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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Climate Dogs wish everyone happy holidays

They're trying to recycle all that wrapping paper, really. They just don't have thumbs. David Roberts made me post this. But honestly, how could I say no?

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Metal balls apparently falling from sky

This ... thingy fell out of the sky over Namibia last month. It's 3.6 feet around, weighs 13 pounds, is hollow, has no markings, and ... came out of space? Talk about your extreme weather. Is it space junk? Military equipment? A decades-late Spaceballs promo? (Spaceballs the lunchbox! Spaceballs the breakfast cereal! Spaceballs the mysterious metal object from the ionosphere!) Whatever it is, it's not alien; the best part about this story is that officials are going out of their way to say that the substance it's made of (a "sophisticated" metal alloy) is "known to man." Beyond that, who …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Guerilla Grafters make ornamental plants bear fruit

Duck and cover, it's a drive-by fruiting! Guerilla Grafters stick fruit-bearing limbs onto San Francisco's ornamental trees, making city streets into food-producing mini-orchards. (Grafting has been standard practice with fruit trees since basically forever, so there's nothing Frankenfoody about this.) It's not technically legal -- the city discourages planting fruit trees, because of worries that fruit will attract vermin. So Guerilla Grafters makes sure that each grafted tree has a steward who looks after it.

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Donate your socks to a weasel

If you celebrate a gift-giving holiday this season, you're probably going to get socks from a well-meaning relative. (I'm looking forward to it! I really need socks.) And now you can do some good with your old ones, or the ones whose mates got lost in the wash and which you've been wearing as odd pairs: Donate them to help a rare weasel. A team of researchers from UC Davis' Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Program, adorably acronymed SNAMP, are trying to get good data on the rare Pacific fisher weasel. These guys are super-elusive, so to get good images, researchers …

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Critical List: Oil slick moves towards Nigerian coast; adorable polar bear cub

The oil slick off the Nigeria coast is moving towards shore. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the design for a new generation of nuclear reactors. Climate change will help parasites thrive. Simple design is green design. Here is an adorable polar bear cub. That is all.

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Video: Here’s what being in a tsunami looks like

We saw some pretty insane videos of the Japanese tsunami back in March, when it happened, but this one (which is going newly viral for whatever reason, and which I hadn't seen before) is by far the insanest. This delivery driver caught the earthquake on his in-dash video, and it looks like no big deal -- some trees shake, a guy stumbles but doesn't lose his footing. And then the water starts coming in. The driver escaped, but the car kept recording, and it is absolutely staggering how quickly the situation goes from "a little water on the road" to …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Great idea: Bike accident report cards

Bike lawyer Josh Zisson, of Bike Safe Boston, had these cards printed up so that bikers would have immediate legal recourse if they got in an accident. The cards sport a clear graphical representation of Massachusetts' bike laws, and space to record the details of the accident, the driver's plate number and insurance information, and witnesses' contact details. If you're in Massachusetts, they're a great last-minute gift for a bike enthusiast (though we recommend not letting the recipient open this one in front of an anxious mother). They're available at bike shops all around the Boston area, or you can …

Read more: Biking, Cities

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Rick Perry right about something

When a town hall attendee asked Rick Perry about groundwater pollution from hydrofracking, he sneered at the idea, saying that it would have had widespread press coverage if it were true: Perry: I am truly offended that the American public would be hoodwinked by stories that do not scientifically hold up. If that was true, it would be on the front page of every newspaper. It would be on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News. Everybody would be running that story.  Well, whaddya know? He's right. They would.

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BP spends $20 billion on oil but can’t afford solar

BP gave being green a try, guys, really! They had a solar panel business going, but they had to kick it to the curb, because they just couldn't afford it. Times are tough, you know? Heck, the company only has $20 billion to spend on oil and gas every year. They have to pinch ... well, not pennies, exactly, but $10,000 bills.* Mike Petrucci, chief executive of BP Solar, wrote to his remaining 100 staff last week, saying "the continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long-term returns for the company." A …

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Border fence is bad for bears

Ever since America decided the best way to keep the teh-rur-ists and immigrants out was to build a fence along the southern border, environmentalists have worried about the impact of a gigantic, impenetrable fence on the local wildlife. And while we know that it's hard for most people to get their hackles up about the fate of the dune sagebrush lizard, we've got your charismatic fauna right here: adorable black bears. According to a new study, the bears near the Arizona border are actually Illegal Immigrants -- they’re more closely related to black bears in Mexico than to those living …

Read more: Animals, Politics