Tag Archives: environment

Under Armour Green

I recently bought a green shirt. Yes, the color of the shirt is green, but in this case the “green” theme actually goes a bit further. It’s part of Under Armour’s UA Green line, which actually uses recycled materials. After a few test runs, I’m happy to report that recycled shirts feel exactly the same as regular shirts (at least in the case of Under Armour) and I definitely recommend giving them a look: check out the product line on their website. (I bought the Catalyst short-sleeve t-shirt.)

According to their website, 100% of each UA Green product (shirts, shorts, hats, pants, etc) is made from recycled material — primarily plastic bottles. The video below gives an overview of the process.

Mighty Wallet

Thanks to my brother, I’ve found a cool new (old) wallet. The Mighty Wallet is made from 25% post-consumer content, but it’s also 100% recyclable. It’s made from Tyvek, also known as “house wrap”. You may have come across USPS envelopes made from Tyvek, or used a Tyvek suit (as I did in New Orleans a few years ago when we were helping to deconstruct houses).

The second coolest thing about the Mighty Wallet is the variety of designs. I picked up one with retro Star Trek comic prints, but their website shows the full range of designs inspired by everything from television to comic books to simple dot matrix printed paper. They even have a DIY version that’s blank and allows you to draw your own design (permanent marker recommended). A few of my favorites are below.

The wallets don’t have a zippered pocket for change, but they don’t have any stitching either and they claim to instantly adjust to fit lots of stuff or only a little bit. And there are more pockets that you think you’d find in a thin, light-weight wallet so you shouldn’t run out of places to put things. Overall, it seems like a great wallet for its price ($15), with free shipping available to US customers.

Energy in Your Zip Code

While doing research for one of my recent internships, I came across an interesting page from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center. It includes a calculator that takes in a zip code, reads out energy sources for electricity in that area (e.g. gas, coal, nuclear), and calculates the emissions of electric vehicles in that area based on the grid.

One of the arguments against electric vehicles is that since electricity is powered by non-renewable sources, these cars aren’t reducing emissions. Put a different way, is an electric car that’s receiving electricity from a coal plant any cleaner than a Hummer? According to the Department of Energy, the answer is yes.

The calculator is also a cool way to see how energy sources are used in your area. There are some obvious conclusions, such as more coal being used for my parents’ house in Pennsylvania than in my current Massachusetts area. But there are some other things I wouldn’t have predicted, such as a higher-than-average percentage of biomass in New England, and Illinois using a higher percentage of coal than Pennsylvania. Some areas have a diverse range of sources, while others are more dependent (Purdue is almost entirely coal and nuclear). Click here to visit the calculator and try your own zip code.

Bear Naked: Smart Granola

I recently got a free sample of Bear Naked granola, and on the back of the package I noticed an interesting piece of information:

“Bear Naked is a proud partner with TerraCycle(TM) in an effort to rethink the way packaging impacts our planet. Please join us by returning this bag to us so it can be upcycled into cool gear. Visit http://www.bearnaked.com for more info.”

I took a look at their website, and they’ve got a pretty cool program going called the Bear Naked Sustainable Packaging Project. Bear Naked takes all of their bags back, then rewards you points based on the size of the bag. You can redeem the points (between 1 and 5 per bag) for items like t-shirts (36 points) and reusable grocery bags (30 points).

There’s also a system where your school or organization can collect the bags, and receive $0.02 per bag. Check out more at the company website. Besides all of the above, they make pretty good granola too!

A 15-link post

It’s that time again. My Firefox bookmarks have piled up again! What better way to clean them out than to make a blog post?

1. 15 Useful Google Chrome Plugins — One of the things on my backburner is getting around to trying out the new Google Chrome, which I have only heard good things about. Another reason to try it out is this neat list of plugins, which cover a pretty wide base of tasks!

2. If you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone, did you know it is possible to have more options than “.com”? If you tap and hold the “.com” button, it will bring up options for “.edu”, “.org” and “.net”. Thanks to A New Mac Tip Every Day for this little nugget of information.

3. I don’t think I’ll ever have to resort to this (and I hope you won’t either), but thanks to some creative – and bored – biologists on an oceanographic research vessel, here is a handy guide to brewing your own beer in a coffee maker. Naturally, it uses only materials commonly found on a modestly sized oceanographic research vessel.

4. From the Dot Earth blog on the New York Times website, here is an article on Obama and ‘Generation E’ in Arizona. It’s an interesting discussion on sustainability and the program at Arizona State University. An excerpt:

Arizona, to many, seems eminently unsustainable, but that is an overly simplistic (linear) view… I am often asked how there can be a city in the desert, to which I reply that is exactly where virtually all of the original cities in the world were established! … In a strange way Arizona has some of the most advanced and effective water management systems largely because it is obvious that if we didn’t this place would not work at all. That does not mean we haven’t made lots of mistakes here in terms of urban layout, resource use, etc. This all makes us a really exciting test case and one that may have more to say to the developing world (where rapid urban growth is the norm) than a city like Portland — which has a strong sustainability consciousness, but has more to say to a European city (that isn’t listening) than to where the real challenges are emerging.

5. Leon Trotsky Totally Looks Like Colonel Sanders – it’s true!

6. There is a phenomenon emerging called “sleeveface”, generated by this website. It defines itself as: “one or more persons obscuring or augmenting any part of their body or bodies with record sleeve(s) causing an illusion”. Here are two of my favorites, or check out this post for more.

7. The 10 Smartest and the 10 Stupidest iPhone Apps – It amazes me how incredibly creative some of the applications can be – like Tipulator, Level, and LogMein Ignition. But advanced technology is always accompanied by people who would rather waste time creating an application that farts.

8. Speaking of cool apps for the iPhone, how about this one, which groups all of your rewards cards for grocery stores (and I presume other types of stores as well)? It’s a great way to reduce clutter and to keep all of your cards in one handy spot!

9. Another Mac tip: did you know that you can select text and drag it on top of the TextEdit icon in the Dock, and it creates a new document using that text? Yea, me neither. [Link]

10. There is an excellent blog post over at NPR.org pointing out the surplus of male characters in Pixar movies (and princesses in Disney movies). It’s called “Dear Pixar, From All The Girls With Band-Aids On Their Knees”. An excerpt:

Well, the whole big world has a lot of little girls in it, too. And not all of them are princesses — and the ones who are princesses have plenty of movies to watch.

And even many of them who do aspire to be princesses are mixing their princess tendencies with all manner of other delicious things. Their tiaras fall off when they skin their knees running at top speed; they get fingerpaint on their pink dresses; they chip their front teeth chasing each other in plastic high-heeled shoes.

There’s nothing wrong with the movies you’re making; I’m sure your princess movie will be my favorite one ever. I’m just saying, keep them in mind, those girls in Band-Aids, because they want to see themselves on screen doing death-defying stunts, too. You’re making some of my favorite movies in the whole world right now.

11. Did Conan model his new Tonight Show set after Mario Brothers? The picture is pretty convincing.

12. If you’re a fan of The Office, like me, then you’ll enjoy this compliation of the Top 5 Dwight Moments. The only thing is that they didn’t include my favorite Mozart and Butch Cassidy quote, which unforunately I couldn’t find on Youtube either.

13. In case you missed Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University this week, this article includes a great set of excerpts which are grouped by topic, as well as a video of the full speech for you to watch. But if you decide to watch it, then get comfortable, because the video is 55 minutes long.

14. My brother sent me this link to a documentary called “Throw Down Your Heart”. It follows Bela Fleck on a trip to Africa, and his interaction (or more accurately, his banjo’s interaction) with the people there. Check out the trailer. I think it’s going to be a great film, buoyed by great music.

15. And in case you find yourself with too much time on your hands, maybe you can get into the business of creating stop-motion videos as wedding invitations. Check out this video that a couple made to invite people to their wedding. It’s really creative (especially the GPS part) and must have taken a ton of effort!