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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Climate change threatens baby seals

Photo by Liam Quinn.

You could probably intuit that climate change would threaten seal pups, being as how they're vulnerable critters who require cold climates. But just in case you had doubts, new research has arrived to tell you that yup, Antarctic fur seal pups are screwed.

Read more: Animals, Climate Change

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Here’s how to never get cancer

Over at Jezebel, the inestimable Lindy West has noticed just how many foods, chemicals, and habits are reported give you cancer, and she's figured out how to dodge them all. She walks us through a day of her cancer-free lifestyle, from waking up in a windowless apartment in Singapore (lower rates of cancer in women) to drifting off while munching on Brazil nuts.

Read more: Food

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Obama likes Keystone XL now

Well, that was nice while it lasted. But despite the fact that domestic oil production doesn't do a dicky bird to bring down gas prices, President Obama is now paying election-year lip service to the idea of, and I quote, "drilling all over the place." And even more depressingly, he's now saying that the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which he'd previously opposed, should be "a priority."

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Tennessee passes anti-climate, anti-evolution ‘education’ bill

This cartoon is from 1925. Way to make progress, Tennessee!

Good news for people who don't know shit about dick: You can now teach science in Tennessee! The state legislature has passed a bill saying that if "science" "teachers" don't personally believe in evolution or climate change, they're free to represent them to students as kooky conjecture. Because forcing teachers to teach science is a form of fascism! Or socialism! I don't know the difference, I took political science in Tennessee.

Read more: Climate Skeptics

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The White House’s secret plan to make American households more energy-efficient

In the spirit of keeping a positive, bright outlook on life and politics (ha), we're going to ignore for the moment the Obama administration’s embrace of the Cushing-to-Texas branch of Keystone XL. Instead, let's talk about another announcement the White House made today, this one about how they're going to convince Americans to use less energy.

Back in January, the White House launched a program called Green Button. It's an "industry-led" program in which utilities make energy-use data available in standard formats. This means a couple of things: 1) It's easier for people to access information about their household's energy consumption and 2) it's easier for software developers to design applications that will help people understand energy use.

The big news the White House wants to share today is that the number of households that will have access to this sort of data will more than double, from 12 million to 27 million in total.

Read more: Energy Efficiency

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Global warming affects penguins’ sex lives

Nobody likes to be rushed during sex, but climate change is forcing some penguin species to reschedule business time. Wednesday night is no longer the night for love! Now you do it on Monday OR YOU DIE OUT.

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Farmers to use spider venom to protect crops

Farmers and bugs typically have a hate-hate relationship. Insects eat up valuable wheat, barley, and soybeans, and farmers slay them dead using an arsenal of chemical weapons (a.k.a. pesticides). But no longer. Australian growers may soon form an alliance with their new best buggy friends: spiders.

Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience found that tarantula, orb spider, and funnel web spider venom actually makes a super-effective, all-natural pesticide. Not only that, but scientists envision using the earth-friendly spider venom to control agricultural pests and wipe out disease vectors like mosquitoes.

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Critical List: Obama to expedite portion of Keystone XL; World Water Day

It's World Water Day: How much do you use? (The average American household uses 350 gallons. I KNOW.)

Obama is set to expedite the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Supreme Court decided that the couple who wants to fight the EPA over whether their property counts as a wetland can go ahead and fight the EPA.

Is that climate change in your Hunger Games?

Read more: Uncategorized

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Plane commutes on the rise

An increasing number of people are commuting to New York jobs from hundreds of miles away or even the other side of the country, according to WNYC's Transportation Nation. There are about 4,000 regular plane commuters, accounting for more than 1,000 tons of carbon every week. Has nobody told these people about the internet?

Read more: Sprawl

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A science experiment run by gnomes

A company that makes scales for scientific use has demonstrated slight variations in Earth's gravitational pull at the surface, in what may the first science experiment to use garden gnomes as instrumentation.

Read more: Living