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New July 2013

Nato suspends Russia co-operation

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Nato suspends all practical civilian and military co-operation with Russia over the annexation of Crimea, describing it as a grave threat to European security.

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Justice chief eyes quick deal with Macau over transfer of fugitives

<!– google_ad_section_start –> The government will act “expeditiously” to make arrangements for the transfer of fugitives between Hong Kong and Macau, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Xi wins EU pledge to weigh free-trade deal

<!– google_ad_section_start –> President Xi Jinping won a promise from the European Union yesterday to consider a multibillion-dollar free-trade deal with his country, a long-held goal for Beijing which divides Europe. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Billy Zabka on How I Met Your Mother, the Zabkatage, and Sweeping the Leg

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Few actors have portrayed a bully quite as convincingly as William Zabka, a.k.a. Billy Zabka. Starting with 1984’s The Karate Kid, in which he played Johnny Lawrence, a headband-wearing rich kid making life a living hell for Ralph Macchio’s pipsqueak underdog, Zabka became Hollywood’s go-to preppy goon, also stealing scenes … More »

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Where Is the Humanities&#39; Neil DeGrasse Tyson?

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Cosmos is a hit, again. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a pop science star. Thanks to him, kids dream about expanding human knowledge of the phenomenal universe. Now: Where’s a liberal arts rockstar to make people care about human culture that much?Read more…

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Here are the fair-trade hipster shoes you’ve been waiting for

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OlibertéForget giving hipster shoes to people in Africa (cough, TOMS). How about giving them jobs? Oliberté is that shoe company — with the added perk of giving you a way to buy your chukka boots and flats with less guilt. OlibertéOliberté bills itself as a fair-trade, sustainable clothing brand based in sub-Saharan Africa, paying its workers in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, more than double the minimum wage. The factory is the world’s first to be certified by Fair Trade USA. So in addition to fair pay, workers get benefits like 90-day maternity leave, reasonable work hours, no exposure to certain toxic chemicals, and decisionmaking via employee committee. Adds Treehugger: The shoes and bags are made from locally sourced leather, purchased from farmers who raise free-range cattle that typically live six to eight years. The company works with a tannery that is careful not to pollute and recycles its chrome … Although not all of the components are sourced from Ethiopia, the natural rubber used from the soles is also local. They work to make the factory zero-waste, recycling and reusing anything that’s left over from leather scraps to glue cans. And although the shoes aren’t cradle-to-cradle, you can mail ’em back to Oliberté when they’re worn out, and the company will find ways to recycle them. Other than the carbon emissions from shipping shoes halfway around the world — and yeah, that’s a big caveat — they sound pretty spiffy.Filed under: Business & Technology, Living

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U.N. climate report offers lots of bummer news plus a few dollops of encouragement

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Climate change has broken down the floodgates, pervading every corner of the globe and affecting every inhabitant. That was perhaps the clearest message from the newest report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the latest in a conga line of warnings about the need to radically and immediately reduce our use of fossil fuels. Published Sunday, it’s the second installment of the IPCC’s fifth climate report. The first installment was released last September; the third comes out next month. (If you’re wondering WTF the IPCC even is, here’s an explainer.) This latest installment catalogues climate impacts that are already being felt around the world, including floods, heat waves, rising seas, and a slowing in the growth of crop yields: IPCCClick to embiggen.As we reported when a draft of key parts of the document was leaked in November, the IPCC says current risks will only worsen – risks such as food crises and starvation, extinctions, heat waves, floods, droughts, violent protests, and wars. Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke called the report an “S.O.S. to the world,” reminding us that failure to “sharply curb carbon pollution” will mean more “punishing rainfall, heat waves, scorching drought, and fierce storm surges,” and that the “toll on our health and economy will skyrocket.” But the report doesn’t just focus on climate change’s risks and threats – it looks at ways in which national and local governments, communities, and the private sector can work to reduce those threats. And some of the news on climate adaptation is actually, gasp, slightly encouraging! “Adaptation to climate change is transitioning from a phase of awareness to the construction of actual strategies and plans,” chapter 15 says. “The combined efforts of a broad range of international organizations, scientific reports, and media coverage have raised awareness of the importance of adaptation to climate change, fostering a growing number of adaptation responses in developed and developing countries.” Farmers are adjusting their growing times as they adapt to changing local climates, for example. Wetlands and sand dunes are being restored to protect against storm surges and flooding, drought early-warning systems are being established, and governments are turning to the traditional knowledge held by their indigenous communities for clues on how best to cope with the increasingly hostile weather. But the report highlights a depressingly unjust fissure between the world’s rich, who have caused most of the global warming but can afford to adapt to some of it, and the world’s poorest countries and communities, where countless lives can be ruined en masse by a single unseasonably powerful storm or drought. “Climate change is expected to have a relatively greater impact on the poor as a consequence of their lack of financial resources, poor quality of shelter, reliance on local ecosystem services, exposure to the elements, and limited provision of basic services and their limited resources to recover from an increasing frequency of losses through climate events,” chapter 14 says. And the report highlights the yawning gap between the amount of money that needs to be spent on climate adaptation and how much is actually being spent. Chapter 17 cites a World Bank estimate that it will cost the world $70 billion to $100 billion a year to adapt to the changing climate by 2050 (but notes that these figures are “highly preliminary”). Yet actual spending in 2012 was estimated to be around $400 million. Those high adaptation costs will be out of reach for many of the world’s poorest countries — something that IPCC delegates from the U.S. and other Western countries don’t want you to think about. The New York Times reports that the World Bank’s $100 billion figure was scrubbed from the report’s 44-page summary at the last minute under pressure from rich countries, which have been spooked by poor countries’ calls during recent negotiations for climate compensation and far-reaching adaptation assistance.Filed under: Article, Climate & Energy, Food, Politics

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Insurers face US$450m bill for MH370

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will visit Perth to observe the search for flight MH370, the government said last night, as Standard & Poor’s warned that insurers faced paying out up to US$450 million. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Senior party officials at start of trial of ‘mafia’ tycoon Liu Han in Xianning, Hubei

<!– google_ad_section_start –> More than 150 top Communist Party officials arrived in Xianning, Hubei province, yesterday to oversee the highly anticipated trial of Sichuan mining tycoon Liu Han for alleged mafia-style crimes. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Here’s a solution to most bikes’ dirty secret

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Ever been biking in a park and been dismayed that your shiny metal bike didn’t quite fit in with your earthy, natural surroundings? So has designer Daniel Gestoso — so he dreamt up the Boske wooden bike. Daniel GestosoLike its predecessor, the Sandwichbike, the Boske is flat-packed in IKEA fashion; you only need an Allen wrench to put it together. Its frame is a bony figure eight made from laminated, sustainably harvested maple. Recycled pop cans provide the aluminum for the seat base and front fork. “All of this will allow production to stay local, reducing energy usage in transportation and distribution,” Gestoso told Fast Company. Daniel GestosoThe problem with typical aluminum bike frames is that mining aluminum is a huge energy suck. (It’s way worse than glass, for instance, not that you want a glass bike.) And even though it’s almost 100 percent recyclable, only about half of pop cans get recycled. As Umbra once wrote, “Americans are said to throw away enough aluminum in three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.” (Insert ashamed emoticon here.) Daniel GestosoAlthough it’s still in the prototype phase, the Boske would help keep some of that metal out of the waste stream while helping you get around in low-carbon style. It might be the best we’ll get until someone invents a bike made out of air!Filed under: Business & Technology, Living

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The Good Wife Recap: Will to Go On

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Any remaining shreds of denial we were clinging to — maybe last week was a dream? maybe Will had a secret twin who took his place at the courthouse during the shooting? — were demolished in this episode. Will is dead, and it’s time to process that. And before we … More »

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Watch North America’s busiest bus stops become more efficient using only sidewalk tape

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NelsonNygaard landed a super-easy job. The transit planning firm had to streamline a couple of bus stops in British Columbia for TransLink. Only about 100,000 people ride that particular route a day. It’s just the busiest bus line in North America. (But no big, right?) Palms sweaty, knees weak, and arms heavy, NelsonNygaard already knew what didn’t work: a huge passenger shelter where riders of Vancouver’s 99 Broadway line simply ignored switchback arrows on the ground. (Think airport security without any crowd-control ropes — madness.) So rather than armchair postulating about what MIGHT work better, the firm did some real-time analysis at two east- and westbound stops, laying down some sidewalk tape on a busy Monday morning and capturing the results on video: The above video is a timelapse of the westbound stop outside the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain station. NelsonNygaard roped off areas to guide people along, funneling lines into each of the bus’ three doors while leaving room for pedestrians. At the eastbound stop, only a few pillars near the bus doors and some tape were needed to wrangle people coming from the train into three lines for the bus: “Live trial-and-error intervention helps push the boundaries of standard planning approaches,” writes Eric Jaffe of Atlantic Cities. For instance, NelsonNygaard learned that people ignored eye-level signage. (After all, who can be bothered to read, pre-coffee?) Tape isn’t exactly a long-term solution, but now that TransLink has some ideas of what works, more permanent improvements are on the way.Filed under: Cities, Living

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America, Inc. at it’s Finest

Saks Fifth Avenue
7 For All Mankind, a division of VF Contemporary Brands
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