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Grist List: Look what we found.


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The Dead Sea may not be so dead after all

The planet is kind of amazing sometimes. Researchers have discovered plumes of fresh water at the bottom of the Dead Sea, deeper than any previous plumes that had been found. And around the plumes: life. Even though most microbes that live in salt die in fresh water and vice versa, some tough little buggers are hanging on in a space where salinity shifts constantly. The top of the springs’ rocks are covered with green biofilms, which use both sunlight and sulfide -- naturally occurring chemicals from the springs -- to survive. Exclusively sulfide-eating bacteria coat the bottoms of the rocks …

Read more: Animals

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Critical List: Invasive species jump the border; Gulf sheen not BP’s fault

While U.S. border monitors were busy looking for terrorists in cargo containers, a slew of invasive species slipped unnoticed into the country. Whatever that sheen in the Gulf is, it's not BP's fault, okay?? If carbon is a risk (and it is!), the market should adjust for that, valuing companies with high "exposure to climate change" less than those that are climate-resilient. But since markets don't seem to ever do what they should in theory, that hasn't happened yet. Electric vehicles are only as climate-positive as the electric grid that fuels them, so in places like China where coal-fired electricity …

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Talking motorbike runs on poop. That is all.

Here's a bike that runs on biogas from human poo, writes messages in the air, plays music, and features a talking toilet. Is it even worth making jokes about this? Is it even POSSIBLE? The bike is made by Japanese toilet manufacturer TOTO, and thankfully it does not appear to be headed for mass production -- it's a publicity tool to help TOTO raise environmental awareness. The company hopes its green initiatives will help reduce CO2 emissions in bathrooms by 50 percent by 2017 (no word on methane emissions). The bike is intended to draw attention to these environmental goals, …

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Discarded glass bottles can be used to clean up water

Unless you're stranded on a desert island, you should not throw empty glass bottles in the water. But you SHOULD apparently grind up those bottles, mix the ground glass with lime and caustic soda, and put that in the water to clean out toxic heavy metals. The U.K. has backlogs of brown and green glass, because there's less recycling demand for the colored bottles than there is for clear ones. Now Dr. Nichola Coleman of the University of Greenwich has discovered that the unwanted glass can be used to filter water. The mixture of glass and caustic materials, heated at …

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Australian golf course is infested with sharks

Hey, remember that rumor that sharks were roaming the streets after the Queensland floods earlier this year? That may well have been reality. This Brisbane golf course is infested with 10-foot sharks, who washed into the water hazards during a previous giant flood.  The sharks aren't really hurting anyone, except the local kids who used to earn some money fishing balls out of the lake, and they're actually kind of an attraction, so the golf course has let them stay. It makes you wonder what future floods might have in store, though. Sharks in the swimming pools? Sharks in the …

Read more: Animals

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This is going to be the greatest documentary on the Arctic and Antarctic EVER

This month the BBC is debuting Frozen Planet, a Planet Earth-style nature doc that focuses on the Arctic and Antarctic. This is going to be massive, gorgeous, and probably depressing: The last of its seven episodes is all about the effect of climate change on the stunning vistas and incredible animals you've met in the first six parts. But it's narrated by David Attenborough, whose dulcet tones will comfort you.

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A day in the life of John Q. Public and his electric car

Kevin Day is just some dude who bought a Nissan Leaf and is kinda in love with it. Even with a daily 30-mile commute, he only has to charge it once every three days; he appreciates its fast pickup and ultra-quiet ride; and it saves him about $100 a month in gas. (As one commenter put it, "I'm a proud new owner too and it's amazing to just drive right past the gas station -- forever.") Watching this video, it's the very mundanity of his experience with an electric car that's the most remarkable thing of all. It's just … …

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Surprise! Europe's climate policy is working

According to figures released today as part of the European Commission's annual report on its progress to meeting its Kyoto targets, E.U. greenhouse-gas emissions for 2010 were 15.5 percent below 1990 levels despite economic growth of 41 percent over the same period. This means the E.U. is well on its way to meeting its emissions targets from the Kyoto treaty -- the one Bush Sr. refused to sign -- which requires 20 percent cuts in Europe's emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. In fact, the E.U. is likely to overshoot this target, which has inspired some member states, like France, …

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Climate change is the reason kids don't go outside anymore

Only one in 10 kids goes outside every day. It's hard to see how this is possible, unless the other 90 percent are Morlocks, but maybe shuttling between the front door and the air-conditioned interior of mom and dad's SUV doesn't count. Anyway, the Nature Conservancy asked hundreds of kids why they didn't spend more time outside. Their number one answer? "80 percent said it was uncomfortable to be outdoors due to things like bugs and heat." Maybe they’re whiny whinersons, but maybe they’re on to something. In case the arrival of autumn's first breezes has made you forgetful, we …

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U.S. is freaking out over tiny E.U. carbon tax on air travel

Long ago, in a land far, far away, where it seemed possible that carbon cap-and-trade would be a thing that we all got on board with, the European Union decided it would make sense to include air travel in its carbon trading scheme, because flying on planes is one of the most carbon-intensive activities that humans engage in. But — psych! — turned out no one (*cough* Congress *cough*) really wanted to deal with carbon. The E.U., however, did not get that memo and still wants to charge American airlines for the carbon they emit on their way to Europe. …