Grist List

Critical List: Oil sands carbon footprint revised upwards; new frog discovered in NYC

Oil sands have an even higher carbon footprint than previously thought: No one was counting carbon released when the drilling operations destroy peatlands. In 2011, solar installers put in twice as many solar panels as they did in 2010. The transportation bill now includes a natural gas amendment that fulfills energy magnate T. Boone Pickens’ wildest dreams. New York does have nature! It just takes a few scientists from Jersey to find it. A Rutgers doctoral candidate identified a new species of leopard frog that lives in and around New York City. He first heard its croak on a jaunt …

Food

Trans fats linked to acting like a jerk

When New York City banned trans fats from local restaurants in 2006, it was trying to make its citizens healthier. Trans fatty acids — which, you’ll recall, are a type of unsaturated fat almost exclusively found in processed food — have a number of proven health effects, including raising bad cholesterol and lowering good cholesterol simultaneously. But, unbeknownst to municipal government, the ban may have also helped crime rates (and taken the edge off New Yorkers’ legendary surliness). According to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, trans fats are connected with aggressive behavior.

Food

Anheuser-Busch turns beer leftovers into usable products

Now you can feel good after knocking back a few brewskis — and not just because you’re tipsy. Beermaker Anheuser-Busch has found a way to turn its waste grain into an array of products, from clothes to cosmetics to biogas. The beer behemoth has partnered with a company called Blue Marble Bio, which plans to set up large-scale biorefineries at Anheuser-Busch breweries that will use naturally occurring bacteria to break down spent grains using proprietary “polyculture fermentation technology.” That process will create both biogas, which can be used to generate electricity, and chemical compounds called carboxylic acids that are used …

Animals

Shell hires dogs to detect oil spills in Arctic

Some of Shell’s newest employees are decidedly cuddlier than the middle-aged white dudes we typically associate with the oil behemoth. That’s because they’re a dachshund and two border collies. New information reveals that the company has experimented with using three dogs — Jippi, Blues, and Tara — as a cheap and effective way to detect oil spills in the Arctic. The dogs’ ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell — and other oil companies and government research organizations — in preparation for the industry’s entry into the forbidding Arctic …

Animals

This red panda is STUPID cute

Here’s your gobsmack of cuteness for today:

Biking

In New York City, stealing a bike is easy

If a bike gets stolen in the middle of New York City, does it make it a sound? With his own bike, a bunch of doomed locks, and a variety of tools, Casey Neistat (who you may remember from this video) proves that nope, it basically doesn’t. The film above is a 2005 version of this experiment. On a busy Tuesday, at well-trafficked locations like Union Square, Astor Place, and 14th Street, Casey and brother Van steal their own bike using a bolt cutter, hack saw, power tools, and a hammer and spike. They act as suspicious as possible. Sometimes, …

Energy Policy

Meet the worst Senate amendment that ever lived

A new amendment to the Senate transportation bill greenlights the Keystone XL pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, among other Big Oil monstrosities.

Urban Agriculture

Indoor farm in Brooklyn helps feed hundreds of families

In Bedford-Stuyvesant, an increasingly hip but historically low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, one food pantry is also an indoor farm. The New York Daily News visited the Child Development Support Corporation, where every Thursday morning clients harvest lettuce, bok choy, and collard greens that help feed hundreds of families. Right now the greens are all grown hydroponically indoors, but the farm has plans to expand, adding a rooftop garden with cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. It will also be offering hydroponics workshops and cooking demos.

Critical List: How red meat will kill you; Bo Obama photobomb

Eating red meat is really, REALLY bad for you, according to a study conducted by cows. I mean researchers at Harvard Medical School. Twin Creeks Technologies can make thin, bendable layers of silicon just 20 microns thick. So what? So cheaper solar panels, that’s what. In northern states, the amount of land covered in forest is increasing.

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