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Jess Zimmerman's Posts

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Meet Monsanto’s newest vegetables

Dramatic spotlight on pepper
Shutterstock

Monsanto, everyone's favorite food villain, is rolling out a new crop of improved veggies -- but none of them are GMOs. Or rather, their genes are modified, but in the old-fashioned way: careful cross-breeding to promote desirable traits. Meet the new veggies:

  • Broccoli with up to three times the antioxidants
  • Teeny-tiny bell peppers (which means less waste)
  • Winter cantaloupe that's 30 percent sweeter
  • Onions that don't make you cry
  • Lettuce with more nutrients and a longer shelf life
Read more: Food

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Send this comic to anyone who tells you cold weather disproves global warming

In the unpleasant event that you're faced with someone who's all "lol how can there be global warming it's cold," you could follow our four-point plan for wasting your breath and not managing to change their minds. Or you could just send them this XKCD comic and let Randall Munroe do the work.

cold
Randall Munroe
Read more: Climate & Energy

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California’s drought is kind of staggering when seen from space

cali_drought

That right there is what California looks like right now, in a satellite image from the NASA Earth Observatory. And here is what it looked like at this time last year:

cali_normal

Read more: Uncategorized

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These beautiful videos show the flight paths of birds as drawings in the sky

Dennis Hlynsky's video project "small brains on mass" use digital processing to show the tracks of birds and bugs. It's like that one part in Donnie Darko, except there's no time travel and no incipient mental breakdowns -- just a beautiful illustration of the patterns of nature.

Read more: Living

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This LED billboard is the only way to see the sunrise in smoggy Beijing

CORRECTION: The photo is real, but the interpretation is wrong; this sunrise (or sunset, or whatever) is part of a loop of images from a tourism ad.

New York Times correspondent Edward Wong RTed this picture of a billboard in Beijing:

https://twitter.com/joneshen1992/status/423677786046623744

Yes, that's a giant LED billboard displaying the sunrise -- or maybe the sunset? Who can tell, since the smog is so bad it's impossible to tell what time it is in real life.

Read more: Cities

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This is the coolest ice fort we’ve ever seen

icefort

Sorry to make your children look like total underachievers, but Ontario resident Chris Marchand has dealt with a month of subzero temperatures by making what is probably the best ice fort of all time. The five-foot wall acts as a noise and wind buffer for a 25-square-foot section of Marchand's yard, but the important thing is that it's MULTICOLORED -- and translucent, of course, so that when the enclosed fire pit is lit, it glows.

icefort_2

Read more: Living

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Watch this fish eat a bird right out of the sky

A bird skimming along the top of the water, seizing a fish, and eating it: boring, everyday occurrence. But a bird skimming along the top of the water and then getting CHOMPED BY A FISH is kind of the "man bites dog" of nature:

Read more: Living

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Canadian town is using beet juice to de-ice the roads

beets
Elizabeth

What's weirder -- or at least less pungent -- than de-icing roads with cheese brine, like they do in some Wisconsin counties? How about doing the same thing using a beet juice-based road treatment, like the British Columbia town of Williams Lake? In fact, even better: Combine the two, and maybe add some traction in the form of walnuts. Tastiest clear roads ever!

Williams Lake, which averages more than 75 inches of snow a year, has already put down almost 9,000 gallons of beet juice. The town hopes this will be a cost-saving measure, because unlike sand, the beet juice doesn't have to be cleaned up when the season is over.

Read more: Cities, Food

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Go bottomless on the subway tomorrow for the annual No-Pants Ride

no_pants_ride
Dave Bledsoe

You can find an ass on the subway almost every day, but tomorrow there will be LOADS of asses. That's because tomorrow is Improv Everywhere's annual No-Pants Subway Ride, which takes the pants out of public transit, leaving you with only "ublic rit."

Here's what that looked like in 2013:

If you've always wanted to drop trou on the NYC subway, but have suspected (or found out the hard way) that it's frowned upon 364 days of the year, head to one of the meeting points tomorrow by 3 p.m. sharp:

Read more: Cities

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This guy raised a duckling under his beard

duck_beard_2I know opinion on beards varies widely, but I'm usually in the "what good is it?" camp. I mean, I guess beards are good if you want to mark yourself out as being Brooklyn-hip, but otherwise they seem to just hang around under your chin picking up food particles. Well, Reddit user Spongi has shown me the light: The purpose of a beard is to provide a comforting snuggle spot for lonely ducks.

Spongi tried to incubate some chicken eggs, but unexpectedly ended up with no chicks and one duckling; he writes, "it turns out one of the eggs in there was a duck egg and apparently duck eggs are more hardy or tolerant of shitty incubation techniques." But baby ducks get lonely without constant company, so Spongi had to let his beard sub in for a mama duck's wing.

duck_beard_1

Read more: Living