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Grist List: Look what we found.


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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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Absolutely the most disgusting way to keep your weight-loss New Year’s resolution

I wonder if there's some way to suck out the part of my brain that allows me to do this to myself?
Aspire Bariatrics
I wonder if there's some way to suck out the part of my brain that allows me to do this to myself?

Wouldn't it be great if you could just stuff yourself silly and then just suck the food out of you with a tube? No? You think that wouldn't be great? You think that's really disgusting? Well, too bad, because such a device has already been invented and, what with people's desire to have their cake and have it sucked out of them with an aspiration tube too, there's a good chance of it becoming rather popular.

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The London Tube opened 150 years ago today — here’s its first complaint letter

tube_complaint

London's iconic public transit system, the Tube, opened on this day in 1863. And it must have run comparatively well, because it took over a month for the London Times to get its first letter complaining about the service.

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These orcas are trapped in ice and need your help

Orca_wal_2
NOAA

There's a pod of 18 killer whales trapped in the ice in Canada, crowded into a slowly shrinking breathing hole. They need help, but it's hard to get near them because their thrashing throws up so many waves. Unless you're an X-Man, preferably Cyclops, your best bet to help them is to nag the Canadian government to dispatch some assistance tout de suite.

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Drinking a lot of diet soda is linked to depression

We've never liked diet soda (please do not fact-check this with our college roommates), and now we have one more excuse to stay the hell away from it. According to a preview of a study coming out in March, people who drink four or more cans of soda each day were 30 percent more likely to be diagnosed with depression later on. Diet soda drinkers were even more likely than that to be depressed. And coffee drinkers -- well, coffee drinkers are apparently hyped up enough to be happy. They were 10 percent less likely to get depressed.

So, what does it all meeeeean? The study had more than 200,000 people in it, so that’s a good indication that there’s something interesting going on here. But Smithsonian does a good job of tackling the eternal causation/correlation dilemma:

Does this mean you should stop drinking diet Coke and starting chugging coffee immediately? Probably not. This type of suggested link between two seemingly unrelated factors is an ideal time to bring up the difference between causation and correlation. Do the ingredients in both diet sodas and normally-sweetened drinks trigger changes in brain chemistry that lead to depression? Or are people with the tendency to become depressed simply more likely to drink these beverages in the first place?

Without the full paper, it’s hard to know for sure—we don’t know if the study’s authors controlled for all relevant factors, making sure to compare study participants who were alike in all ways except for their beverage consumption.

Does drinking a lot of diet soda make you depressed, or do depressed people drink a lot of diet soda? Or do depressed people drink a diet soda, feel terrible about the state of the world because that stuff tastes so disgusting, and then drink more diet soda?

Read more: Food

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Chocolate syrup made by, from, and for assholes

Here, we present the only food product we have ever encountered that needs to just GET OVER itself:

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Bill Wasik

Bill Wasik, a senior editor at Wired, shared this photo with the warning that it featured "a graf where every phrase makes you want to punch something." And yes, now, we do want to punch something. Specifically, we want to punch this chocolate syrup and everyone who made it and everyone who buys it.

To spare you that fate, and so that you don't actually have to parse what's going on there, here's a list of all the separate, supposedly desirable qualities this chocolate syrup has:

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This map of the London Tube is also a working radio

London-Underground-radio-circuit-board1-e1357644997630
Hitomi Kai Yoda

You may recognize the above picture as a map of the London Tube, which turns 150 today. This particular version of the map is also a working radio, which is rad. And it's not a coincidence that this is possible. The guy who designed the original tube map had studied electronics engineering and purposely drew the map in the mode of a circuit board. Urban Times explains:

This was the inspiration behind the ‘reverse-engineering’ of Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki, who used the tube schematic to make a printed circuit board, then, by installing components at strategic locations, turned it into a functioning radio.

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Rupert Murdoch still stupid about climate, now thinks pollution is good for trees

I have had it up to here with actual facts!
World Economic Forum
I have had it up to here with actual facts!

Close your eyes and imagine a world without Rupert Murdoch. Ahhhhhhhh. OK, you can open your eyes now. Sorry. Murdoch still exists. He owns everything. And he still doesn't know dick about climate science. In fact, he now thinks increased carbon dioxide is good for the planet.

This week, Murdoch tweeted: “World growing greener with increased carbon. Thirty years of satellite evidence. Forests growing faster and thicker.” OK! You got us, Mr. Murdoch! We are all freaking out for nothing. If only we were all predatory cretinous pieces of vileness like you, we too would understand that the planet is ACTUALLY GETTING HEALTHIER!

Read more: Climate & Energy

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This is what it looks like to get caught in a dolphin stampede

If you've got "be caught up in a cavalcade of 1,000 stampeding dolphins" on your bucket list, you might want to book a cruise with Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari in Southern California. Twice last weekend, whale-watching enthusiasts on owner Dave Anderson's boat were overwhelmed by dolphins churning the water at speeds up to 25 mph.

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Solar snowboard charges your phone with power collected on the slopes

snowboard_sun
Denis Messié

In case there was still any doubt that solar is rad, the dudes at Signal Snowboard have made a snowboard equipped with solar panels that can actually charge your phone. Wait, should I be talking more like a snowboarder? I meant to say it can, actually, like, charge, like, your phone.