Grist List

Climate Change

G8 summit might have actually done something about climate change

There’s a bit of news from the G8 summit that might have escaped notice: International leaders agreed to take collective action to decrease greenhouse-gas emissions. And pigs do fly. The agreement (which, unlike flying pigs, is real — we promise) could be “the biggest step in years in tackling climate change,” as The Telegraph’s Geoffrey Lean says. The catch is that it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Instead, it focuses on “short-lived climate pollutants” — all those other pesky carbon-based greenhouse gases, like methane, soot, and ozone.

Biking

Inflatable bike helmet is like an airbag for your head

Like other stuff that is good for your health (not smoking, sobriety, living slow, and dying old), bike helmets are uncool. But you can’t really enjoy your coolness with a giant crack in your skull. How do you protect your noggin without sacrificing your mojo? Swedish company Hovding has the answer: airbag bike helmets. Unless it’s called upon to perform, this helmet stays safely stowed in a futuristic-looking black collar that you can pretend is a scarf. (Hovding also offers printed shells that go around the collar, to make it even more chic.) But if you get hit, presto, it …

Critical List: NRC head Jaczko resigns; Iranian oil exports slow

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Gregory Jaczko put in his resignation. Not because word got out that he’s a bully! Just because, you know, he had “a feeling now was the right time.” Iran’s oil exports are already slowing as the European Union’s embargo deadline nears. The Humane Society went inside a pig farm and found all sorts of abuse.

Media

The coolest photo from Sunday’s eclipse

Aw shit, it’s Loki.

Climate Skeptics

Peter Gleick did not forge Heartland documents

Before the Heartland Institute decided to alienate even right-wing denialists with their OTT billboard campaign, they were already in kind of hot water — some of their internal documents had come to light, and the light was not flattering. Climate scientist Peter Gleick admitted to obtaining the documents under false pretenses, which absolutely scandalized Heartland, whose policy on document-stealing is “it’s only fine when we or our friends do it.” Since then, Heartland’s defense has rested mainly on this chain of logic: Gleick is a terrible person who should  never have stolen those secret documents that were OUR PERSONAL PROPERTY …

Organic Food

Does organic food make you a jerk?

New research says organic food makes you rude and selfish. We investigate this "provocative" study.

Climate Skeptics

Heartland Institute going broke due to dickish billboard campaign

After a year fraught with hardship, the climate-denialist Heartland Institute is being rapidly abandoned by its friends and supporters, doomed to wind up friendless and alone, wandering the streets clad only in rags, hawking matches to indifferent passers-by. It would be straight-up Dickensian if they weren’t such jerks. But most of this ill will is coming from the organization’s over-the-line billboard campaign comparing climate scientists and other global warming believers to legendary mass murderers.

Living

Tree poachers steal 800-year-old red cedar

A decade ago, British Columbia had 40 full-time park rangers who monitored 1,000 parks. Today, it only has 10. And they don’t often make it out to faraway parks like the Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, which is on the southern end of Vancouver Island. With no one around regularly, it must have been easy for poachers to come into the park and hack away at an 800-year-old red cedar tree. Well, “easy” is relative, because we’re talking about a lot of sawing — this granddaddy cedar was so old, its stump measures almost 10 feet in diameter. But there was so …

Climate & Energy

Wisconsin hospital is powered by beer and cheese

Gundersen Lutheran Hospital, in La Crosse, Wis., aims to be energy independent by 2014. Hospitals use a ton of energy, so that’s a tough goal to meet. But Gundersen is getting there by piggybacking on Wisconsin’s best-known industries: beer and cheese. Beer and cheese, while delicious, both slough off a lot of gas while they’re being made. (Not to mention after they’re consumed.) The hospital system has been sourcing biogas from a local brewery and from a dairy farm that makes mascarpone and fresh mozzarella cheese. And recently the system started getting gas from a La Crosse landfill, as well.

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