Grist List

Oil

Oil shale: An environmental disaster waiting to happen?

It used to be that oil came from a hole drilled in the ground. But as oil has become more scarce, the ways of getting at it have become more numerous — so much so that it’s getting hard to keep track. Oil sands, shale oil, oil shale: These are all different sources of oil. And if you can’t keep them straight, well, rest assured the oil industry will. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi argues that it’s oil shale that might be the extraction point to watch in the coming years: “Oil shale” is basically rock that contains …

Animals

Watch two guys remove a honeybee swarm with their bare hands

Town and Country Pest Control is a father-son business in upstate New York that takes a holy-shit approach to its work. For instance, in the video below, they remove a bee colony with their bare hands and a box: But as any bee-savvy keeper will tell you, this isn’t as crazy as it looks. Swarms of honey bees like this one are likely searching for a new place to establish a hive. Since they’ve broken off from an established colony and aren’t sure when they’ll have a new home, they’ll have fattened up on a bunch of honey, which makes …

Business & Technology

James Cameron wants to mine asteroids for precious metals. Seriously.

James Cameron is really starting to take his movies too seriously. Last month, the director descended the Mariana Trench in a submarine all beginning-of-Titanic style. Now Cameron and a bunch of other super-rich dudes say they are bankrolling a project to mine space asteroids for precious metals and rare minerals. (Remember Avatar? A bunch of greedy Americans invade a pristine alien planet to extract natural resources. Chaos — and alien/human love — ensue.) Cameron joins Google execs Eric Schimdt and Larry Page, Peter Diamandis (of X Prize fame), Eric Anderson, and other multi-millionaires in launching Planetary Resources, a new company focused on space exploration and innovation. The long-term …

Cities

Houstonians want walkable neighborhoods

Car-centric Houston tends to be one of our go-to examples for everything that can go wrong with a city, ever. But we may not be able to use the city as a whipping boy much longer. According to a new survey, Houstonians are seeing the light on walkable and transit-accessible neighborhoods. More than half of the people surveyed said they would settle for a smaller home if it meant living near offices, restaurants, and stores. Yes, this is in Texas! To be fair, Stephen Klineberg, who created this survey in 1982, sounded as surprised as we are. He told the …

Food

Deadly tree disease could wipe out California’s citrus industry

Hide ya’ lemons, hide ya’ limes — a deadly disease is coming for California’s citrus trees. State ag experts recently found a tree that tested positive for Huanglongbing–and yes, it is way more serious than its sing-songy name suggests. The bacteria, also known as citrus greening or yellow dragon disease, attacks a trees’ vascular system and kills them off within a few years. The disease has no known cure, and it’s had disastrous impacts on citrus trees in China, Brazil, and Florida. For now scientists have only spotted the infection in a lonely tree, but the situation is understandably sending …

Climate Skeptics

Climate denier campaigns have zero impact on belief in global warming

It’s hard sometimes to ignore climate deniers: They’re so wrong! About everything! But the biggest impact they seem to be having is just that: annoying environmentalists. Denialist campaigns have had little influence on the 30 percent of people who are skeptical about climate science, ABC News reports. The one thing that does change those people’s opinions? The weather.

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