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A whistle is an essential piece of survival equipment. This lightweight and inexpensive piece of gear can provide the margin between life and death in the event of a backcountry mishap—especially if you’re alone or separated from your group. And the louder the whistle, the better the odds that rescuers will find you. Unlike the…

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If you fly Southwest Airlines this month, take a look at the in-flight magazine in your seat-back. The photo on the cover is of our pond, and the story inside is about a two-week theater camp that we’ve run out of our house the past three summers. I didn’t write the article — Jim did…

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There are a lot of different blister prevention and treatment products out there for your feet. There’s only one problem: All of them must stay in position to protect the blister or hot spot. The best blister product on Earth won’t do your chafing heel any good if it slips off and ends up on…

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May, the merry month of flowers and warm days and lengthening daylight, is National Bike Month. With summer just around the corner, it’s a great time to think about bike safety for children. Tom Ebersold leads about 30 bike trips a year for AMC’s Connecticut Chapter, several of them geared for families with children. He…

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Before I was actually a mother, Mother’s Day was one of my favorite days of the year. In the Pacific Northwest, where I lived then, I spent the second Sundays in May hiking up post-eruption Mt. St. Helens in a party dress with a group of similarly dressed friends, skis stuck into our packs. When…

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Bike locks come in only a handful of basic designs. Now an inventor in Tewksbury, N.J., has introduced a radical titanium rethink of the entire genre: the TiGr lock. The TiGr lock is an ultralight titanium band long enough to secure your bike frame and both tires to a post or other object up to…

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Backpack styles have proliferated in recent years, creating a dizzying rainbow of high-tech, specialized designs in all shapes, sizes, and weights. Today’s packs are often created for very specific activities. A growing spectrum of load-carrying technology is used. Lightweight and ultralight styles are increasingly common. An astonishing range of fit adjustments are available. And recycled…

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Ursula came home from school this week and told me I needed to see a video on my computer. At first I resisted, thinking she wanted to show me something silly, but she explained that she’d seen the video in science class. “You have to see it,” she told me. “It’s amazing.” This is how…

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Over spring break, Ursula helped our friends Bruce and Gretchen install beehives in their backyard. Anna, the oldest of their three daughters, started beekeeping last year. We were delighted to receive some of Anna’s homemade honey, and also to learn more about bees. We hadn’t realized, for example, that the honey we eat is actually…

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Sometimes you find big innovation in the lowliest places. Like the top of your shoes. It is there that you duly ignore the humble shoelace when it does its job and stays tied. Only when your shoelace fails does it earn your attention—and it’s not usually positive thoughts. Now you can spare untied shoelaces your…

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