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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Sing along to this awesomely cheesy theme song for energy wasters

The musical "Seein' the Light" was written in 1978, but nothing has really changed: People still deny there's a fuel or climate crisis, and they still put on their Serious Thespian black turtlenecks and sing about it. The guy singing is kind of super-intense -- he regularly goes 20 seconds or more between blinks -- and the song is wicked cheesy, but it's amazing that they were already doing satirical piss-takes on energy wastefulness 30 years before Colbert.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Critical List: Energy panel supports fracking disclosure; Walmart's move to wind power

An Energy Department panel wants to require natural gas companies to disclose what chemicals they're using in hydrofracking projects. Green groups have an idea for how to cut the country's debt: stop subsidies to oil and gas companies. But (of course!) most of the members of the Super Congress are opposed to regulating greenhouse-gas emissions. Michelle Bachmann liked the EPA just fine when she was requesting money from it. The Dutch government ran a pilot project that meter private cars and charges drivers based on the miles they rack up. The program basically makes every roll a toll road, but …

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Colbert: 'I say the science isn't in on thermodynamics'

The Colbert Report Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,Video Archive Stephen Colbert, bless him, never met an idiotic pronouncement he didn't climb inside and wear like a bear costume. So he had a field day with "the heat index is a liberal conspiracy" and "SpongeBob is indoctrinating children."

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Right-wing pundits: 'People believe our falsehoods, so we win!'

I guess it's no surprise that conservative pundits think climate science is about deliberately misleading people for political point-scoring. That's what their agenda is, so why should anyone else's be different? After a recent poll showed that 69 percent of Americans believe it's at least "somewhat likely" that "some scientists" may have falsified climate data, the right-wing media response amounted to "Hey, that's our lie! Look how well it's doing! We rule!" Here's Limbaugh's response, which (as usual) provides the most egregious example. What a proud papa! Limbaugh, Aug. 4: "While a majority of Americans nationwide continue to acknowledge significant …

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Coal-fired power plants close down rather than clean up their emissions

As a result of the EPA's new rules mandating lower toxic emissions, coal-fired power plants are closing their doors. The coal industry is complaining that the new rules are too expensive, will hike electricity rates, and cost jobs. The EPA has these facts on its side, though, according to Business Insider: The organization estimates that by 2014, the new legislation will have achieved up to $280 billion in annual health benefits, in addition to preventing up to 34,000 premature deaths, 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma. Just think of all the cancer specialists, asthma …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Coal

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Organic chicken farms have fewer drug-resistant bacteria

When poultry farms switch from conventional to organic farming practices, they almost immediately start seeing way fewer drug-resistant bacteria. A new study looked at two types of enterococcus, a bacterium commonly found in poultry excrement that can also lead to drug-resistant infections in humans. All the farms tested positive for Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium, which the researchers expected. But on farms that had switched to organic practices, 10 percent of E. faecalis was resistant to multiple antibiotics, versus 42 percent of the bacteria from conventional farms. And on conventional farms, a stomach-troubling 84 percent of E. faecium was multi-drug-resistant, …

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Japan’s government allowed evacuations into radiation plume’s path

In the aftermath of Fukushima, Japanese people are registering less trust in their government, and stories like this one are the reason why. The entire community of Namie evacuated out of the area surrounding Fukushima to a safe haven, only to find later that they were still in the path of radiation, and the government had tools that indicated as much. When a large plume of something nasty — chemicals, biological hazards, or radiation — is released into the air, it doesn't stay in one place. It's not always obvious where it will go, though. Winds and air pressure systems …

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Trucks and buses get efficiency standards for the first time ever

President Obama has announced the first ever emissions standards for trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. They'll be shooting for a 9 to 23 percent reduction in fuel consumption by 2018, depending on the type of vehicle. Big rigs will need to achieve approximately a 20 percent reduction, for example; garbage trucks will need more like 10 percent. It might not feel this way when you go on a long road trip, but trucks are only a small percentage of the vehicles on the road. They drive way more than family cars, though, and spend more time idling. Plus, they're super …

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New LCD screens will make your iPhone solar-powered

What if you could simply leave your iPhone face-up on a table or windowsill in order to trickle charge it and extend its battery? And what if the same technology that turned its screen into a photovoltaic panel also made its display significantly more efficient than current displays, leading to substantially increased battery life even if you're trapped inside a cave? That's the promise of a new technology called a "polarizing organic photovoltaic," developed by researchers at UCLA. In order to show you an image on a conventional LCD screen, objects called polarizers must switch on and off to shade …

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Daredevils rowing to North Pole to draw attention to climate change

In order to draw attention to the perilous state of the Arctic, "Scottish adventurer" Josh Wishart teamed up with fiver other fellows to row 500 miles across the Arctic sea, starting from Resolute Bay in Canada. The journey should take four to six weeks, and the men will row in three hour shifts in order to stave off fatigue. This epic, never-before-attempted row is possible only because climate change has reduced the volume of ice in the Arctic. The team's core message is that if you're not paying attention to the North Pole, you really ought to be. For example, …