Grist List

Cities

City-dwellers’ allergies are so bad because they don’t have enough bacteria

This allergy season has been terrible. It seems like everyone I know has been running around with leaky eyes, even those of us who aren’t typically pollen-sensitive. Granted, there was an unusual amount of tree sperm in the air this year, but it seemed strange that everybody — really, everybody! — was afflicted. But a new study by Finnish researchers explains everything: The reason we’re all so sick is that we live in the city. According to this study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and based on research done in Finland, people who live in cities …

Climate Change

Dinosaur farts caused early global warming

More than a quarter of the world’s human-related methane emissions come from livestock burps and farts, which is bad enough — but imagine what the climate would look like if cows weighed 25 tons. Back in dinosaur days, we had some seriously outsize herbivores roaming the planet, making some seriously outsize butt music. A team of British researchers has now calculated how much gas those giant asses would have passed, and concluded that dinosaur emissions contributed significantly to Mesozoic global warming.

Critical List: Peru’s mysterious animal deaths; wolf puppies

Pelicans and dolphins are dying in droves in Peru — 1,200 birds and 800 dolphins have washed up dead on the coast — and the government is warning people away from the beaches until it figures out why. Dinosaurs might have passed enough gas (i.e. methane) to match current levels of greenhouse-gas emissions. The Crawford family of Texas held out against TransCanada reps who want to route Keystone XL through their land, and now the company’s trying to force them to give that land up.

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