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What's in my closet? A biology lab


As the nation becomes pro-science again, with Barack Obama appointing several Nobel laureates to Cabinet positions, people have started doing biology experiments in their own homes. The latest trend in the do-it-yourself movement is biology, as amateur scientists extract DNA, run gels and even sequence their genomes in pursuit of scientific education.

Can computers help save the earth, or are we being greenwashed?


Computer manufacturers are increasingly marketing products’ putative environmentally friendly features. But do consumers care? Some fear “greenwashing.”

Mr. Wizard for the Internet age


Internet star Bre Pettis is a hip Mr. Wizard. With wildly popular Web video spots that teach viewers to create their own robot sandwich maker or T-shirt gun, a collective for New York inventors and the world's first 3-D printer for mass-market sale, Pettis is America's king of science cool.

Pet models will work for food, praise


The backstage world of pet modeling reveals an industry in which the pay is peanuts (sometimes literally) and where fame—or at least a shot in the Sunday circulars—doesn’t come easily.

Mimes get the silent treatment


With little call for mimes, silent performers are applying their skills to other art forms and to educating a new generation of mimes to keep the craft alive.

Blowing bubbles in new extreme bottled waters


Water with added oxygen? Water captured from the depths of the sea? Holy water . . . for drinking? With bottled water sales at an all-time high, some companies are carving out unusual niches in the market, promising everything from better health to maybe even a miracle.

Here's a scoop: Gorgonzola and garlic ice cream have arrived


Move over vanilla. Ice cream has gone gonzo with flavors like garlic, lobster, wasabi and Gorgonzola.

The ‘Wicked’ wigs of the west? Only a Broadway hairdresser knows


For a wig supervisor on Broadway, life can get a little hairy. The hit show “Wicked” uses 150 wigs. And someone has to keep them all clean.

Home grown: Backyard vegetable gardens are booming


The Victory Garden is making a comeback. Whether to save the planet, eat better, pinch pennies, or all three, people are tilling the soil in record numbers.

Board game lovers grow up, pass Go and collect European games


Americans look to European-style board games for a dose of strategy and social interaction as well as a pacifist approach

Are new ads for peanuts effective or just plain nutty?


In the midst of a salmonella crisis, new ads are touting the health benefits of eating peanuts. It’s a message that crisis management veterans say could set back the peanut industry’s efforts to rebrand itself in the wake of a scandal.

That math lesson will cost you 20 time dollars, please


Need your computer fixed? Help with the housework? Why pay for these services when you could trade your time and expertise for them? As the global economy tanks, time banks—-where people invest their time and expertise, not money—-are popping up across the country. There are 95 such banks in 32 states, according to Time Banks USA. Roughly half of them sprouted up this past year.

Wanted: used car, summer sublet and ... a new best friend


Wanted: a new BFF. Though Craigslist may be better known for advertising apartment sublets, free couches and X-rated propositions, friend seekers across the nation are increasingly turning to the site in search of “Strictly Platonic” connections.

The last photo booth


You walked in, sat down and in a few minutes had instant pictures of yourself, no editing possible. That spontaneity is why some people want to document photo booths, and save them. It's part of a movement of photo booth and Polaroid loyalists who cherish an antiquated “instant” medium that used real photographic paper.

Hell on wheels: Taxi TV drives New York's cabbies insane

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New York City's 13,000 yellow cabs now feature TVs in their back seats, forcing drivers to listen to the same, repetitive drivel for nearly 12 hours straight. It's enough to drive some cabbies insane.

Redhead race against the evolutionary clock


Rumors that redheads are going extinct may be overblown, but globalization will make the recessive trait more rare in decades to come. Meanwhile redheads are scrambling to document what could be the last of their kind and considering how their unusual looks have forged a shared identity.

In the fight against drug abuse, parents use Internet against Internet


The Internet has been a popular tool for teens to get high on over-the-counter cough and cold medicine. Now their parents are using the same avenue to combat the abuse and spread awareness.

Products made for lefties are left behind--by lefties

After years of discrimination, lefties have emerged as successful, cool and even presidential. So why won't they use left-handed products made to simplify their lives, like lefty scissors, pens and oven mitts?

In the shadow of the White House garden, a movement grows


On the heels of the recent ground breaking of the White House vegetable garden, a grassroots campaign is trying to get gardens planted at state houses and governor’s mansions from Saint Paul to Santa Fe.

Take my partner, please! Couples embrace new term for each other


In an age of increasingly diverse and complicated relationships, couples are searching for the right term to call their one-and-only. Many are turning to the term “partner” to describe everything from a wife to a casual boyfriend.

Leaving the bull (and bear) on Wall Street


In no mood to emulate Wall Street titans, consumers pass on the bull-shaped cuff links and dollar-sign money clips.

Lost in cyberspace: Bloggers cope with rejection


Blogging offers a creative outlet for expression. But when no one wants to listen, cyberspace rejection can be as bad as no one showing up at your party.If you build it, they don't always come.

Get your Obama T-shirt here while they're still hot!


Barack Obama has been in office for months, but people are still sporting Obama-themed pins and T-shirts, and vendors are still selling Obama gear. And while sales have certainly slowed, some vendors have profited handsomely.

A different kind of equality: Women can now relieve themselves standing up


No bathroom? No problem. Sick of squatting and holding it in, women are embracing female urination devices to pee standing up like men in just about any location--roadside, out in the woods or even while traveling abroad.

Bedtime stories by the light of a Kindle? Don't bet on it.

Sometimes it seems as though everything print is going digital. Why, then, are the library and the bookstore packed with children and their parents on a Saturday afternoon? Many believe that electronic books and handheld readers will probably never replace children's books, and the intimate experience of parent and child sharing a printed book.

There’s a mouse in my what?


After discovering a mouse in my home, I began the fruitless search for a humane mousetrap. Industry experts are divided on the issue—some suggest live traps while others argue in favor of snap and sticky traps. Mice can pose serious health risks to the home and family, yet the traps and poison used to control them raise problems of their own. How is it that a problem affecting families across the country has no clear solution?

Yes, we can! Companies ‘borrow’ from Obama’s ad campaign


Several large American companies have recently adopted new fonts and logos eerily similar to those used by the most effective advertising campaign of 2008 and maybe the world’s most marketable brand right now: Barack Obama.

That glass of beer took more water to make than you think


Make room, carbon footprint. As concern over water scarcity grows, scientists are using a new way to measure the environmental toll of consumption—the “water footprint.”