IQ-tips: H2-ohh no

So we all know our planet is in trouble, right? Old news by now. Especially when it comes to using up things like water, a natural resource many think will be fought over in the not-so-distant future. COHA (that's the Council On Hemispheric Affairs) even claimed earlier this year that by 2025, two-thirds of the world's population might already be suffering from severe water scarcity.

But we also know, deep down, we've all got the ability to affect change now, even though in the grand scheme of things, most of us probably don't feel like our singular contributions will really make any big dif, right?


Here's another simple dishwasher-related tip, with some even simpler math, which proves that every little change you make, goes a long way in restoring the balance.

Verily, Consumer Reports says unto thee:

Don't prerinse dishes before loading the dishwasher. You'll save as much as 20 gallons a load, or 6,500 gallons per year. Our tests show prerinsing doesn't improve cleaning. Or, use the rinse-and-hold dishwasher feature for a less-than-full load before later in the week running the full load. The rinse-and-hold option uses about 2 gallons of water... and make your next dishwasher a water-saver. The most water-efficient models we've tested use only about 5 gallons per wash--less than half that of the least water-efficient models.

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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