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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Tar-sands magnate, Bill Gates support research on geoengineering

Geoengineering -- the notion that we might blunt some of the effects of climate change by, for example, creating an artificial volcano to shade earth's surface and cool the planet -- is picking up steam among rich people. And not just Montgomery Burns! Philanthropists too!

The latest to join the fray are Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and "tar-sands magnate Murray Edwards," reports the Guardian. Just goes to show you what strange bedfellows geoengineering makes.

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Young people expect the future to look like Thunderdome

This image has been floating around the internets (I can't determine its original source) in a way that suggests it resonates with a lot of us.

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Birth control still one of Obama’s best environmental policies

The Obama administration is expected to propose a birth-control compromise today for Catholic-run institutions that don't want to pay for their employees to avoid pregnancy. New federal rules guarantee free contraception coverage, but a narrow exception already exists for Catholic churches that don't believe in not having babies. The compromise would still allow women to access contraception but would not make objecting employers pay for it directly.

Update: Here's a fact sheet with details about the compromise. The upshot: Religious employers aren't required to pay for birth control, but if they don't cover it, the woman's insurance company has to shoulder the whole cost.

Even with the compromise, the administration's contraception policy ranks pretty high on the list of green initiatives it's undertaken. It's not usually labelled as an environmental policy, but babies use a lot of stuff! And then they grow up and use even more.

That said, hormone-based birth control may be less eco-friendly than plain old condoms (even allowing for the fact that you never see ortho-tricyclen strewn on the ground in parks).

Read more: Family

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Build a side-by-side bicycle for Valentine’s Day

Nothing says "I love you" like a bicycle that forces you and your partner to cooperate to the point of absurdity, so Instructables user Carlitos has posted specs for a bike modification that places two riders side by side. If you have access to a welder and a good source of junker bike parts, you can make this your weekend project and be done in time for V-Day.

Read more: Biking

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Representative thinks oil pipeline will help caribou get laid

Photo by Olivier Deveault.

Foolish enviros might think that oil pipelines are bad for wildlife, what with the habitat-destroying and whatnot. But Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas) is an expert on ungulate romance, and he knows the score: Oil pipelines are the caribou equivalent of a hotel room with a heart-shaped bed, a champagne glass-shaped hot tub, and a Charles Koch-shaped semen stain on the bedspread.

Read more: Animals, Politics

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Grand Canyon gives Coke the finger, bans bottled water

A water bottle filling station at the Grand Canyon. (Photo by Grand Canyon NPS.)

Once upon a time, there was going to be a ban on the sale of bottled water at the Grand Canyon, because apparently people can't be trusted to tell the difference between a majestic natural wonder and a public rubbish bin. Then the Coca-Cola company got them to reverse the ban, because apparently selling a hundred squillion dollars worth of product everywhere else in the world counts for balls if you can't have your brand on the litter at America's oldest tourist attraction. Now, apparently, Grand Canyon officials have gotten tired of all this chicanery and decided to bring the ban back for good. Boo-yah, Coke, screw you in your face-hole.

Read more: Living

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Squirrel is purple

A couple from Jersey Shore, Penn. (not that Jersey Shore), trapped a purple squirrel who was getting into their bird feeders. This is obviously awesome, but we felt you might have some questions.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT A PURPLE SQUIRREL:

Read more: Animals

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Santorum warns of ‘reign of environmental terror’

It's sometimes a little hard to tell what Rick Santorum is saying, but his latest approach to environmental conservation seems to be that liberals are a form of psychological terrorists, using guilt and science to distort the truth and frighten real Americans into sheeplike compliance. You think I'm exaggerating! But ... well, look, I'll just post some quotes, from a campaign event yesterday in Oklahoma City.

Read more: Election 2012

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Critical List: IG blesses State’s Keystone work; fair trade gasoline

The State Department's inspector general has delivered his report on the Keystone XL environmental review process, and concludes that TransCanada did not improperly influence the assessment. The gist of the report is that the review wasn’t corrupt, just incompetent.

Two nuclear new reactors have been approved, the first ones since 1978.

The Pennsylvania government could actually levy fees on hydrofracking projects.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Florida missed out on $41 million a year by turning down high-speed rail

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down $2 billion in federal money to build a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, one of his arguments was that it would be a burden on the state. But documents obtained by the Tampa Tribune indicate that independent consultants found the system would be turning a profit of $35 to $41 million a year by its 10th year of operation.