Grist List

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.”)

Clean Air

Clean air ad featuring asthmatic kids is dangerously adorable

The Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) did a really good job at tugging every heartstring available in this new ad: Seriously, how much do you want to cry now? Maybe they really should send asthmatic kids into Congress as lobbyists. NRDC and Sierra Club are doing the closest thing possible without running afoul of child labor laws — they’re running the ad in Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and D.C. So when a legislator comes home from a hard day on the Hill and settles in to watch Two and Half Men — bam! — now he’s crying …

Critical List: Too many tornadoes; scientists help plant seeds reach Antarctica

Super Tuesday results: The rich guy who would be terrible for the environment won primaries in six states, the scary evangelist who would be terrible for the environment won three, and the sad nerd who should know better but would probably be terrible for the environment just to fit in won one. March has already blown through its typical allotment of tornadoes. Certain industrial chemicals give rise to ADHD. Flame retardants, which are in tons of kids’ products, are also linked with learning disorders. Basically, the only way to keep a kid safe from chemicals is to wrap her up …

Smart Cities

Meet the skyscrapers of the future: Band-Aids, balloon forests, and underwater spheres

This theoretical skyscraper, the winner of eVolo’s annual skyscraper design competition, would collect, purify, and store water in the Himalayas, helping to conserve and regulate it. It looks like a half pack of cigarettes in fancy holders, but it’s not even the weirdest-looking skyscraper, not by a long shot. Below are some of the strange shapes that might crop up in the skyline of our more sustainable future.

Animals

Study: Woolly mammoths are extinct and it’s YOUR FAULT

There’s been some dispute in scientific circles about whether the woolly mammoths died out because of natural variations in climate, or because of the malign influence of roving bands of humans. Turns out it’s a little from column A, a little from column B — meaning that if we actually do manage to clone a mammoth, it’ll probably kick off instantly due to a combination of humans, climate change, and human-caused climate change.

Living

California’s closed state parks to be overrun by pot growers, people willing to pee in the woods

In just a few months, California will close dozens of state parks. But what does that actually mean? KQED, a rad West Coast public radio station, has a series looking deeper into the issue, and from what we can tell, closing state parks means nature’s on the loose with NO ADULT SUPERVISION. Now, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. The parks will still be open to the public. But the services will be gone. So if you want to pee at a closed state park, you will have to pee in the woods. The trails won’t …

Cleantech

This lamp absorbs 150 times more CO2 than a tree

It's still in the "so crazy it just might work" stage, but microalgae-powered lamps could absorb a ton of carbon from the air every year.

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