Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

Buy a half-gallon of sugar water at KFC, give a dollar to diabetes research

I honestly didn't believe this one was for real at first. No way even KFC, purveyors of a sandwich that uses fried meat as a delivery mechanism for fried meat, would seriously market a soda size called the "mega jug." And even if they did, they'd never have the chutzpah to donate "mega jug" dollars to juvenile diabetes research. Sadly, I had totally underestimated KFC's capacity for irony. The mega jug is a half gallon of soda, and this is a real local promotion. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation defends it thus: "JDRF supports research for type 1 diabetes, an …

Buy new sunglasses, save someone’s sight in the developing world

Men and women probably do make passes at people who use their sunglasses purchase to provide someone in the developing world with vision surgery, eye care, or glasses. Okay, the scansion needs a little work, but the point is that buy-one-give-one shoe company TOMS is expanding into eyewear, and the concept's pretty sexy, and so are the shades. There are 284 million people in the world who are visually impaired, and at least 39 million who are blind. Most blindness-causing conditions are preventable or treatable, but many people can't afford the eye care they need, or the glasses that would …

Bikes are now the hottest accessory

Bike lanes and bike riders may be controversial, but bikes as an image are marketing gold right now. Want to sell it? Put a bike on it! Transportation Nation found bikes for sale or used as display elements at Kate Spade, CB2, Club Monaco, Anthropologie, the Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Brooklyn Industries. Sure, those bikes are being used to move whatever consumerist crap people are hawking. But on the flip side, the consumerist crap is also kind of selling the bike. If bikes are promoted as the image of coolness all over your favorite trendy store, you might just start …

Solar panels to match your couch

Excited about your inevitable solar panels, but concerned they'll clash with your decor? Qsolar has you covered, you fashion victim. Their colored solar panels aren't just for the roof — they can be integrated into the design of a building as cool-looking and functional walls or (semi-transparent) windows.

How would Herman Cain solve climate change?

Pizza magnate and Republican presidential contender Herman Cain has unveiled his plan for combating illegal immigration: a 20-foot-tall, barbed-wire-studded, electrified Great Wall of U.S., and also a moat with alligators. Man, with that kind of go-getter attitude, imagine what he could achieve! Here are our predictions for how Herman Cain would tackle climate change if he believed in it, given that his approach to solving thorny political problems is apparently to throw alligators at them. Genetically engineered sharks that kill carbon by BITING IT TO DEATH. Pit with spikes for emissions to fall into. Steel cage match between a hurricane …

Could climate change denialism tank the U.S. economy?

Even as South Korea is creating jobs in renewable energy, the U.S. is falling behind in green tech. While other countries are encouraging growth in industries like solar power and home efficiency retrofitting, the U.S. is still bickering over whether climate change is for real. So instead of taking advantage of these growing technologies to boost the economy, we're importing them. Smart. A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that while the clean technology sector was booming in Europe, Asia and Latin America, its competitive position was “at risk” in the United States because of “uncertainties surrounding key …

Rick Santorum froths at the mouth about climate change

No way Rick Santorum is going the Mitt Romney route. Everybody knows that believing in global warming is for liberals, rational people, scientists, and other don't-want-to-win-the-GOP-nomination types. That's why Santorum told Rush Limbaugh (who yesterday announced that Romney had killed his chances by admitting that he understood how science works) that climate change is a vast liberal conspiracy. Let's break down his statement: I believe the earth gets warmer, and I also believe the earth gets cooler, Translation: Tide goes in, tide goes out. and I think history points out that it does that and that the idea that man …

Vegan cooking is totally metal

You don't have to go vegan to eat responsibly. But if you want to, you can avoid meat and dairy while still being TOTALLY METAL. <guitar solo by Skwisgaar Skwigelf> With a lot of rubber armor, face paint, and an awesome knife (your knife does not have to be that awesome), Vegan Black Metal Chef shows you how to keep death and destruction confined to your music collection and off of your plate.

Which crop is the biggest water hog? (Warning: You’re not gonna like the answer.)

Agriculture is thirsty work. Growing and processing food takes a ton of water, and it's only going to get worse as the world warms. So which crop has the biggest water footprint? (That's defined, by the way, as the volume of fresh water used to make the product, across all steps of production.) You're not going to like this, or at least I don't: It's chocolate. The global average water footprint for chocolate is 24,000 liters per kilogram (2,876 gallons per pound), according to the nonprofit Water Footprint Network. Even generally wretched-for-the-environment beef farming is less water-hungry, at 15,500 liters …