Grist List

Critical List: Prius is world’s third most popular car; irradiated tuna hit the U.S.

Gas should only get cheaper as the summer begins. The Toyota Prius is now the world’s third best-selling car. Bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California have Fukushima radiation in them. (Not much though.) One expert says that those massive dolphin die-offs in Peru were caused by sonar from oil exploration. Where there’s fracking, there’s companies who clean up fracking wastewater. Job creation!

Cities

You can identify poor neighborhoods from space

Tim De Chant at Per Square Mile has noted that rich urban areas have way, way more trees than poor areas in the same city. In fact, the difference is so stark that income inequality can be seen from space. The satellite images above are low-income West Oakland and high-income Piedmont, and I probably don’t have to tell you which is which.

Food

Fast-food burgers have tripled in size since the 1950s

According to this chart from the CDC, fast-food burgers have more than tripled in size since the 1950s, going from four ounces (i.e. a quarter pound) to a whopping 12. And if you think that’s bad, the average soda is six times as big as it used to be.

Animals

Help name this ridiculous baby seal

When this seal pup arrived at the New England Aquarium, he was orphaned, underweight, and blind in one eye, and his unusual mottled coat wasn’t thick enough to keep him warm. Now he’s getting healthy and adorable (you can see him playing with a toy and kicking himself in the head like an itchy dog in the video below). But he still doesn’t have a name to go with his goofy little face, and the aquarium is soliciting suggestions.

Food

Play with your food by tattooing a banana

How do you make fruits and vegetables fun, instead of just good for you and better for the planet than meat? Well, probably not by doing elaborate tattoo designs on a banana. But it’s easy, so why not?

Biking

Cape Cod woman finds bike she lost 40 years ago

Forty years ago, in 1970, little Lisa Brown was riding her totally rad banana-seat bike through the woods of Cape Cod. She approached the Herring River, but the only way to cross it was a rickety plank board bridge. When Brown started out on the bridge it was two feet wide, but halfway across it narrowed to 12 inches, and she had to turn just a little bit to stay on track. In a split second, she was in the river. “I went in with the bike, I floated to the surface, I kicked away from the bike, and I …

Critical List: Record carbon dioxide emissions in 2011; eating dirt is normal

2011 saw a record high in carbon dioxide emissions, with China’s contribution growing the most. Climate change is a boon for one species, at least: The brown argus butterfly, previously rare, has been staking out more turf for itself as the areas north of its range become warmer and more hospitable. With the chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on his way out, the president nominated Allison Macfarlane to take his place. Negotiations for the Rio+20 summit are “painfully slow,” says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Climate Skeptics

Sorry guys, no more Heartland Institute conferences

Denialist think tank the Heartland Institute likes to have all its besties over once a year to watch movies, braid each other’s hair, and talk about how they don’t believe in science or, when it comes down to it, really know what it is. Well, I have bad news for journalists looking for telling quotes, and for people like Lord Monckton who don’t get invited to any other parties: This year’s shindig was the last one for the foreseeable future.

Farm Bill

Cartoon explains what’s wrong with our food system in under four minutes

Here's a quick, simple primer on the relationship between corporate interests, farmers, and consumers.

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