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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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What can we learn from the world’s most efficient fake city?

This EXTREMELY METAL VIDEO shows the evolution of what is probably the world's most efficient Sim City: 6 million inhabitants and no congestion. It's got optimal population density, operates by subway alone, and has essentially beat an unbeatable game by lasting for 50,000 in-game years. The innovative gridding system that made all this possible was a year and a half in the making. Also if you go by the video, it was designed by Dethklok. It wasn't really, though -- it was designed by reportedly "normal dude" Vincent Ocasla. And he points out that there are a few down sides …

Read more: Cities, Urbanism

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How to help victims of the Alabama tornadoes

Alabama's still reeling from severe tornadoes. Supporting the environment also means supporting humans when the environment f*cks them over, so we figure you're looking for a way to throw your shoulder in. Here are some ideas for how to do your part for people who may not be feeling so keen on Mother Nature right now. If you're in the area, volunteer. Among other things, various organizations need people who can/are willing to: Translate Spanish Socialize with seniors Operate a chainsaw Clean up Serve food Drive people to FEMA stations If you're not in the area, donate money to relief groups. …

Read more: Living

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Canada’s elections are today. Here’s why you’re rooting against Stephen Harper

Guys! Turns out other countries have news today too. It's election day in Canada, and the conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper is an epic source of maple-flavored environmental f*ckery. Canada's elections involve a lot of words that even U.S. political junkies may never have heard before (“prorogation” is a totally new one on me). So maybe the bottom bunk of North America does not have time to figure out the parliamentary system before polls close, but if you care about the health of the Earth, you should at least be rooting against Harper and his Conservatives. Here's why: …

Read more: Politics

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China could start reducing energy use in the next 15 years

Just as U.S. emissions are sneaking back up to 2005 levels, greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage in China could be on their way back down, says a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. This analysis shows Chinese emissions peaking between 2025 and 2030, and energy use starting to drop as early as 2025 and leveling out before 2050: [T]he overall picture is that with current policy China can slow its energy growth, meet its 2020 greenhouse gas limitation commitment made at Copenhagen and Cancun, and start to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in absolute terms within the next …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Environmental regulations visible from space

We're learning a lot about space spiders and space bacteria from the nerd horde at the NASA tweetup, but somehow this one from Rachel Maddow writer Tricia McKinney is the most chilling. (She's citing astronaut Leland Melvin.) It's true:

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Nader: Obama’s guaranteed to win, so why not make him sweat?

Former Green presidential candidate -- and former presumed Democratic spoiler -- Ralph Nader doesn't plan to run again this time around. But that isn't keeping him from political machinations. Nader's plan for 2012: Obama's gonna win anyway, so why not put some pressure on him to move leftward? Obama's win is basically guaranteed, thanks to Republican fractiousness and the president's big-business backing, Nader wrote in a recent op-ed. So a little peer pressure in the form of some primary challengers could make him more palatable to far-left constituents, without ruining his chances. Nader's putting together a crack team of progressive …

Read more: Election 2012, Politics

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New hot GOP thing: Voting for oil subsidies, then saying you oppose them

Three's a trend, so we're officially calling oil subsidy doubletalk the Instagram of this season's GOP. First John Boehner said oil companies "ought to be paying their fair share," until his handlers stepped in and told everyone he didn't mean it and oil companies definitely shouldn't do anything fair at all. Now two more representatives, Daniel Webster of Florida and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are joining the chorus of Republicans who are totally willing to cluck about oil company subsidies, as long as it doesn't mean voting against them.  Webster told ThinkProgress that "any kind of corporate welfare is on the …

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Infographic: Should you coal-power your life?

More reasons to avoid coal, courtesy of David Malki ! of Wondermark: Made of carbon Finger cancer Costs literally millions of dollars Absurd "pimptastic" modifications Impossible

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Even an adorable child can’t make KFC eco-friendly

You gotta love 10-year-old Cole, who got into environmental activism after a second-grade school assignment (to "become an environmental activist" -- who knew it was this easy? Just get to 'em early and tell 'em to do it). Cole found out that McDonalds was sourcing its paper packaging from endangered forests in his home state of North Carolina, and mobilized his classmates to do a postcard write-in campaign urging the conglomerate to move to recycled products for the sake of N.C.'s forests. Cole partnered up with forest-backing nonprofit the Dogwood Alliance, met with McD's top brass, and actually got them …

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We’ve already slowed greenhouse-gas emissions

Given that the Republicans in power are clearly willing to go to the mat to make sure we make no further strides towards improving the environment, this is good news: Even if the government takes no further action to regulate greenhouse gases, our emissions will grow much more slowly than predicted in coming years. In 2006, the Energy Information Administration projected that carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions would rise 37 percent by 2030. But a new EIA report now says that, even in the absence of further regulation, there will only be a negligible increase by then. The report …