Grist List

Biking

Bike lanes make drivers less likely to be jerks, says study

A study of driving habits found that one in six motorists in Baltimore passed cyclists at an illegal distance, making them eligible to be shot to death under “stand your ground” laws, assuming we could somehow combine the laws of Maryland and Florida.

Cities

Against all odds, Los Angeles is getting a bikeshare

Los Angeles! Despite your reputation as the most car-dependent city west of, uh, anything, you’re totally trying to get in on the green transportation revolution, and we love it! Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced over the weekend that the City of Cars will soon have a permanent bikeshare program. And if there were ever a city that should be bike-friendly, it’s L.A. If people in Minneapolis can bike through the winter, the good people of Los Angeles can bike through their year-round climate of balmy beauty. (Seriously, you can do it, guys! We’re rooting for you!)

Animals

In Washington, prison inmates raise bees, frogs, and butterflies

When you think “prison,” you don’t usually think “idyllic bower of nature’s most rare and beautiful specimens.” But at the Washington State Department of Corrections, inmates can skip the license-plate making and spend their days cultivating endangered local animals, insects, and plants. Participants in the Sustainable Prisons Project raise Oregon spotted frogs, Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies, native prairie plants, local birds, and bees. Its organizers are now looking to expand the project more widely. The project, a partnership between the Department of Corrections and Evergreen State College, began in 2004, when inmates were recruited to help research moss farming — they …

Animals

Penguin lives the dream, bites Newt Gingrich

Gingrich was bitten on the finger by the penguin at the St. Louis zoo.

Critical List: U.S. carbon emissions on the rise; Japan without nuclear power

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have started to rise again. After May 5, Japan will be without nuclear power, at least until two idled reactors are started back up. New forecasting technology means fewer people die in extreme weather.

Food Safety

Scientists discover ancient antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Okay, nobody panic, but scientists have found a stash of bacteria that have never had contact with humans, but are resistant to antibiotics anyway. If this happened in a movie, this would probably end with everyone becoming dead. But I’m sure it’s fine!

Business & Technology

Walmart is bigger than Manhattan and richer than Norway

Mother Jones sized up the retail giant. Here's what they found.

Oil

Oil execs get monster raises after a ‘very strong’ 2011

How big was your raise last year? John Watson, the CEO of Chevron, got a 52 percent bump in his compensation. That’s a nice chunk of change for anyone, and in Watson’s case, it brought his total yearly take up to about $25 million. Which is nothing to complain about, unless Watson is comparing his raise to the raise of his rival giganto oil company. In that case, he might be feeling a little bit short-changed.

Energy Efficiency

Scientists build energy-efficient computer out of crabs

Here is an amazing example of humans piggybacking on a natural phenomenon to create an incredibly clever system: crab-based computing. A crab-based computer starts with swarms of crabs. These swarms include hundreds of thousands of crabs that, individually, run every which way but that, as a group, progress in one direction. Even more incredible — when two swarms collide, they merge and start moving along the vector of their combined velocity (hellloooo, high school physics!). So what does this have to do with computing? A team of researchers set up a system where crab behavior would provide the basic logic …

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