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Grist List: Look what we found.


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I can haz climate change?

According to Australia's News.com, climate change is leading to "too many unwanted moggies." What are moggies, you ask? It’s British for “kitty cats.” Climate change has lengthened the moggie breeding season in Australia, from October through May (that's summer down under), leading to "record numbers" of cats being born. On the one hand, this means pet shelters will be overburdened with unwanted felines. On the other hand, this is a perfect time to enact your plan of swimming Scrooge McDuck style in a pool full of kitties.

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IKEA to design an entire neighborhood

Exciting news for those whose entire house is populated by IKEA furniture (we know you're out there): the Swedish furniture company is going to be building an entire neighborhood in London. We know. It'll be like living in the IKEA store! With a Swedish meatball shop on every corner and 24/7 access to lingonberry jam. (There will also be a floating cocktail bar. That’s not an obscure IKEA store joke. There will just be a floating cocktail bar.) IKEA is planning some smart features for the 26-acre, 1,200-home neighborhood. It'll be mixed-use and feature underground parking. The company also says …

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Critical List: Jaczko reportedly a jerk; Gore flogs ‘sustainable capitalism’

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's commissioners are calling out their boss, Gregory Jaczko, for being a jerk. It's not exactly reassuring when the body that oversees nuclear power can't even get its own house in order. Other countries are taking way better care of endangered species than the United States is. Uh oh, there was a human oil spill outside of John Boehner's Ohio office! Who's going to clean it up? Al Gore's newest thing is "sustainable capitalism." We hear the Chamber of Commerce is totally on board. Totally. The solar industry installed more capacity in the last quarter than in …

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Watch a lizard play video games with uncanny precision

The theme of today is animals learning to coexist with human culture. Once this bearded dragon and the baby seal join forces to sit on a couch AND play video games, they will be an unstoppable force of lethargy at near-human scales! Who says you need a big cerebral cortex to be a couch potato?

Read more: Animals

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E. coli can now make three kinds of fuel out of grass

Switchgrass, Dubya’s favorite biofuel feedstock, is back in the news. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute have engineered E. coli -- the same bug that is spoiling the lives of raw cookie dough eaters everywhere -- to transform switchgrass into gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The secret sauce of their solution is the malleability of E. coli genetics, which allowed researchers to add three new metabolic pathways to the bug. The engineered bugs can break down tough cellulose fibers and ferment the resulting sugars into fuels. Without the bacteria, this used to be an energy- and …

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Shale gas ‘profits’ are based on accounting trickery

When you add up all the costs -- monetary costs, not even environmental -- of fracking for shale gas, it turns out the entire business is horribly unprofitable, reports energy analyst Chris Nelder at SmartPlanet. So why are companies engaged in an unprofitable business if it's also a fairly unneighborly way to pollute the local environment with wastewater, noxious fumes, and earthquakes? One answer to this conundrum is that operators need to keep drilling in order to hold onto their leases. If they don’t actively work the land that they spent the last several years acquiring in a buying frenzy, …

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Baby seal breaks into house to sleep on sofa

This baby fur seal snuck through a cat flap into a New Zealand home and snuggled up on the sofa. Awwww who's a good little home invader? Who? Who? Look, he's even got a pillow!  Okay, so the killjoy New Zealand Department of Conservation, which took the above photo, wants you to know that fur seals are actually dangerous and can bite you. Also, the little dude must have had something wrong with him to be wandering around a human neighborhood and sneaking into human houses. (On this point, I disagree. Sitting on couches is fun for man and beast.) …

Read more: Animals

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How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems

(click to embiggen) Air quality, obesity, commute times, strained family budgets, unnecessary deaths, runaway health care expenses -- is there anything that a mass shift to bicycles transportation wouldn't solve? And it's not like this is a fantasy -- Europe has demonstrated that not only is this possible, it's the future.

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Ingenious origami cup eliminates plastic lids

Yes, yes, we should all bring our own mugs when we go to Starbucks. But failing that, wouldn't it be nice if we could eliminate plastic waste from the equation by leaving off the lid? Designer Peter Herman's Compleat cups have a clever folded design that provides cup and lid in one, giving you one less thing to throw away. When they go into production, which will happen at some as-yet-undetermined future time, the cups will hopefully be waterproofed with cellulose-based plastic, making them 100 percent compostable.

Read more: Living

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Oil companies have invested 50 times more in tar sands than in renewables

The oil industry talks a big game about looking toward the future and investing in renewable fuels. But a bit of number crunching from NRDC shows that oil's commitment to renewables isn't much more than talk. According to the enviro group's analysis, the oil industry has spent about 50 times more on tar-sands development alone than on renewable fuels. NRDC compared spending on renewable fuels to spending on producing oil, and reports that the oil industry spends less than half of one cent on renewables for every dollar it spends on oil. Lip service about renewables makes for way better …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil