Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

Our new favorite city is inside this guy's brain

Okay, so this is more amazing folk art than realistic urban design, but think of it as your Friday 10 minutes of Zen. Jerry Gretzinger has been making and remaking his incredibly detailed maps since 1963, and he's basically generated an entire alternate universe. In this mini-documentary, he details his complicated creative process, which is really not any more arbitrary than the way a lot of actual cities are laid out.

Whole Foods will tell you how to eat healthy, for a price

Unable to tell shiitake from Shinola? Don't know sea bass from a hole in the ground? Don't worry -- as long as you're willing to pay a giant wad of cash every month, you never have to be confused about what a "vegetable" is again. For a mere $49 a month -- only like a quarter of the average person's food budget! -- Whole Foods will hold your hand while you purchase their exorbitantly-priced groceries. In other words, if you're rich enough to eat healthy, you can spend more money to be assured you're eating healthy.

State Department backs Keystone XL pipeline

The atmospheric pressure is dropping in D.C. as the hurricane prepares to move through. But in front of the White House, where protestors are pushing Obama to nix the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, the pressure has probably just ratcheted up. The State Department just released a report saying that the pipeline would have "minimal" environmental effects, which is a big step towards approving its construction. Thanks a lot, State Department.

Here's the video that will convince you to go to the tar-sands protests [CORRECTED]

If you're not out getting arrested at the protests against the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, we get it! Not everyone is Tim deChristopher, and that's not the only valid way to take action. But if you're on the fence about whether to head down to D.C. and get your civil disobedience on, this video might be the thing that makes up your mind.  CORRECTION, 8/29/11: The narrator in this video says, "The tar sands produces an unbelievable 36 million tons of carbon dioxide per day." Unfortunately, that stat really is unbelievable — it confuses yearly emissions with daily emissions. In …

How to make a 100 percent energy-independent island

The Danish island of Samsoe is 100 percent energy self-sufficient, and even generates enough energy to export some back to the mainland. How’d they manage that? Well, it doesn’t hurt that there are only 4,000 people living on Samsoe, but the place is also bristling with turbines and sports a solar plant and three biomass plants. Click the Samorost-lookin’ graphic above for an infographic showing how they did it.

Poop-fueled batteries could clean water while generating energy

If there's one thing humans can apparently generate an endless supply of, it's shit. So why not use that to produce things we need but don't have enough of, like clean water and energy? Environmental engineer Bruce Logan is developing fuel cells that may be able to do that, cleaning wastewater while generating and storing energy.

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.

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.

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. 

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