Grist List

Animals

Oh my god, now there’s a live polar bear cam??

Apologies to anyone who thought they were ever going to get anything accomplished ever again.

Biofuel

In 2014, corn biofuel is out, wood biofuel is in

Biofuel sounds like a pretty good idea — down with power plants, up with regular plants! — but if the country switches over to corn ethanol we will basically be unable to grow any other crops. A new study has calculated that corn destined for ethanol production would have to take over 80 percent of current farmland in order for the country to meet current biofuel goals. But next generation biofuels can come from many other plants besides corn. And for the first time, they might be commercially viable.

Nuclear

Map shows what a U.S. Fukushima could have looked like

With the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima reactor crisis approaching, the Natural Resources Defense Council has put together a mapping tool that lets you envision what could have happened if one of the 104 U.S. reactors had suffered a similar accident. The take-home message: If you live on the East Coast, you’re practically guaranteed to be in some power plant’s 50-mile contamination zone.

Critical List: Solar storm to hit today; the U.S. is a net exporter of petroleum products

Solar storm a-comin’! Batten down the planet! Seriously, it’s today and it’s supposed to be the strongest in six years, which is confusing because the one two months ago was supposed to be the strongest in seven years and how does THAT work? Anyway, it could “disrupt power grids, satellites, oil pipelines, and high-accuracy GPS systems.” Barack Obama announced $1 billion in government support for alternative vehicles yesterday. Here’s the official James Hansen “I’m just a reticent midwestern scientist” TED talk (sponsored by Goldman Sachs?). He explains why he decided to get arrested in front of the White House. The …

Climate & Energy

Entire nation of Kiribati has to move to avoid rising seas

The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is moving up in the world -- but not in the good way. The small country is looking to relocate to higher ground in order to escape rising seas brought on by climate change.

Climate & Energy

New Melbourne restaurant runs on your pee

Melbourne’s Greenhouse restaurant wants your patronage. But more importantly, it wants your pee. That’s right — this pop-up restaurant, which is open from March 2 through the 21st in honor of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, wants you to get all up in its custom-made toilets. The green eatery is collecting human urine and using it to fertilize soybean and canola crops. The restaurant, which is designed by Joost Bakker who is clearly a maniac, then uses unrefined canola oil to generate electricity for all of its operations. Urine may seem an unorthodox energy source, but it is actually …

Animals

Japanese zoo tries to make endangered alligators have sex

There are only 150 or so Chinese alligators left in the wild, which means that if they had any sense of mortality, these critters would be breeding like crazy. But apparently they don’t have the “survival of the fittest” will to reproduce, or maybe they just have a headache. So one Japanese zoo tried to set the mood by beating taiko drums, “because of its similarity to the animals’ natural pre-coital cry,” reports Agence-France Presse.

Animals

Meet the awesome dogs that are stamping out elephant poaching

A park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo employs a lean, mean team of adorable hounds to take on elephant poachers.

Politics

Limbaugh mocks food justice writer for being an educated single woman

Well, I have a new career goal: Get publicly mocked by Rush Limbaugh for winning too many awards. Food justice writer and occasional Grist contributor Tracie McMillan achieved that honor yesterday, and I’m sure she’s feeling duly chastened for having the temerity to write successful books while being a lady and unmarried and in various other ways not Rush Limbaugh. (Rush fans: “Temerity” is “balls.”)

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