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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

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Study: Woolly mammoths are extinct and it’s YOUR FAULT

Photo by Urville Djasim.

There's been some dispute in scientific circles about whether the woolly mammoths died out because of natural variations in climate, or because of the malign influence of roving bands of humans. Turns out it's a little from column A, a little from column B -- meaning that if we actually do manage to clone a mammoth, it'll probably kick off instantly due to a combination of humans, climate change, and human-caused climate change.

Read more: Animals

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California’s closed state parks to be overrun by pot growers, people willing to pee in the woods

In just a few months, California will close dozens of state parks. But what does that actually mean? KQED, a rad West Coast public radio station, has a series looking deeper into the issue, and from what we can tell, closing state parks means nature's on the loose with NO ADULT SUPERVISION.

Now, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. The parks will still be open to the public. But the services will be gone. So if you want to pee at a closed state park, you will have to pee in the woods. The trails won't be maintained, so you'll have to climb over fallen trees and maybe plan a little bit and bring a compass so you don't get lost. The parks will be less user-friendly. But for some bushwhacking folks, more hardcore than your average park-goer, that's a good thing.

Read more: Living

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This lamp absorbs 150 times more CO2 than a tree

It's still in the "so crazy it just might work" stage, but these microalgae-powered lamps, invented by French biochemist Pierre Calleja, could absorb a ton of carbon from the air every year. That's as much as 150 to 200 trees.

Read more: Cleantech, Living

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Campbell’s to ditch BPA from soup cans

Photo by Antonio.

Attention, shoppers: Campbell’s (FINALLY) announced plans to eliminate hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A from the linings of its soup cans. And it only took consumer outrage, countless nonprofit petitions, concern from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and hundreds of independent studies linking BPA to a hodge-podge of horrifying health maladies!

Campbell's Soup Co. spokesman Anthony Sanzio said Monday the company has been working on alternatives for five years and will make the transition as soon as "feasible alternatives are available."

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GM customers are pissed about company’s Heartland connection

One of the damning Heartland Foundation documents from a few weeks ago revealed the name of the climate-denial think tank’s major donors. One of them: A foundation connected to General Motors. Oops. Heartland's not exactly the sort of friend that a company like GM wants to be seen with in public, especially since it's trying to promote its green-minded Chevy Volt.

Now, at least 10,000 of its customers are letting it be known that they don’t appreciate GM hopping in bed with Heartland, and they’re perfectly willing to become ex-customers if it continues. Another 10,000 people who don’t own GM-made cars have joined in, saying that the company will never get their money at this rate. 

Read more: Climate Skeptics