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Grist List: Look what we found.


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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

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Whole Foods is a little confused about Chanukah

Oh, Whole Foods. Haven't you heard of seasonal eating? (Via Marjorie Ingall, who took this photo in New York, a city where you can buy a knish at a roadside stand but where Whole Foods apparently still doesn't know what Jews eat.)

Read more: Food

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Critical List: The shortest day of the year; some grey wolves to come off endangered species list

Today marks the solstice: the shortest day of the year and the beginning of winter. Things will only get better from here on out, as long as by “things” you mean “the amount of daylight available in the Northern hemisphere.” Grey wolves in Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin will be taken off the endangered species list. A 40,000-barrel oil spill in Nigeria could be the area's worst in a decade. In a climate-changed world, fewer malaria parasites are infectious, which means fewer people could get malaria. (Stand by for Rush Limbaugh complaining that liberals and Al Gore just want us all …

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The world’s first solar menorah

Chanukah is all about fuel efficiency, so it seems appropriate that the town of Woodstock, N.Y., now has a solar-powered menorah. The menorah, one of the big electrical kinds that progressive towns put up next to their Christmas trees in order to be inclusive, has always spent the holiday season standing around unlit, because there's nowhere to plug it in on Woodstock's Village Green. But a local Hasidic rabbi decided that a dark public menorah was a pretty sad sight, so he designed and built a solar apparatus from spare parts. Now the area's 5,000 Jews will have an illuminated …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Maine bans LEED in state buildings at timber industry’s behest

The pristine wilderness of Maine would make anyone feel more in touch with the environment … unless you're a politician and vested interests with tons of money put pressure on you to undermine green programs like LEED and you cave. That's the short version of what happened earlier this month. For a while, Maine was building new state-owned buildings to LEED standards. But Maine has lots and lots of trees, and the timber industry there wasn't producing wood that met the LEED-approved Forest Stewardship Council standards. So Gov. Paul LePage signed an executive order in early December that bans the …

Read more: Politics

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There’s never been a better time to build a hobbit house

If you're anything like me, i.e. friends with dozens of nerds, your Twitter stream was aflame with talk of the Hobbit trailer last night. I'm psyched about it! It's the only Tolkien book I read, and will therefore probably be the only one of the movies I can stay awake through. Anyway, hobbits are cool now, so this is an excellent time to start building your sustainable hobbit home!  The one below, which we wrote about in October, looks like it could come straight off the movie set: But in fact, it was put together for just $5,000 by a …

Read more: Green Home, Living