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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Map shows what a U.S. Fukushima could have looked like

With the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima reactor crisis approaching, the Natural Resources Defense Council has put together a mapping tool that lets you envision what could have happened if one of the 104 U.S. reactors had suffered a similar accident. The take-home message: If you live on the East Coast, you're practically guaranteed to be in some power plant's 50-mile contamination zone.

Read more: Nuclear

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Critical List: Solar storm to hit today; the U.S. is a net exporter of petroleum products

Solar storm a-comin'! Batten down the planet! Seriously, it's today and it's supposed to be the strongest in six years, which is confusing because the one two months ago was supposed to be the strongest in seven years and how does THAT work? Anyway, it could "disrupt power grids, satellites, oil pipelines, and high-accuracy GPS systems."

Barack Obama announced $1 billion in government support for alternative vehicles yesterday.

Here's the official James Hansen "I’m just a reticent midwestern scientist" TED talk (sponsored by Goldman Sachs?). He explains why he decided to get arrested in front of the White House.

The Senate is going to vote on approving Keystone XL and on delaying EPA air pollution regulations for industrial boilers.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Entire nation of Kiribati has to move to avoid rising seas

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is moving up in the world -- but not in the good way. The small country is looking to relocate to higher ground in order to escape rising seas brought on by climate change.

Some of Kiribati’s 32 coral atolls have already started to disappear beneath the waves. President Anote Tong and his countrymen fear that continued sea level rise will wipe their civilization out entirely unless they relocate to Fiji lickety-split. Tong is reportedly in discussions with Fiji’s military government to buy 5,000 acres of land on the country’s second largest island, Vanua Levu.

"This is the last resort, there's no way out of this one," Mr Tong said. "Our people will have to move as the tides have reached our homes and villages."

Depending on when Kiribati makes its big move, the country could be the world’s first modern climate-induced migration.

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New Melbourne restaurant runs on your pee

Melbourne’s Greenhouse restaurant wants your patronage. But more importantly, it wants your pee.

That’s right -- this pop-up restaurant, which is open from March 2 through the 21st in honor of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, wants you to get all up in its custom-made toilets. The green eatery is collecting human urine and using it to fertilize soybean and canola crops. The restaurant, which is designed by Joost Bakker who is clearly a maniac, then uses unrefined canola oil to generate electricity for all of its operations.

Urine may seem an unorthodox energy source, but it is actually a great source of fertilizer when diluted. According to Bakker, “Urine is incredible for nitrogen, it’s so valuable -- you only need the urine of 25 people to provide fertilizer for a hectare of crop.”

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Japanese zoo tries to make endangered alligators have sex

Photo by michael baltic.

There are only 150 or so Chinese alligators left in the wild, which means that if they had any sense of mortality, these critters would be breeding like crazy.

But apparently they don't have the "survival of the fittest" will to reproduce, or maybe they just have a headache. So one Japanese zoo tried to set the mood by beating taiko drums, "because of its similarity to the animals' natural pre-coital cry," reports Agence-France Presse.

Read more: Animals

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Meet the awesome dogs that are stamping out elephant poaching

The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Virunga National Park employs a lean, mean team of crime-fighters to take on evil elephant poachers. These elite commandoes are fearless trackers, work for practically nothing, have exceptional loyalty, and are a pack of adorable puppies.

Meet Carla, Stella, Lila, Dodi, Lily, and Sabrina. The bloodhounds -- or Congohounds, as they’re called in Virunga -- are currently being trained to protect the National Park’s animals from poachers. Rangers rely on the hounds’ especially keen sniffers to track and apprehend suspects -- bloodhounds can identify a single scent out of 5 million competing smells.

The goal of the program is to better protect Virunga’s critically endangered mountain gorillas and other wildlife from poachers, and in general, help enforce the rule of law, which is critical to re-establishing Virunga’s tourism trade. The program will also greatly improve the park’s ability to quickly find lost and critically injured rangers, many of whom have died needlessly while awaiting help.

Read more: Animals

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Limbaugh mocks food justice writer for being an educated single woman

Well, I have a new career goal: Get publicly mocked by Rush Limbaugh for winning too many awards. Food justice writer and occasional Grist contributor Tracie McMillan achieved that honor yesterday, and I'm sure she's feeling duly chastened for having the temerity to write successful books while being a lady and unmarried and in various other ways not Rush Limbaugh. (Rush fans: "Temerity" is "balls.")

Read more: Food, Politics

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Clean air ad featuring asthmatic kids is dangerously adorable

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did a really good job at tugging every heartstring available in this new ad:

Seriously, how much do you want to cry now? Maybe they really should send asthmatic kids into Congress as lobbyists.

NRDC and Sierra Club are doing the closest thing possible without running afoul of child labor laws -- they’re running the ad in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and D.C. So when a legislator comes home from a hard day on the Hill and settles in to watch Two and Half Men -- bam! -- now he's crying because he didn't go into politics to give kids asthma.

Read more: Clean Air

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Critical List: Too many tornadoes; scientists help plant seeds reach Antarctica

Super Tuesday results: The rich guy who would be terrible for the environment won primaries in six states, the scary evangelist who would be terrible for the environment won three, and the sad nerd who should know better but would probably be terrible for the environment just to fit in won one.

March has already blown through its typical allotment of tornadoes.

Certain industrial chemicals give rise to ADHD.

Flame retardants, which are in tons of kids' products, are also linked with learning disorders. Basically, the only way to keep a kid safe from chemicals is to wrap her up in organically grown moss and send her into the woods to be raised by wolves.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Meet the skyscrapers of the future: Band-Aids, balloon forests, and underwater spheres

Image by Zhi Zheng, Hongchuan Zhao and Dongbai Song.

This theoretical skyscraper, the winner of eVolo's annual skyscraper design competition, would collect, purify, and store water in the Himalayas, helping to conserve and regulate it. It looks like a half pack of cigarettes in fancy holders, but it's not even the weirdest-looking skyscraper, not by a long shot. Below are some of the strange shapes that might crop up in the skyline of our more sustainable future.

Read more: Cities, Smart Cities