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Grist List: Look what we found.


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This timelapse serves up some deforestation with your World Cup

Manaus Amazonas stadium
Gabriel Smith

We all know that this World Cup, however magnificent the saves, comes with its fair share of fouls. But it's one thing to know that Brazil built a stadium in the capital city of Amazonas, and another thing entirely to SEE 30 years of satellite images in which a little patch of mostly green is slowly and almost completely colonized by concrete.

(To be fair, FIFA can only take the blame for the stuff that happens after 2007, when Brazil was named this year's tournament host ... in fact, most of the deforestation was already fait accompli by then, but you didn't click on this for quibbles, you clicked on this because you wanted to watch a depressing timelapse.)

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Out of land and almost underwater, the country of Kiribati may move to Fiji

Kiribati
KevGuy4101

Moving is such a bitch. You’ve got to find a buddy with a truck, friends willing to work for food, and tranquilizers for the cat. It’s even tougher when you’re moving a whole country, a situation the tiny island nation of Kiribati faces. Do you know how hard it’s going to be finding enough boxes to move 100,786 people? Kiribati’s pizza bill is going to be shocking. And crossing 2055 miles of open ocean ain’t like moving out to the county -- your pal’s pickup is going to need excellent ground clearance.

Lawrence Caramel (who sounds delicious) at The Guardian has the story, complete with weird British spellings and distances measured in kilometers:

The people of Kiribati, a group of islands in the Pacific ocean particularly exposed to climate change, now own a possible refuge elsewhere. President Anote Tong has recently finalised the purchase of 20 sq km on Vanua Levu, one of the Fiji islands, about 2,000km away.

The Church of England has sold a stretch of land mainly covered by dense forest for $8.77m. "We would hope not to put everyone on [this] one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it," Tong told the Associated Press…

Within a few decades, small islands in the Pacific and Indian oceans risk being extensively or even completely submerged. In places the sea level is rising by 1.2cm a year, four times faster than the global average.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Drug users buy local, snack heavily

marijuana-smoke.jpg
Shutterstock

The U.N.'s annual World Drug report is in and -- good news! -- it turns out that crocheted hackie sack isn't the only local artisanal product those hippies on the quad are supporting. The world's drug market is also hitting the locavore trend.

Here in the States, for instance, imported cocaine is on the decline and home grown (well, not necessarily grown so much as distilled from only the finest household cleaning products in a vintage trailer park bathtub) drugs are taking its place.

Joshua Keating at Slate has the story:

Read more: Living

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Upcycling finally gets its own reality TV show

According to the latest census, there are roughly three times as many reality TV shows as there are people, so pretty much every job you could possibly imagine has a show. There are shows about the high stakes of baking; programs devoted to the thrilling world of long-haul trucking (which somehow has not had a single episode about meth); series on goldfish caretaking; heck, every other gun shop in America has a show (which is a lot of gun shops). Toddlers in tiaras have their own show as do toddlers who used to wear tiaras. But the reality TV field has been sorely lacking on the green front ... until now.

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Love train

This floating magnetic pod is the public transit of the future (we hope)

sky-train.jpg
Skytran

Usually when a defense contractor comes up with a wiz-bang gizmo, it’s the kind of thing that gives us nightmares, not think, “Man, I hope they bring that to my town!” But defense giant Israel Aerospace Industries is teaming up with California-based SkyTran to build a maglev system for its corporate campus in Tel Aviv.

The system uses small, two-person pods hanging from elevated tracks. You can order up a pod from your cellphone. Wired’s Alexander George has more:

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Sticky Situation

Yes, it’s getting hotter in the U.S. — but the humidity will kill you

hot-and-sweaty
Tom Wang

It's difficult to find a silver lining in our climate-changed future. Yes, the heat is expected to surpass unhealthy levels and get into lethal territory by the end of the century. And true, hotter temperatures mixed with humidity compounds the problem, making it extremely difficult for our bodies to regulate temperatures. On the other hand, according to Rutgers climatologist Robert Kopp, you will still have nearly an hour a day to engage in light outdoor physical activity in the shade before heat stroke sets in.

The recent Risky Business report on the economic impacts of climate change took a look at some of the physical repercussions of increasing heat and humidity. Sharon Begley at Reuters had this to say:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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The greenest man in America doesn’t drive a Prius or shop at Whole Foods

lipo.jpg

With all due apologies to the Banner boys, Bruce and David, people are calling Lipo Chanthanasak the greenest man in America. What has the Incredible Chanthanasak done to deserve the title? Well it turns out trashing the environment makes Chanthanasak angry, and if you’re a polluter, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

As leader of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), a group coordinating refugee and immigrant communities around Richmond and Oakland, Calif., the 73-year-old Laotian immigrant fights for clean energy and environmental justice. Lipo and the APEN team work, Avengers-style, to create green jobs and block the dumping of toxic and dirty facilities in their neighborhoods. Lipo helps lead a crusade against Chevron’s dirty refinery in Richmond and the proposed billion-dollar expansion that could be devastating for the health of residents.

Good work, Chanthanasak, and when it comes to Chevron and the other Big Oil bad guys, we say, “Lipo Smash!”

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Ship to be square

This pop-up solar station looks like Optimus Prime, goes anywhere, and has wifi

Ecos PowerCube
ecospheretech.com

If there's anything your average irony-loving, trucker-cap-wearing hipster can't get enough of these days, it's pop-up shops. Mobile couture boutiques, indie-label record store shopping pods, artisanal mac-and-cheese food trucks — you name it. But now Florida-based tech company Ecosphere Technologies has taken the pop-up concept and attached it to something even more powerful than tacos: the sun.

The Ecos Powercube sounds like a video game console but is actually a fully functioning solar-powered energy station. The company describes it as "the world's largest mobile solar-powered generator." The technology is housed in shipping containers, so the Ecos Powercube can be brought in by boat, rail, or plane and dropped (gently) anywhere in the world for disaster relief, refugee situations, and military operations that sometimes cause refugee situations.

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Watching polar bears swim for ice will make you want to hug them (but maybe don’t)

polar butt

The revolution in tiny tough video cameras has opened new worlds to the human eye, but this GoPro video by Adam Ravetch at Arctic Bear Productions has completely changed the way we see polar bears. For instance, they never once drink a Coca Cola or play country music with a penguin. Even more impressive than that was just how beautifully at home these majestic beasts are in the water.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Put your spare change to good use with crowdfunded science

laboratory
Shutterstock

Wondering what to do with that $9 burning a hole in your PayPal account? Sure, you could kick it to Indiegogo and help send your old college roommate to his brother’s wedding in Aruba. And there’s always Kickstarter: That kid from the coffee shop is trying to fund her short documentary on the history of philanthropy in the Kansas City Zombie Crawl scene.

On the other hand, you could give to Experiment.com, a crowdsourcing site for science funding, to help uncover fracking’s impact on air pollution, find a better way to clean up oil spills, or figure out what’s killing Caribbean corals.

Nelson Harvey at High Country News focused specifically on the fracking studies finding funding through the site:

A scientist from the University of Missouri who recently found elevated levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals in parts of Garfield County, Colo., where spills of wastewater from natural gas drilling occurred is now planning the second phase of her research, but with a surprising funding mechanism this time. Rather than seeking backing from government agencies or private foundations, Dr. Susan Nagel and her team are drumming up donations in the same way that many before them have started small businesses, made documentary films, or produced t-shirts adorned with images of Miley Cyrus twerking: They’re crowdfunding their research through a new website called Experiment.com.

Nagel’s crowdfunding attempt -- she’s seeking $25,000, has raised about $11,000 since March 24 and has 36 days to go -- represents at least the fourth time in recent years that U.S. scientists have turned to the general public for financial help researching the health effects of the gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking ... . Earlier this year, a team of researchers from the University of Washington raised $12,000 through Experiment.com to study how much gas drilling contributes to ozone in Utah’s Uinta Basin, and last year a team from Pennsylvania’s Juniata College raised $10,000 to examine the impact of fracking on stream ecology throughout the state.