7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Burberry
US iTunes, App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Rebecca Taylor
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
Saks Fifth Avenue
New July 2013

Pupil killed in school wall collapse

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A 12-year-old girl dies after a wall inside the building of Liberton High School in Edinburgh collapses and lands on top of her.

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How did Vancouver get so green?

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Vancouver is supremely green, in both senses of the word. Set between ocean and mountains and lined with verdant trees, Vancouver also has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any major city in North America. In 2007, the most recent year for which comparisons are available, Vancouver had annual emissions of 4.9 tons of CO2 equivalent per capita. By 2012, according to Vancouver’s city government, it had dropped to 4.4 tons per person. “Vancouver has done really well at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and showing leadership on climate change,” says Ian Bruce, science and policy manager at the David Suzuki Foundation, a Canadian environmental research organization. “Vancouver is bucking the trend of a lot of North American cities when it comes to how quickly the city is growing in population — it’s increasing quite dramatically, its economy and jobs have increased — while greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 9 percent in the last decade.” How did Vancouver achieve that? It’s an outlier in even the green-friendly Pacific Northwest: While Seattle and Portland look and feel a lot like Vancouver, their per capita emissions are roughly three times as high. The U.S.’s closest competitor to Vancouver is New York, followed by San Francisco, then Philadelphia. All of those cities are older, with many dense, walkable rowhouse neighborhoods developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, before the car rose to dominate the landscape and city planning. Like its Pacific Northwest peers, Vancouver was built later, with more detached houses and parking garages. In part, Vancouver is just lucky. British Columbia is rich in hydroelectric power, so keeping the lights on in all those coffee bars pumps a lot less CO2 into the atmosphere than in cities where power comes from fossil fuels. It also helps that Vancouver has a relatively mild West Coast climate. Inland cities like Minneapolis and Denver, with more weather extremes, need more fuel for heat in the winter and electricity for air conditioning in summer. But Vancouver has also made a lot of smart public policy choices. Even as the Canadian national government backslides on environmental protection, Canada’s more liberal localities are making progress. Ontario banned coal-fired electricity this year. Vancouver has been committed to sustainability, and creating policies to advance that goal, for several decades. Mayor Gregor Robertson keeps raising the bar on his predecessor’s successes. He developed the comprehensive “Greenest City 2020 Action Plan,” which lays down benchmarks that each sector of the city’s government must achieve. According to environmental advocates, the city has pursued three main agendas that account for its success: 1. Offering transportation alternatives. Vancouverites are eager to ditch their cars, and the city is trying to help them do so. In 2010 Vancouver started building separated bicycle lanes and it is launching a bikeshare system this year. “Continuing to shift people out of cars to walking, biking, and transit is crucial,” said Mayor Robertson in a phone interview with Grist. Robertson boasts that Vancouver has reached 44 percent of its trips being made without a car. That’s the third-highest percentage in North America, after New York City and Washington, D.C. His administration has also encouraged carsharing, which helps reduce car ownership and total driving, with free dedicated parking spaces for the Car2Go car-sharing service. Winston WongVancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson, IRL.Even as the city grows, its number of car trips decreases. That means its drops are even more impressive when adjusted for population. “In the past decade, the population in Vancouver has increased 18 percent, the number of jobs has gone up 16 percent, while vehicles entering downtown have decreased by 20 percent,” notes Bruce. The proportion of all trips taken into and within Vancouver by car have each dropped around 5 percent during the same timeframe. “It’s not based on breakthrough technology,” Bruce explains, “just planning decisions to invest in transit, bike, and walking infrastructure.” “Vancouverites have chosen to shift out of cars for 20 years in a row now,” says Robertson. The city’s average decline in car mode share is 1 percent per year. In addition to pedestrian and bike safety, Robertson is trying to expand mass transit. But without sufficient investment at the provincial and federal level, the biggest projects may not be completed. Right now, Roberston is lobbying Ottawa for help building a $3 billion subway line that would go to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and unclog traffic on Broadway, a major road through the city. 2. Density, building codes, and transit-oriented development. Walk around downtown Vancouver and you’ll see a lot of skyscrapers. But unlike the downtowns of many big cities, these aren’t all just office buildings. Vancouver has encouraged building housing upwards in its downtown and along transit corridors. This manages the population growth so that most new residents are living in dense, walkable, transit-accessible environments. Denser buildings also tend to be more energy-efficient. “Vancouver has been designed around the notion of building complete communities,” says Bruce. Shopping, housing, office space, parks, and public amenities are all found in the same neighborhoods, especially downtown. “A lot of downtown cores are ghost towns after businesses close at 5 p.m.,” adds Bruce. “Vancouver has tried to redesign the downtown and build enjoyable places. That has made public transit more efficient and a better investment — with more people living in the downtown core it made more sense to invest in things like mass transit.” Or, as Robertson concisely puts it: “We’ve battled hard against suburban sprawl.” All that development has its environmental challenges. “A lot of the new development is in high-rise condos. Their actual energy performance does not look like it’s as good as anticipated,” notes Ellen Pond, senior policy advisor at the Pembina Institute, a Canadian environmental think tank. Buildings are the largest source of Vancouver’s emissions. And while density is preferable to sprawl, luxury high-rises encased in glass are not necessarily more efficient than, say, compact low-rise brick apartment buildings or townhomes. “The modeled energy performance and actual performance can be quite different,” Pond explains. “For example, sometimes there is no thermal barrier between an apartment’s concrete balconies and the floor inside. So, basically you’re building a building with fans that transmit energy in or out.” That can make it colder in winter and hotter and summer, and thus less energy-efficient. The city is working on these issues. Last fall the city council adopted amendments to the city’s building code requiring all new large buildings to be designed to meet strict energy standards and use 20 percent less energy – below 2007 benchmarks – by 2020. Pond says she expects these new regulations to help make future high-rises more efficient. 3. Clean, productive waste management. Trucking garbage to landfills uses energy. Burning garbage may be even worse. Vancouver also tries to make efficient use of its waste. “Our waste goal of diverting waste away from landfills and incinerators is crucial,” says Robertson. The city has introduced compost pick-up for single family homes and is now working on doing the same for multi-unit buildings. “Vancouver has a really aggressive waste management strategy to divert organics from the waste stream,” says Pond. Food waste and yard waste go to a large composting facility. The city’s compost materials are then sold to gardeners. Vancouver even makes use out of leaky gas (although not the kind that comes out when you’ve eaten a burrito). The city captures methane at the landfill and use it to heat greenhouses. They even take the warmth that naturally accumulates in sewers and use it to heat homes. The biggest problem with Vancouver is that this high quality of life attracts too many people. Last year, The Economist ranked Vancouver the most expensive city in North America [sub req]. Robertson argues that his environmental initiatives also make it less expensive. “Greening a city makes it more affordable,” says Robertson. “You have more affordable transportation, with walking, biking, and transit. Healthier buildings burn less fuel. You get more success by investing in a green city — both [in] quality of life and affordability.” Certainly, Vancouver’s high cost of living is a byproduct of its success. If local governments elsewhere were smart — never a safe assumption — they will seek to emulate it. Robertson is also working on climate adaption, as any responsible mayor must these days. Vancouver, like so many coastal cities, is experiencing adverse effects from climate change and CO2 emissions, and could face much worse problems if CO2 pollution continues unchecked. The city’s harbor has become increasingly acidic due to CO2 pollution, and that may be why its shellfish are dying in droves. Vancouver has adopted a Climate Change Adaptation Plan, which is leading to policies such as flood-proof building regulations and developing plans to deal with extreme heat. And that illustrates the most daunting fact of all: While Vancouver is doing great comparatively, it still needs to do more if it is to meet the generally accepted goal of an 80-percent reduction in greenhouse emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. While environmentalists have almost nothing but praise for Vancouver’s existing policies, they want to see the city go farther, faster. “The greenhouse gas emission targets need to be more ambitious than they are today,” says Stephanie Goodwin, Greenpeace’s director for British Columbia. Vancouver may not even meet its own goals. “We’re less than halfway to our emissions targets,” says Goodwin. “They want to reduce emissions by 33 percent from 2007 by 2020. They’ve made less than a 10 percent reduction so far. How far will the city really get over the next 6 years? I have hope but whether they’ll get from single digit reductions up to 33 percent? I’m sitting on pins and needles waiting for that.” Goodwin notes that while the city is following its roadmap to make its buildings carbon neutral by 2020, it is not yet on pace to get there. And so Vancouver’s status as a global warming mitigation leader is both encouraging and discouraging, depending on how you look at it. It shows how much can be done with the strongest political will and the boldest leadership – but is also uncovers a concerted strategy’s limits. At the end of the day, even most liberal Vancouverites don’t want to stop heating their homes or using electricity, and all that energy has to come from somewhere. Says Goodwin of the Vancouver government, “They’ve achieved what’s politically feasible, not what’s ecologically necessary.”Filed under: Article, Cities, Climate & Energy

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Government’s electric-cab plan fails to spark more suppliers’ interest

<!– google_ad_section_start –> At present, only four models of electric private cars are available in Hong Kong – the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf, Renault Fluence ZE and BYD e6. The BYD cars are already being used as taxis, with 45 on the roads. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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City must reduce reliance on Dongjiang water, John Tsang says

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Seawater desalination is an important future source of water supply for Hong Kong, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has reiterated. It was necessary for the city to adopt the process because Guangdong, which currently provides up to 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s tap water, is seeing a growing demand for the resource, Tsang wrote in his weekly blog post. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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This Texas man is fighting the drought one tank of rainwater at a time

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How do you get to be the mayor of Tank Town? Practice, practice, practice! Or else, wait. I’m confused. Richard Heinichen became the mayor of Tank Town by building one rainwater storage tank in central Texas in 1994. Back then you could still get groundwater from a well, but apparently it smelled gross. He started out as a rainwater evangelist for the supplemental, sulfur-free benefits, but ended up as deus ex machina during Texas’ crippling droughts. Heinichen helped neighbors build their own rainwater tanks at first, then decided to turn the whole thing into a business. He built 16 tanks on his own property and sold some 1,300 others. He consults with hundreds of people a year about installing their own rainwater tanks. (Perplexingly, he’s also started bottling and selling his rainwater, Cloud Juice, but we hope he is at least using recycled bottles.) Now, during the worst drought in decades, Heinichen’s hometown of Dripping Springs, Texas, is running severely short on drips. This video fills in the details, with whimsy added in the form of charming water tank paintjobs and a soundtrack straight out of a Noah Baumbach movie. Heinichen points out that a single gravity-fed tank could support two people for almost a year. If the drought lasts longer than that? Store more water. Long live Tank Town. Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Living

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Erdogan’s name and face dominate as Turkey heads to the polls

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The prime minister is not even standing in Sunday’s local elections, but in the divided capital the talk is of no one elseTurkey may be in turmoil and the vast city of Istanbul in ferment, bridling at the antics of a government struggling to cope with scandal and sleaze, but in Kasimpasa quarter, the prime minister’s troubles raise barely a shrug.A conservative, lower-middle-class district bordering the Golden Horn and predominantly inhabited by Turks from the Black Sea coast, Kasimpasa loves Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the powerful prime minister increasingly reviled across Turkey and tarnished internationally.

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This floating electric amphicar could save you from the next tsunami

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It’s a car! It’s a boat! It’s an electric-powered vehicle that bobs on the water like a jetski! The Japanese-developed Fomm Concept One uses a water jet generator to propel through water, and has a motorcycle-style handlebar to accelerate and brake. And get this: Its wheels are lightweight, buoyant, and they can operate like fins when in the water. Pretty neat, eh? Before you take the plunge and pack up the family for a picnic in the lake, remember that this amphicar isn’t meant just for fun. It was designed by a Japanese company to help rescue people from flooding and tsunamis and will only be sold in Thailand, followed by a larger rollout in Southeast Asia. The tiny, 1,000-pound car can only drive about 62 miles before it needs to be recharged, and can only handle one disaster at a time before it needs to be maintained again. The concept for the car was born after Fomm President Hideo Tsurumaki saw the devastation that the 2011 tsunami caused his home province, Shizuoka Prefecture. In Southeast Asia, where 138 million people live in coastal areas prone to flooding and powerful downpours, this electric car could help drivers negotiate impassable roads and flooding. And the Fomm Concept One will have its work cut out for it, since global warming is predicted to hit Asia the hardest, bringing along plenty more floods and tsunamis. According to the company, mass production of the Fomm Concept One will begin in 2015. Take a quick tour of the prototype before it hits the water like Alan Jackson on water skis: Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Living

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Obama’s new gaseous release: A strategy to cut back on methane

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The White House released its strategy to cut methane emissions this morning — President Obama’s latest sashay around Congress to pursue climate action (as part of the plan he announced in June). Methane isn’t the most ubiquitous of greenhouse gases (that’d be good ‘ol CO2), but it is a potent one: The same amount of methane as CO2 has 20 times the impact in terms of future global warming over a 100-year period. While methane emissions have decreased by 11 percent since 1990, we’re still not in good shape: 50 percent more methane is leaking from oil and gas sites than previously thought and, without action, methane emissions are expected to increase through 2030 – mostly thanks to fracking. So far the oil and gas industry has balked at the idea of regulating its methane leaks, saying that it might slow production down (we’ve all heard it before, but, man, frack you!). Obama’s plan looks at culling methane emissions from four big sources: landfills (methane gets released when all of our biodegradable trash breaks down), leaks from oil and natural gas production, coal mining, and cow farts. The report details how the White House will delegate government agencies to come up with and enforce better standards, i.e. the EPA will manage landfills while the Department of the Interior will handle methane leaks on public lands. It also focuses on ways to capture methane to reuse it for clean energy, such as biogas systems, which can convert cattle waste into fuel. So while we’re not going to replace our cows with less-farty kangaroos, it at least offers options for putting all those bovine leavings to good use. All of these steps are pretty minor in the face of battling climate change, but the plan overall does have people excited. “Curbing methane is … a big step in the right direction,” David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at NRDC, said in a recent press release. And from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: “As climate change continues to harm American communities from the Heartland to the coasts, we must use every tool at our disposal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing it … I applaud the President for his ongoing commitment to public health and the environment.”Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy

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He may talk big on deforestation, but it turns out Ahnold is the tree terminator

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Global WitnessI’ll be bahk, bromeliads.Hasta la vista, trees! If you thought it was bad when Arnold Schwarzenegger became governor, just wait til you hear what’s happened now that he’s an honorary U.S. Forest Service ranger. An investigation by Global Witness alleges that his investments have funded illegal rainforest logging, according to the Guardian: The former governor and climate champion is a part owner of an investment company, Dimensional Fund Advisers, with significant holdings in tropical forestry companies. A number of those forestry companies were implicated in highly destructive and illegal logging which has destroyed rainforest and critical orangutan habitat in Borneo, and fuelled conflict and arms trafficking in Liberia, the investigators from Global Witness said. The Terminator had roughly a 5 percent stake in DFA’s investment funds. He’s invested no less than $1 million in the firm, according to disclosure forms the Guardian dug up. (We can think of a better home for your millions, Ahnold! And we promise not to kill any orangutans.) It gets worse: In the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, [Schwarzenegger] joined regional leaders from Indonesia and Brazil urging Barack Obama and other leaders to help developing countries stop deforestation. Aw shit. Nothing like some juicy hypocrisy for your Friday! To be truly baffled, watch Global Witness’ bizarre Arnold animation, via Salon: Filed under: Living

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Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig on His Early Influences, the Continued Oxford Comma Debate, and the Most Important Hometown Shows

As told to Jennifer Vineyard My dad is a massive music fan, so even just growing up in the house, he was buying new cool music, up through when I was born. So I was very familiar with the Ramones, Run DMC, Blondie—core New York music. My parents would often … More »

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GOP lawmakers scramble to court Tesla

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Electric vehicle sales in New Jersey ran out of batteries earlier this month, when the Chris Christie administration voted to ban car manufacturers from selling directly to drivers. The companies must now use third-party dealers. The ban applies to all car manufacturers, but seemed particularly aimed at Tesla, which had been in negotiations with the administration for months to sell electric cars straight from its own storefronts in the state. The move was a win for the state’s surprisingly powerful auto dealer lobby and a loss for one of the country’s biggest electric car makers. But it also cemented New Jersey’s place as a non-contender for the real prize: a $5 billion battery “gigafactory” that Tesla plans to begin construction on later this year. With an estimated 6,500 employees, the factory will likely become a keystone of the United State’s clean energy industry and an economic boon for its host state. Now, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada are scrambling to get picked, and last week Republican legislators in Arizona began to try pushing their state to the top of the pile. It’s the latest sign that, at least at the state level, the clean energy industry’s best friend might be the GOP. Newt Gingrich quickly pounced on Christie after the direct sales ban for “artificially” insulating car dealers, just weeks after calling for John Kerry to resign after Kerry named climate change as a principle challenge of the generation. On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called his state’s direct sales ban “antiquated” nearly a year after a Democrat-backed bill to change the policy was killed. New Jersey and Texas aren’t the only states where you can’t buy a Tesla car directly from the company: Arizona and Maryland also have direct sales bans. But a bill passed out of committee in Arizona’s GOP-controlled Senate last week would reverse the state’s position and allow electric vehicle companies to sell directly out of their showrooms. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Warren Peterson (R-Gilbert) said he was spurred by the New Jersey situation to amend what he sees as a creeping assault on free market principles. “For me, it’s not about Tesla or electric cars,” he said. “For me, a big concern I have now is we are limiting someone’s choice.” But despite backing from some prominent Arizona Republicans (Sen. John McComish told the Arizona Daily Star he didn’t see why the state should “prevent someone else who has a better idea from making an effort to enter that industry”), Warren said he’s faced opposition from others who see the bill as damaging to the state’s traditional car market or a handout to Tesla, arguments that swayed the decision in New Jersey. “I have a tough time understanding why Republicans are opposed to it, because free markets are such a big part of the platform,” he said. “States that moved away from this have made a big mistake.” The Republican-eat-Republican battle over Tesla mirrors another clean energy fight playing out nationwide. Conservatives aligned with large utility companies are squaring off with the solar power industry and libertarian-leaning Republicans over rules to allow homeowners with solar panels to sell excess power back to the grid, a policy known as net metering, which is allowed in more than 40 states. Some utility companies, however, worry the practice will disrupt their business model as more and more homes go solar. That fight has been particularly vicious in Arizona, where the son of conservative icon Barry Goldwater has led the pro-solar charge on free market arguments. “In a lot of ways, [clean energy] is an existential crisis” for Republicans, said Marita Mirzatuny, a Texas-based energy analyst for the Environmental Defense Fund. Some “are fighting on behalf of old entrenched regulations, which seems counterintuitive,” because at the same time “there’s a lot of money and momentum moving into the cleantech realm.” With Tesla’s battery factory on the line, the stakes are now higher than ever, and Arizona is poised to become the first state of the four in line for the factory to clear its regulatory hurdles. “For Texas to lose out because of regulation like that is the ultimate irony,” Mirzatuny said. The proposed factory has implications beyond just electric vehicles. Electricity storage is a central challenge for the renewable energy industry as well. Rooftop solar companies still struggle with how to store excess power, and some are now relying on the car industry to perfect that technology. California’s biggest solar installer, SolarCity, is already using Tesla batteries to store power from homes in that state, and on Tuesday Honda unveiled an experimental carbon-neutral house that relies on car batteries. As cleantech of all kinds matures as a growing market, Mirzatuny said, more conservatives might embrace the economic potential in fighting climate change. “Economics are finally aligned with environmental protection,” she said. “That’s a rare opportunity.” This story was produced as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.Filed under: Article, Business & Technology, Politics

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Edelstein: Wes Anderson Moves Out of the Dollhouse With The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson’s latest cinematic styling is The Grand Budapest Hotel, an exquisitely calibrated, deadpan-comic miniature that expands in the mind and becomes richer and more tragic. Anderson tells a story within a story within a story. (There might be one more story—I lost track.) First, a young girl pays tribute … More »

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

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Bren-Books.com, Modern first editions and collectible fiction<

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Chocolate Artisan Truffles by Just Chocolate

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Burberry
New July 2013