Grist List

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.

Climate Skeptics

Heartland Institute’s BS ad campaign is causing it all kinds of problems

OK, I’m working on a joke, tell me if you think this works: How is the Heartland Institute like a professional burlesque dancer? It just can’t stop showing its ass! Eh? Eh? All right, maybe not, but the point is it’s been a hard year for poor Heartland, which just can’t seem to not look like a bunch of reprehensible dirtbags in public, probably on account of being a bunch of reprehensible dirtbags. First there was the embarrassing disclosure of the group’s secret memos, which lost it a lot of support despite hypocritical victim posturing. Then everyone took umbrage at …

Animals

Weird, adorable animal spotted for the first time in over a decade

The tiger quoll is an adorable, carnivorous marsupial, sort of like an extra-cute Tasmanian devil with spots. Like most of the other weird marsupials, they’re only found in Australia, and they’ve been increasingly hard to find in the wild. In the Otway Ranges in southwestern Victoria, there hadn’t been a confirmed quoll sighting in more than 10 years — until last month, when a local homeowner saw one poop outside his laundry room.

Cities

Awesome cityscapes made from discarded textbooks

What do you do with unwanted textbooks? Chinese artist Liu Wei makes spectacular carved-book cityscapes.

Animals

86-year-old man turns island into tortoise sanctuary

Back in 1962, Brendon Grimshaw bought Moyenne Island, in the Seychelles, for £8,000 (which at the time would have been about $22,000). He started living there in 1972, and since that time he’s been the island’s only permanent resident — aside from the 120 giant tortoises for whom Grimshaw’s island is a sanctuary. The video above features an obnoxious dipwad getting fake-overexcited about everything (“oh my god, there’s a TORTOISE on your PORCH!!!!”), but ignore his capering: Grimshaw is genuinely cool.

Oil

Upsetting photos of oil-slicked turtles from Deepwater Horizon

Back in 2010, Greenpeace filed a Freedom of Information request covering endangered species affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill. They just received a response from NOAA, and it included more than 100 photos. They're disturbing.

Critical List: TransCanada reapplies for Keystone XL permit; Japan’s last nuclear reactor

TransCanada put in a new permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline. Japan switched off its last nuclear reactor. Fights over endangered species are about to get wild, as the Fish and Wildlife Service has to rule on protections for species that live in oil country.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch, musician and activist

Adam Yauch, aka MCA, was the co-founder and beating progressive heart of the Beastie Boys, who not only made some of the most defining music of the 1980s and ’90s but were among the first celebrities (at least in my memory) to go activist without sacrificing their cool. Yauch, who died today at the criminally tragic age of 47, didn’t just fight for his right to party; he partied for his right to fight. Most people associate Beastie activism with their vocal support of Tibet, which sprang from Yauch’s Buddhism. But just in case you were looking for another reason …

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