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Grist List: Look what we found.


Critical List: Groundhog says six more winter weeks; zoos need more elephants

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. But that dude has since his shadow more than 100 times; he's only not seen it 16 times. Honestly, getting your weather forecast from a giant rodent is like getting your climate science from a weather forecaster.

Locusts thrive on overgrazed lands.

Accredited zoos will need to have three elephants, if they have any elephants at all.

Spain probably shouldn't have killed its subsidies for renewable energy.

Read more: Uncategorized


Newly discovered fungus eats plastic

A group of Yale students, poking around in the jungles of Ecuador, has unearthed a type of fungus that digests otherwise-unkillable plastics

Read more: Cleantech


‘Gasland’ director arrested for filming in Congress

Image from the office of Rep. Paul Tonko, via Politico

This is probably not the way for the U.S. to regain our recent huge losses on the Press Freedom Index. Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-nominated (and Emmy-winning) documentary Gasland, was arrested this morning for trying to film a committee meeting about fracking.

Read more: Politics


Inside New York City’s defunct quarantine hospital

Photographer Ian Ference had to get special dispensation from the New York City parks department to visit North Brother Island, the site of a forced-quarantine hospital that closed down 50 years ago. The island, right off the coast of the Bronx, used to house people suffering from contagious diseases like tuberculosis and smallpox -- including the notorious Typhoid Mary, who was confined to the island's Riverside Hospital for more than 20 years. (There was also a small leper colony, at least until the leprosy sufferers all walked away and the Board of Health decided their disease wasn't contagious enough to let them come back.) 

Read more: Cities


Chicken farm crates are basically never cleaned

If a bite of food falls on the ground, often we pick it up and eat it. Five second rule, right? But if it falls in something gross or we haven't cleaned the floor in awhile, we don't eat it. Because that's gross. Especially if your floor is covered in chicken shit.

It's unclear, then, why we are okay with eating chickens that have been transported in crates that are never, ever cleaned. Never. By 80 percent of poultry growers, at least. Which means that there's a 4 in 5 chance that your chicken dinner was rolling around in something far nastier than a little floor dust.

Read more: Factory Farms


Julianne Moore wants clean air for kids

Did you guys know Julianne Moore wrote a children's book? This is apparently the thing celebrities do when they're over 25 (under 25, they start a perfume line). It's about the heartbreak of being a ginger, and not about environmental stuff at all, but that isn't stopping Moore from plugging it in her video for the Moms Clean Air Force. (It's a little labored -- something about polluters being bullies.)

Read more: Clean Air


Did NYPD falsify account of cyclist’s death?

In October of 2011, a truck hit and killed artist Mathieu Lefevre while he was biking in Brooklyn. Since then, Lefevre's family and their lawyers have been trying to find out what exactly happened that night. The NYPD's investigation includes descriptions of surveillance footage showing Lefevre trying to pass a truck on the right. But now Lefevre's family and lawyers have seen the tapes the NYPD used to draw these conclusions, and the footage doesn't quite match up with the NYPD's interpretation of it.

Read more: Biking, Cities


Critical List: Connecting climate change to the Texas heat wave; ditching plastic straws

Climate scientist James Hansen says he can prove that climate change caused the Texas heat wave.

Maine fishermen caught more lobster last year than ever before.

Wave and tidal energy could provide enough electricity to meet 15 percent of current demand in the United States.

In London, plastic straws are the new plastic bags. No one wants 'em.

An Alaska congressman created a (joke! it was a joke!) resolution urging the federal government to take control of Central Park, analogizing that action to the federal government's relationship to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. Because Central Park is so pristine, and also has oil underneath it. They are exactly the same! Environmentalists now say, "Oh, we totally get it! Yah, let's drill in ANWR. And in Central Park, too, why not."

Read more: Uncategorized



Kristen Bell loses her mind over a sloth

OK, real talk for a second? This is almost certainly how I would react if a sloth came to my birthday party:

Read more: Animals


Russians could not be more psyched about ice-free Arctic

One psyched Russian. (Photo by Andrew Kitzmiller.)

You think the large-scale melting of Arctic ice is a bad thing? Well I guess you’ve never been Russia. The former empire is hoping to bring back its glory days by reviving a Soviet-era shipping route along its Arctic coast, reports the Montreal Gazette.