Grist List

Cities

Young people expect the future to look like Thunderdome

Why do young people view the future as a dire place, even as their elders seem oblivious to the triple threat of climate change, resource scarcity, and growing inequality?

Family

Birth control still one of Obama’s best environmental policies

The Obama administration is expected to propose a birth-control compromise today for Catholic-run institutions that don’t want to pay for their employees to avoid pregnancy. New federal rules guarantee free contraception coverage, but a narrow exception already exists for Catholic churches that don’t believe in not having babies. The compromise would still allow women to access contraception but would not make objecting employers pay for it directly. Update: Here’s a fact sheet with details about the compromise. The upshot: Religious employers aren’t required to pay for birth control, but if they don’t cover it, the woman’s insurance company has to …

Biking

Build a side-by-side bicycle for Valentine’s Day

Nothing says “I love you” like a bicycle that forces you and your partner to cooperate to the point of absurdity, so Instructables user Carlitos has posted specs for a bike modification that places two riders side by side. If you have access to a welder and a good source of junker bike parts, you can make this your weekend project and be done in time for V-Day.

Animals

Representative thinks oil pipeline will help caribou get laid

Foolish enviros might think that oil pipelines are bad for wildlife, what with the habitat-destroying and whatnot. But Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert (Texas) is an expert on ungulate romance, and he knows the score: Oil pipelines are the caribou equivalent of a hotel room with a heart-shaped bed, a champagne glass-shaped hot tub, and a Charles Koch-shaped semen stain on the bedspread.

Living

Grand Canyon gives Coke the finger, bans bottled water

Once upon a time, there was going to be a ban on the sale of bottled water at the Grand Canyon, because apparently people can’t be trusted to tell the difference between a majestic natural wonder and a public rubbish bin. Then the Coca-Cola company got them to reverse the ban, because apparently selling a hundred squillion dollars worth of product everywhere else in the world counts for balls if you can’t have your brand on the litter at America’s oldest tourist attraction. Now, apparently, Grand Canyon officials have gotten tired of all this chicanery and decided to bring the …

Animals

Squirrel is purple

A couple from Jersey Shore, Penn. (not that Jersey Shore), trapped a purple squirrel who was getting into their bird feeders. This is obviously awesome, but we felt you might have some questions. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT A PURPLE SQUIRREL:

Election 2012

Santorum warns of ‘reign of environmental terror’

Rick Santorum's latest approach to environmental conservation seems to be that liberals are a form of psychological terrorists, using guilt and science to distort the truth and frighten real Americans into sheeplike compliance.

Critical List: IG blesses State’s Keystone work; fair trade gasoline

The State Department’s inspector general has delivered his report on the Keystone XL environmental review process, and concludes that TransCanada did not improperly influence the assessment. The gist of the report is that the review wasn’t corrupt, just incompetent. Two nuclear new reactors have been approved, the first ones since 1978. The Pennsylvania government could actually levy fees on hydrofracking projects.

Cities

Florida missed out on $41 million a year by turning down high-speed rail

When Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down $2 billion in federal money to build a high speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, one of his arguments was that it would be a burden on the state. But documents obtained by the Tampa Tribune indicate that independent consultants found the system would be turning a profit of $35 to $41 million a year by its 10th year of operation.

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