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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Fox News accidentally acknowledges the facts on global warming

Earthquake, hurricane, Fox acknowledging the existence of climate change: This is definitely the End Times. Fox & Friends -- you know, the same show where people were just freaking about SpongeBob SquarePants indoctrinating children to be global warming zealots -- have acknowledged that when Jon Huntsman says that climate change exists, the facts are on his side. Clayton Morris: If you dive into the weeds a little bit on this global warming thing, you see that it seems that facts are certainly on Huntsman's side on all of this and fact checkers have come out, and we're actually having our own …

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Photo of devastation from the East Coast earthquake

(Via here, via here, ultimately via here.) Yep, we had a 5.9 magnitude earthquake over here! (Update: Boo, those buzzkills at USGS downgraded it back to 5.8.) It's probably Ragnarok. Or maybe planet Earth is still trying to tell us to piss off.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Northeast Corridor is getting better rail

Apparently you gotta have rail to make rail. The Northeast Corridor, the one area of the country with high-speed rail service (Acela) and the only part where Amtrak's not just borrowing the tracks from freight companies, is getting $745 million from the Department of Transportation for rail upgrades.  In the short term, the money will go towards upgrading electrical systems, making trains run closer to schedule, and adding more ways for trains to dodge around the Amtrak mixing bowl on the way into New York City. In the long term, Acela trains will run on improved tracks with top speeds up …

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Do your clothes contain toxic chemicals?

Chemicals in clothing can break down in water into hormone-disrupting nonylphenol (click the infographic to embiggen). If you want to avoid dumping this crap in the waterways, you have two choices: One, never wash your clothing -- which, on top of being gross, will probably not be that effective, since wastewater discharges from textile plants sluiced nonylphenol out into the waterways before your clothes even hit the store. Or two, opt for clothing from companies that don't use nonylphenol-producing chemicals (called nonylphenol ethoxylates, or NPEs). According to research from Greenpeace, though, that might be tough. Of the 15 brands they …

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Daryl Hannah joins tar-sands protest

It can be mildly annoying when movie stars get activist, because it usually just means looking sincere while wearing the ribbon color of the day. Which is why it's kind of cool that Daryl Hannah, who has never really stopped defending the environment since she came out of the ocean in 1984, is headed down to the Keystone XL protests, where people are being arrested left and right.  In the video above, Hannah talks about the importance of civil disobedience to progressive causes. "It's time for all of us to step out of our comfort zone and become these sort …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Jon Huntsman speaks out on climate change

In a tweet last week, Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman made the apparently super-controversial claim that he "trust[s] scientists on global warming." This weekend, he went a step further, telling ABC's Jake Tapper that his opponents' opposition to the idea of climate change is wrongheaded and extremist. Huntsman:  The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem. We lose a whole lot of people who would otherwise allow us to win the election in 2012. When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs …

Read more: Election 2012

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Climate change makes alien invasion more likely

Update: Depressingly, this wasn't funded by NASA at all, although one of the authors is from NASA's planetary science division (he worked on it in his free time). It's still a good read though. (Thanks, Kate Sheppard!) Here's good news for people who have been trying to draft the tinfoil-hat crew into the fight against climate change: A genuinely not-at-all-made-up-by-me NASA not NASA study posits that global warming could alert extraterrestrial civilizations that humanity is getting too big for its britches, and prompt them to attack us. The paper, which is mainly concerned with guessing whether aliens are mean or not, …

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PETA is starting a porn site

PETA has finally decided to drop the pretense that they're about something besides ladies in underwear. When .xxx domain names go into action in September, your friendly neighborhood animal rights crazies will be first in line --  and they presumably don't just intend the site for closeups of cow udders and literal beaver shots, but for the barely-clad, barely-legal college students that have become their trademark. So basically, they're shifting from "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" to just "I'd rather go naked." Here are a few other slogans PETA.xxx might want to consider: "We Beat Meat." "Be Gentle, …

Read more: Living, Sex

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Cool new game is like SimCity for the whole environment

Is environmentalism a GAME to you? Does it look like some kind of GAME??? Oh, it doesn't? Well, it could. Upcoming game Anno 2070 lets you go all Sims on the fate of the planet. You decide up front whether to throw your lot in with the Ecos (who focus on sustainability but progress slowly) or the Tycoons (who focus on aggressive expansion). Either way, your goal is to make civilization grow without completely wrecking the environment (spoiler: the Ecos will probably do better on the second part), while simultaneously weathering the planetwide changes that are already in place by …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Whales hanging out in New York

First dolphins, now whales -- sea mammals in New York City are bigger than Cats! Urban nature blogger Matthew Wills caught a humpback whale frolicking off Sandy Hook, N.J., within sight of the city. (He's got some great pictures over at his blog.) Wills was dismayed by the floating trash in the bay, not to mention all the garbage produced by his fellow boat passengers. But on the whole, the presence of whales and dolphins is a good indicator for water quality.

Read more: Animals