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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Giant banks screwing the economy are also screwing the climate, says report

When they're not making massively leveraged bets on the collapsing value of your savings account, the world's largest banks are doing their best to destroy the ability of this planet to support human life, says a new report. Watchdog group BankTrack investigated which banks are financing Big Coal, and discovered that America's largest financial institutions are knee-deep in the stuff. JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, HSBC -- they all dominated the industry. Incredibly, China's two biggest banks don't even crack the top 10, even though China is the biggest producer and consumer of …

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Does your car really need that oil change? Probably not.

How often does a car need an oil change? Ask Jiffy Lube, and it's a flat 3,000 miles. According to car manufacturers, however, their products can go anywhere from a low of 5,000 miles to a high of 10,000 before an oil change is necessary. The Stranger crunched the numbers and found that if you listen to Jiffy Lube, you’re gonna waste a butt-ton of oil: The 67,380,000 gallons of motor oil Jiffy Lube customers don't need to buy each year are gleaned from more than one billion gallons of crude oil. The unnecessary oil consumption of Jiffy Lube customers …

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Critical List: Solar will go on military housing; U.S. net petroleum imports

Who needs government loan guarantees? SolarCity is going to put solar panels on 120,000 military houses with financing from Bank of America-owned Merrill Lynch. (Er, down with the banks?) Environmental regulations have "benefits and costs." They do kill jobs, but they also create new ones. The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. is close to being a net exporter of petroleum products. Mother Jones takes a closer look at the WSJ's own reporting and says, "Eh, not so much." Here, the U.S. climate change envoy points fingers at China and India for trashing the chance of a Durban deal. …

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Wasting energy = blue balls, apparently

It seems to be a pretty time-honored advertising strategy that when you want your message to really hit, you need to connect it to things men want/don't want to happen to their penises. In this example, found on Tumblr, wasting energy is ... blue balls, or maybe priapism? And turning off the light is an orgasm? In any event, if your light is on for more than four hours, consult a physician.

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Interactive map shows hybrid and electric car sales in your area

See the map This interactive map from NPR, which shows hybrid and electric car sales figures across the U.S., is a handy way of calculating the hippie concentration of your area at a single glance. But it also might help predict which areas will get EV infrastructure soonest, because of high demand. Also, it's kind of neat. San Francisco is leading the pack, no surprise there, and on the whole the West Coast is seeing more green car sales than the East Coast or the Midwest. I'm surprised that my city, D.C., had the highest hybrid and EV sales percentage …

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Hey, other tar-sands pipelines also suck!

Lest you get too caught up in Keystone XL and forget that tar-sands oil is super-destructive in general, NRDC has a new report about how a completely different pipeline will also lead to ecological disaster. The Northern Gateway pipeline, which would run from Alberta to British Columbia, has the potential to be just as destructive to Canada as Keystone XL would be to the U.S., if not more. Northern Gateway would threaten people and animals along its 2,200-mile length -- First Nations communities, people who depend on fisheries and forests, salmon, bears, whales, rainforests. You know, just most of the …

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Documentary on end of world as we know it is surprisingly uplifting

The new documentary The Crisis of Civilization is the most user-friendly exploration of imminent doom you’ll ever see. Through interviews, found footage, and animation, the film actually manages to make the unwinding of our conventional, fossil-fueled, more-is-more industrial civilization accessible. And importantly, it pays just as much attention to solutions as to problems. Nafeez Ahmed, the documentary’s narrator, whom I've interviewed in the past, is a professor of international relations and author of  A User’s Guide to the Crisis of Civilization: And How to Save It. He’s also smart as hell, knowledgeable on a broad scale, and a master of …

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Chicago losing disgusting distinction as sole U.S. city that doesn’t treat sewage

Now that condos and a Trump Tower line the banks of the Chicago River, the Windy City is finally thinking about making it less gross. It's one of America's most exploited waterways -- in 1900, the city literally reversed the river’s flow to keep all the sewage it channeled from entering Lake Michigan -- and the sewage of millions is dumped into it every day, untreated. At a price of $250 million, Chicago is finally going to start treating all the waste that comes out of its pipes, which currently flows into the river and thence to the Mississippi. The …

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How Baby Boomers doomed the exurbs

Homes and strip malls in America's outer-ring suburbs, which contained most of the country's most expensive homes in the 1990s, are now worth less than what it cost to build them. And the land beneath them is worth effectively zero, says Brookings Institution senior fellow Christopher B. Leinberger, in a powerful op-ed arguing that the future of the country is urban and walkable. Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered. What's driving this transition? The two …

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This video of science-lab dogs being set free will make you bawl

I have complicated feelings about animal testing, at least when it comes to science. But I have very uncomplicated feelings about dogs, and this video of nine beagles being set free made me blubber unattractively. These dogs have lived in cages their entire lives, testing medicines, cosmetics, and household products (which does not qualify as science!). The video captures their first human affection, their first time leaving their metal crates, and their first steps onto grass. This will definitely be in my head next time I'm looking for cruelty-free products. The group that produced the video, Animal Rescue Media Education, …

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