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Nebia via Kickstarter
Nebia via Kickstarter

Tech Giants Are Investing in This Water-Saving Shower Head

Nebia via Kickstarter
Nebia via Kickstarter

California is entering the fourth year of its historic drought, and the situation in the Golden State continues to look grim. While some Californians have taken modest steps toward conservation, such as letting their lawns dry up and flushing their toilets less often, others in rural parts of the state have had to cope with dry wells and “third-world-type conditions.” To prevent the situation from becoming even more dire, residents throughout the state—and in other parts of the world—need to radically change the ways they consume water. The creators of a new, high-tech shower head believe they can help.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s family foundation, and thousands of Kickstarter backers are among those who've invested money in the highly-efficient Nebia shower head. The ingenuity of the product lies in the way it disperses water: it atomizes it to create millions of small droplets that cover 10 times the surface area of a conventional shower. The heavy mist washes just as well as a typical shower stream, while using 70 percent less water in the process. 

Americans spend an average of eight minutes a day in the shower, which adds up to 20 gallons of water with a traditional shower head. The founders of Nebia (a spin on the Italian word for “mist”) saw this area as an untapped opportunity for innovation. Now, after five years of testing, Nebia is preparing to release their product into the commercial market. 

Even after receiving major investments from two of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, the company took their idea to Kickstarter to gauge public interest. In just two days they raised $1.3 million, dwarfing their initial goal of $100,000. 

With an estimated retail price of $399, it’s unlikely that there'll be a Nebia shower head in every California bathroom anytime soon. But for those who can afford it, it's a simple way to conserve water and an important step in the right direction. Advance orders can be purchased for $299 with delivery set to start in May 2016. Until then, the shower heads can be found in Equinox Gyms or on the Google and Apple campuses. 

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The Most (and Least) Expensive States for Staying Warm This Winter
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It’s that time of year again: Temperatures outside have plummeted, while your monthly heating bill is on the rise. If you want an idea of how much heat will cost you this winter (perhaps you blocked out last year’s damage to your bank account), one reliable indicator is location.

Average energy expenses vary from state to state due to factors like weather, house size, and local gas prices. Using data from sources including the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, WalletHub calculated the average monthly utility bill totals for all 50 states plus Washington D.C. in 2017.

Source: WalletHub

The personal finance website looked at four energy costs: electricity, natural gas, car fuel, and home heating oil. After putting these components together, Connecticut was found to be the state with the highest energy costs in 2017, with an average of $380 in monthly bills, followed by Alaska with $332 and Rhode Island with $329.

That includes data from the summer and winter months. For a better picture of which state’s residents spend the most on heat, we have to look at the individual energy costs. Michigan, which ranks 33rd overall, outdoes every other state in the natural gas department with an average bill of $60 a month. Alaska is close behind with $59, followed by Rhode Island With $58.

People living in Maine prefer oil to heat their homes, spending $84 a month on the fuel source. All six New England states—Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts—occupy the top six spots in this category.

So which state should you move to if you want to see your heating bill disappear? In Florida, the average household spends just $3 a month on natural gas and $0 on heating oil. In Hawaii, on average, the oil bill is $0 as well, and slightly higher for gas at $4. Of course, they make up for it when it comes time to crank up the AC: Both states break the top 10 in highest electricity costs.


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science
Why Are Glaciers Blue?
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The bright azure blue sported by many glaciers is one of nature's most stunning hues. But how does it happen, when the snow we see is usually white? As Joe Hanson of It's Okay to Be Smart explains in the video below, the snow and ice we see mostly looks white, cloudy, or clear because all of the visible light striking its surface is reflected back to us. But glaciers have a totally different structure—their many layers of tightly compressed snow means light has to travel much further, and is scattered many times throughout the depths. As the light bounces around, the light at the red and yellow end of the spectrum gets absorbed thanks to the vibrations of the water molecules inside the ice, leaving only blue and green light behind. For the details of exactly why that happens, check out Hanson's trip to Alaska's beautiful (and endangered) Mendenhall Glacier below.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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