Grist List

Biofuel

Your new offshore energy source: Floating algae farms

Forget offshore oil drilling. NASA’s working on a project that would generate clean, renewable offshore energy, by growing algae in floating plastic bags. These floating algae farms would take in wastewater from treatment plants. For algae, wastewater is like the nectar of the gods: The ammonia and phosphates act as a fertilizer. So the algae would float happily contained in the baggies, getting fat with lipid oil, and cleaning up the wastewater in the process. Eventually, the algae farmers would harvest the oil, recycle the plastic and start all over again.

Energy Policy

Why going green during a recession actually creates jobs

Economists have long known something that politicians apparently do not: If you need to impose expensive environmental regulations, there’s no better time than during a recession.

Critical List: Earthquake off the coast of Indonesia; Tennessee anti-climate teaching bill now a law

A look at the news of the day.

Biking

This is the coolest-looking, least practical bike helmet we’ve ever seen

Have you ever wanted to have a stunningly beautiful bike helmet that would shatter into dangerous splinters if you ever actually fell on your head? Well, you're in luck, because Instructables user Natalina has posted step-by-step procedures for making a helmet that looks like a disco ball.

Transportation

Chris Christie’s strategy for killing public transit: Lies, lies, and lies

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ripped the beating heart out of a N.Y.C.-Jersey transit project that public officials had only been planning for since, oh, 1995. At the time, he said the project would cost New Jersey too much. But guess what? He lied about the costs, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Transportation

Americans walk less than any other industrialized nation

Here are the juicy bits of Tom Vanderbilt's new series on walking.

80 percent of humans are delusionally optimistic, says science

Maybe the reason we can't do anything about the existential crisis of climate change -- or, indeed, any of the other existential crises we're facing at present -- is that 80 percent of humanity has what's known as an "optimism bias."

Cities

Detroit residents are turning the city into suburbs

Detroit is undergoing a remarkable process of un-building, its residents literally transforming its denser neighborhoods into sparse suburbs.

Biking

Adorable video of kids on wheels in the bike-friendliest place on earth

There is a city in which 80 percent of residents commute to work by bicycle, even in winter. And they train their young to do the same!

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