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Grist List: Look what we found.


If everyone used as much energy as Americans, we’d run out of oil in 9 years

Unlike gluttonous American industry, Europe's most profitable companies plan to make even more money by getting ahead of this whole peak oil trend, reports Der Spiegel. And it’s a damn good thing, because if everybody guzzled oil like Americans, we’d be even more screwed than we are now.

Case in point:

If every person on Earth used as much energy as the average person in the United States, today's known oil reserves would be exhausted within nine years.


Google saves energy by cooling its buildings with ice

Google's new $700 million data centers in Taiwan will make ice at night, when electricity is significantly cheaper, and use it to cool the buildings during the day, reports Rich Miller at Data Center Knowledge. It's called thermal storage, and it's basically a battery, but for air conditioning.


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