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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Turtle sex disrupts air travel

Some flights out of JFK International Airport were delayed today as officials scrambled to clear runways of turtles. Apparently the diamondback terrapins, which live in nearby Jamaica Bay, were all "oh yeah, buiding a runway next to our habitat? That's how you're gonna play it? Fine, WE F*CK ON YOUR RUNWAY. DEAL WITH IT." Still, if there's a cuter reason to get stuck in the airport than turtles putting baby turtles inside other turtles, we don't know about it. This is not even the first time that the JFK runways have been the site of a chelonian sex-fest. In 2009, …

Read more: Animals

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Pawlenty: 'Look at me! I don't believe in science either!'

Hey, remember Tim Pawlenty? I think he's running for state auditor or something. Pawlenty used to think climate change was a major priority, back when he was governor of Minnesota and supported cap-and-trade. But then Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman showed underbelly by admitting that they believe in science -- a striking liability in this race -- and Pawlenty took that opportunity to swoop in and firmly establish himself as the most anti-climate-science candidate besides Bachmann and Perry and all the other ones! Go get 'em, T-Paw. Here's Pawlenty's attempt at ginning up some Bachmann-style crazy: "So there is climate …

Read more: Election 2012, Politics

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BPA makes male mice into mincing little nancymice

In the patriarchy (that's Women's Studies for "dicktopia") we live in, there is pretty much no worse fate than wussification. So in a way, we're glad to hear that Bisphenol A, an organic compound found in a lot of plastics, makes male mice act less masculine. Maybe this will induce Girl Panic in some of the straight dudes who run things, and we can finally get the stuff taken out of our baby bottles, plastic packaging, and cans.  According to an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, deer mice exposed to BPA in utero (the …

Read more: Food, Scary Food

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Awesome idea: Bike repair vending machine

Did you get a flat, forget your snacks, or break a light while tooling down the Greenway in bike-friendly Minneapolis? No worries -- just stop by the Bike Fixtation, a one-stop bike-shopping outpost. You can buy a patch kit or some trail mix from the vending machine, pump up your tires with the air pump, and do minor repairs on the work stand.  Right now Bike Fixtation is a real small operation -- under "About Us" on the website, it says the "owned and operated by Brad and Alex." There are only two locations, one open and one forthcoming, both in …

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Got First World problems? This is your jam.

Bougie concerns about comfort and convenience are sort of the bane of the environmental movement ... and the social justice movement ... and the general not-being-an-annoying-brat movement. But hey, we all have days when we know people are starving in Africa but also WHY IS THE INTERNET SO SLOW I AM TRYING TO UPDATE MY NETFLIX QUEUE. So here is a kid who sounds like MC Paul Barman borrowing a concept from MC Frontalot (i.e., the nerdiest of nerdcores), giving sarcastic voice to all your White Whines.

Read more: Living

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Half of the Bay Area's litter comes from fast food

Fast food is already a lot like pollution -- it's bad for you, but it's more convenient than the alternative, so it's really really hard to get rid of. Also it shows up frequently on the sides of highways. Now, environmental nonprofit Clean Water Action has found that, at least in the San Francisco Bay area, these two dirty birds flock together. More than half of the litter in the four cities the group studied came from convenience foods at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Starbucks, and 7-11. Some of these places are at least trying to cut down on their …

Read more: Pollution

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Over 1,000 new species discovered in New Guinea

Researchers found more than 1,000 new species in New Guinea over the ten years from 1998 to 2008, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund. Previously unknown species -- including an 8-foot river shark, a frog with fangs, and pink dolphin -- were discovered at a rate of two a week. But New Guinea could lose half its forest to logging by 2020, and already some of these new species are so rare that they went onto the endangered list as soon as they were discovered. The WWF report, which the organization put out to mark its …

Read more: Animals

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How to build an open-source internet from household trash

If there's anything we learned from the revolutions in the Middle East, it's that the internet has become a critical tool for burgeoning democracies. So what to do in places where the internet is tightly controlled, or just unreliable? For residents of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, the solution is: build your own. Using help from the National Science Foundation and a pile of household trash, they've built an open-source wireless network that can transmit up to several miles. The only commercial components of the "FabFi" system are the wireless routers -- all of the networking can be done with home-brewed reflectors, most …

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Bike lanes create jobs

The title of this post should really be "Bike lanes create jobs, duhhhhhhhhhh." A new study from the University of Massachusetts is only the latest evidence that bike infrastructure projects create more jobs than road infrastructure -- but the message hasn't gotten through to everyone, so with UMass' help we'll just keep beating that horse. Anyway, the latest study shows that bike and pedestrian projects generate 46 percent more employment than roads. So, you know, no big deal, just HALF AGAIN AS MANY JOBS.  Looking at 58 projects in 11 states, the researchers found that cycle-oriented infrastructure created 11.6 jobs …