Grist List

How to save rhinos and tigers: Shoot the crap out of poachers

In India's Kaziranga National Park, rhinos and tigers are thriving, because poachers are dying instead. When it comes to poachers, the park's rangers have a license to kill, and they do. It gets results: In 2010, only five rhinos were shot in Kaziranga, while nine poachers were killed, the first time poacher deaths surpassed rhinos. (For comparison, in South Africa, where rangers fire only in self-­defense, five poachers were killed in 2010, while 333 rhinos were poached.) These guys were breaking the law and killing endangered species. But the moral calculus here isn't so clear-cut. In the park's region, jobs are scarce. Park animals eats crops and kill farm animals, and poaching pays better than any other pursuit. Shooting poachers on sight is apparently the most effective way to conserve the park’s threatened animals, but how does that stack up against human injustice? It’s a complicated calculation.

Critical List: Wangari Maathai passes away; NASA satellite didn’t kill anyone

Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel peace prize for her work planting trees, passed away. She was the first African woman to win the prize and the first Kenyan woman to earn a Ph.D. Around the world, thousands of people met in more than 2,000 demonstrations to rally for a Moving Planet. That massive NASA satellite managed to plop back to earth without killing anyone.

Save the whales, put them in the Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle is just sitting around making ships and planes disappear. Why not put it to work for something useful, like a whale sanctuary? Because when you want to save something, you definitely store it in a place where stuff mysteriously vanishes. That's why I keep my passport in the dryer.

Teen's invention boosts solar panel output 40 percent

Nineteen-year-old Eden Full is going to be taking a few years off from her studies at Princeton. That's because she's been getting a ton of grants to finish developing her SunSaluter, a technology that allows solar panels to track the sun, boosting output by 40 percent.

Solar industry is strong like bull

Urban chicken consultant will help you realize your homesteading dreams

We know you think backyard chickens are hot, because we've been rifling through your trash and we found those back issues of Grit. Now there's a shortcut to realizing your dream of owning little tiny feathered dinosaurs that lay unfertilized breakfast bombs for you: Hire a chicken consultant.

Metal-wheeled bike! Sure, why not?

  It's Friday, so here's a pointlessly pretty bike. It has metal wheels, because apparently you can make working bike wheels out of nothing but …

Watch cute kids build their own school out of bottles and trash

Especially if you're susceptible to optimistic reggae (I am!), this video of kids helping to build their own school out of bottles and trash ought to make you a little misty.

Even the Bush administration wouldn’t touch tar-sands oil

Even if the Obama administration approves the Keystone XL pipeline, Canadians won't be able to sell the carbon-intensive tar-sands oil to one very big energy consumer: the Obama administration. Back in 2007, the federal government, under the leadership of George W. Bush, passed a law that forbade it from buying oil that's dirtier than conventional oil. And tar-sands oil is. The Canadian government has been trying for years to wiggle its way around that restriction. The U.S Chamber of Commerce has also tried to free the Department of Defense from its shackles.