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Newly discovered dolphin species is probably an asshole

o-RIVER-DOLPHIN-570
Nicole Dutra

We keep telling you that dolphins are the frat boys of the sea. We told you they would eat your babies. We were briefly optimistic that we could all chill and get high on pufferfish together, but … no, turns out, that's probably just a fantasy. And yet you still like them. So OK, fine, here is a new kind of dolphin, hope you dolphin fanatics are happy.

We are willing to consider the possibility that this newly discovered dolphin variety might be more relaxed than its brethren. First of all, this dolphin has the sense to stay away from humans. Inia araguaiaensis is the first new type of river dolphin that humans have identified since 1918 -- there are only four other river dolphin species in the world. Also, there are only about 1,000 of them in existence, so it’s harder for them to gang up on you.

Read more: Living

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This overhead view of the world’s largest offshore wind farm is surprisingly awesome

Click to embiggen.
NASA
Click to embiggen.

NASA's Landsat 8 satellite took this photo in the spring of 2013. It's of the London Array, the world's largest offshore wind farm -- 175 turbines, which generate enough electricity to power up to 500,000 homes, NASA says. It's huge, and getting bigger:

With construction operations working out of Ramsgate, the Array is eventually supposed to grow to 245 square kilometers (95 square miles). The wind farm sits on two natural sandbanks, with water as deep as 25 meters (80 feet). The site was chosen because of its proximity to onshore electric power infrastructure and because it stays out of the main shipping lanes through the area.

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Send this comic to anyone who tells you cold weather disproves global warming

In the unpleasant event that you're faced with someone who's all "lol how can there be global warming it's cold," you could follow our four-point plan for wasting your breath and not managing to change their minds. Or you could just send them this XKCD comic and let Randall Munroe do the work.

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Randall Munroe
Read more: Climate & Energy

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U.S. and Canadian safety officials are freaked out about exploding trains

DOT-111
PHMSA

This is what federal transportation safety officials from both the U.S. and Canada sounded like on Thursday: "Aaahhhh holy crap trains are exploding all over the place!"

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada issued simultaneous pleas to regulators on Thursday, calling for urgent reforms amid the spiraling spate of fiery accidents involving oil-hauling trains. Such trains have been exploding in flames and spilling their loads following derailments on the continent's aging train tracks. Just this week, a train pulling six cars of oil derailed on a Philadelphia bridge, though fortunately there was no fire or oil spill.  

The New York Times explains the reforms that the safety officials are calling for:

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Here are the best positions for pooping in the woods

Do you know all six positions for crapping in the great outdoors? Well, you should! You never know when you’ll need to whip out The Thinker or even The Head-On Buddy Dump if you really want to bond with someone. (There’s nothing like poop to bring people together, I always say.) Thankfully, reality star Spencer "Two Dogs" Boljack of reality show Hillbilly Blood is an expert at that sort of thing.

First, you need to pick some good leaves (nature’s TP), because Two Dogs HATES it when hikers and campers leave toilet paper in the woods. Don’t go for the dried crispy ones on top, because your fingers will just poke right through. “Some leaves are like Clint Eastwood. They won't take crap from nobody,” Two Dogs says. If the leaf is too slick, you’re also in trouble, so go for leaves a little below the surface, where they’re slightly decomposed.

Now to get those bowels a-movin’. You’ve probably done the Drop a Log, where you simply drape yourself over a log to do a No. 2, or the Third World Squat, which is just your basic squat. But have you done The Orangutan Hang?! “It’s kinda like a swing, but you’re goin’ poo, so it’s fun,” Two Dogs raves:

orangutan-hang

Read more: Living

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The week in GIFs: Benedict Cumberbatch edition

The green news is afoot! (Last week: Scandal.)

Fixing old pipelines would create way more jobs than building Keystone XL:

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Tumblr

Michael Pollan dissed the Paleo diet:

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Tumblr
Read more: Living

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Jon Stewart rips into factory farming while talking about the spreading pig virus

A deadly pig virus -- yeah, the one from last summer -- has now spread to 22 states, and people are worried. But it’s gonna be OK, because Jon Stewart is here to talk you through it. “The porcine diarrhea virus? We’ve all been there,” Stewart joked in a segment earlier this week.

But rather than poking fun at the runs, he threw in some incisive digs at factory farming and America’s obsession with meat. The pig segment starts 12 minutes in (but we won't tell anyone if you watch it all):

After a news clip about the porcine diarrhea virus shows a pig comfortably grazing in a big pen, Stewart is quick to point out factory farming is way less idyllic. “Whose pig luxury penthouse did you shoot your footage in? Because from what I recall, the typical pig facility has a little less elbow room and a whole lot more excrement,” he says. After a sad shot of confined pigs, the audience moans, to which he quips:

Read more: Food, Living

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Christie administration stiffed blacks and Latinos on Sandy relief money

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Talk Radio News Service

Lest you doubt that people of color get special treatment when it comes to climate-induced disasters, I bring you this recent story from The Root:

Data obtained by the Fair Share Housing Center show that [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie administration has rejected African Americans seeking major post-Sandy rebuilding support at more than twice the rate of white applicants, and Latinos at 50 percent higher rates than whites. Adding insult to injury, the administration reportedly posted inaccurate information on the Spanish-language version of the state’s Sandy website and has no public plan for making whole the people who were harmed by the misinformation.

It’s not a good look for the guy who until recently was the Republican Party’s best hope for a solid presidential contender come 2016.

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Poll finds that Latinos overwhelmingly support climate action

latino-children-running-protest
Matthew C. Wright

If Republicans want to stop being known as the White Man’s Party, as they professed in their “Growth and Opportunity” report a year ago, they’ve now got one more way to do it: Start taking climate change seriously.

A new poll finds that over 90 percent of Latinos nationally want government action on global warming. Some 86 percent want carbon pollution limits on power plants. And given the inaction from Congress, nearly 80 percent say they approve of President Obama taking action alone on climate change.

The concerns crossed over income and party lines: 86 percent of high salary earners want action; 54 percent of Latino Republicans favored Obama taking charge. In other words, it’s not only Latinos in the barrios living next to waste plants who demand action.

“This is a clear message for public officials who want support from Latinos,” said Matt Barreto, a political scientist at the public opinion firm Latino Decisions, which administered the poll for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Protecting the environment is a top priority. If you want their support, taking action on climate change is an important place to start.”

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OK, GMOs matter — but the noisy fight over them is a distraction

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Espen Faugstad

I’m grateful for the responses from Tom Philpott and Ramez Naam to my final post -- they round out this series considerably.

I’ll confess to some sensationalism in claiming in the title of my last piece on the GMO controversy that “none of it matters.” Of course it does matter to some degree, and it matters very much to those who have dedicated their lives to the issue. It would have been more punctilious (and less fun) to instead title the piece: “The ferocity of the GMO debate makes it seem much more important than it really is.”

It’s not that we should all resign ourselves to apathy. I’m simply suggesting that -- whether your primary concern is the environment, or health, or poverty, or feeding the world -- heavy expenditure of political capital on GMOs isn’t going to move you all that far toward your goal.

Both Ramez Naam and Tom Philpott take me to task for underplaying the importance of GMOs, and I actually agree with almost all of what they’ve written here. I agree with Naam that we should be pursuing moonshot technologies like C4 and self-fertilization. But we shouldn’t be counting on those big breakthroughs to solve our problems: They may not ever come. I agree with Philpott that GMO crops have been overhyped and that discussion should stick to the facts on the ground.