3 Good Things: A ‘library of things,’ a dedicated coach and Jersey-style falconry

(Karlotta Freier / For The Times)


number one

For stuff you only kind of need

Think of your least-used appliance. And yard tool. And kitchen gadget. Now, maybe you haven’t Marie Kondo’d them, because you actually do need them … once a year. But you’re storing them the other 364 days. There’s a better way: a “library of things.” Some communities in England have tested a system to rent out power tools and other items that would be expensive to buy and that most people wouldn’t use very often anyway, like a power washer or a sewing machine. Think of the waste that is avoided: space that isn’t wasted storing the item in our homes, money that isn’t wasted buying something you could rent, materials that aren’t wasted manufacturing 100 items when one could do the job for 100 people. It might seem like a small change for each person when they decide to borrow a tool instead of buying, but the positive ripple effects could be vast.


number two

Thanks, coach

There was a minor meme a few years ago that said: “If you feel useless today, remember somebody is working as a lifeguard at the Olympics.” Well, even the best swimmers can get into trouble, and that’s what happened at the World Aquatics Championships last week in Hungary. During her routine, Anita Alvarez, an artistic swimmer for the U.S., fainted and sank. The lifeguards — who as it turns out are needed! — sprang into action, but not as quickly as Team USA coach Andrea Fuentes did. Herself an Olympic medalist, she sprinted to the pool and dove to grab Alvarez, before pushing off the bottom of the pool and pulling the athlete to the surface. “I saw how she was sinking and I swam as fast as I could,” Fuentes told a Spanish radio station. “I did the fastest free dive of my life, faster than when I was preparing for the Olympics.” The team reported later that day that Alvarez was feeling much better.

number three

Bye-bye, birdie

The sun, the sand, the crowds — those are all part of the beach vibe. The gulls, however … are not. They’re the bane of the beach day, snatching food from children and harassing everyone. Ocean City, N.J., came up with a surprisingly bloodless solution: falconry. Now, for $1,993.42 a day, the city has hired falconers to walk up and down the boardwalk with hawks and falcons, which take short flights to scare off the gulls. The birds of prey aren’t really hunting, because they get plenty of food from their handlers. Now instead of being plagued by gulls, this beach has raptors as a tourist attraction. Problem solved.


And one more ...

Guess who’s moved to the cloud? Photoshop — and the basic functions are going to be free. No more emailing a photo from your phone to that kind friend who has a license for the software. Free access to an online version of the program is being tested in Canada, and the company says it will expand to all users at some point. I look forward to everyone upping their Instagram game.

A weekly feature aiming to provide some relief from doomscrolling.

May 6, 2022