Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

Chill your beer without using any electricity

A one that is not cold is scarcely a one at all, but keeping beer frosty on a hot day normally sucks up energy. Not anymore. This ancient innovation uses clay pots, sand, and water to keep stuff cool even on a hot day. 

The plastics industry will do anything to keep you using plastic bags

Plastic bags are the genital warts of litter -- they're incredibly widespread, nearly impossible to get rid of, and can lead to much worse problems down the line. The only thing that works is prevention -- i.e. not using them in the first place. But the plastics industry doesn't take too kindly to that. Here's a sampling of the tactics the industry has used to keep people from weaning themselves off plastic bags:

Destroying nature so people can look at nature in Yosemite Park

Yosemite National Park is a great place for appreciating nature, what with the mountains and the wildlife and so forth. But there's one thing spoiling the bucolic beauty for everyone: All those damn trees. They are so in the way! They're like the mist that comes up off Niagara Falls and ruins all your photographs. If only they'd cut them down, so we could get back to looking at nature!

Introducing the world's first compostable bikini

Women hate swimsuit shopping, am I right? And we all know why: Because swimsuits do not disintegrate when buried underground for 180 days. Luckily, designer Linda Loudermilk has come out with the world's first line of compostable swimwear.

Conservative pundits deny existence of record-breaking heat wave

Rush Limbaugh says "almost no temperature records were broken" during the recent heat wave, and Newsbusters writer Noel Sheppard says there were "only 34 new all-time daily temperature records set." Only 34? Why, that's barely a record-breaking heat wave at all! Except for the fact that a) 34 records is nothing to sneeze at and b) by "34," Sheppard means "somewhere between 70 and 7,612."

Toyota concept bike has psychic gear shift

Parlee Cycles and tech company Deeplocal are working together on a bike inspired by the Toyota Prius. It's a reasonably slick-looking machine, but the really weird and bizarre part is the "neuron shifting." The bike uses a gaming neuroheadset, which detects the brain's electrical activity like an EEG, to let riders shift between gears using only their minds.

GOP: Why can't we mine for uranium in the Grand Canyon?

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has extended the moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon through the end of the year, and House Republicans are grumpy. I mean, there's uranium there ... the hole is already mostly dug ... it's basically a perfect mining opportunity! So they're sticking a rider onto an Interior Department appropriations bill that would open the land back up.

Could you use the internet to heat your house?

Servers generate so much heat that they have to be kept in super-cooled rooms, lest the entire Cloud collapse. People's houses need heat, at least in the winter months. Two great tastes that go great together?

A dress with a built-in air purifier

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion's "catalytic clothing" strips pollutants out of the air and breaks them down harmlessly. Here's an atmospheric (ha) video of an air-purifying dress, but they've also got jeans, which significantly improves the chances of getting enough people wearing catalytic clothing to actually make a difference in air quality. (None of this is available for purchase or anything crazy like that, but in theory, if it were, you'd probably want the jeans.)

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