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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Funniest thing in months: Conan O’Brien’s parody of Ron Paul’s campaign video

Ron Paul made a campaign video that borders on self-parody, and if you haven't seen it, do yourself the favor of watching it immediately. Keep in mind when you do that the budget cuts Paul is touting will come in part from eliminating the EPA (in addition to basically every other damn thing). Then watch Conan O'Brien's parody of it, above. Honestly, what’s crazier in the long run -- killing the EPA or issuing every citizen a rusty pipe? YOU MAKE THE CALL but it’s not the pipe.

Read more: Election 2012, Politics

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Polar bears may be driven to cannibalism by climate change

If you watch nature shows, you know that male bears see cubs as tasty little McNuggets with fur, so it's not like one bear eating another is a big deal. Except that in the Arctic, polar bears are increasingly deprived of the sea ice they rely on to access seals and other tasty mammalian treats. This has led to speculation that, trapped on land where there's no food, they may be resorting to cannibalism at rates significantly higher than before. Jenny Ross, a photojournalist who says she’s been seeing higher instances of bear-on-bear action, told the BBC: Predating another bear …

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Coming soon: Street View-style maps of the country’s endangered rivers

Internet time-wasters, start your engines. A nonprofit called Below the Surface is gearing up to map 27 of the country's most endangered rivers using the same technology that gave the world Google Street View. That means 360-degree shots of beautiful, polluted, shrinking, over-tapped waterways for the world to click on (and, hopefully, get fired up about). This endeavor, called the Riverview Project, earned Below the Surface's two founders, a couple of smart surfers, the distinction of being Outside's 2012 "readers of the year." They'll be updating readers about the project's progress on the magazine's website. And since we can't resist …

Read more: Pollution

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Critical List: Same old U.S. and China at COP talks; Warren Buffett’s solar farm

At the COP talks, the United States is driving all the other countries crazy. The U.S. response: "What, us?" China's conditions for a climate deal include the demand that it and other growing economies would have to meet different standards than rich countries. So, essentially, nothing has changed. Warren Buffett's buying Topaz Solar Farm, a California project worth $2 billion. Is Silicon Valley taking over the auto industry from Detroit? Gainesville, Fla., ranks between Japan and Spain on per capita solar power.

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Study: The climate is changing faster than species can adapt

Whatever the Republican candidates for president may have told you, climate change and evolution are both realities of nature. But it turns out that in a fight-to-the-death throwdown, climate change would win by a mile. A new study published in the journal PLoS One has found that over the next 90 years, the climate in North America will change faster than species can adapt.  The rate at which species can change to adapt to their environment tracks with the climate's change rate over the last 300,000 years. The climate variations in that time have been nothing to sneeze at -- …

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‘Organic water’ is a thing now

A German brand of bottled water called BioKristall has gotten the official go-ahead to market itself as organic water. That's right, not a single pesticide was used to keep away the insects that feed on water crops, and it didn't need any chemical fertilizer either. Thank goodness SOMEBODY cares about our health. Okay, now all the Lululemon-wearers have gone to petition their local Whole Foods to import BioKristall. The rest of you are probably saying "wtf, isn't all water organic," and indeed a watchdog group said exactly that, and they said it in court. But somehow, even though their case …

Read more: Food, Organic Food

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Samsung’s new Zombocalypse-proof appliances

Samsung's new line of energy-efficient, even solar-powered appliances that are robust in the face of power fluctuations and outages were built for Africa (that’s why they’re called “Built for Africa”), but they have “catastrophist stocking stuffer” written all over them. And Samsung knows it -- how else can we explain their promo shots? This girl is like "hey, power's out because of peak coal, but whatever, I'm just hanging out on this ad-hoc mesh network, IMing with my friends in Taiwan about the spot price of palm oil, 'sup." As part of the company's new "Built for Africa [and also …

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Potato chip advertising is a perfect metaphor for income inequality, says science

A study just published in Gastronomica proves that appealing to our tribal identifications is hardly the sole domain of liquor and cigarettes. The authors use "the language of food to examine the representation of socioeconomic class identity in contemporary America by comparing the advertising language on expensive bags of potato chips with that on inexpensive chips." The results: More expensive potato chips are too busy trying to distance themselves from low-class potato chips to even mention how presumably delicious they are. [D]escriptions on expensive chips, unlike on inexpensive chips, are full of comparison (“less fat,” “finest potatoes”) and negation (“not,” …

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Eating rice raises risk of arsenic exposure

Sometimes it just feels like we should give up eating, particularly if "we" are "pregnant women." A new study links rice consumption with higher levels of arsenic in the bloodstream, which can increase the risks of infant mortality and low birth weight. Most arsenic exposure comes from water, and the study found that 10 percent of its subjects' tap water had levels of arsenic higher than the EPA allows. But rice is also better at absorbing arsenic from water than most other crops are. And while China is on top of this (not surprisingly), the U.S. and the E.U. have …

Read more: Food, Food Safety

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Clean energy investment tops $1 trillion

Somewhere, sometime in the past few weeks, the trilionth dollar to be invested in clean energy made its way into the budget of some co-generation plant, wind farm, solar company, or electric vehicle innovator. To be more specific, this is the trillionth dollar to be invested since Bloomberg New Energy Finance started counting in 2004. Here's what the group's analysts know about this mysterious investment: Like the recent birth of the world's seven billionth baby, it is impossible to pinpoint with certainty the one trillionth dollar of investment. However it is almost certain it took place during the last two …