Do you ever just go for a walk?

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The BBC's Finlo Rohrer laments the "slow death of the purposeless walk," an activity replaced by modern transit and planned, regimented leisure/exercise activities. But there's hope!

Across the West, people are still choosing to walk. Nearly every journey in the UK involves a little walking, and nearly a quarter of all journeys are made entirely on foot, according to one survey. But the same study found that a mere 17% of trips were "just to walk". And that included dog-walking. It is that "just to walk" category that is so beloved of creative thinkers.

"There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. Walking requires a certain amount of attention but it leaves great parts of the time open to thinking. I do believe once you get the blood flowing through the brain it does start working more creatively," says Geoff Nicholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking.

"Your senses are sharpened. As a writer, I also use it as a form of problem solving. I'm far more likely to find a solution by going for a walk than sitting at my desk and 'thinking'."

I suspect there is an element of benign self-deception in the idea of a purposeless walk. I walked a lot when I lived in the city, apparently without purpose, but there was concealed purpose in the rhythms and pressures of urban living. You walk to manage your environment, even when there is no destination. Walkable cities subtly help you do this. Read the rest

Canada's Fort McMurray wildfire is so massive, you can see it from space

On May 8, 2016, the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite captured this image of Ft. McMurray Fire in Alberta, Canada.
[NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team]

The massive wildfire that continues to burn in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta, Canada has been captured from space by NASA imaging satellites.

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The Planet Remade: frank, clear-eyed book on geoengineering, climate disaster, & humanity's future

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Since its publication in late 2015, science writer Oliver Morton's The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World has swept many "best book" (best science book, best business book, best nonfiction book) and with good reason: though it weighs in at a hefty 440 pages and covers a broad scientific, political and technological territory, few science books are more important, timely and beautifully written.

It's too late to do anything about sudden oak death, which has already killed 1,000,000 trees

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Phytophthora ramorum is a mold, related to the Irish Potato Famine pathogen, that causes some oak and tanoak trees to split open and bleed out all their sap, something called "sudden oak death." Read the rest

Australian MP sets river on fire

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Jeremy Buckingham, a Green Party MP, took a dingy out on Queensland's Condamine River, about 220km west of Brisbane, and set the river on fire with a barbeque lighter. Read the rest

Treescrapers are bullshit

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Architects love to render their buildings covered and ringed in trees: trees that sprout from balconies, dot roofs, climb walls. Read the rest

Before and After Mexico: a Bruce Sterling story about the eco-pocalypse

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Bruce Sterling's announced the first-ever English publication of his story for 25 minutos en el futuro. Nueva ciencia ficción norteamericana, a Spanish-language sf anthology of translated works by anglophone writers whose work is largely unknown in Mexico. Read the rest

To understand the link between corporations and Hillary Clinton, look at philosophy, not history

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When Hillary Clinton supporters are confronted with the evidence of their candidate's financial ties to dirty coal and oil, dirty finance, dirty autocratic governments, and so on, they insist that there's nothing to see here, because no one can link any specific contribution to a specific policy outcome. Read the rest

Wrapped: magical short film about mutant monster ivy that engulfs New York City

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"Wrapped" is a short film created by Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper and Florian Wittmann from Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, at the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction.

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Cycle and Recycle: gorgeous photos of the European recycling process

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Paul Bulteel's forthcoming art book, Cycle & Recycle, collects the Belgian photographer's series of images from Europe's massive, advanced recycling program, which captures 43% of the region's waste (the EU is shooting for 65% of municipal waste by 2030). Read the rest

Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen wipes out coral reef with his superyacht

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The anchor chain of the MV Tatoosh, the 43d largest yacht in the world, destroyed 14,000 square feet worth of reef in the Caymans' West Bay replenishment zone, wiping out more than 80% of the reef. Read the rest

Teaching students at a Co-Op City public school to make pollution-fighting robots

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NYU associate professor Natalie Jeremijenko brought her Feral Robot Dogs project to twenty-nine of our gifted and special-needs students at New York City's PS 153.

Red-baiting water speculator plans to drain the Mojave of its ancient water

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Scott Slater, a former water lawyer, is the CEO of Cadiz, Inc, a hedge-fund-backed company that's purchased the water rights for 45,000 acres of the Mojave on Route 66, 75 miles northeast of Palm Springs. He wants to pump 814 million gallons of ancient water out of the desert and send it to drought-stricken southern California, where he can soak the thirsty millions for $2.4 billion. Read the rest

EPA committed 'covert propaganda' social media campaign on American public, auditors find

Spill of toxic wastewater from a mine in Colorado, August 10, 2015. (Reuters)

Congressional auditors say The Environmental Protection Agency engaged in “covert propaganda,” a violation of federal law, when it launched a massive social media campaign urging Americans to support the Waters of the United States rule.

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Ifixit repair kits: everything you need to fix everything

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Ifixit produce open repair guides for everything imaginable, in a variety of languages, and help sustain a global community of independent repairers who divert electronics from e-waste dumps and keep poor and marginalized people connected to their work, school and families. Read the rest

Leaked recording: pollution lobbyists discuss exploiting Syrian refugee crisis

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A leaked recording made of a conference call hosted by the Edison Electric Institute, which lobbies for the power industry, reveals lobbyists for high pollution companies talking about how they can exploit the Syrian refugee crisis to get a rider inserted into a pending bill that would kill the EPA's Waters of the United States rule, which protects America's waterways from pollution. Read the rest

WTO rules against US dolphin-safe tuna labels because they're unfair to Mexican fisheries

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The barb in trade agreements' tail is the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system, which lets companies sue governments to repeal rules that interfere with their profitability. It's let tobacco giants fight anti-smoking campaigns, and now it's letting fisheries attack rules aimed at preventing the wholesale slaughter of dolphins. Read the rest

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