Grist List

Critical List: ‘Super fracking’; pollution threatens Lake Titicaca

Natural gas companies are looking into "super fracking," which uses larger, deeper cracks and draws power from our planet’s yellow sun. West Virginians, Pennsylvanians, and Ohioans are all hoping that Shell will choose to build a petrochemical refinery in their state, because the plant promises jobs. Maybe it's time to abandon Ulysses S. Grant's laws for federal land, which dictate that hard-rock mining is the best use for any plot.

One day you will play a video game with a pig

As any Portlandia fan knows, ethical meat-eaters don't just want their food to be humanely raised and humanely slaughtered. They also want it to have had a happy life. And it turns out that what makes pigs have a happy life is video games. Seriously -- pigs like to snuffle at flashing lights, which is basically Galaga. Accordingly, ethical farming researchers at Wageningen University are working with designers from the Utrecht School of the Arts to develop a human/pig interactive gaming app. The game, called Pig Chase, is designed to relieve some of the tedium of being a pig on a farm -- bored pigs aren't just a bummer for Portlandia food snobs, they're also more cranky and aggressive.

Oil industry gives $12 million to pro-Keystone legislators

An independent research group has analyzed oil industry contributions to Congress, and figures that President Obama is staring down a $12 million barrel of political opposition on Keystone XL. Some of that is going out in huge chunks -- 16 Republican House members and one Democrat have received $100,000 or more in contributions from the oil lobby, and lo and behold, the representatives are all voting just the way their evil overlords would like them to. But the industry is also spreading the wealth around. A total of 118 House members list the oil and gas industry among their top 10 contributors, and most of them are toeing the line as well. Update: An earlier version of this post had "anti-Keystone" in the headline because, I don't know, I'm an idiot? Anyway, PRO.