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April 2012 (116 posts)
Unfortunately, this does not mean you can actually step into your favorite fictional world, a la Gumby (I know, I was disappointed at first too). But darn close! Users can check out their book club's next pick (or a favorite book, or one you'd like to read) and find an interactive list of people, places, and things that appear in the book. A fun, new way to think about a book, but also a way to guide your reading -- for example, users can browse all books that mention Zeus, or California, or Coca-Cola. Share it at your book club's next meeting...or keep it to yourself, and make it seem like you just did some really awesomely close reading.
Book Clubs Around the Country
Oprah's Book Club: The Complete List
Eben Bayer grew up on a maple syrup farm in Vermont, helping his parents chop wood and bathing in water warmed by a homemade solar heater. But it wasn't until he went away to college near Albany, New York, that he heard the word green applied to his family's way of life—and saw how his bucolic past might shape his future. While devising an eco-friendly glue for a class on invention, Bayer remembered the sticky white substance—mycelium, the "root" of a mushroom—he'd occasionally seen growing on the wood chips his family used as fuel. "And I was struck by this wild idea," he says. "Why not use mushroom roots as glue?"
Bayer's professor encouraged him to pursue the idea, and soon Bayer and a classmate, Gavin McIntyre, were growing the wet, rubbery fungus in McIntyre's apartment. They discovered it was strong enough to bind together cornhusks, rice hulls, and other inedible by-products of farming. When baked with these materials, it produced an uncannily Styrofoam-like substance. Bayer and McIntyre knew they were onto something.
After graduating in 2007, the pair cofounded Ecovative Design, a company that sells biodegradable alternatives to materials like Styrofoam, which can remain in landfills for hundreds of years. Soon they were "growing" packaging for the office furniture company Steelcase and the computer giant Dell; they also recently inked a deal with Crate & Barrel. In a 10,000-square-foot facility in upstate New York, assembly-line robots now combine mushrooms with cornhusks and other food by-products from local farms; the fungi are then left in the dark to grow and digest parts of the husks before being baked (which kills the live organisms). Bayer hopes the mushrooms will eventually be used for everything from automobile parts (to replace the foam used in bumpers, for example) to flip-flops. "Our goal is to rid the planet of harmful disposable plastics," he says. "When that bag from the supermarket finds its way into a field, I want it to be nutrients for the field."
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Find your green-collar dream job
5 simple things you can do to save the environment
From the department of "Oh, Wow": a woman with no flying experience lands a plane after the pilot (her husband) fatally collapsed.
"If you want to see into the hearts of other beings, your first task is to hear their stories." Exercises in empathy.
The most entertaining explanation of color theory ever.
Barbie does good: the new version of the doll, designed to help girls undergoing cancer treatments, will be donated to pediatric hospital wards.
"I don’t do anything to bring on dying. I live day by day." Wisdom from Alabama's oldest lawyer (and Harper Lee's sister).
The Life-Lifter: After feeling each others' absence for a lifetime, these twins finally found each other. Right around the corner.
Over at Grantland, Anna Clark has compiled the best films featuring women in sports from the 1930s to the present, revealing how our cinema reflects the status of women's sports today, which is "at once prominent and on shaky ground." Clark provides a good guide for your next trip to your Netflix queue, and a thoughtful take on female athletics, both the athletes themselves (accomplished and talented) and their fanbase (sometimes reluctant-to-nonexistent). I know, it's a little sad. Wait, are you crying? There's no crying in baseball! ("A League of Their Own?" Eh? Anyone?)
Talking to Tennis Legend Billie Jean King
The Rise and Fall of Marion Jones
Two themes in my life lately have converged in such a way that this poster, designed by 20-something student Francesca Ramos,is exactly the perfect thing at the perfect time: a dry spell that has me searching for direction--and the arrival of a new desk. The desk is an traditional secretary, a workspace full of nooks and crannies begging for inspirational objects and talismans -- physical ones, not just lovely images and quotes accumulated in cyber-space. And the wall above it needs a poster. It needs a beautiful poster. It needs a poster that will inspire me, and not in a cat-on-a-tree "Hang in there" kind of way. It needs...Gandhi.
Gandhi's Ten Fundamentals for Changing the World are an utterly inspiring source of the quiet wisdom everyone's favorite pacifist was known for. "Take care of this moment," I need Gandhi to tell me every morning. Don't you? "Continue to grow and evolve," he reminds us."Persist." He may have been trying to change the world, and I'm trying to get through the day without damaging anyone, but I don't know, maybe those goals have more in common than I ever realized.
Download the poster here. via Explore.
More Great Quotes To Help You...
Make the Best of Every Moment
Discover Your Life's Purpose
Keep You Going Forward
Val's guide to buying the right beauty products
How can I avoid underarm razor bumps?
Do firming lotions work?
Cherry Blossom Cake Pops
If don't live in an area where these blooming pink floral beauties are on display, you can live vicariously...through Cherry Blossom Cake Pops, a Sakura Cherry Blossom Roll Cake or Cherry Blossom Macarons.
In most of the country, these mushrooms, which have an earthy, nutty, steak-like flavor, grow from early to mid-April through mid-June. (If you're The Great Lakes region, lucky you: this area tends to see the first morels of the season.) Check out this helpful more sightings map to see if anyone's spotted them near where you live.
Some photographs are almost too cute to even look at it. For example, this one.
Don't be the office-loud-sneezer: How to achoo with less volume.
A poet's take on getting good at love by looking outward.
It's official: everyone loves Pinterest. Even the president.
Who needs drawing paper? Amazing portraits drawn on vintage envelopes.
The Life-Lifter: "I am a good citizen, and I am very real." One famous writer's moving response to censorship.