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Grist List: Look what we found.


Terrified by peak oil, FedEx turns to biofuels, efficiency

FedEx owns 700 planes and tens of thousands of trucks, which is why CEO Fred Smith is crazy for energy efficiency, reports NPR.

Shortly after Smith founded Federal Express, the 1973 Arab oil embargo almost killed it. The experience imprinted Smith with a keen interest in the price and availability of oil.


Forest Service employee traps and tortures wolf, doesn’t get fired

When wolves came off the endangered species list in western states like Idaho, wildlife advocates worried how the species would fare without protection. Ranchers aren't known to be particularly fond of wolves, for starters. In March, a disturbing story confirmed some of advocates’ worst fears: A Forest Service employee had trapped and tortured a wolf in northern Idaho.

The Center for Biological Diversity is asking for an investigation into the incident, Environmental News Service reports. The employee, Josh Bransford, "posted online photos of a wolf he had trapped that was then non-fatally shot by people who saw the animal from a nearby road," according to ENS. That's a nice way of saying that a bunch of humans with guns stood around and shot at the wolf, injuring it but not putting it out of its misery. (One of those pictures is after the jump. It's kind of brutal, so don't click through if you're not up for it.)

Read more: Animals


Critical List: A feathered cousin of T. rex; a solar panel thinner than spider silk

The Yutyrannus, a newly discovered dinosaur, was huge, related to Tyrannosaurus rex, and covered in feathers.

Thousands of dead dolphins have been washing up on Peruvian beaches.

Austrian and Japanese scientists teamed up to make a solar panel that's thinner than a thread of spider silk.

Drought in England means that anyone caught using a hose faces a fine equivalent to more than $1,500.

Read more: Uncategorized


Four cars, built by teenagers, that get over 1,000 miles per gallon

The Shell Eco-Marathon is sort of a weird contradiction. On the one hand, it's sponsored by Shell, but on the other hand, it's all about challenging high school and college students to make hyper-fuel-efficient cars, i.e. kind of the opposite of Shell's goals. It's like if the Intel high school science competition were sponsored by Rick Santorum.

At any rate, though, the kids really came through this year. Here are four of the winning vehicles, all built by high schoolers, all of which got more than 1,000 miles to the gallon in their competition trials.

Read more: Green Cars


Monster hailstone will eat your family

Photo by NOAA

Man alive, check out the hailstone that fell in sunny Hawaii earlier this month. It's four inches long and it has TEETH. I'm not actually convinced it's not an embryonic yeti.

Read more: Climate & Energy


Flame retardants can turn a burning room into a gas chamber

The Station nightclub fire at 40 seconds. (Photo by Daniel R. Davidson.)

You know brominated and chlorinated flame retardants are bad when when even Walmart bans them from its products. Unfortunately, some fire codes require them. But we’ll see how long that lasts, says Environmental Health News, given that new research indicates burning flame-retardant items makes them emit the same poisons used in Nazi gas chambers.


Half-bike, half-car Velomobile goes 80 miles on 6 cents of electricity

Photo by Watson House.

Velomobiles are reclining bicycles with fiberglass shells on top, to make you super aerodynamic, weatherproof, and sort of whimsical.


A cookbook you can eat

A design firm in Germany has created a cookbook that you can eat! It’s made of fresh pasta printed with a lasagna recipe, so that the pages of the cookbook actually become the layers of the dish.

How many recipe books have only one good recipe in them, yet require reams of paper to make? There's an elegance to food that carries its own instructions for its cooking. Why print a recipe on the back of a can or a box of processed food when you can print it on the food itself?

Read more: Food


Fungi can eat pollution right out of the soil

Fungi are freaking amazing: Give them enough time and they will eat anything, even the toxins spread over polluted sites around the world. Mohamed Hijri, a professor at the University of Montreal, figured -- why wait for nature to take its time neutralizing the damage we've done to the planet? Why not urge it along? And so he started identifying the fungi and microorganisms that do the best job at cleaning up toxins.

Read more: Pollution


Critical List: Interior to expedite oil and gas permit review; pandas trying to mate

The Interior Department is going to expedite its review of applications for oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

Town governments want the ability to regulate fracking, but they’re having to fight against state governments to get it.

An Australian company is planning to extract copper, gold, and other metals from the sea floor.

Pandas at the Edinburgh Zoo are attempting to mate. (Report: “They coupled more than once, but failed to reach the sexual summit.”)

Read more: Uncategorized