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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Finally, celebrities come up with some real global warming solutions

We need fresh, innovative, attention-grabbing new ideas for combating global warming, and the Clinton Foundation Celebrity Division is on the case. That Kristen Wiig is really on to something -- I'm gonna go hold my breath right now. 

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Secret Antarctic mountains will help us understand Earth’s climate history

Deep underneath the Antarctic ice sheet are the Gamburtsev mountains, a mountain range the size of the Alps. Scientists are finally piecing together the story of their creation, destruction, and re-creation, and it could help with modeling future climate conditions. The original Gamburtsev mountains, kicked up by continental drift, were eroded down to the root over the course of hundreds of millions of years. When the continent started to break apart again, somewhere between 250 and 100 million years ago, the shifting warmed the mountain's root, and its seismic activity raised the mountains back up. Finally, glaciers first carved out deeper …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Lobbyists scoff at the idea of children’s health

The New York Times has a big article about the fight for ozone regulation, which apparently was pretty much EPA chief Lisa P. Jackson versus the world. It's an interesting meditation on the power of buzzwords -- namedropping "the economy" and "jobs" helped neutralize support for the regulations, even though analyses showed that they wouldn't have significant economic effect. But it's also an illustration of how calculating lobbyists and other political gamesmen can be. Here's how the chief lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce described Jackson's stance on ozone regulations:  “Lisa is very smart, cordial, friendly,” Mr. Josten said …

Read more: Politics

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Surprise! Koch-funded anti-Solyndra ad is ‘mostly false’

Here's an anti-Solyndra ad put out by Americans For Prosperity. It is wrong. And it's been viewed 1 million times on YouTube alone, not to mention millions more on television. Which just goes to show you that if you give the people what they want, they will eat it up like delicious candied bacon, because who doesn't like having their completely ridiculous prejudices reinforced at the expense of truth and our country's future economic prosperity? Here are just a few of its by-now-canonical-on-Fox-News lies: The ad says that "friends of Obama" benefited from the loan, but it references a Daily …

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Thanksgiving turkeys can’t have sex because their breasts are too big

Steven Dubner, of Freakonomics fame, recently told Marketplace that almost 100 percent of Thanksgiving turkeys are the product of artificial insemination. The problem, apparently, is Americans' appetite for gigantic breasts. "The modern turkey has quite large turkey breasts, and it actually physically gets in the way when the male and the female try to create offspring," says Julie Long of the USDA. That never seems to be a problem in porn! This may be industrial agriculture at its most absurd, but it's far from automated. Dubner: A team of workers has to pick up each male breeder, the tom, which …

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Giant robot snake fights spider, provokes climate change conversation

"Primordial spirits have been stirring … " "A provocative omen on the eve of catastrophe … " It will "roam the earth terrifying and enlightening those who dare to ride … along the razor's edge between hope and fear … " TITANOBOA! Okay, so the copy promoting Titanoboa sounds like it came from a bad monster movie. But if you had a GIGANTIC ROBOTIC SNAKE that could "battle" (i.e. slither around the same warehouse space as) a GIGANTIC ROBOTIC SPIDER, you might get a little dramatic, too. On a more serious note, the geniuses behind Titanoboa took inspiration from the …

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Techno music kills dolphins

A "techno party" in Switzerland may have killed a dolphin at a nearby aquarium. The dolphin declined and died suddenly over the course of a couple of hours, and animal protection groups are concerned that loud music from the 16-hour party, which was less than 60 yards from the facility, stressed the animal to death. Or possibly it just really, REALLY wasn't into techno. The local veterinary authority is saying that the music wasn't loud enough to kill anything: [T]he Veterinary Office from canton Thurgau saw no reason to ban the party, arguing that the facility where it would take …

Read more: Animals

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Minneapolis house gets by without a furnace or fireplace

A lot of people talk a good game about passive heating, but are they willing to face getting through a Minneapolis winter with no furnace and no fireplace? Paul Brazelton is. He recently finished retrofitting his home to become one of less than two dozen passivhauses in the U.S., which will mean facing 20-below winters with nothing but two small space heaters to heat a 2,000-foot home. He and his family had better hope passive heating works. Luckily, it does, and it can mean energy savings of 75 to 90 percent. It does require a LOT of work, though: Desiree and …

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Critical List: Carbon regulation starting; Chu to testify on Solyndra

A plant in Texas has qualified for the first greenhouse-gas permit in the United States. Any new project that affects greenhouse-gas concentrations will need to have one in the future -- though, unlike this one, the permits won’t usually come from the EPA. Texas has just refused to issue its own greenhouse permits. Because we should leave regulation up to the states! Energy Secretary Steven Chu will be on the Hill today talking about the never-ending non-scandal that is Solyndra. Here's a different story about the solar industry: A silicon-based solar panel maker says business is looking up. Paul R. …

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Icelandic moonbow plus Northern Lights is methadone for your nature-starved eyeballs

Iceland sits just below the Arctic circle, at the confluence of multiple ocean currents, which means it a) has the Northern Lights and b) gets tons of rain so is covered with waterfalls. No doubt the descendants of Norsemen chant heartily whenever they behold this rare confluence of events:

Read more: Animals