TEST DRIVE: The Compressed Natural Gas F-150 is a Heavy Duty Hybrid

by , 05/07/14

How does it work? You gas up via separate tanks. The gas tank and cap are where you would find them on a traditional gas vehicle, but instead that steel case in the front of the pickup bed where the tools normally go, there is a separate contained compressed natural gas tank, which has its own cap for filling. Inside the CNG F150 you have two separate gauges for fuel levels, so you can keep an eye on both fuel tanks. That’s it—No more to think about. The truck works out the rest for you.

Related: BYD Sets Record With All-Electric Bus in Copenhagen

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The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Paper Wasps Teach Us About 3D Printing?

by , 05/07/14

Paper wasps, wasps, paper, 3D printing

3D printing is the coolest thing since sliced bread, but what should we print with? This could go horribly wrong if we don’t take the opportunity to stop and ask how the rest of nature would do it. Maybe our society friends the paper wasps have an opinion: let’s check in with them in today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual.

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The Biomimicry Manual: What Can Sloths Teach Us About Energy Efficiency?

by , 05/07/14

biomimicry, energy efficiency, sloths, sloth in a bucket, symbiosis, sloth moth, design by nature, inspiration from nature, bio-inspiration, design inspiration, the biomimicry manual, biomimicry

It’s a scientific fact that there’s nothing cuter than a baby sloth in a bucket. But even if Facebook ‘likes’ turn out not to correlate with biological fitness, sloths are a runaway success by any measure. Well, maybe not so much ‘runaway.’ But it’s certainly true they’re not going anywhere. Sloths have an outstanding survival strategy, as their unexpectedly high density in South and Central American tropical forests attests. In some areas, sloths consume half the energy and make up two-thirds of mammalian biomass. That’s a lot of sloths. But it’s hard to see them because they hardly move—their leafy diets just don’t provide enough energy for them to monkey around. How do they succeed on such meager rations? Simple. They are consummate energy misers. Can humans learn something about conserving energy from the sloth? Read today’s entry of The Biomimicry Manual to find out!

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The Biomimicry Manual: What Can the Aye-Aye Teach Us About Echolocation?

by , 05/07/14

biomimicry, The Biomimicry Manual, aye-aye, lemur, Madagaqscar, echolocation, bioinspired design, swis army knife, yoda, gollum, Dobby

You know bats and dolphins ‘echolocate’ to find their prey, sending out blips of squeaky SONAR-like sound waves that bounce off fish or moths in the dark. And people do it, too, using expensive equipment. But how about a monkey? The aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is certainly no ordinary monkey. In fact, its not a monkey at all, but a highly specialized lemur from the island of Madagascar.

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The Iconic Eames Shell Chair is Now Available in New Recyclable Fiberglass!

by , 05/06/14

eames chairs, eames vintage molded chairs, eames designs, eames furniture, eames molded chairs, eamer fiberglass chairs, eames fiberglass molded chairs, green furniture, green design, eco friendly furniture, designer furniture, iconic chairs, iconic design, recyclable designer furniture, herman miller, herman miller furniture, herman miller collection, eames design at herman miller, eames icons

In a furniture lineup, few chairs are be as recognizable as the Eames Molded Fiberglass Chair. This design, by everyone’s favorite Modernist design duo Charles and Ray Eames, has become one of the most exalted works of mid-century modernism, sought after by design enthusiasts everywhere. First released in 1950 by Herman Miller, the Eames chair shell was originally manufactured in fiberglass but the material was eventually abandoned in the 1990s due to concerns associated with fiberglass being, in Ray Eames’ words, “detrimental to the environment”. Though the chair has continued to be produced in 100% recyclable polypropylene, collectors’ love for the original fiberglass iteration has stayed strong throughout the decades, prompting Herman Miller to see if they could come up with a more sustainable version of the original fiberglass shell. Now, nearly a quarter century later, this most iconic of chairs is returning to its original material roots, thanks to more environmentally-friendly developments in manufacturing technology. Herman Miller has just released its brand new Eames Molded Fiberglass Shell Chair in eight eye-catching vintage colors, fully configurable to suit personal tastes. Keep reading to learn the history behind this famed chair, how Herman Miller is keeping with the Eames’ eco-conscious vision, and where to purchase one of these newly minted icons!

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TEST DRIVE: The Surprisingly Wonderful 40 MPG Nissan Versa Note

by , 05/06/14

The Versa handled the back roads smoothly, and what struck us most was how well-made the little car felt. The steering wheel has the feel of a much more expensive car, and the vehicle comes with navigation, push start button, and all-around exterior vehicle camera to help you see what’s happening on all sides while parking. Perhaps our favorite little add-on was the seat extender for short or long legs in the driver’s seat, which makes the Versa workable for a variety of people; something that can be a tall order for some small cars with limited seating positions.

Related: Nissan Announces Self-Washing Cars With Nano Paint

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DIY: Homemade Insect Repellent Sprays and Lotions

by , 05/05/14

‘Tis the season for camping trips and beach parties, barbecues and patio drinks, and you can bet that insects of all shapes and sizes are rubbing their little feet (forelegs?) together in glee at the smorgasbord they’ll get to sample over the next few months. Depending on where you’re located, you may have the dubious honor of being gnawed upon by mosquitoes, deer flies, no-see-ums, or other flying bite-y things. Since walking around draped in netting isn’t at the top of anyone’s summer “to-do” list, the best bet to avoid becoming a walking buffet is insect repellent. Jump ahead for a few homemade repellent recipes.

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The Biomimicry Manual: What Can the Octopus Teach Us About Touch Screens, Wallpaper, and Invisibility Cloaks?

by , 05/04/14

Cephalopods are the undisputed masters of camouflage. While their relatives, the clams, stayed brainless and safe on the seabeds-of-old, the ancient nautilus (think squid-in-a-shell) made a daring foray into the world of mobile hunting. Today’s cunning stalkers instantly morph into seaweed and rocks, shifting color, pattern, texture, or thermal profile. They become transparent, bioluminescent, or iridescent. How do they do it? Will they teach us? Let’s take a closer look at this remarkable feat of engineering in today’s issue of The Biomimicry Manual.

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How to Eat Your Lawn: Transform Your Wasteful Grassy Space into a Food Forest Garden

by , 04/30/14

Who ever imagined that lawns would go from epitomizing the American dream to embodying all manner of evil? Blaming both human and natural failings, many homeowners have embraced the idea of lawn-eradication, and the Food Not Lawns movement is growing on a daily basis. Lawns were originally cultivated by wealthy European nobles to show off all the land that they didn’t need for growing food, but in an era of droughts, climate change, and imminent food shortages, such wastefulness isn’t a trophy for the elite; it’s pretty much reprehensible.

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DIY: Vegan Cashew Cheese with Cranberries and Walnuts

by , 04/30/14
filed under: DIY, Features, How To

Vegan cheese, cashew cheese, vegan, vegan dairy, cheese, vegan cheeses, chevre, cranberry, cranberries, cranberry walnut cheese, walnuts, herbs, appetizer, vegan food, cheese log, cheese logs, cranberry cheese log

Although more and more people are being raised with a wholly vegan diet from day one, there are also many who choose to pursue a plant-based diet after having been omnivorous for several years. If you ask the average vegan if there are any foods they miss from “before”, there’s a pretty good chance that cheese will be somewhere on their list. Spread on toast or stirred into pastas to make them creamy and savory, cheese adds both umami and creaminess to countless dishes, but the good news is that that luscious, cheesy goodness doesn’t have to be dairy based! Vegan cheeses can be absolutely delicious too, so you can celebrate their deliciousness as well as the fact that they’re cruelty-free.

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Could Woven Tree Houses Be the Future of Residential Architecture?

by , 04/29/14

Arborculture, arbortecture, tree architecture, woven tree houses, treehouses, treehouse, tree house

There are houses built in trees, and then there are treehouses. A few years ago, we had one of our first encounters with a home that was literally made from trees, using the art of weaving (and sometimes grafting) trees together to form structures—a practice ecological designer, Richard Reames, called “Arborsculpture.” This technique of tree-latticing has been used for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, from the living root bridges in India to multi-story tree houses in the Middle East. The Fab Tree Habwas one of the design entries for the Index: awards, emerging from the genius of a crew that included MIT architect Mitchell Joachim, and our friend Javier Arbona of Archinect. The project description emphasized consideration of whole systems (and ecosystems) in creating a truly sustainable built environments, rather than a piecemeal approach that could yield uncertain longterm outcomes.

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How to Green Up Your Sex Life

by , 04/28/14

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HOW TO: Recycle a Tin Can Into a Gorgeous Outdoor Lantern for Summer Parties

by , 04/28/14

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5 Brilliant Backyard Sheds Built from Recycled Materials

by , 04/26/14

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6 Nutrient-Packed, Vegan Superfood Smoothies to Boost Your Day

by , 04/25/14

Vegan, vegan smoothies, vegan smoothie, smoothie

Winter has finally drawn to a close, so to celebrate the arrival of spring we’d like to share some of our favorite vegan superfood smoothie recipes. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, “superfoods” are power-packed foods such as chia seeds and goji berries, which are rich in nutrients and health-promoting properties. Give your blender and your body some love this week by trying out some of these unique smoothie suggestions.

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14 Stunning Photos of the Earth Remind Us How Important Conservation Is for All of Us

14 Stunning Photos of the Earth Remind Us How Important Conservation…

Great Barrier Reef Comprised of nearly 3,000 reefs and islands and stretching over 1,400 miles, The Great Barrier Reef provides a home to thousands of different species. Tropical…

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Pritzker Prize Laureate Shigeru Ban on Sustainability and What Makes a Building Truly Permanent

Pritzker Prize Laureate Shigeru Ban on Sustainability and What Makes a…

On Monday, 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban sat down with New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman at the NYT Cities for Tomorrow conference to discuss Ban's pro bono…

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6 Amazing, Sophisticated Vegan Popsicle Recipes for Adults

6 Amazing, Sophisticated Vegan Popsicle Recipes for Adults

Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles These pops taste just like icy cold cheesecake, yet have a much lower calorie count than the real deal. This recipe is hands-down, the most…

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