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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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carbon cycle

Does pollution lock people into a cycle of poverty?

The Environmental Protection Agency is about to spend millions looking at how pollution and a crap environment leads to poverty and the general decline of quality of life in the U.S., The New York Times' Green blog reports. It's all part of the agency's commitment to better address environmental injustice. You've probably noticed that factories, power plants, and superfund sites tend to cluster in communities already burdened with social stresses; it's a vicious cycle where being poor means your environment is terrible, and poverty plus the terrible environment makes you more sick, which in turn can keep you poor. Thanks, …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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too cool to get warm

Bored with winter energy-saving tips? We've got some tips for you

We've seen a few "how to save money and energy on home heating this winter" roundups this year, and they mostly boil down to the same thing -- weatherstrip your windows and put some damn socks on. We can't argue with that advice, but isn't anyone thinking outside the box? Assuming you already know to wear layers, draft-proof your house, close off rooms you're not using, and turn on a fan, here are some other chill-banning tips you can try. Stoke that woodstove, Half-Pint: It's time to put your money where your tweed vest, handlebar mustache, and penny-farthing bicycle are: …

Read more: Living

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It's a road, it's a place, it's ...

'Superstreets' work smarter, not wider

Photo: Dr. Joe HummerWe have some ideas about how to make cars less destructive -- but what about the streets they drive on? Is there a way to accommodate a growing population and its continued need to drive, without ending up in a scenario where we all live in the median of a 120-lane highway? Researchers at North Carolina State University have some ideas. In a recent study, they tested the efficiency of "superstreets" -- which sound like giant highways, but are actually an alternative to making streets bigger. These streets' U-turn-based intersections allow traffic to move more efficiently and …

Read more: Cities

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Sex and the city transportation system

Who's riding the subway this week? Jake Gyllenhaal and pantsless hipsters

Photo by Karen BlumbergIs there a way to make public transportation sexier than driving? Cars have backseat makeouts, bikini carwashes, and "don't come a-knockin'" bumper stickers -- some even have their own testicles. Subways have ... pretty much that one scene in Risky Business. Enter the 10th annual No Pants Subway Ride, a multi-city effort coordinated by flash mob masterminds Improv Everywhere. It's exactly what it sounds like -- participants drop trou and plant their bare asses on the molded plastic seats of their local subway. New York is the hub, with 3,500 participants this year according to Improv Everywhere …

Read more: Cities

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Pretty green for a blue dog

Giffords has environmental cred

By now you know the basic story: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head on Saturday while appearing at a "Congress on Your Corner" event in Tucson. The shooting killed six, among them a federal judge and a nine-year-old girl. Giffords herself seems to be responding to stimuli despite being gravely injured. The suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody, and while we don't know anything definitive about his motives, many Democrats are pointing out that Giffords -- a Blue Dog in a red state -- was frequently the target of violent political rhetoric. You've probably already heard …

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Loko-Voracious

Four Loko will now fuel cars, not mayhem

Fill 'er up!Photo: Austin UhlerFour Loko: It's gross, bad for you, and only existed legitimately for about five minutes before turning into its own punchline. It's pretty much the Ke$ha of beverages. But it looks like the caffeinated alcoholic energy drink, whose main 2010 achievements were inspiring mediocre hip-hop and pissing off the FDA, may be getting a clean slate in the new year. A Virginia facility is now turning the drinks into fuel, by distilling their alcohol and recycling it into ethanol. MXI Environmental Services, one of three plants in the U.S. that can turn products with extractable alcohol …

Read more: Climate & Energy