Grist List

Critical List: Mad cow disease in California; first arrest in BP oil spill investigation

The USDA found a case of mad cow disease in California. Federal prosecutors charged a former BP engineer with deleting text messages in order to keep information about the true size of the Deepwater Horizon spill from investigators. The three cities with the most air pollution in the country are all in California, but L.A. only comes in third. A couple of inland metro areas come in first and second.

Pollution

Scientists use glow-in-the-dark fish to track hormone-disrupting chemicals

Imagine if your body could tell you where and when a certain chemical is impacting your health. Scientists at the University of Exeter have done just that – with green-glowing zebrafish, that is. Researchers genetically engineered young zebrafish to produce a fluorescent glow in the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals like bisphenol-A. By exposing fish to endocrine disruptors and observing when individual body parts light up, researchers can learn exactly how and at what concentrations these chemicals impact various organs and tissues. They can then make certain inferences on how endocrine disruptors impact human health. For instance, observing the glowing fish …

Animals

Adorable alert: Live BABY PANDA cam!

What’s black and white and so cute you’ll want to squeal like a Bieber-obsessed tween? A baby panda. And now you can see one any time you want.

Living

New research shows Big Tobacco targets black kids

Big Tobacco agreed way back in 1998 to stop marketing cigarettes to kids. Turns out cigarette companies are still up to their old tricks -- they’re just being slightly more stealth about it.

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 …

Green Home

These toxic household cleaners can cause asthma or burn your lungs

Ah, America. The country where you’re allowed to buy products containing hazardous chemicals that other countries have banned. The Environmental Working Group, the people who brought you the Dirty Dozen list of foods to buy organic, are taking an extensive look at the chemicals in more than 2,000 cleaning products. The group’s researchers are months away from being done, but they have already found a slew of products that contain chemicals that are banned abroad, emit toxic fumes that can burns your lungs or eyes, or can cause asthma.

Critical List: Nigeria oil spill 60 times bigger than reported; Arctic Ocean methane

Amnesty International found documents showing that a 2008 Shell oil spill in Nigeria was 60 times bigger than the company claimed. And in Russia, 2,000 tons of oil spilled from a well over two days. But, really, who knows how much oil it was? The thawing Arctic Ocean is releasing gobs of methane into the atmosphere. Figuring out how climate change is going to affect Himalayan glaciers: actually really tricky!

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