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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Inspector general will investigate Keystone XL

According to a memo posted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the State Department's inspector general will conduct an investigation into the Keystone XL permitting process. Fourteen members of Congress requested an audit two weeks ago, citing irregularities in the environmental review for the pipeline.  Just to recap: At TransCanada's suggestion, the State Department hired environmental contractor Cardno Entrix to conduct the environmental review. But Cardno Entrix considers TransCanada a "major client," which means they are ... maybe not the most objective choice?  But never fear, the inspector general will get to the bottom of this. Apparently the review "will include …

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Is post-Jobs Apple going to stop poisoning China?

While Steve Jobs was head of Apple, the company was one of "America's least philanthropic companies," lacking even a basic corporate charitable arm. Apple also often seemed reluctant to green its operations. But under new CEO Tim Cook, that might be about to change. In the meantime, many of Apple's suppliers are still poisoning the environment and their employees. Ma [Jun, director of China's Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs] recalls one factory worker -- an 18 year-old girl -- who was poisoned while working for an Apple supplier. "After half a year [at work] she couldn't walk properly and …

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Beijing denies air pollution while party elites get home air purifiers

While China's citizenry are dying in record numbers owing to catastrophic levels of urban air pollution, the country's leaders are breathing Perri-Air. That is, their offices and homes use elaborate, expensive air filters to prevent the country's elites from having to breathe the same toxic shit as the plebes in the street. Meanwhile, the government reports negligible levels of pollution that don’t come close to requiring personal air supplies. But the U.S. embassy in Beijing is reporting air pollution levels that don't exactly toe the party line, leading China's official environment ministry to accuse the Americans of "hype." The embassy's readings, published …

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Keystone XL would be right on top of latest Oklahoma earthquakes

Red: proposed route for Keystone XL Orange star: epicenter of Saturday's magnitude 5.6 earthquake in Oklahoma, which buckled a highway and cracked a building. The state is currently recovering from the quake and bracing for storms. A decade hence, if Keystone XL were running straight through the state, would they also be dealing with a major oil spill?

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One-wheeled electric motorcycle is like a Segway, but cool

Sure, the RYNO looks like the hideous progeny of a motorcycle and a unicycle (nobody likes to talk about that night behind the circus tents), but it could be your new means of urban transportation. It runs off a lithium-ion battery that recharges in 90 minutes, has a smaller footprint than a Vespa, and is easily maneuvered even in a group of pedestrians. With a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a top incline capacity of 30 degrees, its range and capabilities are pretty similar to a bike. But come on, some days you're just tired.

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Most honey isn’t really honey

Chances are, that stuff sittng in the plastic bear in your pantry doesn't technically qualify as honey. The FDA requires honey to have microscopic particles of pollen, which allow the honey to be traced to its source so regulators can be sure it comes from safe origins. But nearly all of the honey that's sold commercially in the U.S. has been filtered to get rid of that pollen. It could basically come from anywhere. And that means it's not honey, according to the FDA's definition. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that's been ultra-filtered …

Read more: Food, Food Safety

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We could replace coal power with geothermal — 10 times over

The United States has so many viable spots for producing geothermal energy -- i.e. tapping into the heat of the Earth’s core to generate power -- that the country's geothermal potential is equivalent to "10 times the amount of coal capacity in place today," according to Climate Progress. Southern Methodist University developed this geothermal map in partnership with Google. The western half of the country has the greatest potential for geothermal development, but there are hot spots elsewhere -- check out that orange spot in the Northeast. That's in coal country and provides a way to keep jobs while shutting …

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Texas drought threatens to take away pecan pie

First it came for the wine and bacon. Then it came for the coffee and chocolate. Now, climate change (or, to be specific, the drought in Texas that's consistent with weather patterns that climate scientists have predicted) is threatening to take away pecan pie and RUIN THANKSGIVING. According to the Southwest Farm Press, early reports say that Texas could produce 40 percent fewer pecans this year, compared to last. Nuts are expensive already, and the shortage will mean that pecans will be more expensive this year -- $10 to $12 a pound for in-shell pecans, likely higher for the shelled …

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Handy image shows how climate deniers manipulate data

This image from Skeptical Science is a great illustration of how data can be manipulated to serve your purpose. It shows how skeptics point to small declines in temperature by comparing warm years with cold ones seven to 10 years later -- but if you trace the trend over 40 years, you see an obvious warming pattern. Temperatures may cycle over the decades, but each cycle gets a little warmer.

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Critical List: Thousands protest Keystone XL; Mongolia shovels coal into China

An estimated 10,000 Keystone XL protesters circled the White House this weekend, as the White House edged towards a decision on the pipeline. The ring of protesters was stacked five people deep. Green groups are threatening the Obama administration with political repercussions if the pipeline goes forward. If environmentalists withhold their support, it could have a serious effect on Obama’s reelection chances. In international relations, the Queen of England's birthday takes precedence over dealing with climate change. In the EPA's pollution program, even plants that are "high priority violators" of the Clean Air Act can end up ignored for more …