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Ashley Braun's Posts


the phallacy of felling

Italy fells hardwoods to cock block its sex trade

These trees have been caught in a very compromising position.Photo: Steve Troletti Where does Italy get off trying to denude 69 -- yes, 69 -- acres of forest just because prostitution has been rising up between its trees? That's what three environmental groups, including the World Wildlife Fund, want to know. They wonder what sins the trees have committed to deserve this premature conclusion, other than to "offer with their fronds shelter and intimacy to sex slaves" at work along the Tronto River? But with nearly 600 prostitutes working their way through this forest in central Italy, local authorities think …

Read more: Living


bin there, done that

Car recycling bins are finally here!

Photo: Design Made in Germany Once you've finished reducing how many cars you have and reusing the one you've already got, you can finally recycle your auto in one of these handy bins in Germany. You know, when you're ready to trade it in for a bike. Remember to rinse your car first: No dirty recyclables in the bin! Via Inhabitat. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of weird, offbeat, and/or just plain funny green news, sent out every Friday.


a birdie in the hand is worth 20 in the flush

Can your toilet flush 20 golf balls? [VIDEO]

Will it blend? If you can blend golf balls (or an iPad), then the next logical question is, of course, will they flush? This ridiculous promotional video for a water-saving, dual flush toilet explores the power of that very question. The answer is that yes, it will flush: 20 golf balls 11 "water wigglers" 56 chicken nuggets 2 pounds of "flushable" kitty litter (not recommended for outdoor cat poo) 5 large hot dogs and almost any other literal and figurative crap you want! My question is how did they come up with these numbers? Did that 57th chicken nugget really …

Read more: Living


bless the grains down in Africa

Purdue’s Gebisa Ejeta on the vexing task of feeding a growing population

Over the next several weeks, I'll be attending the University of Washington's food and environment lecture series and harvesting knowledge from a diverse array of food-system luminaries. As I move from the politics of the plate with Marion Nestle to ethnobotany with Gary Nabhan, I hope to share as much of that bounty as I can with Grist readers. Look forward to discussions with a lot of spice! In an introduction to the lecture series this past week, Beth Wheat, founder of the University of Washington student farm, said the farm is "helping the most urbanized generation reconnect with a …

Read more: Food


more than meets the IT

Are Google's self-driving cars actually signs of Transformers' imminent world domination?

The world is pumped that Google is passing mile markers on the road to creating a fully automatic automobile -- a robot car optimally primed for piloting without humans. Fewer accidents, better fuel efficiency, less traffic congestion -- seems like the true transportation of the future, right? But let's put all this shiny hype in neutral while we consider what happens when robot vehicles freely roam the earth: The co-inventor of Stanley the friendly driverless car is now working for Google on the next generation of automatic autos. Will they be called Decepticons?Photo: Steve JurvetsonEven if the driverless car of …


building better blocks

LEGO lets you play with improving mass transit

Photo: LEGO Everyone knows that children are the most renewable -- though not necessarily cleanest -- form of energy. Which means if this LEGO City Public Transport Station weren't made from little bits of plastic, it would be just about the perfect toy for wee mass transit advocates-to-be. Will exposing kids to LEGO buses and trams (rather than Hot Wheels) foster little urban planners who will be racing to build transit-oriented communities and not a Ferrari? Maybe not. But a kid can dream, right? After all, the little kiddos can also add wind turbines to their LEGO livable communities. The …

Read more: Cities, Living


are we dreaming?

D'juno actress Ellen Page wants to plant an idea in your head?

We don't usually include earnest video pleas among the usual snark of The Grist List, but for the adorable actress Ellen Page, we'll make an inception to the rule. She's getting behind's grassroots movie-ment for climate action on 10/10/10. Unlike Page's most recent film, it's not supposed to be only taking place in your mind. Just be sure any green ideas planted in your subconscious don't involve lifting solar panels quite like this. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of weird, offbeat, and/or just plain funny green news, sent out …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


the taste you grave

SunChips not-so-quietly buries its noisy compostable bags

Garden Salsa SunChips should henceforth be buried in landfill graves and keep out of any gardens.Photo: Andrew Odom Which is noisier: the SunChips compostable bag or the snacklash from chip-eaters who prefer their chips to crunch more loudly than the packaging? For SunChips' owner Frito-Lay, the answer is obvious: consumers trump composters. All SunChips flavors except for the original (and best-selling) one will bag the 100 percent compostable and apparently 99 percent annoying baggage for the landfill-loving packaging. But Frito-Lay isn't totally trashing the idea and says it's "actively pursuing" the next generation of compostable bags (read: not so loud). …


hugs, not smugs

Will bike for hugs [VIDEO]

Perhaps U.S. cities would heart bikes as much as Copenhagen does if law-abiding cyclists got bear hugs more often than the bird. And no, wrapping a bicyclist in the bureaucratic red tape of a bike tax doesn't count as a hug. Via The City Fix. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of weird, offbeat, and/or just plain funny green news, sent out every Friday.

Read more: Cities, Living


Breaking kiddiction

Hamburgers are the new heroin [VIDEO]

These days when parents enable their kids' munchies, does it turn them into junk-food junkies? The Australians who produced this PSA and the scientists researching the food-addiction connection seem to be hooked on the idea. But even for the parents who do like their wee ones to start the day "with a lil suga," I'm sure they wouldn't be expecting their "Feed the Children" cheerios to have quite so many XXX's with their OooOOooo's. Here's hoping that breakfast helping doesn't become a serial problem. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of …

Read more: Food, Living