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Grist List: Look what we found.


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New York City is turning old parking meters into bike racks

parking_meter_bike_rack

New York City has come up with an ingenious way to double its supply of biking parking. It's turning 12,000 decommissioned single-space parking meters into 12,000 bike racks.

A few years back, the city moved towards a muni-meter parking-meter system for convenience and, according to the city, to be able to fit more parked cars in a single bit of street space. The city sold a lot of the meters, and now, all over, you can see beheaded parking meters, now just ugly poles sticking out the sidewalk.

According the New York Post, the city's going to be paying Louis Barbato Landscaping $1.9 million to turn those ugly poles into less ugly bike parking.

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Your ‘awww’ for the day: Biker leads a gaggle of stranded geese across the road

geese
cheesedanish93

In Cambridge, Mass., a flock of geese were trying to cross the road. Apparently, the chicken was on vacation. (Which, according to Google, really is the best available punchline for “Why did the goose cross the road?”) Unlike chickens, who are professionals, the geese were having a hard time with this task. Luckily, a nice man on a bike came along and helped them.

Reddit user cheesedanish93, who posted the picture above, gave some more details:

Also, the bag on his handle bars was filled with bread, and he fed them after leading them back into the park….

It was so cool though, there was all this traffic and the geese kept getting closer and closer to being hit by cars, and I tried to shoo them but they wouldn't move. I was so worried they'd get hit, but then this guy came out of fucking no where and they followed him. There were about 30 more behind him, but I only took that picture. I yelled thank you to him, but he was too concerned with his "babies" :)

This sort of caper doesn't always go so well, the Huffington Post points out.

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Apple is moving into the wind energy business

Apple controls my destiny...just as it controls yours.
Apple controls my destiny ... just as it controls yours.

If you are sick of Apple ruling at everything, you can stop reading now. But if you'd like to hear about how they're working to harness one of nature's cleanest, most plentiful resources, continue. Because Apple is now branching out from making shiny objects that ruin/enhance your social life, and has come up with a neat way to store energy created by windmills.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Honest junk food advertisements show you what kind of crap you’re really eating

twinkie_ad
Laura P.

Graphic designer Laura P. created these posters for the nasty ingredients hiding in some of your favorite junk foods. Would Twinkies and hot dogs be as popular if these were plastered in bus stations and movie theaters? Well, yeah, probably. But at least nobody could plead ignorance.

Read more: Food

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Pop-up park kit turns construction scaffolding into public green space

Isn't this scaffolding romantic?
Softwalks
Isn't this scaffolding romantic?

When people talk about the glories of New York City, they mention the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, its glorious Frederick Law Olmsted-designed parks, but they do not mention its 189 miles of scaffolding. This is probably not going to change, but there's a good chance that the Softwalks project could make the scaffolding at least somewhat pleasant to live with. Softwalks' pop-up park kit turns construction scaffolds -- properly called "sidewalk sheds" -- into parks so cute even a Brooklyn hipster would approve.

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These photos of the Australian dust storm will blow your mind

Not a lot to add to this ...

... except this.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Baby sharks have superpowers

shark embryo
Channing Egberg

Sharks can sense the tiniest of movements -- muscles twitching, nerve cells firing. That’s because they can actually sense their prey’s electricity field. (They use electroreceptors, or, as the BBC calls them, "jelly-filled pores on their heads.") This electric-sensing head-jelly superpower is why it’s so hard to escape a shark. They're gonna get you. They can feel you out there.

And one type of baby shark -- brownbanded bamboo shark embryos still in their egg cases -- can also use that sense to escape predators with another power: playing dead.

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Trapped orcas got free of the ice with no help whatsoever from the government

I don't know what it's called to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when you don't even have any feet, but those orcas who were caught in the ice yesterday (that's them in the video above) have managed to get free with no assistance from the government. We're sure Rush Limbaugh would approve. 

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Drought-stricken West is seeing a crime wave of hay thefts

hay bale

Out in the West, hay thefts in some parts have doubled in the past year. Blame the drought. It's shot the price of hay, grain, and other animal feed so high that some are resorting to stealing 800-pound bundles of hay right out of other farmers' fields, reports The New York Times. Most of the time, they get less than a ton of hay, maybe $200 or $300 worth (although priceless to hungry horses and cattle). But hay thieves have also been known to load up flatbed trailers and make off like bandits.

According to the Times, hay thieves are particularly hard to nab:

Law enforcement officials said they could do little to prevent the thefts or catch the culprits. Most of the hay is nipped at night along remote roads, from fields and barns hundreds of yards from the nearest home. Because one bundle of hay tends to look like every other one, once a bale is stolen, reclaiming it is harder than finding a needle in a — well, never mind.

One sheriff did figure out a way to catch them, though: He stuck a GPS unit into a bale of hay.

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Python hitches a ride on a plane wing, survives an international flight

snake
Screenshot via SMH

On a flight from Australia to Papua New Guinea today, passengers found a snake on the plane. Surprisingly, no one yelled, "I have had it with these motherf*cking snakes on this motherf*cking plane!" (Well, probably someone did -- it wasn’t reported, though, so we can still think well of the human race.) Instead, reports the Sydney Morning Herald, "a woman pointed outside the plane and told cabin crew: 'There's a snake on the wing … There's its head and if you look closely you can see a fraction of its body.''' It also was not reported whether the woman was William Shatner.

Here, you can see the snake. It's pretty sad, actually:

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