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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Walk Score's new apartment finder lets you build your perfect commute

Sure, there's a tool for finding the apartment with, say, the most bars in walking range. But eventually you're going to need to go to work, and if your commute is miserable, even having a bar for every day of the month won't save you. (Though it'll help.) Luckily, the Walk Score guys have put together a new tool that lets you search for an apartment based on how long it'll take you to get there from work. You enter your workplace and choose your preferred time -- up to an hour, because you're not insane, are you? -- and …

Read more: Cities

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Critical List: Nebraskans ‘debate’ Keystone XL; Yellowstone temps could rise 10 degrees

Are Nebraskans really “split” over the Keystone XL pipeline, as Canada’s ambassador says? Sounds like a whole lot them know what they want, which is not tar-sands oil running through their state. Homeowners who want solar panels but don’t want to pay a $30,000 installation cost could start paying utility bills to Google instead. The EPA’s pushing back the deadline for releasing fuel efficiency rules. The U.K. could have commercial tidal power within the next four years. And its government has wised up to the antics of climate skeptic Bjorn Lomberg and could pull his funding. Make sure you get …

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Check out this high-tech prosthetic for amputee cyclists

The Cadence leg prosthetic looks like something Chell from Portal might wear, but it's actually specially designed for riding a bike. Design student Seth Astle just won the James Dyson award for Cadence, which helps give below-the-knee amputees the fluid leg movement necessary to pedal a bike efficiently. 

Read more: Biking, Cities, Living

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Oil drilling wastes 100 million cubic feet of natural gas a day

Every day, oil companies burn 100 million cubic feet of natural gas -- not to power anything, but just because it's not oil and they don't need it. According to The New York Times, the North Dakota landscape is full of will-o-the-wisp plumes of fire where natural gas is burning off.  The burning of "waste" gas in North Dakota releases at least 2 million tons of CO2 every year, as much as a medium-sized coal power plant. And believe it or not, this isn't the worst option for what to do with this gas (though it isn't the best, either). …

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More than 100 tar-sands activists politely arrested in polite Canadian protest

On Monday, at least 400 protestors stormed -- or, more accurately, walked gently up to and tapped on the shoulder -- the Canadian parliament building in Ottawa to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. Over 100 people were arrested, charged with trespassing, and barred from coming near the parliament building for a year. But everybody was REALLY, REALLY POLITE about it. The Greenpeace-organized protest -- which, like Tar Sands Action in the U.S., attracted several celebrities -- was described by police as "orderly and peaceful." Protestors climbed over a police fence to swarm the building, but they lined up neatly to …

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Grow a real garden in a LEGO greenhouse

Well, here's an innovative urban gardening solution -- a greenhouse made of transparent LEGO bricks that grows real plants in LEGO mulch. Okay, so this is just an art installation on display in London's Covent Garden, and the LEGO "soil" is shoveled on top of pots full of regular non-plastic dirt. And if it weren't funded by LEGO as a promotional thingy, it would cost approximately a squillion dollars to build. But come on:  LEGO? Gardening? LONDON??? We can't resist anything that brings so much awesome together into a delicious awesomeness sandwich (made with LEGO-grown lettuce, natch).

Read more: Food, Urban Agriculture

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People know how to eat better, they just can't afford it

We know, we know -- you just got done patting yourself on the back over that New York Times graphic showing that healthy food is cheaper than fast food. If you were operating on a really tight budget, we're sure you'd be able to pull off super-wholesome eating for your whole family! Here's the thing, though: For most actual poor people, it's not that simple. A Seattle nonprofit surveyed more than 200 low-income women and found that they know how to cook healthy food -- they just lack access. It's not only about how much an individual meal costs, but …

Read more: Food

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How DIY and the ‘IKEA effect’ make us green

The "IKEA effect" says that we value things we have built ourselves (even if those things are frankly a little crappy). I'd propose an extension -- call it the "DIY effect," which says we tend to hold onto, repair, and upgrade things we build ourselves, breaking us out of the consumerist cycle of trashing what's old so we can capitalize on the (often-illusory) advantages of the latest and greatest. A paper in the Journal of Consumer Psychology called "When labor leads to love" explores this phenomenon in a laboratory setting, concluding that … participants bid 460% more for their own …

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Navy Secretary says getting off fossil fuels is just like ditching sail power

Ray Mabus, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, has a refreshing historical perspective on the Navy's efforts to end its dependence on our increasingly expensive and environmentally destructive supplies of oil. From a speech he recently gave at the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0: In the 1850s, we went from sail to coal. In the early 19th century, we went from coal to oil, and in the 1950s, we pioneered nuclear. Every single time, there were people that said, “Can’t do it. You’re changing one very certain means of transportation for one that is not that certain,” and every time, those …

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Report: We have plenty of water, we’re just dumb with it

We have enough clean water worldwide, we're just not using it well, a new study says. The report, produced by the Challenge Program on Water and Food, looked at 10 river basins, from the Ganges to the Nile to the Andes, and found that, "There is clearly sufficient water to sustain food, energy, industrial and environmental needs during the 21st century." When you dig in here, it quickly becomes overwhelmingly academic. But the takeaway is: we can grow more food, for more people, if we're a little smarter about managing our resources. And we're going to need to be, so …

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