February 2012

Climate & Energy

Woman arrested for burning down 3,500-year-old tree

This is the Senator, the largest pond cypress in the U.S. and, at 3,500 years old, the fifth-oldest individual tree in the world. Or anyway, this was the Senator, because on Jan. 16, the Florida tree burned from the inside out. Authorities initially ruled out arson, saying that friction or smoldering lightning damage may have started the fire. But they’ve now ruled it right back in, arresting 26-year-old Sara Barnes for lighting the Senator on fire while sitting inside it doing meth.

Climate Skeptics

Heartland ‘expert’ taught climate denialism at a Canadian university

Hey, remember yesterday, when we told you about a video that imagines a world in which climate skepticism is taught in schools? It turns out that that world is not imaginary — not at all. It exists today, and it is named … Canada. For two years, Tom Harris, a man who according to the Heartland Institute is an “expert” on climate change, taught a course on the subject at Ottawa’s Carleton University. Harris’ course was meant for non-science majors, so, as the Guardian notes, it “may for many students be the only academic exposure they have to climate change …

Living

How to turn one piece of recycled cloth into 14 outfits and a bag

So the Lorax movie may be effing up left and right, but take heart, nostalgia-trippers: you can still own a real-life Thneed! The Versalette is a cylinder of domestically sourced, domestically made, recycled, organic fabric, whose ingenious construction allows it to turn into a dress, skirt, top, poncho, scarf, or bag. You can also almost certainly use it for curtains, or covers for bicycle seats.

Critical List: Olympia Snow retires; more people believe in global warming

Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican who believed in global warming and even tried to do something about it, is retiring from the Senate. Since it’s getting warmer, more Americans believe in global warming, because of “personal observations of the weather.” Sigh. That’s not the correct reason to believe global warming is happening, but we’ll take it. At least until next winter. New York could double the speeding fines for electric bike riders to $1,000. Wind farms that fly or float can help maximize production.

Business & Technology

Why your iThings don’t have to be weCruel

Does Apple really have no choice but to build your iPad and iPhone unsustainably, exploiting workers and resources? Not once you realize how the devices' costs break down.

Transportation

Hot tram! Old trolleys are the new classic cars [SLIDESHOW]

After nearly going extinct in the ’60s, vintage streetcars are returning to the rails in downtowns from Philly to San Francisco. Here's what it looks like when mass transit goes retro.

Sustainable Food

Soup & Bread: Inspiring a community of giving [Recipes]

Check out an excerpt from a new cookbook that celebrates a popular winter food tradition, and the community event it inspired.

Climate Change

Myhrvold finds we need clean energy yesterday (and no natural gas) to avoid being cooked

Former Microsoft exec Nathan Myhrvold built a specialized set of models to answer the question: What effect will deployment of clean energy have on global temperature? The results are in ... and grim.

Climate Skeptics

Terrifying video envisions a world where education is anti-science

Step for a moment into this chilling alternative reality, in which fine young men and women believe “gravity is just a theory” and “cigarettes aren’t addictive”: The video is from the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s current climate-change fighting outfit. What do y’all find the most terrifying moment? I lose it around “Scientists are, like, altering their data just to get paid.” That girl is really convincing! But the clincher is when they say, “Of course it’s true. I learned it in school.”

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