Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

This is the weekend we hit 7 billion

Well, the 7 billionth baby is expected to arrive around Halloween. Spooky! Here's what you should read to prepare. "I am the population problem." It's easy to blame developing countries, but if you want to find the source of the population problem, check the mirror. Population isn't just about counting heads. The impact of humanity on the environment is not determined solely by how many of us are around, but by how much stuff we use and how much room we take up. And as a financially comfortable American, I use a lot of stuff and take up a lot …

Developing countries take the climate change bullet for the rest of us

Here's the 2012 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, produced by risk analysis firm Maplecroft, which shows the areas of the world that are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Does it remind you of anything? Maybe a reverse map of the biggest climate change offenders? (This isn't the first time people have put this together, but the new data offer a nice illustration of the principle.) Developed countries produce the most greenhouse gases, but developing countries take the brunt: [I]t is not until you go all the way down 103 on the list, out of 193 nations, that …

Great, we have three-eyed fish now

Fishermen trawling a nuclear-plant-fed reservoir in Córdoba, Argentina have caught a three-eyed wolf fish. Like everyone else who's writing about this story, I'm illustrating this post with a picture of Blinky, the nuclear fish from The Simpsons, because the real fish is super ugly.  They don't know for sure yet whether the fish's mutation is related to radiation from the power plant. (You'd sorta think it would be, huh? But we believe in the scientific process here.) After all, animals sometimes have truly weird mutations that have nothing to do with humans at all, let alone humans playing around with …

This Daily Show investigation of science will make you lolsob

I learned a lot from this Daily Show video where Aasif Mandvi tries to figure out what science is really up to. I learned that Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour is some kind of reverse zombie who can't stand to be around brains. I learned that Stephen Colbert's on-air persona is not as much of a caricature as I'd hoped. I learned that my husband is doing physics all wrong, because we haven't seen any "finantual" gains yet. Then I had to stop learning stuff because I was scared science would come and get me.

Oh man alive you will not believe what’s in the McRib

McDonald's McRib sandwich has kind of a cult following, like Phish if they were only around for like a month every year instead of seemingly forever. And like Phish, it is jam-packed with synthetic ingredients. (I kid, I kid. I'm sure all of Phish's enhancement is purely herbal.) For instance, one of the bun ingredients is azodicarbonamide, which Time describes as "a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes." The compound is banned in Europe and Australia as a food additive. (England's Health and Safety …

Leaded gas goes the way of the dodo

The sign on the gas pump saying "unleaded" will soon be a quaint anachronism, like the sign on the plane saying "No Smoking." A successful push by the Natural Resources Defense Council to phase out leaded gas worldwide is rushing leaded gas towards the same fate as smallpox — total elimination by a public health campaign. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), working with NRDC in the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, today announced toxic lead has been removed from gasoline in more than 175 countries worldwide – representing near-global eradication. A new, independent scientific analysis shows the result …

Facebook is building a renewable-powered mini-town in the Arctic

Facebook is building a server farm in northern Sweden, on the edge of the Arctic circle. The average temperatures there are so cold that they won't need to use anything but the outside air to cool 600,000 square feet of servers. But even so, the server farm will use as much power as 16,000 homes. In effect, Facebook is building its own little city for its servers. Fortunately, Facebook has picked its site well: The server farm will be close to a hydropower plant that produces twice as much electricity as the Hoover Dam. The dam on the nearby Luleå river …

Would you wear fish-skin shoes? Manolo Blahnik thinks you would

Designer Manolo Blahnik, who makes wildly expensive footwear, is launching a line of shoes made with sustainable or recycled material, like "raffia, cork and tilapia skins." Ooh, this is a good idea! What about tin foil? What about banana skins? What about Kleenex boxes? They are already practically shoes! In all seriousness, it's kind of cool (and kind of greenwashy) to incorporate discarded material into your luxury goods. Bring the idea of reuse to the 1 percent, you know? But I can't honestly believe status-conscious Manolo Blahnik customers would wear tilapia shoes. Tilapia is so cheap! Have you no shoes …

Watch a robot ride a bicycle

Man, it's not enough that robots take over all our jobs — now they have to steal our commute?

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