Christopher Mims

Christopher Mims's dystopian non-fiction is sought after by an ever-growing roster of publications.

On world water day, kids try to figure out how to prevent the deaths of 100,000 of their peers

Almost half of Pakistanis drink unsafe water. It's World Water Day 2011, and this year's theme is "Water for cities: responding to the urban water challenge." In Pakistan, unsafe drinking water kills 100,000 children per year — equivalent to a third of the children born in Canada every year. So it's either cute or tragically ironic that Pakistan is calling on its own children to help solve this crisis: More than 840 children from 143 schools in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Vehari and Kabirwala have been working over the past month on ways to keep drinking water safe at …

Five reasons every wonk in DC is humping the leg of natural gas right about now

The Times wants you to know that our energy crisis is over, because there’s at least one abundant fossil fuel still standing between civilization and the abyss of energy poverty. In a piece remarkable for its complete failure to mention the option of renewables, a bunch of old-economy energy analysts describe a 21st century that looks only vaguely different than our recent past.  1. So much for nuclear power. Now that Fukushima is right on the cusp of becoming a verb, (“The insurance company cut me a check ‘cause it’s completely Fukushima’d, so, hello Carribean vacation!”) you cannot throw a …

panda burgers

World Wildlife Fund gets in bed with McDonald’s, gives birth to darling sustainability program

McDonald’s is going to be less bad for the future of life on Earth, it promises. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, the 32,000-store chain has pledged to do the following to improve its sourcing of raw materials: Ban beef that comes from within the “Amazon Biome,” aka Brazil’s rainforest. No more soy from the deforested remnants Amazon Rainforest, either. Soy is used in chicken feed. (The bad news is, we’ll still be eating chicken nuggets that were originally soybeans.) “Coffee and wood fibers for product packaging will also be sourced from third-party certified, sustainable sources.” Switch from …

We didn't start the fire

Congressional asshats get the old, white parody they deserve

Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” has never felt fresher than in this stirring rendition from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council. But that’s sort of damning it with faint praise. Upton BillYou know Fred Upton’s Bill will make you ill I thought he’d never be a smokestack guyBut now he hates clean air I don’t know why It gets better! (?) The bridge is about lobbyists: Read more: “Environmental group lampoons Rep. Upton with Billy Joel parody,” The Detroit News “Fred Upton pursues EPA down the rabbit hole,” Grist

things that live under bridges

Al Gore hasn’t written his new book and people already hate it

Al Gore is penning a new book about “the political, social and economic forces that are shaping what America and the world will become in ensuing decade.” It sounds exactly like Fareed Zakaria’s The Post American World. Even though his book has yet to be written, people with exclusive access to the inside of the former vice president’s skull have already commenced the drumbeat of negative publicity. Read more: “Dullest Man on the Planet Really Excited Over His New Book,” JammieWearingFool“The Goracle to write new book on politics and current events,” The Snooper Report

might as well face it

Sorry, but the U.S. isn’t about to wean itself off of nuclear

The reality is, the United States doesn’t have the option to walk away from nuclear power, which supplies almost 9% of the nation’s energy and about 20% of its electricity. [...] Nuclear energy’s drawbacks are glaring at the moment, but it’s worth remembering that no major source of energy the United States is using comes without a heavy cost. Read more: “Nuclear, oil, gas or coal? Pick your energy poison,” USA Today   

#winning

Japan’s 200 mph trains sail through earthquake with flying colors

Train, to earthquake: “Suck it!”Photo: kiyoshi.beThe tsunami that struck Japan had a devastating effect on at least four trains closest to the epicenter of the quake, washing them away completely. But in the rest of the country, it appears that the earthquake and its aftershocks only derailed a single passenger train, even through the entire main island moving 8 feet. Despite the fact that they were traveling at over 200 mph at the time of the quake, not a single bullet train derailed. A just-released, detailed first-hand account of one rider’s experience — the train he was on made an emergency stop …

War -- what is it good for?

Little does this Libyan rebel know he’s fighting for our right to cheap gas

At the request of Libya’s resistance forces, the U.S. and its NATO allies have just promised to shoot down anything Ghaddafi puts into the sky. Which means that rebels like the one in the video above may think they’re fighting a war of liberation, but now that we’re on the scene, it’s about oil, as usual: This is not a war to save people. If we cared about that we would be intervening in Cote D’Ivoire, where there has been horrible violence on the same level as that in Libya. There is human misery all over the planet that we can’t even …

wind's up, nukes down

Japan’s wind farms save its ass while nuclear plants founder

Wind turbine in Yokohama, JapanPhoto: shibuya246If Japan’s wind turbines were to get a new theme song, it would be Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries“, and it would ring out from the hills upon which they stand triumphantly, unscathed by the the country’s earthquake/tsunami double whammy, lifting their skinny, still-turning blades like antennas to heaven. While Japan’s water-dependent nuclear power plants suck and wheeze and spew radioactive steam, “there has been no wind facility damage reported by any [Japan Wind Energy Association] members, from either the earthquake or the tsunami,” says association head Yoshinori Ueda. Even the country’s totally badass Kamisu offshore wind …