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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Kids in polluted cities show cognitive deficits

In New York City, for all its wonders, it's not uncommon still to hear the childless pronounce that they "could never imagine raising kids in the city." Turns out they might have a good reason for that. Although kids who grow up in cities have a certain worldliness about them, raising urban kids does have its drawbacks, like impaired cognitive function from exposure to air pollution. To be fair, the latest study that documented this problem centered on Mexico City, a place as polluted as they come. Of the 30 children studied, the ones who grew up in the city …

Read more: Cities, Pollution

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The kitchen of the future runs on leftovers

The kitchen of Philips Design's "Microbial Home" turns food waste into compost and cooking gas. Organic waste gets thrown in a "bio-digester," where specialized bacteria processes it into methane gas to fuel the range. Then the remaining solid matter is turned into compost. So the peelings from a potato might provide the heat to cook the potato and the fertilizer to grow more potatoes.  Philips calls it "an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input." You could also call it cradle-to-grave-to-cradle food production. And it's an elegant, nature-inspired way of making home appliances sustainable. The Microbial Home …

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Critical List: Keystone company calls route change ‘unconstitutional’; Perry hates Iowa

The Keystone XL company thinks changing the pipeline's route could be unconstitutional. Rick Perry appears to want to piss off Iowa. He's against ethanol and now wind subsidies. Fracking probably caused an earthquake in England. Michael Mann, one of the Climategate scientists, is still fighting off groups that want access to his email. Levi Strauss is getting in on climate action because the company is afraid jeans will get too expensive.

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Occupy Wall Street moves to bike power

Now that their gas generators have been seized, Occupy Wall Street is switching to a greener option: human power. Generator bikes can provide 100 hours of power per six hours of pedaling, which helps fuel OWS needs like heat, light, phones, and laptops. As you might have guessed from subtle messages in the above film, they need money to build more of them -- they've already met their $8,000 goal, but if you've been looking for a way to contribute to the OWS cause and green power simultaneously, maybe this is your chance.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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State Department rejects 94,000 public comments on Keystone XL

The Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign collected 296,000 written comments on Keystone XL, and submitted them by email to Cardno Entrix, the TransCanada-affiliated firm that evaluated the pipeline. When a bunch of the comments ended up "lost," they resubmitted them to the State Department. But, says Inside Climate News, the State Department didn't want 'em. From April through June, [campaign director Kate Colarulli's] organization worked with seven other anti-pipeline groups to collect 269,000 written comments from their members. They submitted them electronically to a Cardno Entrix email address set up for that purpose. But in July, when the Sierra Club …

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Republicans critical of Solyndra sought loan guarantees for coal, nuclear

There's ample evidence that pretty much everyone in Congress -- even vocal critics of the government’s investment in Solyndra -- is into loan guarantees for energy, whatever they tell the cameras after a few of these relatively risky ventures inevitably fail. Rep. John Boehner, for instance, requested loans to enrich uranium under the same loan guarantee program that governed Solyndra, and Rep. Fred Upton requested loans to finance four other clean energy programs. Republicans ... have said the failure of Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees, shows President Barack Obama was wrong to …

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Hypnotic video of wind turbine being erected in under 7 minutes

Turns out assembling a 364-foot-high wind turbine is just like playing with an impossibly enormous Erector set. This 1.5 MW turbine went up in Boston, where it will save its owner $350,000 in electricity costs every year.

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It will take at least 30 years to safely close Fukushima

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was shut down in March, after earthquake and tsunami damage led to meltdowns, radiation leaks, and evacuations. But an expert panel, convened by Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission, says that fully decommissioning the plant will take at least 30 years. Closing Fukushima Daiichi doesn't just mean shutting down damaged reactors. That part of the process is more or less complete. But the containment vessels now need to be repaired, which alone could take a decade. Only after they're fixed can workers begin removing fuel rods, a process that took 10 years at Three Mile Island and …

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Halloween a day late: IPCC digs into the really scary stuff of climate change

The International Panel on Climate Change is gearing up to release its next big report, and climate deniers are gearing up to poke futilely at it, claiming it's wrong in every way possible. But if you, like a normal human being, believe in science, you can get a sneak peek -- the Associated Press got its hands on part of the draft. Here are a few things the report says that we can expect: more droughts; more intense monsoons and flooding;  and hotter heat waves. The AP says that the new report focuses on these "harder-to-analyze freak events" that might …

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Sugary beverage companies are increasing advertising to kids

Despite promises to ease up on advertising to kids, the sugary beverage industry has been increasing marketing to children. If you’re keeping score at home, this is the opposite. They accomplished this feat with a diabolical genius: While pledging to keep their brands out of "television, radio, and print," brands like Coca-Cola have reached out to kids in the media the young 'uns are actually paying attention to -- social media, smartphones, cause-related marketing, and the like. And since everyone knows that soda is bad for you, sugary beverage companies have worked on hawking "fruit drinks," which tend to be …

Read more: Food