Super Container Gardens

Treehugger has a neat post up on some, I guess, extreme container gardening. Check out the video from the link below, in the meantime here’s a snippit from the article:

Emma has already shown us some beautiful edible container gardens, courtesy of our readers; we’ve seen a gorgeous urban orchard complete with a repurposed dumpster/ping pong table, not to mention an under-used train station turned into a community gardening hub. But the Prinzessinengarten in the Berlin borough of Kreuzberg might just be one of the most creative examples of using reclaimed and salvaged materials to build an urban oasis.

Check it out at Treehugger.

Dan Gilbert Reminds Us What Makes Us Happy

Dan Gilbert has a great TED talk about what makes us happy and provides a great overview of how we examine stats. Basically we are horrible at understanding statistics and we ought to be aware of this to help us understand what makes us happy. He also brings up that more often than not our fears are misplaced.

Why Poorer People Are Kind to One Another

For some reason there are stereotypes out there that imply that if you’re not part of the middle class then you are a jerk. Well, it looks like that maybe half true. New research has come out that started with the question why statistically do poorer people give a higher portion of their income to charity compared to the rich has now concluded with the idea that rich people are not as empathetic as the poor.

It would be nice if people who were better off gave more of their income to charities and to other worthy causes. I hope this inspires all of you to give.

Michael W Kraus, of the University of California, San Francisco, is one of a number of social psychologists who have recently been busy demonstrating that lower socioeconomic status (SES) is intricately linked to all sorts of prosocial behaviours. Everything else equal, the less wealth, education and employment status we have, the more charitable, generous, trusting and helpful we appear to become. In interactions with strangers, poorer people are more likely to use polite, attentive, respectful gestures. Most recently, in a paper just published in the prestigious journal Psychological Science, Kraus et al report that lower SES subjects show significantly greater empathy than their richer, better educated counterparts. He argues that this tendency to empathise may at least partly explain the other observations of prosocial behaviour.

Read the rest at the Guardian.

Remember People Not Things This Holiday

Many people who celebrate Christmas (or similar holidays of gift-giving) tend to focus on giving mass quantities or expensive gifts without regard. Man vs. Debt is a blog that focuses on getting rid of material things (and not getting new material goods) and they have a good post up on what you can do this Christmas to give something great to people and not committing acts of blind consumerism.

The plan on what to do is on you.

Courtney and I have decided to severely limit the gifts we buy this year. We won’t be buying for each other (instead we are making huge life changes – trust me – we are spending enough on those “gifts”).

We’ve bought a few small traditional “gifts” for younger family members, but decided that we would make small donations on behalf of any adults in our life. We’ll be browsing to attempt to find charities and non-profits that reflect the values of each family member and rather than buy them golf balls or a candle, we’ll make a small donation.

We are lucky that none of our family really cares about the “stuff”. The donations will be a valued gesture and by customizing each one, we show that we took time to think about and appreciate the personality of each family member.

Read more at Man Vs. Debt.

New Speed Record for Electric Airplanes

Electric airplanes are still rare but hopefully this will change sooner rather than later. Airplane fuel is super-dangerous for our friendly environment so if we can get planes to run off of batteries (electricity of course coming from wind or the like) than score a million for the good guys!

Cri-Cri is a small aircraft that just broke the electric plane speed record with ease and could herald the development of personal aircraft being electric!

According to Electravia, the firm who designed the Cri-Cri’s 35-horsepower motors and custom propellers, the plane was only using 75% of its total power when it broke the speed record. The engineering firm said that its engines and propellers could have taken the plane to speeds over 220 mph, however such velocity would have put serious stress on the Cri-Cri’s airframe so only 75% power was used.

Read more: The Cri-Cri Breaks the Electric Aircraft Speed Record

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