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Sarah Laskow's Posts

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Japanese zoo tries to make endangered alligators have sex

Photo by michael baltic.

There are only 150 or so Chinese alligators left in the wild, which means that if they had any sense of mortality, these critters would be breeding like crazy.

But apparently they don't have the "survival of the fittest" will to reproduce, or maybe they just have a headache. So one Japanese zoo tried to set the mood by beating taiko drums, "because of its similarity to the animals' natural pre-coital cry," reports Agence-France Presse.

Read more: Animals

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Clean air ad featuring asthmatic kids is dangerously adorable

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did a really good job at tugging every heartstring available in this new ad:

Seriously, how much do you want to cry now? Maybe they really should send asthmatic kids into Congress as lobbyists.

NRDC and Sierra Club are doing the closest thing possible without running afoul of child labor laws -- they’re running the ad in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and D.C. So when a legislator comes home from a hard day on the Hill and settles in to watch Two and Half Men -- bam! -- now he's crying because he didn't go into politics to give kids asthma.

Read more: Clean Air

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Critical List: Too many tornadoes; scientists help plant seeds reach Antarctica

Super Tuesday results: The rich guy who would be terrible for the environment won primaries in six states, the scary evangelist who would be terrible for the environment won three, and the sad nerd who should know better but would probably be terrible for the environment just to fit in won one.

March has already blown through its typical allotment of tornadoes.

Certain industrial chemicals give rise to ADHD.

Flame retardants, which are in tons of kids' products, are also linked with learning disorders. Basically, the only way to keep a kid safe from chemicals is to wrap her up in organically grown moss and send her into the woods to be raised by wolves.

Read more: Uncategorized

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California’s closed state parks to be overrun by pot growers, people willing to pee in the woods

In just a few months, California will close dozens of state parks. But what does that actually mean? KQED, a rad West Coast public radio station, has a series looking deeper into the issue, and from what we can tell, closing state parks means nature's on the loose with NO ADULT SUPERVISION.

Now, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. The parks will still be open to the public. But the services will be gone. So if you want to pee at a closed state park, you will have to pee in the woods. The trails won't be maintained, so you'll have to climb over fallen trees and maybe plan a little bit and bring a compass so you don't get lost. The parks will be less user-friendly. But for some bushwhacking folks, more hardcore than your average park-goer, that's a good thing.

Read more: Living

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GM customers are pissed about company’s Heartland connection

One of the damning Heartland Foundation documents from a few weeks ago revealed the name of the climate-denial think tank’s major donors. One of them: A foundation connected to General Motors. Oops. Heartland's not exactly the sort of friend that a company like GM wants to be seen with in public, especially since it's trying to promote its green-minded Chevy Volt.

Now, at least 10,000 of its customers are letting it be known that they don’t appreciate GM hopping in bed with Heartland, and they’re perfectly willing to become ex-customers if it continues. Another 10,000 people who don’t own GM-made cars have joined in, saying that the company will never get their money at this rate. 

Read more: Climate Skeptics

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Critical List: More people have safe drinking water; Asia’s pollution is hitting the U.S.

The U.N. met its Millennium Development Goal to halve the number of people without safe drinking water.

President Obama is giving a press conference this afternoon -- the first in months. It's supposed to be about mortgage relief, but odds are someone will ask him about gas prices, too.

Twenty percent of ground pollution in the U.S. can be traced to emissions from Asia that have traveled over the Pacific Ocean.

Bill McKibben is changing minds over at the Huffington Post: Of the readers who've read his argument against Keystone XL and Ezra Levant's argument for the pipeline, 9 percent have gone over to McKibben's side.

Read more: Uncategorized

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School lunches still contain ‘pink slime’

For those among you who really miss the "pink slime" content of McDonald's hamburgers and Taco Bell's … everything, you can still get your fix of the ammonia-doused meat product, made of leftover, fatty trimmings. Where, you ask, can I find this abomination? According to The Daily, you can find it in your child's school lunch.

Read more: Food Safety

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Critical List: Lorax tops box office; climate change worsened Texas drought

Grist is not so keen on the movie version of The Lorax, but the rest of the country is, apparently: The movie topped box offices this weekends.

In Illinois, two cars crashed into a major oil pipeline, shutting it down.

BP's going to pay $7.8 billion to settle Deepwater Horizon claims, according to a settlement announced Friday.

Science says: Climate change made the Texas drought worse than it would have been otherwise.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Giant, awesome ‘tree lobster’ survived 80 years in hiding

The Lord Howe Island stick insect, which you see hatching above, looking like an alien struggling out of a human torso, will grow to the size of your hand. It's also called a "tree lobster" -- that's how big it is.

The most incredible thing about these insects, though, is not how big they are or how Geigeresque they look, but how close they came to not existing. In the early 20th century, a British trade ship crashed on the South Pacific island that these stick insects inhabited, and black rats from its hold took over the island and ate all the bugs. One very small population survived, hanging out around one tiny little bush on another island (really more of a bare outcropping of rock), until a couple of Australian scientists found them there.

Read more: Animals

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Critical List: The gas boom scam; Bieber’s electric car

In Rolling Stone, Jeff Goodell looks at "the scam behind the gas boom.” What really makes money for a natural gas company? "Buying and flipping the land that contains the gas," Goodell reports.

A team of scientists has discovered how to use wastewater's bacteria to create electricity.

For his 18th birthday Justin Bieber received (among many other gifts, we're sure) an electric vehicle -- a $100,000 Fisker Karma.

The Senate transportation bill could include dedicated funding for walking and biking.

Nestlé's products no longer have artificial ingredients in them.

Read more: Uncategorized