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How to Stay Well-Powered (Even When You're Off the Grid)

Whether you’re a seasoned camping veteran, a city slicker looking to reconnect with nature, or at a music festival hoping to keep your smartphone juiced all weekend, it can be tough navigating the big wide world of outdoor gear.

A company called BioLite aims to cover you on all fronts. Their mission to bring "energy everywhere" is focused on developing areas around the world, but their new line of products is targeted at the technologically savvy who want to stay powered during outdoor excursions. Their PowerLight Mini—one of three recent rollouts—is a card-sized portable 135-lumen lantern and power bank with a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 52 hours when used as a light. (For less outdoorsy types, you can use it to add a boost to your phone's battery—gotta keep those tweets flowing.)

Meanwhile, the SolarPanel 5+ is exactly what it sounds like: a personal solar panel that lets you charge your devices with the almighty power of the sun. The device even has a sundial to take the guesswork out of finding a good spot to set up. “Propping a panel up on rocks just doesn’t cut it,” BioLite CEO Jonathan Cedar said in a press release. “When you’re not directly aligned to the sun, you can miss out on up to 30 percent of the watts your panel could be producing.” 

Finally, the CookStove is a “streamlined version” of BioLite's flagship CampStove. The device uses combustion technology to provide a smokeless fire fueled by sticks, twigs, or pellets. The rechargeable battery inside keeps the fan spinning for up to 30 hours on a single charge, and there are four fan settings that control the intensity of the flame. Check out the video below to learn more about the features of the stove and how it works.

All images via BioLite.

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iStock
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infographics
All the Plastic Ever Produced, Visualized
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iStock

Humanity has a plastic problem. The cheap, durable material has become a vital part of our vehicles, food packaging, and even the inner structures of our homes. We’ve already produced 8.3 billion metric tons of the stuff, and most of it is sitting in landfills where it could take centuries to break down.

In early 2017, a study published in the journal Science Advances highlighted the literal weight of this growing issue. Researchers calculated that the bulk of all the plastic that’s been made by humans is equivalent to that of 25,000 Empire State Buildings or 80 million blue whales. Of that, only 9 percent has been recycled. The amount of plastic waste currently trashing our planet adds up to 6.3 billion metric tons, and the researchers don’t see our plastic addiction getting any less severe in the near future. By 2050, the plastic in our landfills is expected to hit 12 billion metric tons. You can see more alarming statistics from the study in the infographic below.

Infographic showing plastic production statistics.
University of Georgia, Janet A Beckley

Of all the trash we produce, plastic is some of the toughest to get rid of [PDF]. Scientists are looking into solutions, such as plastic-chomping caterpillars and germs, but for now consumers can do the planet a favor by investing in more reusable goods.

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Noriyuki Saitoh
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Art
Japanese Artist Crafts Intricate Insects Using Bamboo
Original image
Noriyuki Saitoh

Not everyone finds insects beautiful. Some people think of them as scary, disturbing, or downright disgusting. But when Japanese artist Noriyuki Saitoh looks at a discarded cicada shell or a feeding praying mantis, he sees inspiration for his next creation.

Saitoh’s sculptures, spotted over at Colossal, are crafted by hand from bamboo. He uses the natural material to make some incredibly lifelike pieces. In one example, three wasps perch on a piece of honeycomb. In another, two mating dragonflies create a heart shape with their abdomens.

The figures he creates aren’t meant to be exact replicas of real insects. Rather, Saitoh starts his process with a list of dimensions and allows room for creativity when fine-tuning the appearances. The sense of movement and level of detail he puts into each sculpture is what makes them look so convincing.

You can browse the artist’s work on his website or follow him on social media for more stunning samples from his portfolio.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

Bamboo insect.

[h/t Colossal]

All images courtesy of Noriyuki Saitoh.

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