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Artist Rents Billboards to Beautify Busy Commutes

Drivers lucky enough to pass Brian Kane’s “Healing Tool” displays were treated to an eyeful of art, instead of ads.

image via briankane.net

Our commutes, whether by car, bike, train, or foot, are peppered with signs and ads, each hocking a product or service in as eye-catching (and therefore: disruptive) a way as possible, all to snag your precious attention and—if successful—your even *more* precious money. Recently, however, drivers on several Massachusetts highways may have noticed a number of roadside billboards suddenly transformed from advertisements into something much more welcome: Soothing scenes of nature.

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How to Cap Plastic Bottle Waste

The one neat policy trick that could greatly reduce the environmental impact of beverage-guzzling ways.

In the United States alone, 1,500 plastic bottles of water are consumed every second. Every hour, Americans throw away, on average, about 2.5 million plastic bottles of all types. If we include all cans and bottles—soda, teas, energy drinks, beer—about 224 billion beverage containers are tossed out every year, adding up to literal mountains of trash.

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How a 17th Century Bible is Helping to Revive a Native-American Language

One human language may die every 14 days, but the ancenstral tongue of M.I.T.-trained linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird won't be one of them.

Four hundred years ago, before the Pilgrims washed up on Plymouth in 1620, the Massachusetts coast was home to at least 12,000 Native Americans united by a common language: Wômpanâak. Also known as Wampanoag, Natic, or Pokanoket, Wômpanâak was one of the Massachusett languages that gave the modern state its name. It was the language of Massasoit and Tisquantum; traces of it are still found in English, with words like skunk (squnck) and squash (askosquash). While Wômpanâak should rightfully be enshrined as a major touchstone of early American culture and history, instead, it was a language put under assault. Between smallpox, endemic warfare and enslavement, flight to other Native American tribes, and centuries of forced Christianization and European assimilation in New England’s infamous praying towns, by the close of the 18th century there were only a few hundred Wômpanâak speakers left. By 1833, the language was dead. Until, 160 years later, it suddenly wasn’t dead anymore.

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Sellr: A New Website That Lets You Support Education by Buying Local Now You Can Support Education by Buying Local

Swellr creates a tag team of teachers and local businesses so you can buy local, and boost education, just by shopping.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5AVdFOCGvM

A new startup is about to launch that wants to link teachers with local businesses to boost education and help mom and pop shops at the same time.

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Can Highway Farmers' Markets Beat Rest Stop Food? Can Highway Farmers Markets Beat Rest Stop Food

Along Massachusetts highways, local farmers offer an alternative to the Golden Arches.

Massachusetts beekeeper Mark Lamoureux should be a staple at his local farmers' market. His 600 colonies of honeybees produce 20,000 pounds of raw honey in his Palmer, Massachusetts hives each year—an unprocessed, sustainable alternative to the pasteurized honey squeezed into your average grocery shelf plastic bear. But most of his state's farmers' markets are “right in the town square, where you see the same people over and over,” says Lamoureux, 63. "Customers keep coming back to buy more strawberries, more corn. They come to me and say, 'Your honey is great! I don’t need any more yet!'”

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Your Favorite Public Education Reformer Probably Went to Private School

Many of today's prominent education reformers attended private school. Their policies for public schools are a far cry from that experience.

What do some of the nation's most prominent public education reform advocates—Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, President Obama, and Davis Guggenheim—all have in common? They received their K-12 education at private schools. "In Public School Efforts, a Common Background: Private Education" from this Sunday's New York Times spotlights this phenomenon and raises important questions about the discrepancy between the well rounded education these reformers received at elite private schools like Exeter and Sidwell Friends, and what they recommend for other people's children.

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