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Weekend Reads: Too Much Pig, a Synthetic Star Could Save Us?, Polar Bears Say Cheese
Five #greenreads that will strut into all the A-list Oscar parties.

Hog Wild: Factory Farms are Poisoning Iowa's Drinking Water
Iowa has more hog farms than any other state in the U.S.: 8,500 to date. The meat they produce helps meet China’s demand for pork (ahem, Spam), but at a cost. As Ted Genoways explains, the problem is not just the rampant use of antibiotics, which can lead to drug-resistant bacteria, or lack of government oversight, but the fact that pig poop—5 billion gallons a year!—is polluting Iowa's drinking water. OnEarth

American Aqueduct: The Great California Water Saga
The current mega-drought isn’t California’s only water problem. The state relies on an aging system of canals, natural waterways, pumps, and aqueducts that transfer water from northern to southern California via the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But as climate change looms and demand for water grows, the delta’s ecosystem can’t take the strain, and not everyone’s keen on the governor’s ambitious $15 billion plan to tunnel the water beneath the delta. Alex Madrigal heads to the Golden State to explore the options, but it may be time for Californians to make some tough choices: cities or farms, alfalfa or salmon, green lawns or pistachios? The Atlantic

The Ivory Highway
Just about everyone knows poaching kills tens of thousands of elephants across Africa each year. But few realize that a global network of organized crime, corrupt officials, and even terrorist groups run the ivory trade. The industry is difficult to navigate, but Damon Tabor does just that, heading from Cameroon’s jungles to markets in China to find the shady characters that keep the barbaric practice of cutting the tusks off elephants going. Men's Journal

A Star in a Bottle
What if a star, a self-sustaining synthetic star, could provide an alternate form of energy? Sounds crazy, right? Well, scientists from 35 countries have been working on this hot—very hot—idea for decades, to the tune of billions of dollars. If it works, we could have a human-made star in southern France(!), finally kick our fossil-fuel addiction, and of course, save the world from disaster. Raffi Khatchadourian has the starry-eyed story. New Yorker

Exclusive: Inside Google's Quest to Bring Polar Bears to You
What do lumbering polar bears have to do with Google Street View? More than you might expect, writes Jennifer Bogo. Google is using its technology to bring the bears to people (virtually), allowing cyber surfers to learn more about these endangered predators and their Arctic neighbors, while they observe the bear’s changing habitat. (Hint: it’s melting.) Popular Science

Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This.

Tiger mom: Protecting India’s tigers takes dedication and patience, two things that conservationist Belinda Wright has in abundance. She and her team at Wildlife Protection Society of India are helping authorities crack down on poachers who sell tiger parts to China. It’s hard work, but she makes it look easy. National Geographic

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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