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Grist List: Look what we found.


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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.

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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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video

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

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Man braves radiation exposure to care for Fukushima’s abandoned animals

Naoto Matsumura's Facebook page.

Meet the modern-day, post-apocalyptic Dr. Doolittle. Naoto Matsumura lives right inside the Fukushima evacuation zone in the town of Tomioka, just 10 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The reason he’s stayed in the poisoned region post-nuclear meltdown is so that he can take care of all the abandoned cows, pigs, dogs, and cats.

By all accounts, Tomioka is the apocalypse now: deserted, layered in radioactive dust, buried debris. But the devastation is most evident in Matsumura’s gruesome descriptions of what he’s encountered since -- and what he continues to discover. Dogs and cats left to die slowly and agonizingly of starvation. Caged birds with withered feathers. An emaciated cow and her calf, crying weakly in a corner of a barn.

Read more: Animals, Living, Nuclear

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Florida Republican thinks we should sell off national parks

Legislators are always looking for ways to pull America out of its bajillion-dollar deficit. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) came up with his own master plan that is totally not crazy at all -- sell off America’s national parks one by one.

At a February town hall meeting, Stearns (who, BTW, is also a birther and a major figure in the attacks on Solyndra) spouted off about how America doesn’t need any new national parks -- and, in fact, we’ve got too many and should be hawking the ones we do have. He said:

I got attacked in a previous town meeting for not supporting another national park in this country, a 200-mile trailway. And I told the man that we don’t need more national parks in this country, we need to actually sell off some of our national parks, and try and do what a normal family would do is — they wouldn’t ask Uncle Joe for a loan, they would sell their Cadillac, or they would take their kids out of private schools and put them into public schools to save to money instead of asking for their credit card to increase their debt ceiling.

Read more: Politics

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Critical List: Oil sands carbon footprint revised upwards; new frog discovered in NYC

Oil sands have an even higher carbon footprint than previously thought: No one was counting carbon released when the drilling operations destroy peatlands.

In 2011, solar installers put in twice as many solar panels as they did in 2010.

The transportation bill now includes a natural gas amendment that fulfills energy magnate T. Boone Pickens' wildest dreams.

New York does have nature! It just takes a few scientists from Jersey to find it. A Rutgers doctoral candidate identified a new species of leopard frog that lives in and around New York City. He first heard its croak on a jaunt to Staten Island.

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Trans fats linked to acting like a jerk

Photo by Shalaco.

When New York City banned trans fats from local restaurants in 2006, it was trying to make its citizens healthier. Trans fatty acids -- which, you'll recall, are a type of unsaturated fat almost exclusively found in processed food -- have a number of proven health effects, including raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol simultaneously. But, unbeknownst to municipal government, the ban may have also helped crime rates (and taken the edge off New Yorkers' legendary surliness). According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, trans fats are connected with aggressive behavior.

Read more: Food