Mother Jones on Romney's fracking energy adviser In this profile in the November/December issue of the magazine, Josh Harkinson profiles Harold Hamm, Mitt Romney's energy adviser and a billionaire who wants the U.S. to be the Saudi Arabia of oil and natural gas. How? By using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in North Dakota with his company Continental Resources. And since he started, thousands of gallons of brine, crude, and waste have poured into the creeks and land of the state.
National Geographic on the U.S.'s new, super fast energy-efficient supercomputer The U.S. deployed Titan today, "the fastest, most powerful, and most energy-efficient of a new generation of supercomputers that breach the bounds of 'central processing unit' computing." It can boost graphic processing, like for video games, and will be used for research on fuel-efficient cars, nuclear power reactors, and advanced magnets for electric motors—and all really quickly. "Think of Titan's power as akin to each of the world's 7 billion people solving 3 million math problems per second."
The Daily Beast on the politics of China's green protest The environmental protesters in Ningbo, China who were worried about pollution won a victory Sunday: Authorities stopped the expansion of a petrochemical plant and said they'd look into environmental problems. The protests "serve as a bracing reminder to the Communist Party that it would ignore China’s vast and growing middle class at its own peril." The government tried to censor protests, but the damage was done. "Environmental concerns have a way of overcoming the skittishness that ordinary Chinese generally feel about protesting."
California Watch on how California textbooks no longer have plastic industry PR A guide for 11th grade teachers featured curriculum "almost verbatim from comments and suggestions submitted by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical and plastics industry trade group," inciting a debate about whether industry bias existed for recycling and plastic consumption rates. Now, the texts have been updated with more objective statistics to meet a California mandate to teach environmental concepts.
Grist on whether it's greener to shop online A Grist reader writes in a question: Is it greener to buy off Amazon or go to Target? Answer: Tough call. Going to the store requires the building to have electricity and gas for the car. Shipping from online warehouses takes a lot of extra wasteful packaging, and e-commerce data centers are energy sucks. Some studies say online shopping is greener, but they're inconclusive. The greenest solution is to not only buy locally instead of from chains like Target and to keep in mind how the product is made—not just how it got home.