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Grist List: Look what we found.


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First-ever video from INSIDE the Northern Lights!

Photo by Joshua Strang/U.S. Air Force.

Camera company GoPro recently got all up in Northern Lights, producing the first-ever photos and video from right inside them. The misty flourescence paired with groovy tunes from the Trey Anastasio Band results in one trippy experience -- without the need for illicit substances.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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New SUV sales technique: Add a little Posh Spice

In this age of high gas prices, auto executives have caught on that the only way to sell people on a gas-guzzling SUV is … hey, look over there! It's a Spice Girl!

That, in a nutshell, is Land Rover's strategy for marketing the Range Rover Evoque. Victoria Beckham, née Posh Spice, "co-designed and gives her name" to the special version of the vehicle, USA TODAY reports:

"Both Land Rover and Victoria Beckham are British luxury brands with credibility and global appeal," [Land Rover design chief Gerry] McGovern says in a statement. "This dual 'Britishness' makes the collaboration even more exciting especially when considering the huge audience for bespoke products around the world, particularly in China, Russia and Brazil where Land Rover is growing."

Read more: Living

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Top 10 U.S. cities with the worst air pollution

There’s good news and bad news about U.S. air pollution. We’ll hit you with the good news first.

The American Lung Association released its State of the Air 2012 report today, and the study shows some improvement in the nation’s air quality (huzzah!).

The volunteer health organization examined 2008-2010 ozone levels, the main ingredient of smog air pollution, and air-particle pollution at official measuring sites across the U.S.

Out of the 25 cities with the most ozone pollution, 22 saw improvements in air quality over last year's report. Similar advancements were seen among cities with the most year-round particle pollution.

And now for the bad news: Despite the progress, the country’s air is still woefully polluted. About 127 million Americans -- a whopping 41 percent of us -- still endure pollution levels that make it dangerous to breathe. Check out the top 10 regions with the dubious distinction of having the most year-round particle pollution. (Spoiler alert: If you’re from several parts of California, you may want to consider relocating).

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Ex-BP employee deleted 300 texts about oil spill’s true size

Ever since the massive oil spill at the Deepwater Horizon well two years ago, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been investigating the spill. And the feds have finally filed the first criminal charges, for obstruction of justice, against an engineer named Kurt Mix who worked on the oil spill. Mix, it turns out, deleted 300 text messages that contained sensitive information about the extent of the spill, just before lawyers were going to collect that sort of information from him.

The DOJ's case focuses on two incidents. In the first, "after Mix learned that his electronic files were to be collected by vendor working for BP's lawyers," he allegedly deleted a string of 200 text messages from his iPhone, the DOJ says. Those messages "included sensitive internal BP information collected in real-time as the Top Kill operation was occurring, which indicated that Top Kill was failing."

In the second, a couple of weeks later, after Mix found out his iPhone was going to be imaged, he deleted another string of texts, this one 100 long, about how much oil was coming from the well.

Read more: Oil

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Nature trail rigged with terrifying booby trap

On a nature hike, as a rule, the dangers you want to guard against are dehydration, getting lost, and bears. But of all of nature's creatures, the most terrifying might be a duo of teenage boys without much to do. In Utah, two such young men were arrested on suspicion of setting up trap that consisted of "a 20-pound spiked boulder … rigged to swing at head-level with just a trip of a thin wire -- a military-like booby trap set on a popular canyon trail," according to the Associated Press.

Read more: Living

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TP execs: Americans don’t create enough waste in the bathroom

It takes tens of thousands of trees to create the amount of toilet paper that's used every single day. But in the minds of corporate executives, Americans, at least, aren't using enough paper during their bathroom routine. In particular, we're not using enough Cottonelle Fresh Care -- "the leading flushable wipe."

These executives, being corporate executives, know that if they could just convince us that we need dry and wet paper to clean our bums, they could sell sooooo much more product. Right now, ashamed of the wipes, people are hiding them under the sink. But people who keep the wipes out in the open use twice as many, and as the Cottonelle execs told The New York Times:

"We know from our user data that the growth is 100 percent incremental,” said Mr. Simon of Cottonelle. “If you used six squares of dry toilet paper before, you’d still use six squares, and one or two flushable wipes.”

Read more: Living

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Critical List: Mad cow disease in California; first arrest in BP oil spill investigation

The USDA found a case of mad cow disease in California.

Federal prosecutors charged a former BP engineer with deleting text messages in order to keep information about the true size of the Deepwater Horizon spill from investigators.

The three cities with the most air pollution in the country are all in California, but L.A. only comes in third. A couple of inland metro areas come in first and second.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Scientists use glow-in-the-dark fish to track hormone-disrupting chemicals

Photo by University of Exeter.

Imagine if your body could tell you where and when a certain chemical is impacting your health. Scientists at the University of Exeter have done just that -- with green-glowing zebrafish, that is.

Researchers genetically engineered young zebrafish to produce a fluorescent glow in the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A. By exposing fish to endocrine disruptors and observing when individual body parts light up, researchers can learn exactly how and at what concentrations these chemicals impact various organs and tissues. They can then make certain inferences on how endocrine disruptors impact human health.

For instance, observing the glowing fish confirmed previous findings, such as a link between bisphenol A and heart problems.

"We do see in this fish that the heart glows particularly in response to bisphenol A," Charles Tyler, the study's leader, said. "So we can target the heart and try to look at the mechanics of what is happening."

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Adorable alert: Live BABY PANDA cam!

Photo by joelrivlin.

What's black and white and so cute you'll want to squeal like a Bieber-obsessed tween? A baby panda. And now you can see one any time you want.

Read more: Animals

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New research shows Big Tobacco targets black kids

Photo by Fried Dough.

Big Tobacco agreed way back in 1998 to stop marketing [PDF] cigarettes to kids. Turns out cigarette companies are still up to their old tricks -- they’re just being slightly more stealth about it.

Researchers from California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program recently examined the advertising of menthol and Newport-brand cigarettes in the state. They found a much greater prevalence of cigarette advertising in areas near high schools with significant populations of African American students.

“There is a systematic targeting (of disadvantaged communities) by the tobacco industry, which is an extraordinary public health problem,” said Lisa Henriksen of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who presented the research at a legislative briefing in Sacramento last week. “The addition of menthol to cigarettes makes it easier to smoke and more difficult to quit.”