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If you cared about the environment, you’d eat mealworms instead of meat

mealworm_ice_cream
ImipolexG

What would it take you to start eating mealworms? What if you knew that livestock production accounted for 15 percent of greenhouse gases? What if you knew that livestock took up a lot of land where other food could be grown? What if you knew that mealworms would let farmers yield as much protein as meat with one-tenth of the land?

Read more: Food

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We’ve covered the moon with 400,000 pounds of trash, including bags of pee

Our shit-covered moon
NASA
Our shit-covered moon.

So we make a big deal about "leaving no trace" when we hike or camp, but visitors to the moon have made no such pact. As a result, the moon is strewn not with green cheese as previously thought but with over 400,00o pounds of human-made debris.

A lot of it is due to the fact that unmanned missions -- there have been 70 to the moon -- just crash there after sending their pictures home. No, that's not government or NASA ineptitude, in case you were getting excited about ragging on The Man. That's just how they do space stuff. But there's also garbage left behind because someone on a space mission was like, "fuck it, I don't need this giant bag of my own shit. I guess I'll just leave it on the moon."

Here is a condensed list of five items left on the moon: Lots of bags of excrement and vomit, an olive branch cast in gold, a falcon feather, two golf balls, a statue honoring those who died on space missions, five American flags. There's a better list here.

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California is turning this industrial town into a car-free oasis

newark_calif
Declan McAleese

I don't know if you've ever been to Newark, Calif., but it's not exactly a shining gem in California's crown. It's marshy and railroad-yardy and John Steinbeck-y. And usually when they decide to develop a place like that, some jerk just comes in and covers the place with a bunch of cheap freestanding single-family homes where everyone has to drive three miles to do anything and the cycle of wasteful American suburban ennui just continues apace. Well, Newark ain't going out like that. Newark is going to become a sustainable paradise.

Read more: Cities

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Pittsburgh is building a skyscraper that can breathe

hao_ko_building
Hao Ko

Office buildings suck for a lot of reasons. The first one is that you have to do work in them. Unfortunately no one can do anything about that. But the other things about them that suck -- the shitty lighting, the low, sad, ceilings, the stale air -- are all things that the architect Hao Ko plans to address as he creates a bold, innovative, and beautiful design for a new PNC Bank building in Pittsburgh.

Read more: Cities

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This fancy bee is named after a dumb catchphrase from a sitcom

Scientists are nerds, and scientists who name insects appear to be particularly cheeky and pop-culture-obsessed nerds, so it kind of makes sense that some of them have named a bee after something a nerd says when he is tricking people on a TV show. I hadn't seen the show in question, The Big Bang Theory, so if you haven't either, here is what I found out: It's not good, but it does feature a bunch of nerds, which are very popular these days. One of the nerds is named Sheldon, and when he explodes into full-on nerdiness he says "bazinga," and other nerds get excited about it and wear it on T-shirts. Here is a video of him saying bazinga, A LOT.

And here is a photo of the bee they named Euglossa bazinga after this catchphrase.

bazinga_bee

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Mistletoe has better things to do than give you excuses to kiss people

I am actually a very important plant ok so respect me
eyeweed
I am actually a very important plant OK so respect me.

Everyone knows what mistletoe is. It's that parasitic plant that people kiss under at Christmas when they get tired of being excited about Jesus being born and just want to get some Christmas ass. But mistletoe would like you to know that it's good for more than just adolescent smooching pranks. In fact, scientists have discovered that mistletoe is good for the forest, and may actually help them revitalize its environment after a trauma like a forest fire.

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Squid have been committing mass suicide — and now we might know why

squidward

Thousands of squid beached themselves in California in the last week, essentially committing mass suicide. And it's not an isolated incident. Scientists have been wondering for a long time what makes squid go through these occasional suicide events, and they think they might finally have an answer.

The culprit is poisonous algae, which has been intoxicating the squid and causing them to become disoriented so that they come up on shore and die, instead of say, swimming and living, like you'd think they'd prefer. Well, "prefer" is perhaps a strong word given squid cognition, but at any rate most animals like to live.

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Dogs come to help the grieving in Newtown

newtown_dogs
K-9 Parish Comfort Dogs

The children who survived last week's shooting in Newtown have received some special help this week in the form of Abbi, Barnabas, Chewie, Hannah, Luther, Prince, and Ruthie — dogs from K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry in Chicago who are trained to bring love and special dog sweetness to people suffering.

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Reclaim NYC makes really cool furniture from Sandy debris

4-1

It would be pushing it to say anything good came out of Hurricane Sandy, but it would be fair to say some beautiful things have been fashioned from debris created by the devastating storm. An organization called Reclaim NYC has used scrap metal and wood left behind from the storm to make, well, mostly lamps:

reclaim_nyc_lamp

Read more: Living

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Nabisco sends 5,000 Oreos and a dude in an Oreo suit to Antarctica; scientists are pumped

1-1

If you were a scientist living in Antarctica, no doubt you would miss the comforts of home. Lying in a hammock. Driving to your friend’s house to watch the game. Oreos. Now, at least, the Oreo thing is covered. To celebrate its 100th year, Oreo is celebrating “conquering” another continent with the delicious cookie classic by having an actual person dressed as an Oreo deliver 5,000 cookies to the Palmer Science station.

The scientists are psyched -- let’s be honest, scientists just sit around measuring stuff all day; they have nothing to do but snack. And whole-food advocates are also psyched, because moving 5,000 Oreos to a remote icebound continent looks like a good start.

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