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Grist List: Look what we found.


Why we should all be drinking toilet water

If you live downstream from another city, you're probably already drinking treated wastewater, reports National Geographic. And engineers want you to drink even more of it -- not because they're sadistic, but because it's perfectly safe, and water is increasingly scarce.

Read more: Pollution



This guy doesn’t get off his bike for ANYTHING

Listen, anyone can commute on a bike. Only filmmaker Guillaume Blanchet also sleeps, showers, cooks, eats, shops, and dates without getting off his favorite two-wheeled conveyance.

Read more: Biking


Man arrested for stealing glaciers

The Jorge Montt Glacier, in the Patagonia region of Chile, is receding faster than any other glacier in the country. This is probably largely because of climate change, but also maybe a little bit because some dude's been stealing it piecemeal

Read more: Climate & Energy


Compost gets you high

"I'm holding a bowl of dirt up to my nose, in hopes of getting high on the fumes of my backyard compost pile."

That's Pagan Kennedy's lede for an Atlantic story on the mind-bending properties of M. vaccae, a compost-dwelling bacteria. We couldn't really improve on it. But we can condense the dirty details of how to "huff the soil," as she puts it.

The Science: M. vaccae increases serotonin and other happiness-making chemicals — it works like an anti-depressant.

Read more: Living


Critical List: Groundhog says six more winter weeks; zoos need more elephants

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. But that dude has since his shadow more than 100 times; he's only not seen it 16 times. Honestly, getting your weather forecast from a giant rodent is like getting your climate science from a weather forecaster.

Locusts thrive on overgrazed lands.

Accredited zoos will need to have three elephants, if they have any elephants at all.

Spain probably shouldn't have killed its subsidies for renewable energy.

Read more: Uncategorized


Newly discovered fungus eats plastic

A group of Yale students, poking around in the jungles of Ecuador, has unearthed a type of fungus that digests otherwise-unkillable plastics

Read more: Cleantech


‘Gasland’ director arrested for filming in Congress

Image from the office of Rep. Paul Tonko, via Politico

This is probably not the way for the U.S. to regain our recent huge losses on the Press Freedom Index. Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated (and Emmy-winning) documentary Gasland, was arrested this morning for trying to film a committee meeting about fracking.

Read more: Politics


Inside New York City’s defunct quarantine hospital

Photographer Ian Ference had to get special dispensation from the New York City parks department to visit North Brother Island, the site of a forced-quarantine hospital that closed down 50 years ago. The island, right off the coast of the Bronx, used to house people suffering from contagious diseases like tuberculosis and smallpox -- including the notorious Typhoid Mary, who was confined to the island's Riverside Hospital for more than 20 years. (There was also a small leper colony, at least until the leprosy sufferers all walked away and the Board of Health decided their disease wasn't contagious enough to let them come back.) 

Read more: Cities


Chicken farm crates are basically never cleaned

If a bite of food falls on the ground, often we pick it up and eat it. Five second rule, right? But if it falls in something gross or we haven't cleaned the floor in awhile, we don't eat it. Because that's gross. Especially if your floor is covered in chicken shit.

It's unclear, then, why we are okay with eating chickens that have been transported in crates that are never, ever cleaned. Never. By 80 percent of poultry growers, at least. Which means that there's a 4 in 5 chance that your chicken dinner was rolling around in something far nastier than a little floor dust.

Read more: Factory Farms


Julianne Moore wants clean air for kids

Did you guys know Julianne Moore wrote a children's book? This is apparently the thing celebrities do when they're over 25 (under 25, they start a perfume line). It's about the heartbreak of being a ginger, and not about environmental stuff at all, but that isn't stopping Moore from plugging it in her video for the Moms Clean Air Force. (It's a little labored -- something about polluters being bullies.)

Read more: Clean Air