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Grist List: Look what we found.


Capsized cruise ship could ruin pristine marine park

The reef-stricken cruise ship Costa Concordia managed to crash itself in one of the most pristine marine areas in the Mediterranean. Of course. And as the ship lists dangerously, threatening to fall further into the ocean and spill tons of oil, endangered species and other marine life are at risk.

The ship has 2,400 tons of oil on board; the BBC reports that it includes both light diesel oil and "clumpy and clingy" heavy fuel oil that's trickier to clean up.

The ship crashed off the island of Giglio, part of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park, which includes famous island like Elba and Montecristo. The area's kept so clean that visitors to Montecristo aren't even allowed to swim or fish near the island’s coast. Dolphins hang out here, as do fish (and fishermen who make their livelihood off Italy’s seafood). Endangered Mediterranean monk seals have also been spotted in this area.

Read more: Animals, Oil, Pollution


Watch an orphaned baby bat learn to fly

I am not ashamed to admit that I wept openly at this. The tiny batling! The completely unfair emotionally manipulative soundtrack! The fact that I haven't had my coffee yet!

Read more: Animals


Critical List: EU bans Iranian oil; snowy owls descend from Arctic

The European Union won't be importing any more oil from Iran.

President Obama's going to lay out an energy agenda on Tuesday at the State of the Union.

Thousands of snowy owls are descending from the Arctic to fly over places like Kansas and Missouri (and to deliver messages from Arctic Circle-based wizards, of course).

Rebecca Wodder, who was CEO of American Rivers, won't be Interior's assistant secretary for fish, wildlife, and parks.

Beijing discovers that when your city's weather report includes astronomically high air pollution levels, it's not a great idea to then set off a ton of fireworks.


Bike-a-Bee does beekeeping by bike

Jana Kinsman's startup Bike-a-Bee will be a distributed network of beehives in the Chicago area -- Kinsman will hook up local urban farms and gardens with bees, which will help pollinate the plants while also producing honey. (Greenspaces that host a beehive get a share of the honey profits.) Meanwhile, Kinsman will care for the bees by riding from hive to hive on her bike. Urban gardens, beekeeping, biking ... who says Chicago isn't basically Portland?



Obama sings his support for Green causes

We guessed from his first campaign ad that President Obama was going to be vocal about clean energy this election, but we didn't realize he was going to go full-on Green:

Read more: Election 2012


It’s Penguin Awareness Day! Please be aware of these penguins

So apparently today is Penguin Awareness Day? I'd be inclined to think that any species that's been the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary AND an Oscar-winning animated feature film wouldn't really need an Awareness Day, but whatever, it's not like anybody's asking you to post some crazy crap about your bra color on Facebook. All you have to do is look at these pictures of penguins.

Read more: Animals


Newt Gingrich thinks riding the subway is for fancy people

Not that this is the most ridiculous Gingrich news in the last few days or anything, but it's pretty amusing: Evidently "metro-riding" is the Gingrich equivalent of "arugula-eating."

“Those who, you know, live in high-rise apartment buildings writing for fancy newspapers in the middle of town after they ride the metro, who don’t understand that for most Americans the ability to buy a home, to have their own property, to have a sense of belonging is one of the greatest achievements of their life, and it makes them feel like they are good solid citizens,” he told the crowd.


‘Antibiotic-free’ pork has the same rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

We really do try to Pollan it up and do the whole “eat food, not too much, mostly plants" bit. But “mostly plants” obviously means “sometimes bacon.” And maybe the farmers' market wasn't open, so we bought that bacon at the store. Oh, but it was good bacon! "Raised without antibiotics" bacon! That's something, right?

Nope, not really, according to a new study from a group of University of Iowa scientists. This group tested 395 samples of pork from 36 stores in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Of those, 6.6 percent had creepy, drug-resistant staph bacteria (shorthand: MRSA) on them. And there was no difference, statistically, between the normal pork products and the ones raised with alternative, antibiotic-free methods.


A Farmville-style game that helps save wetlands

Are people still playing Farmville? I hid all that crap from my Facebook feed so I don't know, but man, some people were crazy about that game. So crazy that a Farmville parody actually became a cultish obsession in its own right. So crazy that you might look at the population of Farmville players and think "man, if only we could harness that power for good!" Which is probably what students at the University of Washington Bothell's Center for Serious Play were thinking when they developed a Farmvillesque wetlands protection game that actually helps real-life wetlands.


Critical List: Vermont can’t shutter nuke plant; microbes turn seaweed into biofuel

The EPA will test water in Dimock, PA, and is delivering drinking water to four homes there.

Silly Vermont. You wanted to shut down a nuclear plant? Only the federal government can regulate nuclear power!

For biofuels, seaweed could be the new corn.