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


Comments

In Washington, prison inmates raise bees, frogs, and butterflies

When you think “prison,” you don’t usually think “idyllic bower of nature’s most rare and beautiful specimens.” But at the Washington State Department of Corrections, inmates can skip the license-plate making and spend their days cultivating endangered local animals, insects, and plants. Participants in the Sustainable Prisons Project raise Oregon spotted frogs, Taylor's checkerspot butterflies, native prairie plants, local birds, and bees. Its organizers are now looking to expand the project more widely.

The project, a partnership between the Department of Corrections and Evergreen State College, began in 2004, when inmates were recruited to help research moss farming -- they helped find an easily cultivated species that could serve as a replacement for moss unsustainably harvested from forests.

Read more: Animals

Comments

Penguin lives the dream, bites Newt Gingrich

Photo by Kim Nowacki.

In the grand tradition of Jimmy Carter's swimming rabbit, Theodore Roosevelt's moose, and JFK's robot unicorn, Newt Gingrich has now had a run-in with wildlife: He was bitten on the finger by a penguin at the St. Louis zoo.

Comments

Critical List: U.S. carbon emissions on the rise; Japan without nuclear power

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have started to rise again.

After May 5, Japan will be without nuclear power, at least until two idled reactors are started back up.

New forecasting technology means fewer people die in extreme weather.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Scientists discover ancient antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Okay, nobody panic, but scientists have found a stash of bacteria that have never had contact with humans, but are resistant to antibiotics anyway. If this happened in a movie, this would probably end with everyone becoming dead. But I'm sure it's fine!

Read more: Food Safety

Comments

Walmart is bigger than Manhattan and richer than Norway

Image by Mother Jones.

Mother Jones has an investigation of Walmart in its March/April issue, and it comes with some pretty stark statistics. Among the facts on display in MoJo's chart: Walmart stores use five times as much electricity as the state of Vermont; Walmart's net sales exceed the GDP of Norway; Walmart stores' combined square footage dwarfs Manhattan; and Walmart stores emit more CO2 than the 50 lowest-emitting countries combined.

Comments

Oil execs get monster raises after a ‘very strong’ 2011

How big was my raise? Thiiiiiis big.

How big was your raise last year? John Watson, the CEO of Chevron, got a 52 percent bump in his compensation. That's a nice chunk of change for anyone, and in Watson's case, it brought his total yearly take up to about $25 million.

Which is nothing to complain about, unless Watson is comparing his raise to the raise of his rival giganto oil company. In that case, he might be feeling a little bit short-changed.

Read more: Oil

Comments

Scientists build energy-efficient computer out of crabs

Here is an amazing example of humans piggybacking on a natural phenomenon to create an incredibly clever system: crab-based computing.

A crab-based computer starts with swarms of crabs. These swarms include hundreds of thousands of crabs that, individually, run every which way but that, as a group, progress in one direction. Even more incredible -- when two swarms collide, they merge and start moving along the vector of their combined velocity (hellloooo, high school physics!).

So what does this have to do with computing? A team of researchers set up a system where crab behavior would provide the basic logic on which computers work. For instance, a computer might need to take inputs X and Y, and output the result “X or Y” -- a 1 if either X or Y is 1, and a 0 otherwise. Crabs can do that:

Read more: Energy Efficiency

Comments

Comments

Millennials love cities because they provide the one thing their boomer parents couldn’t give them

Why is Gen Y migrating to the cities? Because millennials are craving the things they didn’t get in their suburban upbringings, like connectedness and adventure. Basically, they’re throwing off their cul-de-sac childhoods and seeking out authenticity.

Nathan Norris, urban infrastructure planner, lays it all out at the PlaceShakers blog:

Comments

Critical List: Emperor penguin population double previous estimates; a new fracking working group

A team using very high resolution satellite pictures counted twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than any previous study had.

President Obama formed a new working group in Washington to coordinate federal oversight of fracking.

Those earthquakes in Oklahoma and Arkansas could be caused not just by fracking wastewater disposal but by fracking itself.

Read more: Uncategorized