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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Rick Perry advocates solution to climate problem he doesn’t believe in

Of all the GOP candidates, Rick Perry has been perhaps the most fervently dismissive of the reality of human-caused climate change. So why does his energy plan include a provision for "clean coal" technology, which is used to capture carbon dioxide and pump it underground? Confusion in Perry's assessment of the climate and energy nexus extends to his energy plan, which says that "we must continue to invest in clean coal technology through research and development tax incentives." If, as Perry has claimed, climate change is a baseless hoax, it makes no sense that he should advocate for a technology …

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Shark sex increasingly kinky, thanks to warming waters

If you thought interspecies boot-knocking was the sole purview of a handful of Bronies, check out what Australia's sharks are up to. Climate change and shifting water temperatures are causing different shark species to mingle their habitats, and apparently the mingling doesn’t stop there. The continent is now seeing an unprecedented number of hybrid sharks. The hybridization may be adaptive, allowing the sharks to better handle their changing environment. “Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change as the smaller Australian black tip currently favors tropical waters in the north while the larger common black tip is more …

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Climate change messing with giant ice buildings

A century ago, winters in Bavaria were so brutal that one Christmas, villagers in Mitterfirmiansreut were unable to hike to the nearest church, and they were forced to build one out of snow. For the 101st anniversary of the snow church this year, the town enlisted architect Alfons Doeringer to rebuild the snowthedral, nicknamed “God’s Igloo.” This took $168,000 and 49,000 cubic feet of snow, but the whole thing was nearly derailed by unseasonably warm, wet weather. The number of "ice days" in Bavaria with maximum temperatures above freezing is projected to decline by 50 percent by 2050, leading to …

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Organic food is not always sustainable food

Good food, as we've come to know it in the last few years, has a few characteristics: It's local. It's grown using responsible, land-loving techniques, like crop rotations and polycultures. And it's organic, raised without chemical fertilizers and poison pesticides. At one point, “organic” was shorthand for all of that, because the same people who cared enough to grow their vegetables with manure cared about environmental sustainability and tended to be local. But now “organic” can be shorthand only for adherence to a certain set of rules that outlaw certain concentrations of certain types of fertilizers and pesticides, and as …

Read more: Food, Organic Food

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Your car commute helps cause tornadoes

Just like humans, East Coast tornadoes work extra hours during the week and take it easier on the weekends. According to a new study, tornadoes and hailstorms are less likely to occur on a Saturday or Sunday. That’s because hail and tornadoes thrive on pollution, which is higher towards the middle of the week. The study looked at summertime storm activity and found above-average rates of storms midweek and below-average rates on weekends. It turns out that this is because moisture likes pollutants: Water particles cling to those dirty little suckers, float up higher in the atmosphere, and create hail. …

Read more: Pollution

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Critical List: Fracking ‘almost certainly’ caused earthquakes; wolves save trees

The disposal of fracking wastewater "almost certainly" was the cause of all those earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. Oil is washing up on the shores of Nigeria; Shell denies it's from the massive oil spill that occurred last month. BP wants Halliburton to cover the $20 billion it paid to clean up and otherwise deal with the Deepwater Horizon spill. Wolves save trees. (Related: Deer are sort of like giant squirrels.) We love a good mass die-off mystery story. It just came out that those dead blackbirds last year in Beebe, Ark., were likely killed by fireworks. Now we can start …

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Gingrich scraps planned book chapter on climate change

If Newt Gingrich were backpedaling any faster on climate change, he might actually come full circle and turn into Al Gore. But what can the man do? He’s totally damaged his right-wing reputation by believing in science and giving a crap about the future survival of anything. What Republican can run with the hideous heart of environmentalism beating under his floorboards? That scene on the love seat with Nancy Pelosi was bad enough. Now it turns out Gingrich -- or at least his co-editor -- was planning to include a whole chapter on climate change in a new book about …

Read more: Politics

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Times Square ball-drop switches to LEDs

Despite Republicans' efforts to equate efficient lighting with tyranny, the age of incandescent bulbs will be officially over as of Jan. 1. The best indication of this switch-over is not any one piece of legislation coming out of Washington, but a totally symbolic move:  When the Times Square balls drops at midnight on New Year's Eve, its shining light will be emanating from 32,256 LED bulbs. With LEDs, the energy-sucking ball of light will use 88 percent less energy than in the past and cut carbon emissions by 573 tons. Also, LEDs are awesome and can produce more special effects …

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Critical List: Judge nixes California’s low-carbon fuel standard; mystery foam attacks England

A federal judge put the kibosh on California's low-carbon fuel standard, which favors fuels that create fewer emissions to make and which, according to the judge, discriminates against out-of-state fuel producers. On carbon credit markets, credits cost way less than they should. China is moving forward on a plan to build a gigantic dam on the Yangtze River. Mystery foam attacks a town in northern England. It's sort of like The Blob, only fluffy. How to take composting to the metaphysical plane.

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‘Micro-lofts’ are luxury shantytowns for hipsters

Vancouver has come up with a unique solution to the outrageous cost of housing in the city: Murphy everything. A local construction company is building a block of tiny apartments, each the size of a one-car garage, and making them livable by turning their walls into the domestic equivalents of pop-up books. The "micro-lofts" are located in the century-old Burns Block building in Vancouver's Gastown neighborhood, and they can be had for $850 a month, a price I would have killed for when I was living in one of the many neighborhoods in New York that included the word "murder" …

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