Grist List

Pollution

A tire fire so big it can be seen from space

Tire fires are a nasty business, and in Kuwait yesterday, a fire broke out at a dump that held more than 5 million tires. The fire was so big that the smoke plume was visible from space: A tire fire this big is an environmental disaster. It won’t just pollute the air with hazardous materials — it will create a small oil spill as well. Burning just one passenger car tire can produce two gallons of oil, according to the EPA, and 5 million tires could spill about 275,000 gallons of oil on the ground.

Critical List: Americans link climate change to hot weather; yet another Keystone XL bill

The majority of Americans are convinced that climate change had something to do with the warm winter and last year’s super hot summer. Good news: They believe climate change has consequences. Bad news: When it gets cold, they’ll be convinced we fixed it. House Republicans are going to vote today on yet another bill that would require federal approval of Keystone XL. (The White House has said it will veto the bill.) Apple and Amazon have the dirtiest data centers, Google has the most energy-efficient, according to a new Greenpeace report.

Cities

Politically conservative cities suck for pedestrians

Walkin’ in politically conservative cities, walkin’ in politically conservative cities, nobody walks in politically conservative citiiiiies. Okay this is not very catchy, but Will Oremus at Slate has noticed that it’s true. The most walkable cities are reliably politically liberal — the 19 most walkable are all in states that voted for Obama in 2008, and even the largest conservative cities didn’t crack the top 20.

Cities

Bill Nye explains why the city of the future is bike-friendly

The city of the future has showers at the office for bike commuters, weatherproof bike highways, and tunnels engineered to create helpful tailwinds, according to Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Cities

Moscow looks awesome from space

NASA’s image of the day today is a night shot of Moscow, seen framed by the Aurora Borealis and the solar panels of the International Space Station.

Living

Traditional Chinese medicine contains endangered animals, carcinogens

It’s probably best not to make all your meals out of pink slime and enriched HFCS, but a word to the wise: “Natural” doesn’t always mean safe.

Nuclear

America’s best-known nuclear family gets mural at world’s best-known nuclear disaster

Street artists have started covering walls within the no-go zone of Chernobyl with advertising from the world's nuclear power companies -- and a family portrait of America’s favorite family with a nuclear safety officer dad.

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!)

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