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The week in GIFs: Mark Ruffalo edition

Mark Ruffalo won our "Who's your fave green celeb" poll, plus we're way overdue to stare at gifs of him.

Power plants lost their legal bid to douse you with mercury:

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There's now a gnat named after Bill McKibben:

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The IPCC report was censored:

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Fracking can make you sick in a number of different ways:

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Read more: Living

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People of color contribute least to smog, yet breathe more of it. WTF?

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Esparta Palma

Get a load of this: It’s not poor people whose nostrils get the dirtiest air. It’s people of color -- even wealthy ones.

It’s true, you can’t 1,000 percent separate race and class, but new findings from the University of Minnesota found that race, more than income, determines who smog hurts the most. Writes ThinkProgress:

When low-income white people were compared to high-income Hispanic people, the latter group experienced higher levels of nitrogen dioxide. Altogether, people of color in the U.S. breathe air with 38 percent more nitrogen dioxide in it than their white counterparts, particularly due to power plants and exhaust from vehicles.

Unfair, especially because people of color produce less air pollution than white people (African-Americans, for example, emit 20 percent less CO2 than white Americans). So why is this happening? You know, other than racism? Writes Atlantic Cities:

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sharing is scarring

Airbnb can make your dreams of running a brothel come true

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Shutterstock

Thought you were renting your place so an exhausted sightseer could crash? Oh, she’s definitely sleeping ... with some horndog and his hundos.

In an unexpected result of the sharing economy, Airbnb rooms might be replacing NYC hotels as primo sex worker spots. As one anonymous 21-year-old escort told the New York Post:

It’s more discreet and much cheaper than The Waldorf. Hotels have doormen and cameras. They ask questions. Apartments are usually buzz-in.

Read more: Cities, Living

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menstrual cycles

Screw being ladylike on a bike

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Shutterstock

Turns out the sexist soap bubble we live in doesn’t pop when you hop on a Surly. If anything, people get MORE judgey: Ladies, you better not get to work sweaty and unpretty! But how dare you ride in a skirt and heels? I half expect some guy with a handlebar mustache to promote riding sidesaddle. (Lest you think we live in a post-gender society, know that women in the U.S. only take 1-in-4 bike trips.)

Former Grist editor Sarah Goodyear reached out to female cyclists, asking what it means to be feminine on two wheels (if there even IS such a thing). Reading the smattering of responses she got over at Atlantic Cities was both reassuring and eye-opening, reinforcing that there’s no one way to be a woman on a bike, just as -- WAIT FOR IT -- there’s no one way to be a human on Planet Earth. (Crazy, I know.) Here are a handful of ruminations on cycling, fashion, and gender (all of which you should read, BTW):

Read more: Cities, Living

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Insane cycling video will make you hold your breath for two minutes

Grist cannot be held responsible for the crapping of your pants while watching this helmet-cam of daredevil cyclist Geoff Gulevich going down a mountain:

The GoPro video of Gulevich’s ride is from the Red Bull Rampage in Virgin, Utah -- an exclusive, invite-only mountain bike competition so dangerous it was cancelled for several years -- so it’s prrrrrobably not anything you’d encounter in your morning commute.

Plus, Gulevich is a professional mountain biker, so don’t feel guilty if you’re not as daring on two wheels. After all, YOU risk getting doored and T-boned if you ride in the city, whereas THIS punk only flirted with the edge of a cliff. Pfffft. He’s got nothin’ on rush-hour San Francisco.

Read more: Cities, Living

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This giant vacuum will suck the pollution out of rivers

Dyson vacuums are legendary; they’re the main reason divorce is so ugly. So imagine what happens when you put that powerful technology to work cleaning rivers instead of rugs.

Did you picture marine trash getting slurped up into the world’s biggest vacuum bag? Ding ding ding! James Dyson hasn’t actually CREATED his super-sucker yet, but he’s made a design for the M.V. Recyclone boat, a.k.a. the U.S.S. Sucky. Check it:

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James Dyson
Read more: Living

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This velomobile is basically an electric car without the hassle

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If the words “recumbent trike” make your lip curl, we understand. Weird bikes often seem to perpetuate the myth that cyclists are fringey oddballs disconnected from reality. But the ELF deserves a second glance:

A team from Durham, N.C., designed the semi-enclosed, three-wheeled contraption to marry the best aspect of bikes and cars. The result is a low-impact EV that gives you some protection from the elements and plenty of room for groceries. Pedal when you can, but let the solar-powered battery kick in if you’re hauling bags of kitty litter uphill.

The ELF can go up to 30 mph and carry up to 350 pounds, but doesn’t need any of that pesky car stuff like a license plate, insurance, or actual gasoline. The battery’ll charge in 90 minutes when plugged in, carrying you up to 14 miles -- farther if you put your thighs to work.

The ELF’s main problem is its $5,495 price tag. Then again, if you’re basically getting 1,800 mpg, it could be worth it -- more than 300 ELF owners seem to think so. If, like moi, your wimpiness forever prevents you from turning cyclist, velomobiles like the ELF just might be the gateway drug.

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Here’s a wind turbine you can toss in your purse

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© Skajaquoda

Hate it when a strong breeze musses your hair without generating any electricity? Same. So the Trinity portable wind turbine is a welcome invention, in addition of reminding us of The Matrix.

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© Skajaquoda

Trinity will love he who is The One is only 12 inches tall when collapsed, so it can slip into your bag or backpack. Whip it out and it extends to 23 inches high, with three aluminum legs. Adds Treehugger:

The device has three wind blades (a Savonius design) that can be folded into the body of the device for transport, and open up when deployed, which spin a 15W generator and charge a 15,000 mAh battery when the wind is blowing.

It can charge your phone and other gadgets via a USB port, and at four pounds, the thing probably weighs less than your laptop. Donating $249 to the Kickstarter campaign will get you a Trinity of your very own come January, if Minnesota research firm Skajaquoda meets its $50,ooo goal:

It also has a little hole in each leg for stakes so Trinity won’t, you know, blow away. Speaking of which, does that mean we can make electricity just by blowing really hard? Someone get a Trinity so we can test this out. I, at least, am full of hot air.

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Scientists are using mushrooms to get gold out of your old phone

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Shandi-lee Cox

The chemicals and heavy metals in our phones are bad news -- both for the workers exposed to them during mining and manufacture, and for anyone who lives near the landfill where they offgas. (Although the iPhone’s gotten greener, there’s still a LOT of mercury and chlorine inside that shiny li’l puppy, making for unappetizing drinking water.)

Even worse, extracting precious metals from old phones is pretty toxic, requiring cyanide and sulfuric acid. Or rather, it was pretty toxic, until scientists figured out you could do it by using 'shrooms.

It turns out if you smash a phone into powder and pass it through fungi roots, a.k.a. mycelium, the chemically engineered mycelium will basically be a magnet for the gold. “Heh heh, totally!” explain the scientists. “Hey, is that a dragon eating a rainbow?”

Not only can ‘shrooms do the job, but they're about four times as efficient as the old toxic methods, according to Gizmodo:

Read more: Living

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Vegan condoms are so passé — socially conscious rubbers are the new hotness

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At this point, it’s hard to keep track of all the vegan, eco-friendly condoms. Sir Richard’s makes vegan sausage sheaths and donates one to a developing country when you buy one. Sustain Condoms are fair trade and nontoxic, if slightly insulting (uh, not all women are afraid to purchase prophylactics). And of course there’s Glyde, the grandpappy of vegan, ethical, fair-trade condoms.

That’s even without the funny ones: Oil Spill Condoms clean up the Gulf AND jizz, and Endangered Species Condoms remind you that overpopulation threatens the critters with slogans like, “In the sack? Save the leatherback [sea turtle]!”

So forgive some green raincoat fatigue when I heard about L. International. “Yet another slickly designed, one-for-one, ‘TOMS of condoms,’” I thought, dozing off. Then I realized L. was actually kinda cool.

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L.

Its silly ad didn’t hurt (puppies! Swearing!):

Read more: Living