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From Batman to Bra

Holy overused headline, Batman! Riddle us this, riddle us that, who's afraid of dirty water in the land of Chow Yun-Fat? Nananananananana ... Batman! Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures Corn stars The King Corn documentarians have decided to live corn free (as free as the wind blows ...) for 30 days, cobbling together a diet sans the cornucopia of corn-related products. Call them brave, call them crazy -- call them anything but corny. Photo: iStockphoto Hope on a rope Tree sitting is so late '90s. Today's preferred method of tree-related awareness raising: climbing them. All of them. Photo: iStockphoto Reinvent the …

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NBC sitcoms universally … unfunny

Last night I watched the TNSFKAMST (Thursday Night Shows Formerly Known as Must-See TV). To be honest I'd forgotten it was Green Is Universal week; I was just indulging in a little sitcom sitdown. But there was no escaping the green message, and it was ... what's the word? ... artificial and painful and forced. Three of the four shows -- My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock, and Scrubs -- took the over-the-topness over the top, having fun at their bosses' expense and doing the movement no favors. Earl was forced to wedge a green message into a school program …

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Everyday folk found to be contaminated with toxic chemicals

Volunteers across the U.S. were found to have toxic bisphenol-A, PBDEs, and phthalates in their blood and urine, says a small study sponsored by a coalition of environmental health groups. The "Is It in Us?" study analyzed 35 people from seven states; while the sample size was too small to be representative of the larger population, the results were quite similar to those of a huge ongoing study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which published research last month suggesting that 92.2 percent of Americans are contaminated with toxins. "Everybody has these toxic chemicals in them," says Max …

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New BBC poll finds that people are excited about paying more and sacrificing

I'm the last one in the greenosphere to mention it, but check out this new poll of 22,000 people in 21 countries (full results PDF), done by the BBC and PIPA. The big takeaway is that more than 80% of people say they're willing to make substantial changes in their lifestyle in order to go green. Supposedly, 50% of people worldwide support a tax on oil and coal, and more if the revenue is specifically targeted to renewables and efficiency. This, however, is revealing: In almost all countries in Europe, and in the US, most people said they believed the …

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Cranberries? Tofurky? We’ll eat it all up

It's that time of year again. In between taking down Halloween decorations, excavating coats, hats, and mittens from last year's pile of never-quite-got-washed-or-put-away outerwear, and putting up holiday lights, Thanksgiving sneaks up on us. Once I smell the smoke from my neighbor's woodstoves and hear the crunch of leaves under my feet, I know that the time to savor pumpkin, squash, and sage is just around the corner. This year we're asking readers to send us your own recipes, suitable for a Thanksgiving dinner. We are looking for recipes in three categories in particular: vegetarian entrées, vegan entrées, and side …

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Umbra on cats and birds

Dear Umbra, I have three cats, and live in a close-in suburb of Boston. I love the cats dearly, and let them outside during the day to wander about, and generally not have to live an indoor, sedentary, boring life. My question concerns their hunting instincts: I haven't had any luck with any particular way of preventing them from killing birds, mice, etc. I worry most about the birds, having read repeatedly that the millions of pet cats we have in this country really do a number on songbirds and other birds. I've put bells on them (more than one …

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How to recycle athletic shoes, iPods, mattresses, and other oddities

Grist's Katharine Wroth and Chip Giller appeared on NBC's Today show on Tuesday, Nov. 6, telling Meredith Vieira how to recycle some of the odd and awkward items that you can't put out in your curbside bin. Athletic Shoes Got a pair (or a pile) of old sneakers that are too gross and grotty to give to charity? Nike will recycle any brand of athletic shoe through its Reuse-a-Shoe program. Run your shoes over to any Nike store, or mail them straight to the company's recycling center -- details here. Nike processes and recycles the footwear to make sports surfaces …

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A review of recycled toilet-paper brands

Time for a new roll, but what's your type? Photo: iStockphoto Deciding what kind of toilet paper to buy is a delicate issue. Perhaps most significantly because you want to protect those delicates -- but what about this delicate planet of ours? According to the NRDC, if every household in the U.S. replaced just one roll (500 sheets) of virgin-fiber toilet paper with 100 percent recycled TP, we'd save almost half a million trees. So the question becomes: Is it possible to protect both the earth and your bum? I was determined to find out. Grist's Pick Seventh Generation Double …

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Big-box store Target will phase out PVC

Big-box store Target is right on the mark with plans to phase out nasty plastic polyvinyl chloride. The store that we like to pronounce "Tar-zhay" has announced that it will aim to detox the packaging of its table linen stock by spring and try to find PVC alternatives for all toys by next fall. It also said all of its own brands of children's lunch boxes and utensils are already PVC-free. The reasons to avoid PVC -- the ickiest of plastics and, unfortunately, one of the most common -- are legion. For one, the "VC" in PVC is vinyl chloride, …

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Easy ways to cut your energy use, one day at a time

Grist prez Chip Giller appeared on NBC's Today show on Monday, Nov. 5, chatting with Meredith Vieira about easy ways anyone can cut their energy use and help fight global warming. Follow one hint a day and you're on your way! Day 1: Turn Down the Heat Here's a quick, easy solution that will save you money and save energy: turn down your thermostat. Lowering your heat in winter by just 2 degrees can cut your energy bill by 10 percent. Get an automatic or programmable thermostat to make it easy to save on heating; set it to turn down …

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