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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Brace yourself for more stink bugs

Here's one invasive species that's never going to end up on an invasivore menu: the brown marmorated stink bug. (This is actually the most appetizing photo I could find.) They smell when you squish them, they get all up in your house, and they ruined $37 million worth of fruit crops last year. And they're likely to make an even bigger mess this year as they migrate into warmer climates. The stink bugs, which are native to Asia, have no natural predators in the U.S., so they were bad enough when they first showed up in eastern Pennsylvania over a …

Read more: Animals

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Sand kitten gives hope for near-extinct species, is ridiculously cute

The Israeli sand cat is extinct in the wild, so its only hope is breeding programs in captivity. The birth of this stupifyingly cute fuzzball at Safari Zoo in Tel Aviv is therefore really good news -- it could help put the species on the path to recovery and reintroduction. But mostly we just like to look at its face.

Read more: Animals

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What life is like inside the Fukushima evacuation zone

Photographer Max Hodges has a photo essay on Google+ about his travels in the Fukushima evacuation zone. This mysterious ninja, Shoji Kobayashi, had been living there since the nuclear disaster began, gardening and trying to salvage tsunami-damaged keepsakes.  Kobayashi was eventually forced to evacuate, and now lives in a small apartment with no garden and spends his time playing pachinko. Take a look through Hodges' photos for his story, and many other incredibly arresting images of radiation suits and tsunami damage from the disaster area.

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Roseanne’s running for president — where does she stand on climate change?

Roseanne Barr told Jay Leno that she's planning to run for president (and also prime minister of Israel). She'll be representing her own "Green Tea Party" in the 2012 elections. So how green is this tea party? Well, last month Roseanne told the ladies of The View that she started running a macadamia farm in a bid to end climate change and also all other problems: If people were to get their protein from nuts rather than beef, you see, there'd be no global warming, and there would also be enough grain to feed all the hungry people. No global …

Read more: Election 2012

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Mystery orange goo turns Alaska into a Cheeto

The Alaskan village of Kivalina woke up coated in a shiny, powdery orange substance last week. When that happens to me it usually involves bourbon and Doritos, but presumably the authorities have ruled that out in this case. They've also said that the goo isn't oil-based -- but that's about all they know. The village has sent samples of the stuff to a NOAA lab in Fairbanks, and residents are waiting for a verdict on what it is. In the meantime, they're boiling their water and probably biting their nails. Even if the substance turns out to be a kind …

Read more: Pollution

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Coolest bike commute ever

I can't see this type of ad flying in the U.S., where there's already some perception of bicyclists as scofflaws. But in the Netherlands, bike commuting is so commonplace that the Dutch Cycling Association can shake up its image with a super-hot besuited dude doing BMX stunts.

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Most of the country had record heat in July

This July has seen so many record daytime and nighttime temperatures that if you plot them on a map, they show a nearly complete image of the lower 48 states.  Almost 9,000 daily records were broken or tied last month, including 2,755 highest maximum temperatures and 6,171 highest minimum temperatures (i.e., nighttime records). It should be noted that the tally of records collected so far is not complete – more are expected to come in as station data from across the U.S. is mailed to the National Climatic Data Center. 

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By God, Donald Trump will not let this wind farm stand

Not satisfied with making (more of) a mockery of the electoral process, Donald Trump is now going after wind power, vowing to use "any legal means" to block a planned windfarm near his golf course in Scotland. Trump claims it's not simple rich-white-guy opposition to renewable power, or the fact that he's worried the turbines will blow his shots off course -- he's just very concerned about the view. It's been completely unspoiled up until now, except of course for the 20-foot earth wall and spruce trees he put up to protect his property!

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Barbie Dream House has solar panels, low-flow toilets, four stories, giraffe

The American Institute of Architects has picked a winning design in its Barbie Dream House contest, and it's green as well as pink. The four-story edifice, presumably built with input from Architect Barbie, features solar panels, low-flow toilets, EnergyStar appliances, a greenhouse, eco-friendly bamboo flooring, and "decidedly NO parking garages and driveways." It also has a meditation space, a home gym, and a 1,500 square foot entertainment area. It's hard to reconcile green design with a client so into overconsuming that she's actually a plastic toy. The reason the house is sitting in a featureless void in this picture is …

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Tar-sands pipeline gets support from fake Twitter accounts

What do Astroturf and the Canadian tar sands have in common? They're both made of petroleum, and now they've both got fake grassroots. An employee of the American Petroleum Institute, which supports the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, has apparently been setting up multiple fake Twitter accounts to give the illusion of public support. Brant Olson at the Rainforest Action Network's blog has investigated the accounts, which all popped up abruptly on the #tarsands hashtag: [F]ourteen of those accounts are clearly fake. The simultaneous posts were all sent via the “Netvibes Official Widget” that allows users to post to multiple Twitter …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil