Grist List

Critical List: Ghost octopi in the Antarctic; without ethanol subsidies, gas prices rise

The creatures discovered living in thermal vents near Antarctica -- ghost octopi, limpets, yeti crabs -- are le awesome. Two major solar industry groups are merging in order to focus on state-level policies. With ethanol subsidies gone, gas will cost more.

Climate change got even less media coverage than last year

Wait a minute, aren't liberals supposed to control the media? Well they're not doing their jobs, then, because climate change has been sliding slowly off the radar at major newspapers and magazines. That graph above shows coverage on a steady down slope since 2007, with a bump in 2009 because it's hard to slaver about "Climategate" without mentioning climate change.

Yeah, looks like fracking caused Ohio quakes

The Youngstown, Ohio area has had 11 minor earthquakes since last March, and according to seismologist John Armbruster of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, you can blame those rumbles on fracking. A fracking wastewater disposal well has been identified as the source of the quakes -- extraction companies inject the briny wastewater into the well, and the pressure from that injection ripples outwards, Armbruster says. The injection well that caused the Youngstown quakes has been shut down, but the area can still look forward to another year of uncharacteristic seismic activity.

Rick Perry advocates solution to climate problem he doesn’t believe in

Of all the GOP candidates, Rick Perry has been perhaps the most fervently dismissive of the reality of human-caused climate change. So why does his energy plan include a provision for "clean coal" technology, which is used to capture carbon dioxide and pump it underground?

Shark sex increasingly kinky, thanks to warming waters

If you thought interspecies boot-knocking was the sole purview of a handful of Bronies, check out what Australia's sharks are up to. Climate change and shifting water temperatures are causing different shark species to mingle their habitats, and apparently the mingling doesn’t stop there. The continent is now seeing an unprecedented number of hybrid sharks. The hybridization may be adaptive, allowing the sharks to better handle their changing environment. “Hybridization could enable the sharks to adapt to environmental change as the smaller Australian black tip currently favors tropical waters in the north while the larger common black tip is more …

Climate change messing with giant ice buildings

A century ago, winters in Bavaria were so brutal that one Christmas, villagers in Mitterfirmiansreut were unable to hike to the nearest church, and they were forced to build one out of snow. For the 101st anniversary of the snow church this year, the town enlisted architect Alfons Doeringer to rebuild the snowthedral, nicknamed “God’s Igloo.” This took $168,000 and 49,000 cubic feet of snow, but the whole thing was nearly derailed by unseasonably warm, wet weather. The number of "ice days" in Bavaria with maximum temperatures above freezing is projected to decline by 50 percent by 2050, leading to …

Organic food is not always sustainable food

Good food, as we've come to know it in that last few years, has a few characteristics: It's local. It's grown using responsible, land-loving techniques, like crop rotations and polycultures. And it's organic, raised without chemical fertilizers and poison pesticides. At one point, “organic” was shorthand for all of that, because the same people who cared enough to grow their vegetables with manure cared about environmental sustainability and tended to be local. But now “organic” can be shorthand only for adherence to a certain set of rules that outlaw certain concentrations of certain types of fertilizers and pesticides, and as the New York Times points out, it sometimes doesn't mean much else.

Your car commute helps cause tornadoes

Just like humans, East Coast tornadoes work extra hours during the week and take it easier on the weekends. According to a new study, tornadoes and hailstorms are less likely to occur on a Saturday or Sunday. That’s because hail and tornadoes thrive on pollution, which is higher towards the middle of the week. The study looked at summertime storm activity and found above-average rates of storms mid-week and below-average rates on weekends. It turns out that this is because moisture likes pollutants.

Critical List: Fracking ‘almost certainly’ caused earthquakes; wolves save trees

The disposal of fracking wastewater "almost certainly" was the cause of all those earthquakes near Youngstown, Ohio. Oil is washing up on the shores of Nigeria; Shell denies it's from the massive oil spill that occurred last month. BP wants Halliburton to cover the $20 billion it paid to clean up and otherwise deal with the Deepwater Horizon spill. Wolves save trees. (Related: Deer are sort of like giant squirrels.)

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