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Grist List: Look what we found.


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World’s most environmentally outspoken president forced to resign at gunpoint

Tuesday, we told you that Mohamed Nasheed, president of the climate change-threatened Maldives, stepped down from his office. Wednesday, it became clearer that he was forced to step down -- at gunpoint. Tuesday, his aides said that Nasheed was being held against his will and his party, the Maldivian Democratic Party, called the move to oust him a "coup d'etat."

On Wednesday, Nasheed was able to meet with supporters and, according to the BBC, told reporters: "I was forced to resign at gunpoint. There were guns all around me and they told me they wouldn't hesitate to use them if I didn't resign."

Read more: Politics

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Help name this baby polar bear

The Toronto Zoo is having a contest to name its new baby polar bear. Here are my entries, based on my initial responses to seeing the above photo (from the zoo's Facebook page):

Read more: Animals

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The oldest living thing on Earth is 6,000 tons of grass

Photo by M. San Félix

Meet Posidonia oceanic, a type of Mediterranean seagrass that is also the longest-lived thing on Earth. What's its secret? The usual -- clean living, plenty of exercise, asexual reproduction, being 6,000 tons of grass, and not getting flattened by climate change ... YET.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Critical List: GM seed plantings expand; restaurants for vultures

Last night’s caucus put GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum back in the game, so we could be hearing a lot more about how global warming is a “hoax.”

The total area planted with GM seed around the world rose 8 percent last year, according to the biotech industry; a food and water NGO is disputing the figure.

The House Energy and Commerce committee moved forward a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Vendors at Grand Canyon National Park won't be selling disposable water bottles.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Why buildings haven’t gotten more efficient in 20 years

Photo by Trey Campbell.

Everything single part of a building, from the windows the the air conditioning and heating system, has become significantly more energy efficient over the past 20 years. And yet buildings, as a whole, are using more or less the same amount of energy they always have. What gives?

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Australia contemplates rewilding with elephants, rhinos

Giant African Gamba grass, introduced in the 1930s, has taken over the Australian outback, crowding out native plants and seriously increasing the risk of massive bush fires. David Bowman of the University of Tasmania thinks the most viable way to get rid of it is to introduce things that eat it in Africa, like elephants.

"I'm talking about using elephants as a machine or ecological tool to manage this grass," he said in an interview for the Guardian, acknowledging that his proposal is radical and has major risks associated with it.

Read more: Animals

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Animated guide to building a Keystone XL

Who knew the Keystone XL pipeline was this simple? Turns out it's just a long concrete tube buried three to four feet under ground, rambling on for mile after mile, narrated by a guy with an adenoid problem. All this fuss over whether or not it will be built, and it's barely more complicated than a sewage outflow.

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Why do we suck at building subways?

At Salon, Will Doig asks why American public transit projects have decades-long time lines, while in China, new transit projects open in a heartbeat. And as Matt Yglesias points out, American transit projects are also more expensive than comparable build-outs in other big, rich cities, like London.

So what's our problem?

Read more: Transportation

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You can make fuel cells out of cockroaches

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have figured out how to make cockroaches into creepy-crawly batteries. Finally, living in filth can pay off by lowering your electrical bill!

Read more: Biofuel

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The world’s most environmentally outspoken president steps down

Mohamed Nasheed, the Maldives leader whom Foreign Policy called "the world's most environmentally outspoken president," stepped down from his office on Tuesday.

In international circles, Nasheed attracted attention for his climate campaigning. The Maldives are a low-lying chain of islands in the Indian Ocean, and climate-driven sea level rise could consume them. In 2009, Nasheed promised his country would be carbon-neutral within a decade. He held a cabinet meeting underwater as a publicity stunt calling attention to the danger of climate change. He also looked into a plan to relocate Maldives citizens to less threatened islands, although he faced some public opposition, as he told Foreign Policy in 2010. After a woman bit and kicked him at the suggestion of moving to a neighboring island, he was forced to conclude that "Maldivians do not want to leave their homeland."

Read more: Politics