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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Dirty cities make us happy

What features of a city make for happy inhabitants? Most of them are pretty predictable: Mass transit, an environment conducive to raising kids, and affordability all ranked highly in a survey published in Urban Affairs Review.

Read more: Cities, Urbanism

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Urban farmers vs. NIMBYist vegans, round one

Urban farmers are raising and slaughtering their own livestock, and a shadowy organization called Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter is up in arms about it. Writing at Mother Jones, Keira Butler gets the scoop on what's sure to be the biggest civil war in the Bobo universe since the great “tomatoes in winter: is it OK as long as they're local?” debate of '09.

This bunch of NOBS has taken the time to put together a flyer and a website in opposition to urban farming -- a tiny subset of farming that looks even more harmless when you consider the awful state of animal welfare in industrial agriculture. Sure, we may be talking about a minuscule number of animals that are being hand-raised in humane living situations, while the vast majority of our meat comes from deplorable conditions … but on the other hand, the NOBS members’ kids might have to think about a chicken getting killed! MAN THE TREBUCHETS.

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Wind turbine workers get their own reality show

Photo by Tuey.

The roughnecks who straddle throbbing nacelles 150 feet in the air, one hand on a safety rope and the other gnarly with gearbox lubricant, are about to get the reality show (episode) they deserve, thanks to the Weather Channel. What happens when people stop being polite and start climbing around on giant, dangerous machinery?

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Critical List: China’s emissions outstrip America’s; Bill Gates hearts geoengineering

By 2015, China will emit 50 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the United States does.

The Texas drought has forced some towns to ship in their water by truck.

Bill Gates is underwriting geoengineering lobbying efforts.

Read more: Uncategorized

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This will be the greenest Super Bowl ever

I know football fans feel pretty strongly about doing things exactly the same way every time, lest their switch in underwear or beer brand or whatever be the butterfly's wing that leads to their favorite team tanking. So I have some bad news for you guys: there will be some changes this year. But take heart. Even if this makes your team lose, it's in the name of making Super Bowl XLVI the greenest one yet

Read more: Renewable Energy

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Roseanne Barr wants to be the Green Party nominee for president

Roseanne Barr already told Jay Leno she planned to run for president, but back then she was going to start her own party. Now, though, she's seriously seeking Green Party nomination for the 2012 presidential run. The (presumably recycled) paperwork is in, and given that I have zero idea who the heck else is running, she might actually have a chance?

Read more: Election 2012

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Antarctica’s about to lose a New York City-sized chunk

A NASA photograph of the crack across Pine Island Glacier.

Normally when icebergs split off from glaciers, it's called "calving," but I think it would be fair to say that Antarctica's Pine Island Glacier is about to have a cow. Pine Island Glacier, which is the continent's fastest-melting glacier and unusually well-situated to contribute to sea level rise, is getting set to shed a chunk of ice larger than all five boroughs of New York City combined.

Read more: Climate Change

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10-year-old discovers new energy-storing molecule by accident

Fifth-grader Clara Lazen was just messing around with a molecule modeling kit in class, trying to construct a stable molecule that followed basic chemistry rules. What she ended up with was a completely novel molecular structure, and a coauthor credit in the resulting journal article. Man, what were YOU discovering when you were 10? Masturbation and Faith No More?

Read more: Climate & Energy

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‘Smart paint’ warns you when stuff’s about to break, so you can fix it

Someday we'll fix infrastructure and the environment in the same way that Arizona suburbanites fix their lawns: By slapping on a coat of paint. Science has already made great strides on carbon-eating paint, and the kind of paint that can make windows into solar panels. And now researchers at at Glasgow's University of Strathclyde have developed paint that can detect underlying structural problems in bridges, mines, and turbines, allowing engineers to head disaster off at the pass.

Read more: Cleantech

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How the Sierra Club and the natural gas industry broke up

Yesterday, TIME published the news that the Sierra Club had taken more than $25 million dollars from the natural gas industry -- specifically, from employees and subsidiaries of Chesapeake Energy, one of the largest natural gas companies around. The donations came at a time when the environmental movement was rallying behind natural gas as a "bridge fuel" -- an energy source cleaner than coal that could lead to a renewable energy future.

But in 2010, the Sierra Club's new executive director, Michael Brune, decided to end the financial relationship, forgoing an additional $30 million in funding — an amount equal to a quarter year's budget for the club.

Read more: Natural Gas