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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Critical List: Nigeria oil spill 60 times bigger than reported; Arctic Ocean methane

Amnesty International found documents showing that a 2008 Shell oil spill in Nigeria was 60 times bigger than the company claimed.

And in Russia, 2,000 tons of oil spilled from a well over two days. But, really, who knows how much oil it was?

The thawing Arctic Ocean is releasing gobs of methane into the atmosphere.

Figuring out how climate change is going to affect Himalayan glaciers: actually really tricky!

Read more: Uncategorized

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Modern day Moby Dick? Check out this super rare, all-white killer whale

Swim aside, Moby Dick -- there’s a new white whale in town. Researchers recently spotted what is believed to be the only all-white adult orca whale in existence. The Moby Dick doppelganger is making quite a splash in the wildlife community.

White whales of various species are occasionally seen; but the only known white orcas have been young, including one with a rare genetic condition that died in a Canadian aquarium in 1972.

Researchers know that this white whale -- whom they’ve named “Iceberg” -- is definitely an adult: His two-meter-long (6.5-feet-long) dorsal fin proves that he’s at least 16 years old.

Read more: Animals

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Houstonians want walkable neighborhoods

Car-centric Houston tends to be one of our go-to examples for everything that can go wrong with a city, ever. But we may not be able to use the city as a whipping boy much longer. According to a new survey, Houstonians are seeing the light on walkable and transit-accessible neighborhoods. More than half of the people surveyed said they would settle for a smaller home if it meant living near offices, restaurants, and stores.

Yes, this is in Texas! To be fair, Stephen Klineberg, who created this survey in 1982, sounded as surprised as we are. He told the Houston Chronicle that Houston residents' desire for "a less car-centered, more urban lifestyle" was "the most dramatic change" in this year's survey. In 2010, only 39 percent of people surveyed opted for the smaller house over a single-family home with a big yard that required total car-dependency. This time around, 51 percent chose the smaller, better located house. 

Read more: Cities

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Deadly tree disease could wipe out California’s citrus industry

Photo by Yellow. Cat.

Hide ya’ lemons, hide ya’ limes -- a deadly disease is coming for California’s citrus trees.

State ag experts recently found a tree that tested positive for Huanglongbing--and yes, it is way more serious than its sing-songy name suggests. The bacteria, also known as citrus greening or yellow dragon disease, attacks a trees’ vascular system and kills them off within a few years. The disease has no known cure, and it's had disastrous impacts on citrus trees in China, Brazil, and Florida.

For now scientists have only spotted the infection in a lonely tree, but the situation is understandably sending state officials into full-blown panic mode. California produces 80 percent of America’s citrus fruits and the majority of its fresh-market oranges. Killing citrus trees would wipe out a $2 billion industry in the state.

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Climate denier campaigns have zero impact on belief in global warming

It's hard sometimes to ignore climate deniers: They're so wrong! About everything! But the biggest impact they seem to be having is just that: annoying environmentalists. Denialist campaigns have had little influence on the 30 percent of people who are skeptical about climate science, ABC News reports. The one thing that does change those people's opinions? The weather.

Read more: Climate Skeptics

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Singapore’s giant supertrees: The ultimate vertical gardens

Photo by Choo Yut Shing.

Singapore is in the middle of a project that looks like a Miyazaki movie come to life. The city's 18 "supertrees" do everything that normal trees do, only better. They will stretch up to 164 feet tall, grow 200 species of flowers, ferns, and epiphytes, collect solar energy, harvest rainwater, and work as a natural cooling system. Oh, and one of them has a bistro at its summit.

Read more: Cities

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In India, solar-powered ATMs use as much energy as a lightbulb

In urban America, getting money out of the bank means walking a block to the ATM. In rural India, the nearest bank branch might be a day's journey away. But now a company called Vortex Engineering is using solar power to bring convenient banking to out-of-the-way villages.

The key: The company's ATMs are energy efficient. Vortex calls them the "world's lowest power consuming ATMs," and they use just 10 percent of the energy of other banking machines, according to Yale e360. It adds up to about the same amount of energy as a lightbulb. That low energy overheads means that solar panels can provide back-up power and keeping on running even in areas where electricity service is spotty. 

Read more: Energy Efficiency

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Texas college turns football field into awesome urban farm

If your football team can’t hack it on the field, perhaps they can grow some kick-ass kale.

At least that’s the sentiment from Dallas’ Paul Quinn College. After the university cut its football program, President Michael Sorrell decided to transform the unused field into a working farm.

The WE Over Me Farm, which covers 57,000 square feet, was a response to the lack of healthy food options in the economically depressed area. Highland Hills, the neighborhood where Paul Quinn is located, is a designated food desert.

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Critical List: Snow comes in April this year; Obama campaign seeks environmentalists

New York and Pennsylvania are getting hit with an April blizzard.

The United States and Britain are going to collaborate on offshore wind development.

Lithium air batteries could extend an electric vehicle's battery life by a factor of 10 ... if anyone could figure out how to make one.

Read more: Uncategorized

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India flips the switch on world’s largest solar power plant

The Indian state of Gujarat has built the world's largest solar photovoltaic power plant, a field of solar panels the size of Lower Manhattan. After only 14 months of preparation, they've just switched it on, adding 600 megawatts of power to the grid. That's enough to power a medium-sized city's worth of homes. Thing is HUGE.