Sarah Miller

Global warming-related bottle shortage threatens Oktoberfest

If anyone wants real proof — or at least some very good anecdotal evidence — that the planet is getting incrementally hotter, they need look no further than the beer bottle shortage in Munich, in southern Germany. As Oktoberfest approaches, brewers are finding they don’t have enough bottles to supply the festival. And why is that? Because Germany was so hot this summer that the Germans were like fuck, I have to drink a lot of beer. So all the empty bottles are sitting around in drunk people’s living rooms.

Kids compete to name kid-killing asteroid

Whether or not you spend much time worrying about 1999 RQ36, the asteroid that might hit Earth in a couple hundred years, surely everyone agrees: If a giant formation of rock and space detritus is going to smash us all to kingdom come, it would be nice to at least be properly introduced first. To this end, as well as for the purposes of teaching children about space and the ways it can kill you, Bill Nye’s Planetary Society, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona have teamed up to hold an asteroid naming competition. For kids. Kids who want to not …

The Pope and his weird hat have a new electric car

Pope Benedict is considered the Green Pope. This does not mean that his weird hat is green, though that would be really cool. It means that he cares about the environment, so even though he is the Pope and also kind of scary-looking, he does cool, Norcal-y stuff like harness solar power for electricity and sponsor reforestation projects. Most recently, he added an electric car to his fleet of vehicles, specifically a white Renault Kangoo.

World’s oldest message in a bottle has been found in Scotland

In 1914, a Scottish scientist named Captain C. Hunter Brown dropped 1,890 bottles in the North Sea as part of a science experiment. So far 315 of these bottles have been found, the most recent one last week by a Scottish fisherman named Andrew Leaper. At 98 years old, it’s the world’s oldest message in a bottle. (At least, the oldest one that’s been recovered.)

This new bike grows when your kid grows

In response to the pesky but unavoidable fact that children tend to grow over time, Spanish bike company Orbea has designed a child’s bicycle that grows with them.

Middle schoolers convince L.A. school district to ban styrofoam

Anyone who thinks that kids don’t care about anything but eating uncooked ramen and playing video games clearly underestimated the kids of Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Angeles. Their interests include uncooked ramen, playing video games, building a tower of styrofoam, and getting so grossed out by it that they launch a letter-writing campaign and eventually convince the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) to become the first school district in the nation to ban styrofoam.

Vladimir Putin dressed as a bird to save endangered cranes

There are 20 white cranes left in the world. But for one special day, there were 21. OK, the extra crane wasn’t really a crane. It was Russian President Vladimir Putin on a hang-glider, wearing a white jumpsuit and a crane nose.

Good news: The nuclear apocalypse will kill everything but beer

Imagine there’s a huge nuclear explosion and almost everyone you know is dead. Sure, things are bad. But you can still get a beer. Alex Wellerstein at the Nuclear Secrecy blog has looked into some of the weird shit that the United State’s Nuclear Defense Agency did during the Cold War to better understand the finer points of nuclear attacks. And one of those things was to drop bombs on bottles of beer. Naturally some of them were smashed into oblivion, but those that survived were totally safe to drink.

Climate & Energy

New documentary lets you watch glaciers disappear

Anyone who is not a raging moron knows that glaciers are melting really fast. We should probably be constantly consumed by worrying about our waterlogged future, yet we somehow manage to sit around having conversations about, like, cheese.  The reason is pretty simple: We can’t see glaciers. They are Far. Which is why National Geographic photographer James Balog has been kind enough to bring them closer in his gazillions-of-awards-winning documentary Chasing Ice.

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