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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Awesome patio furniture made of recycled food packaging

In today's "shit you can't afford even though it's made of garbage" news: genuinely gorgeous, if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it patio furniture made from recycled food and drink packaging.

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Climate change could help untreatable viral disease spread in New York City

Climate change could help bring a viral disease called chikungunya to New York City. And if you live there, you miiiight want to get a little freaked out about this, because as LiveScience reports, chikungunya makes swine flu look like piglet sniffles.

Chikungunya causes severe joint pain, fever, rash and other symptoms that can last for months, even years, and in unusual cases, death. There is no vaccine and no treatment.

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Cows cause as much smog in L.A. as cars do

Photo by Daniel.

L.A. gets a bad rap for its car culture. But it turns out that Americans' addiction to milk, cheese, and other delicious dairy products plays just as big a role in the city's smog problem these days. Scientific American reports that there are 300,000 cattle in the L.A. area, and the bacteria feasting on their waste create the same tiny particles of pollution that make smog particularly nasty.

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Critical List: Head of ARPA-E resigns; Tim DeChristopher appeals his conviction

Arun Majumdar, the head of ARPA-E, the energy equivalent of DARPA, is stepping down next month.

Today, Tim DeChristopher is appealing his conviction for disrupting a federal drilling auction.

Europeans installed more solar power than any other kind of power last year.

Read more: Uncategorized

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New interactive book could explain everything anyone needs to know about energy

The Kickstarter video for The WATT? An Energy 101 Primer does a good job of explaining why, exactly, people should care about energy:

Energy is everything. It's a part of pretty much every aspect of modern life. wherever you live, whatever you do, however you do it.

Unfortunately, most people know next to nothing about how this stuff actually works. The makers of the The WATT? -- Focus the Nation, a clean energy youth organization, and Friend of Grist List Ben Jervey -- aim to change that by publishing an "users' manual for energy in the 21st century." They're going to publish it as a PDF whether you fund their Kickstarter project or not, but if they raise enough money, they are going to make it a much, much more awesome interactive e-book with charts, graphics and videos.

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Pacific Garbage Patch has gotten 100 times worse in 40 years

Since the 1970s, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an area of the ocean clotted with plastic microparticles -- has grown 100-fold. And this is very bad news, not only because of the creatures it harms but because of the ones it helps.

According to a new study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, every cubic meter of ocean in the area, a Texas-sized chunk of ocean located 1,000 miles north of Hawaii, has about 100 times more plastic than it did 40 years ago.

Read more: Pollution

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Dutch ‘Repair Cafes’ keep stuff out of the trash by fixing it for free

In the Netherlands, there are more than 30 "Repair Cafes" -- groups that meet once or twice a month to repair (for free!) clothes and gizmos and tools that might otherwise be discarded. The New York Times visited the original Repair Cafe, which began two and a half years ago, and found that people want to keep their stuff -- even cheap stuff, like H&M skirts. They just don't know how to mend it themselves:

“This cost 5 or 10 euros,” about $6.50 to $13, [Sigrid Deters] said, adding that she had not mended it herself because she was too clumsy. “It’s a piece of nothing, you could throw it out and buy a new one. But if it were repaired, I would wear it.”

The group repairs electronics, too -- everything from big-ticket items like vacuums and washing machines to the little gadgets that go haywire, like irons, toaster ovens, and coffee pots.

Read more: Cities, Urbanism

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Critical List: Canada will fall short of emissions goal; people hate smart meters

Props to Canada for setting an actual carbon emissions goal. Too bad there's almost no way they're going to meet it.

The World Bank is pushing countries to put a monetary value on the resources their ecosystems provide.

A new study shows that monkeys who were exposed to BPA in utero developed unusually dense mammary tissue -- in humans, a risk for breast cancer.

Those dead pelicans that washed up on the shores of Peru likely starved to death.

Read more: Uncategorized

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The most beautiful illegal treehouse you’ve ever seen

OK, I had always understood that Canadians build tree forts with little tiny fridges in them if, and only if, they have a million dollars. But Vancouver-area software developer Joel Allen built his insanely beautiful HemLoft when he went financially bust. And because he was broke, he built it by hand, illegally, on government-owned land.

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Brooklynites distribute handmade artisanal parking tickets

Woe betide you if you decide to drive your ironic vintage Yugo in Brooklyn instead of your fixed-gear bike with detachable mustache. Park Slope residents have had enough of those bullshit half-spaces that show up in front of cars when someone moves an SUV and it gets replaced by a compact. They're so pissed off, they're hauling out their letterpresses and feverishly hand-pulling artisanal parking tickets.

Read more: Cities