Skip to content Skip to site navigation
Grist List: Look what we found.


Comments

5 stories about the Fukushima anniversary that you really need to read

This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Japan’s earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear accident. While thousands of residents fell victim to the natural disasters, countless others are still living in fear of radiation poisoning from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant’s triple meltdown.

There’s a cornucopia of news in light of the March 11 anniversary, but lucky for you, we’ve broken it down into digestible morsels. Here are five stories about the Fukushima anniversary that are not to be missed:

Comments

video

Watch mildly offensive national stereotypes promote biking

The Dutch are not always bastions of political correctness (cough cough blackface Christmas). So it's kind of a relief that when they chose three national stereotypes to feature in this mid-1980s pro-bike campaign, they went with the proper English lady, the American cowboy, and the horndog Italian. Coulda been worse.

Read more: Biking

Comments

This train can launch you into space

Getting into space via shuttle is difficult and expensive. So why not take a train? Startram is a magnetic levitation train that could -- theoretically -- launch people into orbit for a fraction of the cost.

Read more: Transportation

Comments

Instead of hacking the planet, should we hack our babies?

S. Matthew Liao, a philosopher and bioethicist, has some incredible ideas about how to deal with climate change. Instead of resorting to geoengineering, he suggests, why not consider engineering humans to cause less damage to the planet? Ross Andersen interviewed Liao, and one of the most fascinating ideas that they discussed is the possibility of selecting embryos that will grow into "smaller, less resource-intensive children." Here's Liao's argument:

It's been suggested that, given the seriousness of climate change, we ought to adopt something like China's one child policy. There was a group of doctors in Britain who recently advocated a two-child maximum. But at the end of the day those are crude prescriptions---what we really care about is some kind of fixed allocation of greenhouse gas emissions per family. If that's the case, given certain fixed allocations of greenhouse gas emissions, human engineering could give families the choice between two medium sized children, or three small sized children. From our perspective that would be more liberty enhancing than a policy that says "you can only have one or two children." A family might want a really good basketball player, and so they could use human engineering to have one really large child.

That starts sounding a little too dystopian a little too fast for my taste. But geoengineering ideas -- spraying the sky with chemicals that turn it white and reflect more heat back into space, for instance -- can fit just as easily into the creepy sci-fi "the robots are taking over" genre. Here are some of Liao's other ideas:

Read more: Living

Comments

Study: Even a small temperature increase will obliterate Greenland ice cap

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

If you’ve been enjoying the recent unseasonably warm weather, prepare for a buzzkill: A study published on Sunday by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that even a teensy global temperature increase could turn the Greenland ice sheet into the world’s largest puddle.

Previous research has suggested it would need warming of at least 3.1 degrees Celsius (5.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, in a range of 1.9-5.1 C (3.4-9.1 F), to totally melt the icesheet.

But new estimates, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, put the threshold at 1.6 C (2.9 F), in a range of 0.8-3.2 C (1.4-5.8 F), although this would have to be sustained for tens of thousands of years.

Just to put things into perspective, obliterating the Greenland ice cap would create about 23.6 feet of sea level rise, flooding areas like Western Europe, New Orleans, and Manhattan.

Comments

video

Baby sloths pooping

The next installment in your continuing Grist List coverage of baby sloths being incomprehensibly adorable:

Read more: Animals

Comments

Nicaraguan military builds a battalion of climate-change-fighting soldiers

In Nicaragua, the military has a new mission -- fighting climate change and, specifically, the illegal loggers that are exacerbating deforestation in the country.

The Ecological Battalion’s 580 soldiers are currently engaging in Operation Green Gold, finding and intercepting loads of illegally logged timber.

Read more: Climate Change

Comments

Critical List: Japan marks Fukushima anniversary; politicians agree fracking causes earthquakes

Japan marked the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster this weekend.

The Americans who are paying the highest gas prices live in blue states, so everyone else quit yer bitchin’.

Meet ten families who live right next a nuclear plant -- and love it.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

New species alert: Check out the Galapagos Catshark

Photo by California Academy of Sciences.

Researchers recently announced a new species of shark, the Galapagos Catshark, or Bythaelurus giddingsi. Catsharks are one of the largest families of sharks, and are also known as dogfish, a synonym scenario that is not at all ass-backwards. And to make classification even more complex, the newly discovered species of catshark/dogfish has a lot in common with the snowflake: The arrangement of leopard-like spots on Galapagos Catshark is unique to each fish. So it’s a catshark or dogfish with spots like a leopard and the characteristics of a snowflake -- got it?

Read more: Animals

Comments

New SimCity has SimClimateChange

SimCity is back (or will be in 2013), and looking pretty damn awesome. And now, along with public approval and municipal funds and Godzilla attacks, there's a new factor to juggle: Making lousy energy choices can force your city to contend with climate change.

Read more: Climate Change