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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Conservative pundits deny existence of record-breaking heat wave

Rush Limbaugh says "almost no temperature records were broken" during the recent heat wave, and Newsbusters writer Noel Sheppard says there were "only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set." Only 34? Why, that's barely a record-breaking heat wave at all! Except for the fact that a) 34 records is nothing to sneeze at and b) by "34," Sheppard means "somewhere between 70 and 7,612." "All-time daily record" is not a thing, but there are daily records and all-time records. Daily records compare the max and min temperatures that day to the same date in previous years. All-time records compare …

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Toyota concept bike has psychic gear shift

Parlee Cycles and tech company Deeplocal are working together on a bike inspired by the Toyota Prius. It's a reasonably slick-looking machine, but the really weird and bizarre part is the "neuron shifting." The bike uses a gaming neuroheadset, which detects the brain's electrical activity like an EEG, to let riders shift between gears using only their minds. Of course, this makes the bike about a million times more complicated than a regular bike. For one thing, shifting gears suddenly requires electricity. For another, you sort of have to relearn how to ride a bike, and we are all repeatedly …

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GOP: Why can't we mine for uranium in the Grand Canyon?

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has extended the moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon through the end of the year, and House Republicans are grumpy. I mean, there's uranium there ... the hole is already mostly dug ... it's basically a perfect mining opportunity! So they're sticking a rider onto an Interior Department appropriations bill that would open the land back up. Salazar says he would prefer a 20-year moratorium on the mining, which could threaten not only the integrity of a national landmark but also water quality in the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to …

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Could you use the internet to heat your house?

Servers generate so much heat that they have to be kept in super-cooled rooms, lest the entire Cloud collapse. People's houses need heat, at least in the winter months. Two great tastes that go great together? Microsoft is researching whether they can keep servers in residential houses, thus saving the company money on cooling and saving the residents money on heating. This would only work in the winter, but it's always winter somewhere, right? (At least for now.) This plan is not without its pitfalls. For starters, users might not feel super-secure about having their data live in some furnace …

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A dress with a built-in air purifier

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion's "catalytic clothing" strips pollutants out of the air and breaks them down harmlessly. Here's an atmospheric (ha) video of an air-purifying dress, but they've also got jeans, which significantly improves the chances of getting enough people wearing catalytic clothing to actually make a difference in air quality. (None of this is available for purchase or anything crazy like that, but in theory, if it were, you'd probably want the jeans.) How are the pollutants broken down? When the light shines on the photocatalyst, the electrons in the material are rearranged and they become more reactive. …

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Billionaire carves his name on island

Hamad bin Hamdan al Ahyan is a real-life Chairface Chippendale. He owns a private island near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, but what fun is that if everyone doesn't know it's yours? So he wrote his name on it, in letters a third of a mile long that are visible from space. Al Ahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, owns the world's most expensive car (it has a caviar tray!), the world's largest truck (it has an apartment inside!), and seven Mercedes 500 SLs. So clearly he's not a super conservationist or anything. But turning …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Critical List: DeChristopher gets two years; cities are screwed by climate change

A Utah judge sentenced climate activist Tim DeChristopher to two years in prison. A few people were a bit pissed off by this, and 26 protesters were arrested. A new NRDC report concludes that cities are going to be screwed by climate change. The Department of Energy is funding a $85 million project to study carbon sequestration in an underground rock formation called Kevin's Dome. Injecting CO2 into the porous rock could be a way to store it harmlessly. Where does your cell phone go when you recycle or throw it away? On an awesome road trip, apparently. Fish tanks …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Floating hydroponic farm makes food with zero waste

Here's an urban farm we'll still be able to use when rising sea levels flood all our cities! Science Barge is a floating organic farm set aboard a barge in the Hudson river. The Science Barge crops are grown hydroponically, delivering nutrients through irrigation water -- so there's no soil, which means no waste runoff. Even the water is collected from rain barrels or from the river itself, and it can be used over and over again, so the water usage is sharply lower than on a conventional farm. Suppose you don't have a boat? Well, the recirculating hydroponic system …

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Here's what an hour's worth of ocean trash looks like

This artwork by Chris Jordan is made up of 2.4 million pieces of plastic, all collected from the Pacific Ocean. (You can see details here.) This is already staggering, but it's actually only a fraction of what gets pumped into the ocean every hour. If every one of these pieces were a pound of plastic, and it looked more like a garbage slurry and less like a classic Japanese print, that would be an hour's worth of plastic pollution.

Read more: Pollution

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