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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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A three-step plan to solve the fossil fuel crisis

(from Fake Science) Brilliant in its simplicity. Even better: Since we may be approaching the carbon levels that killed the dinosaurs in the first place, we could just let the fossil fuels we burn kill the cloned dinos all by themselves.

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Weiner’s bike lane position shows he’s an ass as well as a dick

Like everyone else, we've entered Super Head-Shaking Mode over Rep. Anthony Weiner and his penis picture problem. We'd be sorry to lose him, from a policy perspective -- he's had a pretty good voting record on environmental issues, although his colleages apparently cannot say with certitude that he isn't a dick. But on the subject of bike lanes, Weiner showed his ass long before he showed everything else. Here's Weiner on his goals if elected mayor of New York City, an outcome that we're going to say is off the table for the foreseeable future (try D.C.!): When I become …

Read more: Biking, Cities, Politics

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Watch the ad that made Australian climate scientists get death threats

I'm no Peggy Olson, but if someone asked me to put together an ad that would NOT cause anybody to get death threats, I'd probably say something like: "Make it positive and upbeat about the future. Throw a baby in there. Can we get Cate Blanchett? See if we can get Cate Blanchett." Positivity + babies + gorgeous actresses seems like a pretty good recipe for getting people to, if not agree with you, at least not want to KILL YOU. But this ad promotes a carbon tax, and that tends to get people really riled up. Riled up enough to threaten climate …

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Solar-powered bikini lets you charge gadgets with your boobs

Everybody knows you're not supposed to get a tan anymore. So what's the point of lying out on the beach, if you're just going to wear SPF 800 sunscreen? Well, if you're sporting designer Andrew Schneider's solar bikini, you can at least be charging your iPod while you nurse your pale yet cancer-free flesh. The bikini is covered in photovoltaic film strips terminating in a USB connector. You can get five volts out of it, which is standard maximum voltage for a USB, which means you can plug in your phone or your music player, or your external keyboard if …

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How climate change is starving the world

It was supposed to take until 2080 for food prices to double. Sure, climate change can make arable land into irrigation-hungry desert, and increase the likelihood of crop-destroying severe weather (and wildfires). But ironically, increased carbon dioxide also helps plants grow, so this was all supposed to be under control for the foreseeable future. Turns out: Nope. Prices had already doubled or even tripled for some staples before the recession, and they're on their way back up. World hunger is poised to increase at a speed not seen in decades. And climate change is to blame. Changes in weather have …

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Take a look at what we’ve done to fish populations

This image from Information is Beautiful (click to embiggen) shows the biomass of popularly-eaten fish (bluefin tuna, striped bass, all the ones you normally see in restaurants) in the northern Atlantic. On the left is 1900 -- look at all that blue! Blue means 11 or more tons of fish in a given area. On the right is 2000. It is ... distinctly not blue. Not a single part of the North Atlantic shows more than three tons of fish. Of course, 2000 is 11 years ago now, which a) makes me feel really old b) means fish stocks are …

Read more: Animals, Food

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Mitt Romney loves climate science, hates winning

Oh, Mitt Romney. You have such electable hair. So why do you want to waste it by doing things like believing in global warming? That's not how people become the Republican presidential nominee. Yes, Mitt is apparently not participating in the traditional quadrennial GOP candidate 5K Fun Run Away From Anything That Sounds Mildly Liberal. On Friday, he reaffirmed his belief that a) the climate is changing and b) humans are responsible. He used to be a fan of cap-and-trade to address the problem, and once put a lot of money into instituting a cap-and-trade plan for the Northeastern states, …

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Finally, Congress has a sensible solution to high gas prices: Drive less

Rep. Earl Blumenauer and the congressional Livable Communities Task Force are still patiently trying to explain to the rest of Congress that it might be a good idea for people to be able to move around without cars. Yesterday, the task force put out a report outlining the startling concept that people might be less affected by gas prices if they didn't have to drive as much. Instead of drilling for more oil to address gas prices, we could just use less!  SHOCKING. Here are its policy recommendations: Set clear national priorities for our transportation system, including a strategy and …

Read more: Living, Politics

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Watch Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., talk mountaintop-removal mining on Colbert

Activist and all-around handsome dude Robert F. Kennedy talked mountaintop-removal mining and The Last Mountain with Stephen Colbert Wednesday night, and taught Stephen about why mountains are not actually renewable resources.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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How last year’s record emissions stack up to the worst-case scenario

Here's a little visual representation, from Climate Crocks, of how 2010's record carbon emissions stack up to various predicted scenarios. Hey, whaddya know ... after a brief drop because of the recession, we're right back on track for the worst-case scenario! (And possibly set to blow right past it if we continue on this trajectory.)

Read more: Climate & Energy