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Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: What Makes a Planet ‘Just Right?

August 17, 2015


Back in the 1970s, when the search for planets outside our solar system (exoplanets) was little more than a fairy tale, astronomers surmised that Earth was the only spot in our stellar neighborhood where conditions were conducive to life—not so close to the sun that life was too hot to handle, nor so far away that life was given the permanent cold shoulder. Earth’s orbit allowed for abundant liquid water, a key ingredient for the development of life as we know it. Showing their whimsical side, those 70s scientists named this habitable zone the “Goldilocks Zone,” after the little girl who sampled the three bears’ porridge and settled on the bowl that was just right. Officially, this sweet spot of planetary hospitality is called the Circumstellar Habitable Zone, or CHZ, but Goldilocks provided a cuter and more memorable nickname.

Now that the discovery of exoplanets is in full swing, worlds in the Goldilocks Zone of other stars tend to get the most publicity, as they’re most likely to support extraterrestrial life, whether its alien bacteria or little green men. Meanwhile, discoveries here on Earth have us re-thinking the boundaries of the Goldilocks Zone itself. From microbes that flourish under Arctic ice to organisms that hang out in the scalding hot, total darkness around ocean floor volcanic vents, life can exist in places that finicky Goldilocks would have avoided altogether. For that matter, a tiny “bear” has got them all beat: the tardigrade, or “water bear.” Along with surviving in solid ice or boiling water, tardigrades can tolerate cosmic rays and the vacuum of space—conditions way outside of Goldilocks’ comfort zone. These tough little troopers prove that life is far more tolerant than the three bears’ high-maintenance home invader.

A New Day | $40.00

Maker Stories

Uncommon Impact: Margaret Dorfman Strives to be Sustainable in Drought-Afflicted California

July 17, 2015

As a B Corp certified company, UncommonGoods is excited about sustainability. That means more to us than just being “green” – we strive to offer products that reflect the environmental and social best-interests of everyone. So, when our makers are as concerned with sustainability as we are, we’re always excited to learn more about their process and the positive impact they’re having on the world.

While many of our makers rely on sustainable practices at one point or another in their process, we’re especially excited about those who place the wider world at the forefront of their craft – those who are making an uncommon impact. Meet Margaret Dorfman, designer of fruit and vegetable inspired jewelry and tableware like the Parchment Blossom Earrings and the Vegetable Parchment Platter, and see the ways that she’s striving to be sustainable in the face of drought in California.


“Sustainability is important simply because the trajectory of consumption and waste around us is not supportable.”

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Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Make Fruit-flavored H2O

April 18, 2013

A glass water bottle with a built in fruit infuser. What a brilliant idea! is the first thought that came across my mind. I’ve never heard about this product and finding out about it would make a change in my lifestyle. All of my life I’ve grown accustomed to drinking soda and juice, neglecting water which is necessary to keep our bodies properly hydrated. Breaking this bad habit by using the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle would help me transition from my lack of water intake.

Infusing fruits into water on a daily basis will lead to a healthier lifestyle and water being an essential part of my life.

With a variety of fruits I will mix and match them and properly infuse them into water creating a couple of different types of fruitful H2O. Below was my favorite concoction.

Watermelon Lemon Basil Water
Step 1: Finely slice lemons into 6-8 pieces
Step 2: Cut watermelons into small cubes (10-12 cubes)
Step 3: Chop 8 basil leaves in half
Step 4: Take the center piece of the infuser and add lemons, watermelons, and basil leaves together.
Step 5: Place the top onto the center piece.
Step 6: Fill the glass water bottle with water.
Step 7: Place the center piece inside of the glass bottle and place the main top on to seal the bottle.
Step 8: Let the infusion begin! Wait 30 minutes until you drink the water. Enjoy!

This infuser is definitely a hit. After experimenting with different fruits my outlook on drinking water has changed. Using this product created a fun experience. Researching the different fundamentals of fruits and water helped me in having a want to drink water. It’s simple, it’s easy and I am becoming a water-loving person.

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