It Takes 2,700 Liters Of Water To Make One T-Shirt

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It Takes 2,700 Liters Of Water To Make One T-Shirt

Here's something you probably didn't know about your favorite T-shirt: Cotton needs a lot of water, requiring up to 2,700 liters (713 gallons) to grow enough for just one T-shirt. Water goes to other unexpected places, too. For example, only a fraction of the water used to make soda ends up in the bottle, as the majority goes to the production of the sugarcane that sweetens the beverage. In fact, 70% of all of the water that's available for human use goes to agriculture. So how can you help? Saving water is one obvious solution. Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, and water your garden in the early morning or late afternoon with a watering can instead of a hose. Less obvious is the fact that you can reduce your T-shirt's environmental impact by saving energy, too. Air-drying instead of machine-drying and ironing your shirt will reduce its carbon footprint by a third. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

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Key Facts to Know

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    It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one T-shirt. That's enough for one person to drink for 900 days. 0:22

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    One load of laundry takes 40 gallons of water, and drying it requires five times the energy it did to wash it. 0:40

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    Only 1% of the Earth's water is non-salty and accessible, and 70% of that is used for crops. 1:03

The Explosive Origins of the Bikini

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The Explosive Origins of the Bikini

Today, it might seem in poor taste for a clothing designer to name his creation after a center of nuclear destruction. But back when the modern bikini was created, it was actually quite common to get inspiration from the trendy new world of nuclear physics. For example, another (only slightly larger) two-piece swimsuit unveiled at the same time was dubbed the "Atome" (leading to jokes about how the tiny bikini split the atom). And while designer Louis Réard's predictions that the swimsuit would shock the fashion world did come true -- countries with religious traditions threatened to withdraw from the 1952 Miss World contest when the first winner was crowned in a bikini, and the Pope even condemned the crowning as "sinful" -- his creation wasn't the first revealing two-piece women ever wore. In the 3rd-century Villa Romana Del Casale in Rome, a mosaic shows women wearing garments that look startlingly like modern bandeau-style bathing suits while they exercise.

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Key Facts to Know

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    The inventor of the modern bikini wanted the swimsuit to make a big impact like the atomic bomb, so he named it after Bikini Atoll, where the US tested nuclear bombs. 0:05

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    Before Queen Victoria's wedding, white was traditionally worn for mourning. 0:26

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    Former New York City mayor Fiornello LaGuardia ordered nude dancers to show less skin, leading to the advent of the thong. 1:23

This Is How The Hawaiian Shirt Became Iconic

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This Is How The Hawaiian Shirt Became Iconic

In 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild pushed to make the now-iconic Aloha shirt an acceptable piece of business attire. They were looking for a way to sell shirts, and made the argument that the Hawaiian climate made wearing regular business attire uncomfortable. As part of what they called "operation liberation," the Hawaiian Fashion Guild sent an Aloha shirt to every member of the Hawaiian Senate and House of Representatives, and lobbied for them to encourage Hawaiian citizens to wear the shirt every Friday. This sparked "Aloha Fridays." As years passed, it was not uncommon for Hawaiians to wear Aloha shirts whenever they felt like it, not just on Fridays.

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Key Facts to Know

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    In 1962, the Hawaiian Fashion Guild pushed to make the now-iconic Aloha shirt an acceptable piece of business attire. 0:36

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    "Aloha Fridays" in Hawaii, where employees wore Hawaiian shirts, inspired the idea of casual Fridays in other parts of the world. 5:02

Would You Wear Clothing Made From Hagfish Slime?

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Would You Wear Clothing Made From Hagfish Slime?

The hagfish is an eel-like creature that does two things really well: burrowing into live animals to eat them from the inside out, and excreting bucketfuls of suffocating slime when threatened. That slime is made up of gooey mucus and microscopic threads. The threads are there to clog the gills of any attacking predator, and it's these tiny fibers, each of which is narrower than a human blood cell, that has scientists interested in the animal. In 2012, researchers at the University of Guelph were able to create fibers from hagfish slime threads that had qualities similar to spider silk, another fiber from nature that is sought after for its incredible tensile strength. Another breakthrough came in 2014, when they created similar fibers not from the threads themselves, but from a protein related to those found in the threads. That could make for a more sustainable material, since scientists wouldn't have to harvest slime from the hagfish themselves. The hope is that one day, these fibers could play a role in eco-friendly performance materials that would replace less sustainable fabrics like Kevlar, which is made from petroleum.

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Key Facts to Know

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    Hagfish are eel like creatures that live on the ocean floor. 0:15

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    When attacked, the hagfish can release about a liter of slime which clogs the mouths and gills of their assailants. 0:25

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    Scientists hope to turn the super strong fibers within the hagfish slime into high-performance clothing material. 0:41

Goodbye, Laundromat-You May Soon Clean Clothes With Light

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Goodbye, Laundromat-You May Soon Clean Clothes With Light

Could we soon say goodbye to washing machines for good?! Perhaps. Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia have pioneered a textile that, with help from the sun, cleans itself. Within this textile live nanostructures that break down organic matter when exposed to light from the sun, a bulb, or another source. Though this material is not fully self-cleaning, this advancement serves as a solid foundation for creating fully self-cleaning textiles. When the textiles researchers have now were exposed to light, it took "less than six minutes for some of the enhanced textiles to spontaneously clean themselves."

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Key Facts to Know

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    Researchers at RMIT University have developed self-cleaning textiles that clean themselves using sunlight. 0:06