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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Prius is the only survivor of $3 million car crash

A car crash in Japan that's being hailed as the most expensive ever, even though it totally wasn't, totaled eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini, and three Mercedes...es. (Ugh, I just looked it up and Mercedes looks like a fifth-declension noun with the nominative plural "Mercedes," so I can't even make up a cutesy Latinate plural, WHATEVER LATIN.) Nobody was seriously injured, so you can feel free to point and laugh a little bit at the 1 percent getting their fancy toys smashified (to the tune of an estimated $3 million, no less). Here's where it gets really funny, though: The crash …

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White House goals for cleaning the Gulf: Fix stuff

After the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration decided to dig deep into the environmental problems that faced the Gulf Coast and, in the way of governments everywhere, set up a task force to study the issues. This week, that task force released its report. According to the report’s introduction, the president's directive to study these issues was "an important commitment to the Gulf Coast community that went beyond the crisis of the moment and recognized the decades of significant and persistent decline the region has endured." In other words, a bunch of people just spent a year figuring …

Read more: Politics, Pollution

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Solar-powered tanning salon. Really.

This is real. Comedian Kyle Kinane spotted it while driving through the wasteland of unconquerable vacuity known as Southern California. The place is called Sunlounge, and it has a website and a Yelp page full of catty reviews from people who love to tan. Sunlounge says it gets 15 to 30 percent of the power it uses from solar panels on its roof. Here is a diagram of the energy transformations involved. Sunlight      ↓ Solar Panels      ↓ Inverter      ↓ Tanning bed      ↓ High-maintenance customers' burgeoning melanomas Needless to say, at least three of those steps are completely superfluous. Next time, …

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Poor nations demand stringent emissions deal, unicorns

At the ongoing climate talks in Durban, South Africa, 48 of the world's "Least Developed Countries" demanded that world governments sign an ambitious climate deal. By “ambitious” we mean it commits them to a level of atmospheric greenhouse gases lower than what's currently in the atmosphere. There’s a rider requiring free Pegasuses (Pegasi?) for all able-bodied children under the age of 12. The consortium "includes drought-prone states such as Ethiopia and Mali, those with long flat coastal zones such as Bangladesh and Tanzania, and Himalayan mountain states including Bhutan and Nepal for whom melting glaciers pose serious dangers," as well …

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Amazon deforestation decreasing … but not for long

Despite reports of localized deforestation and violence against rainforest activists, a study on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon found that the number of square kilometers disappearing each year has hit a record low. But politics has a way of screwing up progress like this, and Brazilian politicians are voting today to weaken the forest code that contributed to the deforestation decline. Man! These guys might as well be American politicians. Nature reports that agricultural interests have backed the legislation, since trees do tend to get in the way of farming. But so does civilizational collapse, and as researchers have discovered, …

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Critical List: Scientists find Earth 2.0; rootworms defeat Monsanto corn

Scientists found a planet that looks an awful lot like Earth. One U.N. leader says that even an international treaty won't ensure the world avoids dangerous climate change. And we don't even have that! Rootworms are developing a resistance to Monsanto's Bt corn, and scientists get to say "I told you so." The Carbon War Room has all your jet fuel sustainability rankings right here. Paris is planning to increase its rooftop green space by nearly 300 percent.

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Cartoon penguins: Biggest threat to children since SpongeBob

I'm sorry, I will never get sick of right-wing wig-flipping over children's entertainment. Apparently anything but VeggieTales is Marxist indoctrination to some people -- and what with Big Government pushing healthy eating, it's not long before a wholesome Christian message isn't enough to keep talking vegetables conservative-friendly.  You'll remember, of course, the "Fox & Friends" hosts flipping a nutty over SpongeBob SquarePants. Millionth verse, same as the first: Kyle Smith at the right-leaning New York Post is calling Happy Feet 2, that no doubt heartwarming tale about dancing cartoon penguins, "Kiddie Karl Marx." Like "Fox & Friends," he's worried about …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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The Onion warns that global warming could be irreversible within negative five years

If you've ever felt confused about the definition of "lolsob," read this Onion headline: "Report: Global Warming May Be Irreversible By 2006." Oy. The Onion has been on a roll lately of just reporting the news straight and letting it satirize itself (see also: "Rumors Of Extramarital Affair End Campaign Of Presidential Candidate Who Didn't Know China Has Nuclear Weapons"). There's nothing made up in this story, except the implied dateline. Which is exactly what makes it so funny and so godawful depressing. If the 2006 deadline isn't met, climatologists warn the world will eventually experience planet-wide cataclysms, including massive …

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This is what Antarctica looks like naked

Scientists have made a detailed map of Antarctica's rock bed -- what the land looks like underneath the ice -- as part of their attempt to predict how the continent might respond to global warming. Figuring out what will happen when Antarctic ice melts requires an understanding of what's going on down below: Scientists are currently reporting significant changes at the margins of the continent, with increasing volumes of ice now being lost to the ocean, raising global sea levels. The type of information contained in BEDMAP will help researchers forecast the pace of future events. "This is information that …

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What record emissions growth really shows us

2010 saw the single biggest jump in carbon emissions ever. It's like we're addicted to perpetrating the most heinous crimes possible on our own children, and we can't stop! What's up with that? It's easy to blame countries like China, which is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet, what with its myriad "dirty" industries and reliance on coal for the bulk of its power. But that isn’t going to fly. China may have experienced record growth, but a lot of its emissions have been palmed off on it by Americans. From Justin Gillis at The New …