8/14/2017

America’s Fancy Pet Food Addiction Is a Big Problem for the Environment


American pets have been increasingly served up prime cuts of meat, but this food comes at a cost

The environmental impact of our diet on the planet is well known, but new research shows that the impact of our faithful furry friends and their stomachs is substantial.

Studying the recent trends in pet food, Gregory Okin, a geographer at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that the roughly 163 million pet cats and dogs in the United States eat about a quarter of the meat produced in the country, reports Karin Brulliard for The Washington Post. And all this food comes at a cost. Okin estimates it's responsible for greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 64 million tons of carbon dioxide. That's about the same as driving 13.6 million cars around for a year, according to a press release.

“I’m not a vegetarian, but eating meat does come at a cost,” Okin says in a statement. “Those of us in favor of eating or serving meat need to be able to have an informed conversation about our choices, and that includes the choices we make for our pets.”

Getting at this estimate required a slew of calculations, reports Alessandra Potenza of The Verge. After estimating the number of pets in America, a metric not tracked by most cities and states in the country, Okin then calculated the average weight of these pets to estimate how much they eat in a year. He then turned to the ingredient labels of the country's most popular pet food brands to tabulate how much meat our furry friends are consuming annually. Okin published the results of this investigation last week in the journal PLOS One....more 

9 Simple Tricks to Get People to Respond to Your Emails


I had spent the entire week updating my résumé and writing the perfect cover letter, the day tweaking my LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to be just right for the job I was applying to, and HOURS crafting the email I hoped would get me the job.

And then…crickets.

I’m sure you’ve been in that position too—refreshing your email inbox every 15 minutes hoping for a response that just never comes.

Whether you’re applying for a job or just trying to get your boss to answer a question, a lot can hang on a simple email. Getting people to open, read, and answer your emails could mean the difference between staying stuck at your boring job with the fluorescent lights and the copy machine and getting hired as a Ruby developer. Or going unnoticed for your hard work and getting a raise.

As annoying as it is when people ignore your emails, it goes both ways. How many times have you received an email and let it sit unread in your inbox all afternoon, and then all week, until it finally disappears into the abyss of your inbox? Heck, right at this moment I’m staring down the barrel of an inbox with 13 emails I want to read and answer, but just haven’t gotten to yet. And that’s not even including the newsletters. (::gulp::)

But I have a secret weapon that can get you out of that waiting game: subject lines.

Think about it. Before someone can even think about answering your email, they have to open it. And before they open it? They see your subject line.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m much more likely to open an email that says “Free stuff inside just for you! (time sensitive)” than I am to open one that says “2 quick favors please.”

It might seem strange to focus on subject lines, but in reality, they’re a lot like headlines on blog posts and news articles—the subject line or headline is all you see before you decide to read a post or email, or ignore it....more 

Can a better night’s sleep in a ‘hipster’ bus replace flying?


Picture this: Your boss asks you to make a last-second trip to a city a few hundred miles away for a meeting tomorrow morning.

So how do you get there?

You could take an early-morning regional flight, but frequent delays on small carriers might mean you risk missing your meeting and spending more time on the tarmac than in the air.

You could spend a few hundred bucks on a train ticket, but don’t expect to get much sleep ahead of your meeting. You could also drive your own car, but that means confronting traffic jams and an exhausting night on the road.

For many people, moving between major hubs that are just far enough away to create complications — think Los Angeles to San Francisco, for instance — is a regular travel headache.

Tom Currier calls it the “500-mile problem” and now, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and his partner, Gaetano Crupi, say they have a solution. It’s called “Cabin” — a double-decker, luxury bus line with WiFi, a comfy lounge and sleeping pods that offer the same pressed sheets you’ll find at the Ritz Carlton....more 

Stunning drops in solar and wind costs turn global power market upside down


The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down.

For years, opponents of renewable power, like President Donald Trump, have argued they simply aren’t affordable. The reality is quite different.

Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

The result is “more bang for the buck,” as the U.N. and BNEF put it. Last year saw 138.5 gigawatts of new renewable capacity. That not only beat the 2015 record of 127.5 GW, but it was built with a total investment that was 23 percent lower than in 2015....more 

Why we fell for clean eating

The oh-so-Instagrammable food movement has been thoroughly debunked – but it shows no signs of going away. The real question is why we were so desperate to believe it. 

In the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. “Not cool” was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a “gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan”. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a “wellness” blogger in New York City, one of thousands on Instagram (where she had 70,000 followers) rallying under the hashtag #eatclean. Although she had no qualifications as a nutritionist, Younger had sold more than 40,000 copies of her own $25, five-day “cleanse” programme – a formula for an all-raw, plant-based diet majoring on green juice.

But the “clean” diet that Younger was selling as the route to health was making its creator sick. Far from being super-healthy, she was suffering from a serious eating disorder: orthorexia, an obsession with consuming only foods that are pure and perfect. Younger’s raw vegan diet had caused her periods to stop and given her skin an orange tinge from all the sweet potato and carrots she consumed (the only carbohydrates she permitted herself). Eventually, she sought psychological help, and began to slowly widen the repertoire of foods she would allow herself to eat, starting with fish. She recognised that the problem was not her veganism, per se, but the particularly rigid and restrictive diet regime she had imposed on herself.

As Younger slowly recovered from her eating disorder, she faced a new dilemma. “What would people think”, she agonised, “if they knew the Blonde Vegan was eating fish?” She levelled with her followers in a blogpost entitled Why I’m Transitioning Away from Veganism. Within hours of announcing her new diet, Younger was receiving irate messages from vegans demanding money back from the cleanse programmes and T-shirts they had bought from her site (featuring slogans such as “OH KALE YES”)....more 

MUSIC: Moses Sumney - Quarrel

MUSIC: Cut Copy - Standing In The Middle Of The Field

MUSIC: SACRE - Gaia (Kraak & Smaak Remix)