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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Prizewinning research: How to fight elephants with bees

British scientist Lucy King has won a prestigious environmental award for her research, but she should also maybe get a movie deal. The substance of her research is using bees to scare off elephants, which could make an excellent blockbuster, with the addition of a few explosions and maybe a robotic bee carapace. Also, as it happens, it helps save elephants' lives. The greatest threat to elephants, besides robotic bees, is humans -- and when the animals wander into human territory, the people may respond with deadly force. This isn't a one-sided conflict, either; elephants can kill humans without even …

Read more: Animals

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Great Lakes fish triumph over invaders

The story of invasive species usually goes something like a particularly dark zombie movie -- the invasive species kills everything else and thrives, changing the planet forever. But in the Great Lakes, a different story is playing out, one in which the natives win. In addition to evil zebra mussels, transatlantic shipping has brought a species known commonly as "the bloody red shrimp" to the Great Lakes. But according to a new study from Queens University, native fish are probably chowing down on these creepy, alien shrimp. Take that, invasive species! The fish were hungry, anyway, what with the way …

Read more: Animals, Food

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Uganda’s electric car is super cute

Meet the Kiira. It was built in Uganda, from parts mostly sourced in Uganda. It's a triumph of "African Science," a phrase that reminds this reporter of "gay parking," but whatever. And it is adoooooooorable. The Kiira is a two-seater that can go 50 miles on a charge, with a top speed of around 60 mph. It was built by students at Uganda's Makerere University, and not by Santa’s elves, like you might think from looking at it. Some people hate the Kiira. But some people club baby fur seals to death, so whatever.

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Super cute video of penguins released after oil spill cleanup

If hanging out with the people who know just what a profoundly alone, naked ape you are has got you down, ThinkProgress has the cure for your post-Thanksgiving blues. Since a cargo ship leaked 350 tons of oil in New Zealand — marking the nation’s “most significant environmental maritime disaster” — more than 2,000 seabirds have died. In some good news, the New Zealand wildlife facility has now freed 49 of the 343 rescued penguins.

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Pardoned turkeys go to Disneyland

Did you know that the turkey pardoned by the president then gets shipped off to Disneyland or Disney World to lead the Thanksgiving parade? (It seems like short notice -- maybe they only pardon turkeys who can already twirl a baton.) I didn't, but that's because I haven't thought about turkey pardoning nearly as deeply as Michael P. Branch, who has an awesome essay about the phenomenon in Orion magazine. Branch provides historical background on the turkey-pardoning rigmarole, including a destined-to-be-immortal Obama quote: "There are certain days that remind me of why I ran for this office. And then there …

Read more: Animals

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Don’t look now, but some turkey has antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Not to put a damper on your Thanksgiving or anything, but there are two new studies showing that drug-resistant bugs like MRSA are showing up in farmed meat, including turkey. Farm animals get fed a cocktail of antibiotics, which can create resistant strains of bacteria. It's been hard (though not impossible) to determine whether that's happened in the U.S., but these studies are more evidence that it has. One study found 27 staph-tainted samples among 165 samples of beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. Only two cases, both pork, were MRSA, but the non-MRSA staph, which included seven tainted turkey samples, …

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XKCD illustrates the cost of electricity

The webcomic XKCD usually has pretty stripped-down images, and saves its complexity for the jokes. But when creator Randall Munroe gets his hands on some data, he can make an infographic you could get lost in. The above (click to embiggen) is just a tiny section of his epic chart comparing how much money gets spent on various things. We pulled it out because it's a nice visual representation of the cost of electricity -- each of those yellow boxes represents a billion dollars you'd have to spend to provide the U.S. electricity for a year. But you should also go …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Your TV is an even bigger piggy than you are

There are two grand traditions to observe on Thanksgiving: eating a whole bunch and watching a whole bunch of football on TV. And in terms of energy use, it turns out your TV is much more of glutton than you are. The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance has been working to sell consumers on energy-efficient TVs (they call them "Energy Forward") and they have created this delectable infographic to show exactly how much grub you could have prepared with the energy you wasted on your television.

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Google drops renewable energy program

Google announced yesterday that it's trashing its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal program, or or RE<C, as part of its "spring cleaning." (Ugh, Californians. It is nothing like spring right now.) This move puts RE<C in the same category as Google Wave, which was useless from the first moment it existed and was also offed in this (mushy, rainy, cold, November) round of housecleaning. Google wants us to know that it's not giving up on green altogether, although the "green energy czar" who worked on RE<C also left the company this month. The RE<C page now urges visitors to check …

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‘Mountain tsunamis’ are a thing; threaten Himalayas

The kingdom of Bhutan, famous for maximizing "Gross National Happiness" rather than GDP, is sitting under a gigantic time bomb of water that could burst at any moment, flooding its villages and putting a major damper on all that good cheer. Bhutan has 2,674 glacial lakes, 24 of which are considered unstable. When the ice dams holding them back burst -- as happened in 1994, killing dozens -- they lead to "mountain tsunamis." Long-term, the bigger danger isn't too much water, but too little. Forty percent of the country's wealth comes from its hydroelectric dams, and its farmers rely on …