Grist List

Introducing the self-inflating bicycle tire

PumpTire has developed the world's first self-inflating bike tire, which actually takes in air and inflates to ideal pressure as you ride. This won't keep you from ever getting a flat or anything, but it could spare you a lot of tedious adjusting and checking of tire pressure.

Bangkok could be underwater by 2030

Ten million people live in Bangkok -- a metropolis more populous even than New York City -- and the ground beneath their feet is literally sinking into the ocean.

Critical List: Romney’s down with coal; Iran starts up a nuclear plant

Mitt Romney, in a desperate attempt to fit in, says he wants to burn more coal. Iran's making nuclear power. There’s no way that could go wrong! But worldwide, renewables are beating out nuclear in terms of installed capacity.

How to assess hurricane damage using waffles

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has an idiosyncratic (and tasty) way of determining the damage caused by a hurricane: the Waffle House Index. The iconic Southern chain is so widespread -- and so stalwart -- that you can gauge a storm's severity based on whether the local Waffle Houses closed.

Texas' official water plan defiantly includes no mention of climate change

The last time Texas created a long-term water plan, in 2007, it conspicuously and controversially left out any mention of the effects of climate change on the state's water resources. In the midst of a drought of biblical proportions, one line from that report in particular stands out: When considering the uncertainties of population and water demand projections, the effect of climate change on the state’s water resources over the next 50 years is probably small enough that it is unnecessary to plan for it specifically.

Obama blows smog in everyone's face

President Obama has yanked back the EPA's proposed new restrictions on ground-level ozone (i.e. smog). That's a huge win for Big Business, which had claimed it couldn't weather an economic downturn AND keep from suffocating people at the same time. But it's an equally huge loss for everyone else -- especially since the reason the EPA was revising the smog standards in the first place was because the allowable limit was well above safe levels, according to the agency's science advisors.

Raising chickens is totally rock and roll

Jenifer Jourdanne has expensive tastes, expensive shoes, and "designer chickens." In an essay in xoJane, she talks about how her long-standing backyard coop didn't dent her rocker cred: I will have you know I was a maverick. I was the girl in the early 90s at Viper Room where people would say things like “Slash, come over here, no really, this chick has pet chickens!" I mean I am sure they probably thought I used them in an adult act but sorry to bore you, they just walk around my herb gardens looking for snails.

Cheap alloy could produce zero-carbon hydrogen from sunlight

An inexpensive combination of two metals common in the manufacture of computer chips can generate hydrogen from water, using only sunlight as an energy source. If the process can be made commercially viable -- and the simplicity and cost suggests it might -- it would mean yet another way to produce energy directly from sunlight, and a potential source of hydrogen for the kind of fuel cells that power both buildings and vehicles.

Do climate shifts spark wars?

A study published a little while back in Nature found an association between shifts in climate (in this case, shifts associated with El Niño) and international conflict. The researchers' hypothesis was that El Niño was messing with people's psyches and also creating economic shocks by tweaking food prices, dredging up storms, and fostering disease. These effects tend to make people a little testy and, boom!, conflict.  But, as Sarah Zielinski writes at Smithsonian, it's too simple to say that climate change will cause war:

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