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Grist List: Look what we found.


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'Skypump' let's you fill 'er up — with wind

Got an electric car? And some wind? Then this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship, if you add in the Sanya Skypump for a horsepower three-way. Sure, you might think putting a wind turbine on an electric car charging station is kind of obvious, if you are a wiseacre. But the Skypump is a vertical-access turbine good for urban areas, parking lots, basically anywhere with winds between 7 and 26 mph. The Skypump will be rolling out in Barcelona, Beijing and NYC next year, where its $30,000 pricetag is nothing compared to what Jay-Z spends on champagne in a …

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'Floatovoltaics' energize otherwise boring bodies of water

'Flotovoltaics,' solar panels that float on existing reservoirs, leads to all kinds of unexpected side benefits. At the Far Niente winery in Napa Valley, which pioneered the technology in the U.S., their floating solar grid reduces evaporation from their irrigation pond and inhibits algae growth. It also saves the winery from giving up valuable grape-growing land, even as it produces more electricity than the winery uses. And the benefits work both ways -- the water can boost solar panel efficiency in hot climates. In Israel, Solaris Syntec uses evaporative cooling to keep its floatovoltaics at a constant temperature, which makes …

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Otters are back in England

Once nearly extinct in England, otters have now returned to every county, indicating that rivers are at their healthiest in decades. Conservationists had predicted that it would be another 10 years before the otters reached this level of repopulation, so it's a real triumph for the iittle dudes. Not to mention an overwhelming stroke of good fortune for Brits, who can now watch otters play from the comfort of their homes, the lucky bastards. Otters have reappeared in places where they have not been seen since the industrial revolution, including Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, and even on the Thames and …

Read more: Animals

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Infographic: What it would take to meet Obama's 2035 clean energy goals?

Obama wants 80 percent of America's energy to come from clean and renewable sources by 2035. But what would that really take? Mostly, it means replacing 2/3 of our coal-fired power plants with power sources that don't depend on fossil fuels. The scale of that ambition is difficult to comprehend -- which is why it's handy that Climate Central has created an interactive to walk you through what it really means. The image above is just a screengrab -- run, don't walk, to the original.)

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Human excrement is killing all your coral

You know how when you go snorkeling, the guide tells you not to touch, breathe on, or even think about getting anywhere near the coral because it's really sensitive and also a great marine resource? Well, it's all true, but on a macro level, humans haven't been paying attention to those instructions and instead have been spraying the coral down with water contaminated with our waste. So basically we have been POOPING ON THE CORAL, which is kind of the opposite of not touching it. And human waste infects coral with something called white pox disease, which causes lesions and …

Read more: Animals, Pollution

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Bachmann promises $2 gas, unicorns

When I was in the fourth grade I took a lot of crap for not voting for Ty for class president, because he said he would give us double recess and free ice cream. I found those claims doubtful, and also Ty was kind of a dick, so I didn't vote for him, but everyone else did and they made fun of me. What I'm saying is, if you believe Michele Bachmann's claim that she can get gas back under $2 a gallon, then you should break out your Bieber tee and your juice box, because you are essentially an …

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Critical List: Exxon could lose a big Gulf oil lease; alligator fat makes good biofuel

Exxon could lose its lease on one of its biggest oil finds ever. Bill McKibben explains why Keystone XL protesters will wear Obama '08 buttons. Isn’t there some place to put a big wind farm that won't threaten endangered species of birds? (Spoiler: No. Or anyway, not South Texas.) Oil and gas companies are looking for a bounty in Greenland. Fifteen million pounds of leftover fat from alligator meat gets thrown away each year (really! People apparently eat that many alligators!), but it could be processed into biofuels.

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Revival of 117-year-old canal cuts cargo emissions 65 percent

Turns out shipping by barge is crazy efficient. It's also kind of picturesque! (According to this video from CNN there are no mules anymore, but we choose to imagine mules to up the picturesqueness factor.)  Instead of noisy lorries (that's British for trucks), shipping containers are moved from the coast inland to Manchester on barges. The trip takes six hours, but it cuts emissions by up to 65 percent. The Manchester ship canal, finished in 1894, hasn't been good for much lately, but the plan is to increase barge traffic on it by a factor of 20. Completion of new …

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Animated film from 1957 predicts explosion in energy use

The only thing about this 1950s educational cartoon that’s more remarkable than its stylishness is how badly it botches its core prediction. It projects that between 1957 and 1975, electricity use in the U.S. would increase four-fold. But America's electricity consumption didn't quadruple from 1950 levels until 1989. Cartoons, we trusted you! How could you get it so wrong? Since we live in the future this video attempts to describe, we know how things actually turned out: Atomic energy failed to create electricity too cheap to meter, and combined with the oil crisis that meant we had to figure out …

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Colbert gets a checkup from a GOP spin doctor

Stephen Colbert is now getting communication coaching from lead GOP spinmeister Frank Luntz, the man who rebranded oil drilling as "energy exploration" and counseled Republican politicians to "make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the [climate change] debate." Luntz has done a lot to armor the GOP with the rhetorical weapons it needs to stab the environment in the face, and now he's telling Stephen how to be a slick customer like him. Does he know he's being mocked? Does he care, as long as he gets his fee?