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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Peter Gleick did not forge Heartland documents

Before the Heartland Institute decided to alienate even right-wing denialists with their OTT billboard campaign, they were already in kind of hot water -- some of their internal documents had come to light, and the light was not flattering. Climate scientist Peter Gleick admitted to obtaining the documents under false pretenses, which absolutely scandalized Heartland, whose policy on document-stealing is "it's only fine when we or our friends do it."

Since then, Heartland's defense has rested mainly on this chain of logic:

  • Gleick is a terrible person who should  never have stolen those secret documents that were OUR PERSONAL PROPERTY and SECRET.
  • And anyway they aren't ours at all and are total forgeries.

Gleick has already apologized for misrepresenting himself to Heartland in order to get the documents. But Heartland has continued to insist that he also forged one of the memos (conveniently, the one that made it look the worst). Well, he didn't. An investigation has revealed that Gleick didn't forge diddly-squat so shut up.

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Does organic food make you a jerk?

Pictures from the organic, comfort, and control groups.

Finally, scientific confirmation for that suspicion you've nurtured while being shoved around by yoga-pantsed moms in the Whole Foods produce aisle: Organic food makes you rude and selfish. According to a study by a Loyola University professor, people who eat organic are more judgmental and less inclined to engage in altruistic behavior. In short: Maybe you'll live longer if you eat organic, but everyone will wish you hadn't.

Read more: Food, Organic Food

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Heartland Institute going broke due to dickish billboard campaign

After a year fraught with hardship, the climate-denialist Heartland Institute is being rapidly abandoned by its friends and supporters, doomed to wind up friendless and alone, wandering the streets clad only in rags, hawking matches to indifferent passers-by. It would be straight-up Dickensian if they weren't such jerks. But most of this ill will is coming from the organization's over-the-line billboard campaign comparing climate scientists and other global warming believers to legendary mass murderers.

Read more: Climate Skeptics

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Tree poachers steal 800-year-old red cedar

A decade ago, British Columbia had 40 full-time park rangers who monitored 1,000 parks. Today, it only has 10. And they don't often make it out to faraway parks like the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, which is on the southern end of Vancouver Island.

With no one around regularly, it must have been easy for poachers to come into the park and hack away at an 800-year-old red cedar tree. Well, “easy” is relative, because we’re talking about a lot of sawing -- this granddaddy cedar was so old, its stump measures almost 10 feet in diameter. But there was so little supervision of the park that the tree thieves could return multiple times to hack at the tree and then haul sections of it away.

Read more: Living

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Wisconsin hospital is powered by beer and cheese

Gundersen Lutheran Hospital, in La Crosse, Wis., aims to be energy independent by 2014. Hospitals use a ton of energy, so that's a tough goal to meet. But Gundersen is getting there by piggybacking on Wisconsin’s best-known industries: beer and cheese.

Beer and cheese, while delicious, both slough off a lot of gas while they're being made. (Not to mention after they’re consumed.) The hospital system has been sourcing biogas from a local brewery and from a dairy farm that makes mascarpone and fresh mozzarella cheese. And recently the system started getting gas from a La Crosse landfill, as well.

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Critical List: Eating organic makes people judgey; U.S. selling drones to Iraq to protect oil

Eating organic food makes people more judgmental about others' actions and less altruistic, according to a totally bogus study.

The U.S. is selling drones to Iraq to protect oil exports.

White-tailed deer are eating so many leaves, they're keeping migratory birds from being able to build their nests.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Global warming makes syrup taste gross

Photo by Musebrarian.

We've known for a while that climate change will threaten supplies of our favorite foods, like wine and bourbon. (Oh, and bacon, coffee, chocolate, oysters, and pecan pie.) But the optimists among us took this news with good humor. "Oh sure, our favorite foods and intoxicants might be a little scarcer," these imaginary chirpy little shits said, "but that will make every mouthful more precious." Well, not when it comes to maple syrup, sucker! Climate change isn't just making it scarcer -- it's making it taste way worse.

Read more: Climate Change, Food

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9-year-old’s lunch blog shames school into making changes

Martha Payne had some sad-ass lunches at her school in Scotland -- unsatisfying food that sometimes had more hair than vegetables. So the 9-year-old decided to start a blog with photos and vital statistics about her meals. Almost immediately, the blog got international attention, including from prominent school lunch busybody Jamie Oliver. Result? Martha's dad just met with the local council, and it announced that kids could have unlimited salad, fruit, and bread.

Read more: Food, School Lunches

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Giant snake and giant turtle were besties

Artist's conception.

You couldn't have a one-ton snake today -- the climate's just too moderate for a cold-blooded creature that size. But back when the planet was warmer by nature, all kinds of terrifying mega-reptiles roamed the Earth. So, in anticipation of global warming, maybe we should start preparing for how to coexist with snakes the size of buses. Lesson one: Apparently they pal around with giant turtles.

Read more: Animals, Climate Change

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The Great Billboard War of 2012

Heartland's crazy billboard featuring crazies was quickly pulled down, but climate groups are fighting fire with fire -- or, in this case, billboard with billboard. Forecast the Facts came up with this lovely specimen:

But Clear Channel, which apparently controls the billboard system in Chicago, was having none of it, and would not approve it. The company did, however, give its blessing to a sign from Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, which asks, more tamely, “Who to believe on climate? Heartland … or EVERY National Scientific Academy in the world?” Zing.