, equipped with a diesel hybrid drivetrain, has gotten rid of all the parts that don’t contribute to the running, safety or comfort of the automobile parts like the dashboard, among other things. Why? Because who really needs a dashboard? I don’t. I need some of the stuff on it, but I can do without the board itself. And so can you. Or at least that’s what Citroën is betting on.
In order to “trim the fat,” Citroën’s engineers have grouped several functions into single parts. Instead of a dashboard, all the important buttons you used to find there, including the onboard computer, are now attached to the steering wheel and the central console. And believe me, ditching your dashboard doesn’t mean you have to go skimpy on style. ‘Cause really, how stylish is the most stylish of dashboards? Not nearly as stylish as the sleek and cool Citroën C-Cactus.
Fresh on the heels of green roofs comes “Living Walls”, sometimes known as Green Walls — the latest trend in the blending of architecture and plant life.
Like the makers of green roofs, designers of living walls highlight the advantages of green living. Green wall enthusiasts tout the bonuses of cooling the house or building with the six inches of soil-plus-plants. The system utilizes a cycle of rainwater collected on the roof and solar power to run the operation.
When your crop is ripe – just reach out your window and pluck the fresh veggies from the wall for your dinner table.
The Nissan Cube has gone “denki”. Which doesn’t mean it’s gotten dinkier, as I initially thought. It turns out that “denki” is Japanese for “electric”.
While virtually indistinguishable from the automaker’s current Cube design – at least on the outside, what makes the Denki concept car different from its brother, the production model Cube, is, you guessed it – it’s electric. According to The NewsMarket, “the Denki features an electric motor with laminated lithium-ion batteries located under the floor and seats while the current model includes a 1.3-liter inline 40 cylinder gasoline engine.”
The other primary difference between the Cube and the Denki is the missing row of seats in the latter car – which, combined with a stretched wheelbase, was necessary to accommodate the lithium-ion battery cells.
Want to keep your body in shape and help sustain the planet at the same time? It’s easier than you think. The most obvious way to do this is simply canceling your gym membership and taking your workout outside. Not only will you save that monthly debit charge, I guarantee you the scenery’s better. Wouldn’t you rather look at trees, mountains and animals than at mirrored walls and sweaty humans making like gerbils – going up, down and around on machines, but never actually getting anywhere?
But aside from your enjoyment, did you know that exercising outside can also positively impact the environment? For example, running on a trail instead of a treadmill saves electricity. On top of that, it can help you establish a connection with your community and the people in it.
But you don’t have to be a jogger to get your RDA of aerobic exercise. There are many outdoor activities to get you into the green groove. Going for a walk is one of the greatest ways to keep your body looking and feeling great. And if you’re a multi-tasker, you can combine your walk with a trip to the grocery store. Hike. Ride your bike to work, if it’s feasible. Or better yet, give to yourself and to your community. Participate in conservation and reforestation activities like gardening, planting trees or building trails. Lots of public parks depend on volunteers to keep their spaces healthy and green, and gardening is an excellent low-impact exercise. Something as simple as pulling weeds and pruning trees can have tremendous benefits, both physiologically and ecologically.
There are many heroes behind the fight against global warming. Many of these heroes have a happy story to tell. Unfortunately not all of those who fight tooth and nail against government agencies and international organizations find themselves in the winner’s circle.
One of the saddest cases I’ve heard was profiled in a recent New York Times article. Mr. Wu Lihong., a former factory salesman from the Lake Tai area of China, is an eco-warrior. He dedicated 16 years of his life to trying to get the factories that were polluting the once beautiful lake to clean up the water and surrounding lands.
Lake Tai, China’s third largest lake, was once known for its crystal clear waters, whitefish, white shrimp and a famous Chinese delicacy, the hairy crab. The waters from the lake were used to irrigate rice patties as well as — through natural and man-made canals — provide a means of shipping out produce from the area. The Chinese also valued this area for its beauty.
Were you the coolest kid in school? It was because you had a cool bike right? Pumped up with style and attitude, you popped wheelies around the playground knowing you were all that plus a bag-o-chips. Well, your chance to be a cool cruiser has come around once again.
Check out the hot rod flames on this bad boy ‘Hellbilly’ by Electra Bikes, for example. This sweet little attention magnet would make even a hell-on-wheels actor like Dennis Hopper drool. AND…this ride isn’t just for eye-popping style. Jump on, and you’ll maneuver over potholes, bumps, manholes, and curbs with grace and style. One smooth ride like this and you’ll want to “sexy-city-wheel-it” everywhere.