Must-Watch Documentaries

It’s no small secret that I like documentaries. I keep tabs on sites like Top Documentary Films and Vimeo for new (free) releases, and almost my entire Netflix list consists of docs. So it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve got a personal list of required watching for anyone interested in Zero Waste or learning about what the hell is going on with environmentalism these days and the geo-political forces it often goes toe-to-toe with. Here’s that list.

Blind Spot

There’s a lot of environmental films out there that while not painting a rosy picture still want us to feel a sense of hey things will still be ok, not so with Blind Spot. Director Adolfo Doring has, along with many of the scientists, economists and other experts, wisely decided that the time for coddling us is past, perhaps even too long past.

This is my number one. It’s incredibly sobering – perhaps especially for those of us drunk on mantras of “saving the world” – packed with facts, good cinematography, a whole rogues gallery of highly educated people with the ability to see the bigger picture. It touches on every other subject in this documentary list at least once, and it has no time to cater to assuaging eco-guilt. As one of the interviewees says at both the beginning and end of the film: “The world’s saying: look, you’ve got a choice. Either you can fix it, or I can fix it. And if I fix it, you’re not going to like it, because I’m going to throw everything away.”

Free to watch online.

No Impact Man

A newly self-proclaimed environmentalist who could no longer avoid pointing the finger at himself, Colin leaves behind his liberal complacency for a vow to make as little environmental impact as possible for one year.

The book is much better, but if you’re going to try and convey to someone what the ZW thing is in a short amount of time, this is it. It’s humanizing, inspiring, and even a little enlightening sometimes. Most importantly, though, the Beavans eventually learn that living like self-flagellating eco-monks doesn’t actually accomplish all that much, and wind up picking and choosing aspects of the lifestyle that are sustainable for them in the long run.

Preview only.

A Farm for the Future

With her father close to retirement, Rebecca returns to her family’s wildlife-friendly farm in Devon, to become the next generation to farm the land. But last year’s high fuel prices were a wake-up call for Rebecca. Realizing that all food production in the UK is completely dependent on abundant cheap fossil fuel, particularly oil, she sets out to discover just how secure this oil supply is.

Alarmed by the answers, she explores ways of farming without using fossil fuel. With the help of pioneering farmers and growers, Rebecca learns that it is actually nature that holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.

Free to watch online.

Flow: For the Love of Water

Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.

Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question “CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?”

Free to watch online.

Sea the Truth

This is the planet we still know so little. We call it Earth but less than 1/3 is land, over 2/3 is water and we use that water as a dumping site for our waste and as if it’s an inexhaustible “horn of plenty” for humans. Our most important ecosystem is on the verge of collapse unless we act now. At this very moment the main problem with the oceans is that they’re getting emptier and emptier. If we don’t do anything then we face one of the biggest disasters in history of mankind.

If you look at the predators only about 90% of all predatory fish is gone. Then from all the other commercial fish species almost 80% is gone. The best thing to do to solve the problem is to quit eating fish.

Free to watch online.

DamNation

This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.

Preview only.

Maxed Out

Per its title, James D. Scurlock’s virulently angry muckraking documentaryMaxed Out examines the many problems associated with escalating U.S. consumer debt. Scurlock places his weightiest emphasis on the ends of the spectrum rooted in extreme evil (read: abuse) – such as the capital lenders who wheedle poor farm families into assuming unmanageable loans and college students into placing massive amounts on credit cards.

Free to watch online.

The Ascent of Money

Professor Niall Ferguson examines the origins of the pillars of the world’s financial system, and how behind every great historical phenomenon – empires and republics, wars and revolutions – there lies a financial secret.

This is a longdocumentary (though not the longest on here), told in six parts and coming in at around 5 hours long. Its different segments cover the history of credit, the rise of the bond market since the Italian Renaissance, the whys and wherefores of boom and bust cycles, the origins of insurance, an inside and historical look at the US housing crisis, and the current financial relationship between China and the US, respectively.

Free to watch online.

Collapse

Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Lost Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.

Full disclosure: I liked Michael Ruppert. He did important work in the peak oil scene, and the world lost a good voice when he took his own life a few years ago. It’s very easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of his thoughts and predictions, and come away from this piece a little depressed and a little disoriented, but pay attention to the things he says at the end, because community and friendship will be the things that get us through whatever is it that will come our way, whenever it comes.

Free to watch online.

Counter-Intelligence: Shedding a Light on Black Operations

If you can argue that this is one long documentary rather than a series, then it’s definitely the longest I’ve ever sat down to watch. All together, it’s just short of 7 hours, and in my opinion, it’s required viewing. The general thrust is that it lays out the history of the CIA since it grew out of the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, during WW2. Geo-political relationships are an absolutely vital key to understanding why it seems nations the world over pay little more than mere lip service to the collapse of our biosphere, and understanding the CIA is key to understanding those relationships. From covert projects in oil-rich nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, to the deliberate manufacture of state enemies (Does anyone reading this remember or know about the green scare? I sure hope so!) and black flag operations used to discredit enemies and provide reason for invading, the CIA has played no small part in ushering in the age of oil, consumer capitalism, perpetual war, and ecosystem destruction.

Free to watch online.

Tofu Scramble, Two Ways

Inspired by the long-since updated Hot Knives blog, run by two fellow Angelinos who wrote one of my top vegetarian/vegan cookbooks (seriously – between Lust For Leaf and Miyoko Schinner’s Vegan Pantry, I’m not wanting for another vegan cookbook), I give you yet another tofu scramble recipe!

A little background: I’m not particularly fond of scrambled eggs. If I make or order eggs at all, it’s usually over easy or poached or fried. Either way, a runny yolk is important, otherwise I don’t even bother. The hubs doesn’t really eat anything other than scrambled eggs, though, so when we’re together, that’s what I suck up and make. (Boooring.) I wasn’t really a big fan of tofu scramble either. I’d tried making it a few times and failed miserably, and besides, what was the point in trying to recreate an egg experience I didn’t particularly like anyways? So recently, I happened to come into a four-pack of firm tofu from Costco, so I decided to hunker down and figure it out. And I did! And I am never sacrificing an egg to such a sub-par dish ever again! Because this puts the original to shame.

Lumberjack Scramble Ingredients

  • 1 package firm tofu, drained
  • Gimme Lean or other breakfast sausage (pre-cook if actual meat)
  • diced onion or shallot
  • minced garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp – 1/4 c. soy sauce, liquid aminos, etc.
  • fresh or dried parsley
  • cracked pepper
  • oil
  • maple syrup (optional)

Soyrizo con Tofu Ingredients

  • 1 package firm tofu, drained
  • prepared or homemade soyrizo
  • cheese of some sort
  • diced onion
  • minced garlic
  • quartered cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp – 1/4 c. soy sauce, liquid aminos, etc.
  • fresh or dried parsley
  • cracked pepper
  • oil
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)

There’s really no set recipe for either of these – use what you have on hand, and however much you want. Just don’t skimp too much: remember that we’re not marinating the tofu, so be more afraid of tasteless tofu than over-seasoning!

For both, put some oil in your pan over medium heat. Toss in garlic and onion and let it get fragrant. Or a little crispy. Whatever! Now get your tofu and squeeze chunks of it through your fingers to make nice curd clumps, doing the whole package this way. Cover this with a thorough dusting of nooch (not all of it, you’ll be doing this at least three or four times total), and fresh cracked pepper. Let this sit in the pan, sizzling, for a few minutes; let’s say 5. Stir to incorporate the seasoning, then dust again with more nooch and pepper. This time, add a couple tablespoons of soy sauce and your parsley (or equivalents) and let sit again for a few minutes.

For the lumberjack:

Prep your sausage: cutting it into small pieces with solid types, or forming into balls with the Gimme Lean. Give the tofu a stir, layer on more nooch, pepper, and soy sauce. Give it a few more minutes, then add in the rest of your ingredients (except the syrup). Clear some space in the pan if it’s normal sausage to let it brown a little. If it’s Gimme Lean, you can toss the balls right in and let them cook with the tofu. Once it passes the taste test, it’s ready to serve with a drizzle of maple syrup and a side of buttered toast!

For the soyrizo:

Prep your tomatoes and cheese (grate it, shave it, who cares). Give the tofu a stir, layer on more nooch, pepper, and soy sauce. Give it a few more minutes, then add in the rest of your ingredients. Clear some space in the pan for the soyrizo, and let it cook for a few on its own before incorporating it into the rest of the tofu. You want it a little crispy if possible. Throw on your cheese and let it get melty. Once it passes the taste test, it’s ready to serve with tortillas, some salsa or hot sauce, and a sprinkle of cilantro!

 

No-Poo Hiccup

I’ve been washing my hair with just baking soda (not even a vinegar rinse, as I found that it didn’t seem to make any difference) for well over a year now, and the idea of ever going back to using shampoo and conditioner – let alone the indignity of paying through the nose for it – was just ludicrous to me.

Easy to say when you’re using Vancouver water.

LA water is, shall we say, not so kind to either hair or bathroom chrome. In fact, it’s not even that kind to the tastebuds. Growing up, I learned to like that faintly mineral funk of our tap water, but after living in NYC for 5 years, with their surprisingly great municipal water, and then being in Vancouver for almost a year (yes, yes, immigration is wreaking havoc on our lives still), I’ve come back home and found the tap water practically undrinkable. And for bathing, practically unusable.

My first clue was my normally immaculate no-poo regimen just didn’t work here. The baking soda would never really incorporate, the water would never get that slick feeling it does when it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, and it definitely didn’t lather. (Yep, baking soda water, properly used, will lather like any other shampoo!) Afterwards, my hair felt both bone-dry and almost sticky with what I assumed to be leftover oil residue. I got knots for the first time in years – I have a quiff, where it’s only about 8″ on the top and 1″ everywhere else, so I never get knots and don’t even own a comb or hairbrush – and I could barely comb my fingers through it without it just catching on the suddenly sickly-textured hairs themselves – almost like running your fingers along a blade of grass the wrong way.

In short, baking soda no-poo doesn’t seem to work AT ALL when you’ve got hard water.

Thankfully, I’m not the first person to discover this, and the internet has beaten me to a solution. (Whew.)

This blogger recommends adding the baking soda to boiling water, and storing a good quantity’s worth in the shower.

Well, I gave it a go, and it worked! Seeing as how we are overrun with those big drums of delivered water for drinking (we get one a week and can’t keep up), I think I’ll try using that water for mixing with the baking soda and see if it works too. If I can avoid boiling a pot of baking soda water every other week or what have you, I will.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that it requires a lot more ‘poo mix to get even a small lather going than when you use soft water. This is probably because you can’t rely on the water that’s already present in your hair to build the lather, and have to use the filtered/boiled water to do that trick. So just a heads up.

Why doesn’t the US have right to roam laws?

We’d never given this issue much thought, but the idea of private property remaining accessible to others who will act responsibly as passersby is an interesting one. If nothing is damaged and the goal is simply to get from one place to the other, or enjoy nature without borders, then why not? Ken Ilgunas writes […]

via Private Property in the US — Raxa Collective

I MADE YOUR CLOTHES – FASHION REVOLUTION — Artisan Lifestyle Brand and Fair Trade Manufacturer

The collapse of Rana Plaza, and the hundreds of deaths it brought about, has been presented to the world as exposing the ruthlessness of third world manufacturers, and the lack of conscience on the part of their big label customers—the brands with which we are all familiar. But it also reveals something deeper, something as […]

via I MADE YOUR CLOTHES – FASHION REVOLUTION — Artisan Lifestyle Brand and Fair Trade Manufacturer

The Zuckerberg Donation and a Legacy of Control

When I was very young, my parents used to tell me why having “lots of toys” wasn’t a good idea. “The more you have, the more you want,” they would say. I didn’t have many toys — we were poor — so the idea of possessions feeding greed didn’t make much sense to me then.

But I’ve learned the truth of that statement from observation over the years and lately I’ve been observing Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is a 31-year-old computer programmer who did two things that made him famous: he founded Facebook, the social networking super service, and, as a result, he amassed a fortune worth about $46 billion. His bank account is as large as the capitalization of many countries.

The Zuckerberg Family

The Zuckerberg Family

How he got to these lofty heights of wealth and cultural impact is a matter of often fierce debate — he’s been sued by former “partners” several times. But what’s more important than how he got control of Facebook is what he’s constructed with it: a ubiquitous presence in the lives of a billion people with the potential to frame and manipulate their communications, their relationships and, to a frighteningly large extent, their lives.

So last month, when Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan announced in a letter to their new baby — a rather novel way to package a press release — that, over the course of their lives, they will give almost all their Facebook shares to a project called the Chan Zuckerberg Iniative, the world took note.

The Initiative, they explained, would “advance human potential and promote equality” in health, education, scientific research, and energy. In short, change the world: on its face, a worthy cause. But, like many of Zuckerberg’s plans and projects, this one has another side that is darker, more cynical and, even if only partially successful, a potential nightmare for the human race.

A good, short, piece that explains why philanthropy and charity will never, ever fundamentally change the lots of the world’s poor and destitute. That the only way to do what Zuckerberg claims he wants to accomplish is to somehow build a world in which the rich don’t – can’t – exist. Consider this a companion to People Will Not Buy Zero Waste Until They Can Afford It.

Read more at This Can’t Be Happening!

Coffee Capsules Are Terrible For The Environment, Still — Raxa Collective

Way back when, early last year, we thought for sure this company was going to respond seriously to the challenge posed by the fun-yet-serious viral campaign highlighting its environmental atrocities. Many people we know and love use these machines or machines like them. These friends are generally serious devotees of the capsule machines due to their convenience. […]

via Coffee Capsules Are Terrible For The Environment, Still — Raxa Collective

While it’s easy to elevate the K-cup into this symbol of everything people like me like to hate, the Keurig is merely a symptom of a much bigger, deeper problem: the glorification of convenience at the expense of literally everything else.

The consolidation of local specialty stores into huge, “big box” multinationals.

The growing hostility towards use of the general internet browser, to be replaced with tightly controlled and corporate app environments.

The mass apathy and acceptance of corporate surveillance for the sake of being sold “better” products, or government surveillance for the sake of leading “safer” lives.

The advent and wide adoption of the disposable utensil that doesn’t need washing, to coincide with the mass movement away from reusable food packaging. Or hell, food that doesn’t even need you to prepare it.

Fertilizing the hell out of depleted land (with fertilizer made from fossil fuels) instead of nursing what little topsoil we have left, because restorative farming isn’t compatible with monocropping enterprises. Monocropping enterprises that allow meat industry CAFOs to function, by the way, and whose ethanol allows us to continue to squeeze just that much more energy from our every gallon of gasoline…

Keurig is an easy scapegoat, but making the K-cup recyclable or even compostable is still far from a sufficient solution.

What I’m Reading: A Friday Link Roundup

How to Build a Low-Tech Internet – Low-Tech Magazine
Somewhat related to my piece on the internet and proprietary technology. A rundown on how the developing world connects to the internet.

Notes From an Ultra-Radical Perfectionist – Counterpunch
On why some feel that Bernie is not that great of a “lesser evil”.

The Myth of a Free World: Not Just Political – Counterpunch
Colonialism, liberalism, and the myth of the atomised individual.

Pixel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In the Gig Economy – Fast Company
The challenge was easy enough:  spend 6 weeks trying to get by in the “gig economy” and make at least $10/hour doing it. Or… maybe it’s not so easy after all.

The scientist who first warned of climate change says it’s much worse than we thought – Grist
An article about James Hansen on the state of climate science, apathy, and the status-quo 28 years after he spoke on the subject before Congress.

How Societies With Little Coercion Suffer Little Mental Illness – Bruce Levine
The argument is made that institutional coercion via compulsory education systems, consumer capitalism, government, work, and other aspects of modernity, create conditions that foster mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and other “diseases” that hardly exist in smaller, simpler societies. Also, that their symptoms are often simply managed with costly prescription medications rather than identifying the underlying cause and attempting to rectify it, either on a small (personal) or large (systemic) scale.

Becoming Real By Becoming a Beast – an excerpt at Dark Mountain Project
In his new book Being a Beast, Charles Foster tries to enter the worlds of a badger (living in a sett in the Black Mountains, trying to turn himself into a more olfactory creature, and eating earthworms), an otter (swimming the rivers of Exmoor and catching fish in his mouth), an urban fox (rummaging through the dustbins of London’s East End), a red deer (being hunted by bloodhounds on Exmoor, and shivering amongst dying deer in the Scottish Highlands) and a swift (obsessively following the migration route from Oxford, across Europe, and down the West Coast of Africa). In this excerpt he looks back at the book, and wonders if he’s been wasting his time.”

Manual Mondays: Carpet Cleaning

Another Manual Monday! I know this seems like an odd subject, but seeing as how we have come into possession of a few rugs that are really too thin to be vacuumed (and that I just don’t like using the vacuum anyways), this seemed like a good one. After all, we’ve had textiles on our floors for much longer than we’ve had electricity – there’s gotta be some clever wisdom there on how to maintain them.

Here we go!

Isham-Terry House, Antiquarian & Landmarks Society – date unknown

To Restore Carpets to their First Bloom.
Beat your carpets with your carpet rods until perfectly clean from dust, then if there be any ink spots take it out with a lemon, and if oil spots, take out as in the foregoing receipt, observing to rinse with clean water; then take a hot loaf of white bread, split down the centre, having the top and bottom crust one on each half, with this rub your carpet extremely well over, then hang it out on or across a line with the right side out; should the night be fine, leave it out all night, and if the weather be clear, leave it out for two or three such nights, then sweep it with a clean corn broom, and it will look as when first new.

The Butler’s Guide to Household Management and Proper Behaviour, 1827

Washing. – The dye-houses have done some very satisfactory work on woolen carpets, but the process shrinks the carpet very much.

Cleansing on Floor. – Where oil is required to be removed, without taking up the carpet, pipe-clay thoroughly beaten into the carpet will absorb it within forty-eight hours, when it can be brushed off. This is just the opposite, in its action, from naphtha.  Water spilt upon carpets should be sopped up, not rubbed.

           – Carpet Notes, 1884

Modern manual methods are pretty much exactly the same as the old ones: rug beaters, carpet sweepers, soap and a little elbow grease.

Wikipedia on carpet sweepers:

A carpet sweeper is a mechanical device for the cleaning of carpets. These were popular before the introduction of the vacuum cleaner and have been largely superseded by them.

However, they continue to be used in home and commercial applications as they are lightweight and quiet, enabling users to quickly clean crumbs up from the floor without disturbing patrons, patients, babies and pets. (A very early appearance in film occurs in the 1914 Charlie Chaplin film Laughing Gas, where Chaplin uses it to clean the waiting-room floor of a dentist.) Carpet sweepers are still available in many parts of the world.

A carpet sweeper typically consists of a small box. The base of the box has rollers and brushes, connected by a belt or gears. There is also a container for dirt. The arrangement is such that, when pushed along a floor, the rollers turn and force the brushes to rotate. The brushes sweep dirt and dust from the floor into the container. Carpet sweepers frequently have a height adjustment that enables them to work on different lengths of carpet, or bare floors. The sweeper usually has a long handle so that it can be pushed without bending over.[citation needed]

The design was patented by Melville R. Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States, in 1876. Bissell began selling carpet sweepers in 1883. They became popular in the UK after the first Ewbankmodel went on same on 1889.[1] New powered versions were designed at the beginning of the 20th century, with rechargeable batteries and an electric motor to spin the rollers and brushes.

Even though carpet sweepers have been mainly overshadowed by vacuum cleaners, their legacy lives on in floor cleaning robots that have limited suction power and rely on sweeping to collect larger bits of debris from the floor. While some research models of robotic vacuums only rely on vacuum motors, models on the market such as Roomba or bObsweep invariably combine suction and sweeping.[2]

Wikipedia on rug beaters:

A carpet beater or carpetbeater (also referred to as a rug beater or rugbeater, mattenklopper, carpet whip, rug whip, clothes-beater, dust beater or dustbeater, carpet duster, wicker slapper, rug duster, or pillow fluffer, and formerly also as a carpet cleaner or rug cleaner) is a housecleaningtool that was in common use until the vacuum cleaner became affordable during the early 20th century. Carpets, rugs, clothes, cushions, and bedding were hung over a clothesline or railing and the dust and dirt was beaten out of them. Typically made of wood, rattan, cane, wicker, spring steel or coiled wire, antique rug beaters have become very collectible. Modern mass-production versions can also be in plastic or wire.

Uses

Its use in cleaning has been largely replaced since the 1950s by the carpet sweeper and then the vacuum cleaner, although they are still sold in most household stores.

In Germany[1] and Poland,[2] an outdoor carpet hanger for beating is called a Teppichstange (carpet bar) or a trzepak (beater).

Since the 1990s, it is very rare to see anyone using a trzepak for its prime function. In the newest housing developments, trzepak are rarely installed. Some people preferred to beat carpets in winter on the snow – they laid the carpet face down and beat it. This method had some advantages – for instance, insects would freeze to death even if they were not expelled through beating – but it left a dirty and unpleasant-looking patch on the snow, and therefore some communities forbade beating on the snow for aesthetic reasons.

That’s all well and good, but what about dust mites? One of the primary reasons people clean the fabrics and fibers in their home is to control dust mite populations and their collective poop. And the only way to do that is with vacuum cleaners, air filters, and the like, right? Well, not necessarily.

Most mites survive vacuuming anyways – the only truly effective way to manage mites is with extreme temperatures, soap and water, and just staying on top of the amount of dust that’s in your home. All of which are doable with manual methods.

Some suggestions:

  • If space permits, beat rugs outside – the dust will get back out into the environment where it belongs instead of a landfill.
  • Wash upholstery instead of vacuuming – obviously, throwing cushion covers into the washing machine isn’t “manual”, but coupled with a manual laundering regimen, this is easy.
  • If you live in an area that gets frost, leave rugs outside overnight to freeze the mites, then beat them out in the morning. (This works for fleas at every stage in the life cycle, too!)
  • Buy and use allergen covers for your cushions, pillows, and mattresses.
  • Spritz eucalyptus oil infused water or alcohol onto unwashable upholstery to help kill mites.
  • On the more extreme end, maybe think of getting rid of the carpeting in your house. Carpets are made from synthetic fiber and can’t be composted with sweepings anyways. If cold floors are hard on your feet, wear slippers!
  • Get a latex foam mattress, or if you’re super adventurous, make your own. (I’m gonna try this someday because I hate mattress stores on principle, and refuse to buy one new anyways.)

So that’s mites – what about difficult messes like broken glass?

Turns out, you’re not supposed to vacuum glass if you have a bagless machine to begin with, because they can get lodged into moving parts and shorten the life of the vacuum or outright damage it. Good Housekeeping recommends using slices of sandwich bread; SF Gate recommends using tape to get tiny shards out of carpet.

(I’ve since had the “opportunity” to try out the bread slice method since writing this, and it works really well. When the bread doesn’t pick up any more glass, you can fold it up to two times to get a fresh side without really risking getting glass on your hands. Oh, I also recommend eating off the crusts if they’re stiffer than the interior of the bread.)

That’s about it, though. There were no special tools aside from the rug beater, just a few tricks for getting out dust and the occasional spill.

In the next MM, I’ll do a little digging into the topic of light.

“Our Hemisphere’s Temperature Just Reached a Terrifying Milestone”

Our planet’s preliminary February temperature data are in, and it’s now abundantly clear: Global warming is going into overdrive.

There are dozens of global temperature datasets, and usually I (and my climate journalist colleagues) wait until the official ones are released about the middle of the following month to announce a record-warm month at the global level. But this month’s data is so extraordinary that there’s no need to wait: February obliterated the all-time global temperature record set just last month.

Using unofficial data and adjusting for different base-line temperatures, it appears that February 2016 was likely somewhere between 1.15 and 1.4 degrees warmer than the long-term average, and about 0.2 degrees above last month—good enough for the most above-average month ever measured. (Since the globe had already warmed by about +0.45 degrees above pre-industrial levels during the 1981-2010 base-line meteorologists commonly use, that amount has been added to the data released today.)

Keep in mind that it took from the dawn of the industrial age until last October to reach the first 1.0 degree Celsius, and we’ve come as much as an extra 0.4 degrees further in just the last five months. Even accounting for the margin of error associated with these preliminary datasets, that means it’s virtually certain that February handily beat the record set just last month for the most anomalously warm month ever recorded. That’s stunning.