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Local v. organic

The study showing that buying local food is better than buying organic got covered all over the blogosphere, but Treehugger has a particularly helpful pair of posts up on what to do about it.

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Death: A vast rightwing conspiracy?

I think this is a bit cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs, but if you're into that kind of thing, you'll be into it. (via Sustainablog)

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Bill Frist gets one right

Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has introduced a bill that would make access to clean water and proper sanitation an explicit objective of U.S. foreign aid. I haven't seen this covered anywhere but Joel Makower's blog, but really, what else do you need? We'll write more on this in coming weeks.

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Ellen Degeneres outbid for titi

The monkey, people. The monkey. The right to name an unidentified species of titi monkey in Bolivia has been sold for $650,000. No word yet on what the name is, but it has to conform to the rules of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Presumably that rules out titi jokes. Sigh.

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Huh?

Insects dislike the smell of garlic as much as human beings do, according to a Bangladeshi scientist who has used it to develop an environment-friendly alternative to pesticide. Um, what human beings are we talking about here?

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Turning air into water

If I posted about every cool widget that popped up on Treehugger I'd end up doing nothing else, but this particular widget for some reason caught my fancy. It makes clean water! Out of air! In five years this thing will be the size of a coffee mug. The Future: Live It!

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African life spans, II

A couple days back I posted on an amazing graph of the drop-off of life spans in Africa. Bona fide Africa expert Ethan Zuckerman has a long post up, clarifying and expanding on the graph. It turns out that the graph is perhaps a tad misleading, as it chooses precisely those countries where AIDS has hit the hardest. Of course Ethan doesn't mean to minimize what is an epic tragedy, but he does provide a more balanced picture of what's happening on the continent. Give it a read.

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Small farmers and organic

Via WC, a study by the International Fund for Agricultural Development concludes that organic farming offers farmers in developing countries higher earnings and a better standard of living. The higher earnings come from organic product being worth more (duh), and the better standard of living comes from the higher earnings and the not being poisoned with herbicides and pesticides. I was looking around in there for some reason why the conclusions wouldn't transfer straightforwardly to small farmers in developed countries. The answer seems to lie mainly in transition costs -- since developing world farmers don't really use expensive technologies and …

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If you mainstream it, they will come

I took two tidbits away from this interesting Clint Wilder piece on framing clean energy (via Sustainablog). Here's the first: In opinion research conducted last year in Rhode Island, the Clean Energy States Alliance and marketing consultancy SmartPower found that the label of "clean" energy had a much more positive public reception than "green" (too political), "renewable" (too niche), or "alternative" (too much of an implication that its users must adopt a new lifestyle). These kinds of things are small but important to know for everybody who writes or talks about environmental issues. Little bits of repetitive framing add up. …

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CommonBits

Do check out CommonBits, a cool site set up by Grist friend Jeff Reifman to distribute alternative media files (videos, PDFs, etc.). You can download most stuff directly, or via bittorrent, and you can set up RSS feeds for a variety of different tags, to keep up on what's being posted. Great, great idea. I hope it takes off.

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