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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Watch a climate satellite get launched

NASA's new weather satellite -- which in typical NASA acronym-happy fashion, is called the NPP, standing for NPOESS Preparatory Project, standing for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System -- is a state-of-the-art way to measure climate impacts. The satellite will monitor ozone levels, temperatures, vegetation cover, ice cover, air pollution, and other effects of climate change, and will act as "the gateway to the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system." And it looked pretty awesome blasting off, too.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Snowstorm took it to the trees

Up and down the East Coast, millions of people are without power after the weekend's snowstorm. But the most severe damage the storm wreaked was on trees. Snow is particularly harsh on trees that still have green leaves on them: It's as if a person were caught out in a snow storm wearing a light sweater, fall skirt, and cute ballet flats instead of bundled up in a coat, scarf, and boots. Since this snow was so heavy and wet, it weighed down branches, which started cracking or bringing whole trees down. (That's why so many people lost power -- …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Critical List: 7 billionth baby born; OWS to use green generators

The world's 7 billionth baby has been born in the Philippines. (How do U.N. arbiters know she's the seven billionth? They don't: it’s just symbolic.) It snowed on the East Coast, and "virtually every site north of Maryland to Maine … recorded their greatest October snowfall on record." An energy storage company that received a loan from the government filed for bankruptcy; fingers crossed that we can all talk about Herman Cain's (real, problematic) sex scandal instead of this. Occupy Wall Street could switch over to bike-powered generators. One's already running. Wind power wants its production tax credit extended. The …

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This is the weekend we hit 7 billion

Well, the 7 billionth baby is expected to arrive around Halloween. Spooky! Here's what you should read to prepare. "I am the population problem." It's easy to blame developing countries, but if you want to find the source of the population problem, check the mirror. Population isn't just about counting heads. The impact of humanity on the environment is not determined solely by how many of us are around, but by how much stuff we use and how much room we take up. And as a financially comfortable American, I use a lot of stuff and take up a lot …

Read more: Living, Population

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Developing countries take the climate change bullet for the rest of us

Here's the 2012 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, produced by risk analysis firm Maplecroft, which shows the areas of the world that are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Does it remind you of anything? Maybe a reverse map of the biggest climate change offenders? (This isn't the first time people have put this together, but the new data offer a nice illustration of the principle.) Developed countries produce the most greenhouse gases, but developing countries take the brunt: [I]t is not until you go all the way down 103 on the list, out of 193 nations, that …

Read more: Uncategorized

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Great, we have three-eyed fish now

Fishermen trawling a nuclear-plant-fed reservoir in Córdoba, Argentina have caught a three-eyed wolf fish. Like everyone else who's writing about this story, I'm illustrating this post with a picture of Blinky, the nuclear fish from The Simpsons, because the real fish is super ugly.  They don't know for sure yet whether the fish's mutation is related to radiation from the power plant. (You'd sorta think it would be, huh? But we believe in the scientific process here.) After all, animals sometimes have truly weird mutations that have nothing to do with humans at all, let alone humans playing around with …

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Mitt Romney, political windsock, flips to climate change denial

If there's one thing Mitt Romney's good at, it's turning directly into whatever political winds are blowing through the Republican base. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that in a speech at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa., he just said this: My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us. This is 180 degrees different from the tune he was singing in June of this year. … I believe the world’s …

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Why does ABC News hate electric cars?

Elon Musk, billionaire founder of Skype, wants to revolutionize the landscape of American cars with his Tesla Motors Model S sedan. He's already got a contract with Toyota, and he's been lauded by every outlet that knows what the hell it's talking about. So why does ABC News want to smear Tesla as the next Solyndra? "The cringe-worthy fail [begins] in the intro, which sets the segment’s tone and frames the subsequent reporting," writes Mike Orcutt in The New Fuelist.  Host Terry Morgan leads with this: Two and a half years ago President Obama pushed a $787 billion stimulus bill …

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The Northern lights as you’ve never seen them before

As the International Space Station orbits Earth, it snaps images from a still camera affixed to its underside. String them together, and you get views of terrestrial phenomena as you've never seen them before. In this case, it’s the Aurora Borealis. The sun is in an active phase right now, leading to displays of "Northern" lights as far south as Alabama. Just a little reminder that there's no point in trying to save the planet if we don't occasionally pause to enjoy it.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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This Daily Show investigation of science will make you lolsob

I learned a lot from this Daily Show video where Aasif Mandvi tries to figure out what science is really up to. I learned that Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour is some kind of reverse zombie who can't stand to be around brains. I learned that Stephen Colbert's on-air persona is not as much of a caricature as I'd hoped. I learned that my husband is doing physics all wrong, because we haven't seen any "finantual" gains yet. Then I had to stop learning stuff because I was scared science would come and get me.