Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

Bamboo iPhone speaker amplifies music with zero electricity

The iBamboo speaker makes use of the naturally resonant properties of bamboo to provide zero-electricity amplification for the iPhone 4. Yeah, you could get more gadgets to go with your gadget, but this is probably cooler -- no wires, no energy use, and it adds as much Zen cool to your desk as a tiny portable waterfall (which would need to be plugged in anyway).

Look how much more space we'd have without sprawl

  If we could just get everyone in the world to pack in a little tighter, we'd have a hell of a lot more open space to work with. Imagine the possibilities! We could pack everyone into the Midwest, fill Canada with wind turbines, and leave everything else for wildlife. Okay, maybe that's not realistic, but the point is that dense living frees up a lot of the Earth's surface area.

Republicans love bike and rail — so why don't Republican politicians?

Listen up, Limbaugh: It's not actually ridiculous for a Republican presidential candidate to take global warming seriously. Americans want solutions, like bike lanes and increased public transit, that will address climate change, and that's true across the political spectrum. In a recent poll, 74 percent of Republican respondents supported bike lanes, and 80 percent wanted more public transportation.

Could eating poo-burgers save the Earth?

Eat sh*t, cattle farming industry! No, literally, eat sh*t. Japanese scientist Mitsuyuki Ikeda has developed a way to make meat substitute out of "sewage mud," which is exactly what it sounds like. He extracts (bacterial) protein from what is essentially a soup of human feces, then blends it with soy protein and steak sauce to form a sort of poop patty. According to initial tests, the stuff actually tastes like beef, which raises the question: WHO THE HELL DID THEY GET TO DO THESE TESTS? 

Military spends more to air condition tents than NASA's entire budget

Steve Anderson, a retired brigadier general who was Petraeus' chief logistician in Iraq, says that the Pentagon spends $20 billion a year just to air condition tents and temporary buildings in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's more than NASA's entire annual budget. There's an easy fix, says Anderson: Spray tents with polyurethane foam. An existing $95 million contract to spray-insulate tents is providing $1 billion in cost-avoidance, Anderson says. But insulating tents instead of air conditioning them is still not official military policy.

Climate denier says solving global warming could cause Black Plague

James Taylor (the Heartland Institute guy, not the folk singer, alas) has discovered humoral medicine. See, the Black Plague was caused by too much cold, after the Medieval Warm Period petered out. (God, why didn't those medieval physicians think to treat it with hot poultices and baths to reduce black bile? SO OBVIOUS.) Anyway, if we manage to stem the global warming tide, according to Taylor, we'll be setting the stage for a new outbreak of plague.

Beware the pollution-dumping space tube

It has a way of really hamstringing environmental activism. (Image via the always-hilarious Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)

Detroit farm school for teen moms has been saved

Catherine Ferguson Academy, the awesome urban farm high school for pregnant and parenting teens, has risen from the ashes. Michigan's emergency financial manager decided last week to shutter the school, which has a 90 percent graduation rate. But it's been rescued by a company called Evans Solutions and will continue as a charter school, which will be open to all Detroit public school students.

New map of NYC shows how much you could save with solar

Solar power in New York could meet half of the city's peak energy demands. The city's been fully assessed for solar capability, using a plane-mounted radar system called Lidar that checks out whether rooftops are suitable for solar panels. Turns out a full 66 percent of them are, and the city and its inhabitants could be saving a buttload of money and energy by making use of that fact. If New York could harness all its rooftop potential, it would triple the amount of solar energy currently installed nationwide.

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