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What Pivot-Obsessed Businesses Can Learn from Play-Doh

The weird story of a best-selling toy that started as wallpaper cleaner.

Play-Doh sculpture by the interns of artist Jeff Koons. Photo by Boss Tweed via Flickr

For all its simplicity, it’s hard to deny that Play-Doh is one of the most successful toys of all time. A colored modeling clay just a cut above what you can make out of household ingredients, its ability to inspire creative, open, and versatile play earned it a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998 and on the Toy Industry Association’s “Century of Toys” list in 2003. Over the nearly six decades it has been on the market, purveyors have sold over 2 billion cans (at least 700 million pounds) in about 75 countries; the U.S. alone boasts at least 6,000 stores that stock Play-Doh products. It’s even got its own (jokey) holiday—September 18 is National Play-Doh Day.

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When Humans Fight, but Animals Win

Penguins have resorted to using landmines to keep pesky humans away.

Chances are when you think “Falkland Islands,” you think of the extremely disproportionate war in 1982, when Argentina and the United Kingdom faced off over 200-some rocky islands off the coast of South America. The 74-day-long conflict incurred over 900 casualties, and reaffirmed the UK’s sovereignty over the Falkland’s roughly 1,800 people and 400,000 sheep. But for some scientists and conservationists, the Falkland Islands mean one thing: penguins. Home to one million Gentoo, King, Macaroni, Magellanic, and Southern Rockhopper penguins, the islands boast a stunning and diverse population of aquatic birds. Amazingly, their ability to thrive can largely be linked back to the military excesses of the war.

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Sleeping With the Fishes: An Underwater Hotel

Deep Water Technology has designed an underwater hotel, and will begin construction on a prototype this month.

A Polish design firm is about to begin construction on a prototype of a new hotel with two main parts: one just above the surface of the ocean, and one section that can be up to 10 meters underwater. The building is designed to be modular, so additional disc-shaped structures can be added to create a full resort.

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Obama's "Secret" Climate Adaptation Plan

Whether he'll talk about climate change publicly or not, the President is preparing all federal agencies for its inevitable impacts.

On March 4th, in a move surely designed to side-step Congress, Obama's Council on Environmental Quality issued instructions to all federal agencies on how to adapt to climate change. All agencies, from the Food and Drug Administration to the Department of Defense, will be required to analyze their vulnerabilities to the impacts from climate change and come up with a plan to adapt. Thousands of governmental employees will be trained on climate science, like it or not.

The changes aren't limited to just federal agencies. Countless numbers of private businesses that sell, build, provide logistics or maintenance, or anything else to the government will be forced to comply with new Federal climate adaptation guidelines—all because of Presidential Executive Order 13514.

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Egypt Is Extremely Vulnerable to Climate Changes: Could a New Government Help the Country Adapt?

Politics aside, Egypt is the one of the world's countries most vulnerable to climate change. What would adaptation efforts look like post-Mubarak?


Editor's note: Michael Cote, the author of this piece, is a climate adaptation and urban planning expert (and once-upon-a-time newspaper reporter) who I first met in Copenhagen before the COP15 climate talks. Over the past few weeks, I've been working with Cote to develop a regular feature for GOOD's environment hub on climate adaptation solutions from around the world. In the meantime, the uprising in Egypt happened, and Cote asked if he could comment. Of course he can. Be forewarned: it's awfully long. But you'll learn an incredible amount about Egypt's vulnerable position, and how the country can hope to deal with climate change. —Ben Jervey

Egypt's Climate Policy Void in a Post-Mubarak World

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