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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Scientists drill into ancient buried lake

Russian scientists have confirmed that they successfully drilled into Lake Vostok, a subglacial lake that has spent the last several million years isolated from Earth's surface by a thick slab of ice. And I mean THICK -- drilling down to the lake has taken 20 years of work. But the team has finally hit water, and the water could contain clues to (among other things) the mechanics of climate change.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Rick Santorum is literally the worst

Santorum swamped Romney (sorry) at two caucuses and a nonbinding primary yesterday, suggesting that his candidacy is a less funny joke than previously thought. Well whatever, they've clearly been playing King of the Mountain all campaign season, knocking each other off the top of the dung heap -- at this point, do we care which of the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-health care climate deniers gets the nod? Yeah, because when it comes to climate change (and everything else), Santorum doubles down on the wild-eyed conspiracy theories.

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In France, cyclists can run red lights legally

Sometimes France is so fricking enlightened it hurts. Lawmakers recently decided to allow "cyclists in some cities to disregard red lights at certain intersections," Treehugger writes. Paris will be testing the idea at 15 intersections, and Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Nantes have been running the same experiment for a while. If the pilot goes well, 1,700 Parisian intersections could operate according to these new rules.

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Watch President Obama shoot a marshmallow cannon

Sometimes, even when there's a Democratic president, I worry about science policy -- whether there will be sufficient funding for research and education, whether the administration is soliciting and heeding feedback from scientists on subjects like climate, that sort of thing. And then I see the genuine delight on President Obama's face as he helps a tiny brainiac shoot a marshmallow cannon, and I worry a little less.

Read more: Politics

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World’s most environmentally outspoken president forced to resign at gunpoint

Tuesday, we told you that Mohamed Nasheed, president of the climate change-threatened Maldives, stepped down from his office. Wednesday, it became clearer that he was forced to step down -- at gunpoint. Tuesday, his aides said that Nasheed was being held against his will and his party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, called the move to oust him a "coup d'etat."

On Wednesday, Nasheed was able to meet with supporters and, according to the BBC, told reporters: "I was forced to resign at gunpoint. There were guns all around me and they told me they wouldn't hesitate to use them if I didn't resign."

Read more: Politics

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Help name this baby polar bear

The Toronto Zoo is having a contest to name its new baby polar bear. Here are my entries, based on my initial responses to seeing the above photo (from the zoo's Facebook page):

Read more: Animals

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The oldest living thing on Earth is 6,000 tons of grass

Photo by M. San Félix

Meet Posidonia oceanic, a type of Mediterranean seagrass that is also the longest-lived thing on Earth. What's its secret? The usual -- clean living, plenty of exercise, asexual reproduction, being 6,000 tons of grass, and not getting flattened by climate change ... YET.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Critical List: GM seed plantings expand; restaurants for vultures

Last night’s caucus put GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum back in the game, so we could be hearing a lot more about how global warming is a “hoax.”

The total area planted with GM seed around the world rose 8 percent last year, according to the biotech industry; a food and water NGO is disputing the figure.

The House Energy and Commerce committee moved forward a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Vendors at Grand Canyon National Park won't be selling disposable water bottles.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Why buildings haven’t gotten more efficient in 20 years

Photo by Trey Campbell.

Everything single part of a building, from the windows the the air conditioning and heating system, has become significantly more energy efficient over the past 20 years. And yet buildings, as a whole, are using more or less the same amount of energy they always have. What gives?

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Australia contemplates rewilding with elephants, rhinos

Giant African Gamba grass, introduced in the 1930s, has taken over the Australian outback, crowding out native plants and seriously increasing the risk of massive bush fires. David Bowman of the University of Tasmania thinks the most viable way to get rid of it is to introduce things that eat it in Africa, like elephants.

"I'm talking about using elephants as a machine or ecological tool to manage this grass," he said in an interview for the Guardian, acknowledging that his proposal is radical and has major risks associated with it.

Read more: Animals