MNN week in review montage

 

• You never know when the weather will turn frightful. Your best bet? Prepare for the worst. Our Illinois correspondent shows you how to create a winter driving toolkit.

 

• Polar bears have ruled the Arctic for 100,000 years, but now they're struggling to keep up as the region undergoes a dramatic transformation. Glance at this infographic to understand why polar bears are on thin ice.

 

• This week, we're taking you on a virtual tour of Bali. With an exotic culture, endless surf and idyllic beaches, what's not to love?

 

• With cold and flu season upon us, we've been thinking a lot about infectious diseases. (That's the holiday spirit!) More specifically, we've been thinking about how to steer clear of them without resorting to pandemic masks and filling our bathtubs with Purell. Here are five not-so-obvious places that can make you sick.

 

dog in a pet carrier If you must fly your dog in cargo, here's a column you'll want to read to better prepare him (and you) for the trip. 

 

• The bank on the corner may seem as American as apple pie, but if you study people patterns the way our blogger does, you'll see there's a more workable solution to using that space.

 

• If you haven't finished your shopping yet, here's a fun-spirited gift guide with suggestions for all your quirky relatives and friends. 

 

• Get the inside scoop on the electric vehicle industry through this Q&A with MNN auto blogger Jim Motavalli, whose new book,  "High Voltage," was just released.

 

• Books are one of the best gifts, because unlike even the greatest pair of socks or the sparkliest diamond necklace, they have the power to change the way a reader sees the world. MNN blogger Starre Vartan offers her list of the 10 best environmental books of 2011.

 

• American readers who have made it this far into the article might want to take a deep breath before reading this one: The 10 best countries for workers. (Take a look and then share it with your boss.)

 

Plus: Don't miss the week in photos, which is sporting a new look today. We think you'll like it.