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Grist List: Look what we found.


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New frog species found in Staten Island

Photo by Brian Curry, Rutgers University.

Most folks assume Staten Island holds little more than Italian restaurants, mob wives, and a huge landfill. But another resident has just been discovered on New York City’s most disrespected borough: a new species of frog!

Scientists recently discovered a new species of leopard frog on Staten Island. The hopper went unnoticed for so long because it looks more or less exactly like another type of leopard frog -- it just sounds different. And, ya know, because the science community is more used to finding undiscovered wildlife in remote, pristine places, rather than urban metropolises. (The center of this new frog’s range? Yankee Stadium.)

Read more: Animals, Cities

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Scotts Miracle-Gro pleads guilty to selling poisoned bird seed

Photo by Kris.

Scotts Miracle-Gro products are known for zapping weeds dead. But it turns out they could be killing decidedly more attractive creatures -- birds.

Scotts pled guilty this Tuesday to charges that the company illegally put insecticides in its “Morning Song” and “Country Pride” brands of bird seed. That’s right: The company knowingly coated products intended for birds to eat with substances toxic to birds and wildlife.

According to court records, in 2008, Scotts distributed 73 million packages of bird seed coated with the insecticides Storcide II, containing the active ingredient chlorpyrifos, and and Actellic 5E, containing the active ingredient pirimiphos-methyl, intended to keep insects from destroying the seed.

The company continued to produce and market the insecticide-coated seeds despite being alerted to toxicity dangers by a Scotts staff chemist and ornithologist.

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Baby boomers are kicking your butt on caring about the environment

Guys, we have to step up our game, or we're going to be smoked by our own parents. According to a new study from San Diego State University, baby boomers in their youth were more committed to social and environmental engagement than Gen-Xers or Millennials.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Gecko-inspired adhesive lets your TV cling to the wall like a lizard

With its Tom Cruise-like talent for scattering straight up walls, the gecko has become one of biomimicry's favored muses. Studying its feet, scientists have come up with a variety of gecko-inspired tapes, but now a team at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst has developed a stronger adhesive patch they're calling "Geckskin.”

A piece of the stuff about the size of an index card can hold up to 700 pounds of weight on a smooth wall. That's a 42-inch flatscreen TV or a mirror or that Dutch masterpiece you picked up on your last European vacation. And if you get the placement wrong, no problem -- you can peel this stuff off the wall and smack it back on without leaving a trace, supposedly.

Read more: Green Home

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Critical List: Gas prices could drop; Poland blocks E.U. carbon reforms

Gas prices could be heading down.

Poland, which depends on coal-fired power, keeps vetoing European Union plans to crack down on carbon emissions.

Climate scientists predicted the spread of mountain pine beetles, which due to warming temperatures are decimating tree populations in the American West.

Andrew Steer, who was working at the World Bank as special envoy for climate change, is the new president of the World Resources Institute.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Temporary tattoos for bike lovers

Design by Mike Lowery.

Are you a little more badass than your typical bike commuter, but maybe a little less than your typical bike courier? Then temporary tattoos are perfect for you, and conveniently, temp-ink emporium Tattly has just launched three new bike designs.

Read more: Biking, Living

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Ontario sets up salamander superhighway

Photo by Todd W. Pierson.

The city of Burlington in Ontario has a dwindling population of Jefferson salamanders (colloquially known as "Jeffies"). There are only about 100 left in the area, and Burlington is one of the only places in the province where the Jeffies have to cross a major road to breed. So the city decided to shut down the road for three weeks so the little guys can safely make their way across.

Read more: Animals

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Watch Stephen Colbert yell at a plant

Stephen Colbert understands the Republican candidates' aversion to big words, logic, facts, and critical thinking. That's why he wants to applaud how good they are at being as dumb as possible as fast as possible without stopping for any reason. Here, he highlights some notable moments where the candidates simplify climate and energy policy issues to the point of ridiculousness. Basically, he's performing a reductio ad absurdum on their reductios ad absurdum, which isn't an easy trick.

Read more: Election 2012

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Your best new argument against tar-sands mining: George W. Bush supports it

There are a lot of good arguments for opposing oil-sands development and the Keystone XL pipeline. But just today two more very excellent ones emerged. One involves science. The other involves George W. Bush.

If you want to get smart about this stuff, you can cite these facts, as reported by ClimateWire:

Scientists from the University of Alberta found that 10 operational oil sands mining projects would destroy enough peatlands to release 11.4 million to 47.3 million metric tons of stored carbon into the atmosphere. That release is the equivalent of seven years' worth of emissions from the oil sands mining region.

Read more: Oil

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Surrogate-mom housecat gives birth to endangered kitten

This kitten, born in 2011, is an endangered black-footed cat, one of the first black-footed kittens born to a surrogate mother, using frozen embryos and in vitro fertilization. Now he and his littermate have a sister, Crystal, with the same genetic parents, but a different surrogate mom -- a plain old housecat.

The African black-footed cat is one of the world's smallest felines, and the cats are tiny but fierce hunters -- they can kill hares that outweigh them. They can also range far from water, finding hydration from their prey and dew they lick off of grass. But none of this general feline badassery has kept the species from becoming severely endangered -- there are only 40 in captivity worldwide.

Read more: Animals