February 2, 2007

Earth From Above Yann Arthus-Bertrand

EarthfromAbove.jpgLooking for a eco-friendly gift for your Valentine that says "I love you and I love the planet, too"? Check out Earth from Above, a book of photographs from Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Gregory McNamee had this to say about the book in his review on Amazon.

Arthus-Bertrand, working with the support of UNESCO, has wandered the globe to gather this collection of more than 200 photographs, presented in a folio format. The images are uniformly striking, whether of stalagmite-like fans of algae spreading into the Mediterranean Sea, farmers working their fields in northern India, or destroyed Iraqi tanks littering the deserts of Kuwait. The accompanying text, captions, and short essays by some of France's leading scientists and social critics lend specific depth to the images, which will cheer few readers--but that will shock, and educate, and, with luck, inspire closer attention to the world around us.

Jeff Wignall, author of The Joy of Digital Photography adds

Earth from Above
is one of those books that just makes you instantly wonder: How in the world did one man do this? The scope and breadth of the territory covered, the absolute beauty of each and every image and the soulfulness of the subjects is almost impossible to describe.

Available at Earth from Above.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 25, 2007

Pebbles Crib Bedding - Organic Cotton

Are you and/or a loved one getting ready to welcome a new baby to your lives? The "Pebbles" bedding collection from Nest combines stylish design with eco-friendly materials.
Vibrant colors and a playful geometric print are featured on extra soft, 100% certified organic cotton. The quilt and bumper are stuffed with post-consumer recycled soda bottles, that offers cuddly warm comfort to your little one.

Pebbles Crib Bedding Set is available in pink or green.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 23, 2007

Humidify Me: Hello Kitty Kid's Humidifier

B000E5VJLU.01-A23NLORBGXOLEO._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V62177565_.jpgLiked our review of Crane's Penguin Humidifier but penguins aren't your style? Perhaps you're looking for something in a Hello Kitty variety? You're in luck.

Available from Wachsmuth and Krogmann.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 19, 2007

Make Magazine

Make-magazine.jpgLike Ready Made? Are you less artsy, more crafty? Got a serious Skunkworks operation in your basement? Is your role model more MacGyver than Martha Stewart? Then you may want to check out Make.

Here's what Amazon reviewer wiredweird had to say about it:

This quarterly magazine really hits the spot, if you're in its crosshairs. It's a clean miss for others.

It's pretty easy to tell whether you're in the target audience. Do you have a closet full of decommisioned PCs, cell phones, and other 21st-century rubble that you just know you could do "something" with? Do you have a Dremel tool, fine-tipped soldering iron, and more than one kind of epoxy in the house? Do the phrases "It works" and "It's beautiful" mean roughly the same thing to you? Does the idea of a home CNC milling machine stir you to jealousy or a quick look at your checkbook? Two or more yes answers probably qualify you as the intended reader.

This is about hacking your PC mouse or the cage for your pet mouse, about resurrecting last year's laptop as an electronic photo frame, and about how simple a robot control can be (you'd be surprised). It's like Popular Mechanics, but for the people who consider software, resistors, and pieces from antique clocks to be interchangeable. Although a few of the ideas in each issue have low-tech appeal, most are aimed at skill sets from "geeky highschooler" to "electronics professional".

Make is published by O'Reilly, famous for its nerd-worthy "animal books" for software developers. If you don't know what I'm talking about, well, you're probably not a software developer.

Subscribe at Make.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2007

Penguin Humidifier: Breathe Easier

B000GWJD0A.01._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V60821586_.jpgYes, I know there are probably better humidifiers on the market. But tell me, are they this cute?

Found this little fellow at Target this weekend and couldn't be happier with him. He silently pumps mist into the air (through the his beak, of course), and the one gallon tank seems to last forever (18 hours, according to the box). You'll breathe easier, and you'll smile every time you look at him.

Crane's Penguin Humidifier available at Target.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 10, 2007

Warm it Up: Maine Warmers Polar Bear Heating Pad

bears3.jpgTime to share with you my favorite gift of the holiday season - a present from my friend Jane. (Okay, full disclosure: we were strolling along Huron Avenue in Cambridge and found a basket full of these critters in Gray Mist, fell in love with them, and each bought one for the other. A perfect holiday gift-giving strategy.)

It looks like a wooly little polar bear -- snuggly, cute, filled with something that feels like an oversized Beany Baby. It's actually a microwaveable (and chillable) heating and cooling pad. You pop it in the microwave for two minutes, and out it comes, all toasty and warm, ready to soothe your achy muscles, relieve cramps, warm the bottom of the bed, or just snuggle up to you and make you feel warm and cozy.

Made in Maine by a company called Maine Warmers, the bear is actually filled with whole corn kernels, so when you heat it, it smells faintly of popcorn. The soft Berber covering is removable and machine-washable. When heated (or chilled), the bear stays warm (or cool) for about an hour -- perfect for warming you up, and releasing the stress of the day.

If the Cozy Bear isn't your cup of tea, it also comes in Wooly Lamb, Fuzzy Bunny and extra long Daschund for wrapping around your neck or waist.

Available at Maine Warmers.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 22, 2006

Weekend Reading: Forum for the Future's Top 10 Environmental Books

Liked David Suzuki's Top 10 Environmental Books? Check out Forum for the Future's Top 10 List and see how it compares.

SMALL-IS-BEAUTIFUL_120.jpgPeter Madden, the chief exec at Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Grist about sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. He took a poll of 100 staff and colleagues in the U.K. and came up with the following:

Small Is Beautiful (1973), by E.F. Schumacher

Silent Spring (1962), by Rachel Carson

Gaia (1979), James Lovelock

stark.jpgFactor Four (1995), by Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, and Ernst von Weizs├Ącker

Stark (1993), by Ben Elton

Read Madden's full list on Grist.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 21, 2006

Homemade Cranberry Almond Granola Recipe

Here's something for folks who'd rather make their gifts than head to the store for a last minute shopping frenzy. Or who think spending quality time with the family is more important than material things - and if you can end up with something tasty to give away at the end of it, so much the better. Think of this as my gift to you.

Jess's Cranberry Almond Granola Recipe
(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)
2/3 cup frozen concentrated apple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

5 cups oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets (with sides) with parchment paper, or grease them.

Place frozen juice concentrate, maple syrup, brown sugar and oil in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn off heat. Stir in cinnamon and salt.

Mix oats, almonds, sunflower seeds and wheat germ in a large mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and stir to incorporate.

Distribute mixture evenly on two cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring once. Reverse sheets and rotate top sheet to bottom oven rack and vice versa. Bake for another 15 minutes, untiil granola is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets.

Mix in the cranberries and transfer to mason jars. I like to tie a raffia bow around the top to make them more festive. Granola will keep for two months stored in the mason jars.

Enjoy with yogurt or milk.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 20, 2006

Reach for the Stars: Celestron SkyScout Personal Planetarium

skyscout_person_holding.jpgLooking for a last minute gift for someone who has everything? Got a favorite stargazer on your list who is also a technology buff? Here's a gift will impress adults and kids of all ages.

The Celestron SkyScout Personal Planetarium is a handheld device that uses GPS technology to help you locate and identify over 6,000 stars, planets, and constellations. Just point at a star or constellation and click, and the SkyScout will search its built-in database and return audio and text info, including facts, trivia, history and mythology about our most popular celestial objects. Or, tell it what you're searching for and SkyScout will give you directions to "get there."

Other features include:
- Tonight's Highlights: a customized list of the 20 best objects to view for your exact date, time and location anywhere in the world.
-Constellation lessons: if the star you identify or locate is part of a constellation like the Big Dipper, you can actually take a guided tour through all the stars in that constellation and even see an onscreen map of the constellation.
- Built-in field guide, which includes an audio lesson on the origin and history of astronomy;a glossary of terms which definees popular astronomy lingo and locations; bios on some of the world's greatest astronomers including Galileo, Einstein and Copernicus; text descriptions of some of the coolest objects man has sent into space including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Space Shuttle; and a comet guide describing history's most famous comets including Halley's Comet and Comet Hale-Bop.

Comes with a USB Port for downloading the latest info on newly discovered objects. Runs on two AA batteries. (Get rechargeable ones for extra credit!)

Available from Orion Telescopes.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

December 19, 2006

Walk the Walk: Omron HJ-112 Digital Premium Pedometer

Digital-Pedometer.jpgHow about a last minute gift for a fitness fiend, or someone who is getting back on the wagon in time for the New Year? May we suggest a spiffy new pedometer so s/he can keep track of his/her mileage?

The Omron HJ-112 Digital Premium Pedometer comes highly recommended. It displays time, aerobic steps, distance in miles, and calories/fat grams burned. Better yet, it counts steps at all positions perpendicular to ground, so you can just put it in your pocket and go.

Built to last, and requires minimum set-up to use. Perfect for keeping that New Year's Resolution....

Available at Amazon.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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