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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Giant squid, caught on film for the first time ever, is beautiful and TERRIFYING

Still image taken from video shows a giant squid near Ogasawara islands
REUTERS/NHK/NEP/Discovery

The giant squid is maybe the most terrifying monster that actually exists. It definitely was the scariest thing in Disney World circa 1987, where it was beasting the Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea submarine. But it's not just some Disney creation -- it's real, even if we don't catch a glimpse of it all that often. Now, though, a group of scientists has caught one of these behemoths on video. And we can all marvel at how fricking amazing (and did I mention terrifying?) it is.

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This black iceberg is the most emo iceberg

black_iceberg
Rundboll

The Canadian Encyclopedia (really! The first result when you google "black iceberg"!) says that "black ice is of high density and bubble free; dark layers indicate the presence of rock materials derived from the base of the parent glacier." But I prefer to believe that this iceberg is just goth as fuck.

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In the future, your computer could know exactly what you want for dinner

computer_food
Squirmelia

Sometimes you just don't know what you want for dinner. Or what you want for dinner is a case of beer and you know that's a bad idea. So you go get yourself a tuna melt and then you drink a case of beer after all. Or you look through a cookbook and feel incapacitated by laziness/indecision or you eat cereal while watching Celeste and Jesse Forever. None of these are really satisfying options. In a few years' time, however, you might have a new handy friend who can help you in such moments of culinary indecision, and that handy friend will be your computer.

IBM is currently working on a computer that works with actual cognitive function, meaning that it learns from experience the way humans do (or, are supposed to anyway, although judging by the whole "case of beer" thing, you don't). The idea is this computer knows what kind of food you like and it will give you informed instructions on what to eat. And it doesn't just invent meals based on your favorite ingredients -- it could actually analyze your favorite foods to understand what flavors you like best. Because this very smart computer will be able to deal with taste on a molecular level, it will be able to put together food combinations that you will love that you yourself would probably be unable to come up with.

Read more: Food

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Condom-themed restaurant will solve hunger and overpopulation simultaneously

condom_restaurant_mints
Neverending Footsteps

Bangkok's Cabbages & Condoms restaurant derives its name from the idea that condoms should be a regular grocery store purchase just like cabbage. (Historically, if I bought condoms as often as I buy cabbage, I'd probably be pregnant several times over, but maybe people in Thailand tend to buy cabbage more than zero times in their lives.)

condom_restaurant_decor
Neverending Footsteps

The restaurant doesn't seem to actually serve cabbage [PDF], but it does serve up condoms, in the form of rubber-draped light fixtures and mannequins wearing elaborate condom-based outfits. (Yes, that's a wedding dress.) According to blog Neverending Footsteps, from whence these pictures come, the food isn't half bad either. And the restaurant's marketing materials assure you that it is also guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.

condom_restaurant
Neverending Footsteps
Read more: Food, Living

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Anti-coal activist wipes $314 million from coal company’s stock value with one hoax press release

It's really amazing what a person can do with a few phrases like "volatility in the global coal market" and "a careful analysis of repetitional risks." Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan used those and a few other choice phrases to send the stock price of Australian company Whitehaven Coal plummeting -- the company's shares lost $314 million in just a few hours.

Moylan sent out a hoax press release, purportedly from ANZ bank, which said that a $1.2 billion loan to the coal company had been rescinded. The press release claimed that the bank didn't want to contribute to "significant dislocation of farmers, unacceptable damage to the environment, or social conflict," and included a quote from the bank's group head of corporate sustainability. Either bankers/financial reporters don't actually read press releases carefully or they believe that the corporate sustainability folks have a lot more power than they actually do.

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Climate change could lead to more volcanic eruptions

volcano

Listen, uh, nobody panic or anything, but it's starting to look like over the last million years, natural climate change and the resulting sea-level rise might have increased the number of volcanic eruptions tenfold. But I'm sure that doesn't mean that increasingly rapid human-caused climate change and sea-level rise will have a similar effect! I mean really, why would it?

Actually, the authors of this new study in the journal Geology have been very quick to say that even if human-made climate change were bumping up volcanic eruptions, we wouldn't see the effects for centuries. But in the past, periods of rapid sea-level increase have led to drastic increases in volcanic activity. When shifts in Earth's orbit caused warming and rapid glacial melting, volcanoes erupted five to 10 times as often -- and the more rapid the warming, the more eruptions increased.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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New app tells you more about your neighbors than you ever wanted to know

full_1357261848Screenshot2013-01-03at5.10.17PM

Unwilling to even walk through a part of town that's more than 50 percent Republican? That's a little much, dude, but luckily for you there's a new mobile app that gives you quick, interesting, and varied information about neighborhoods. It's called Sitegeist, and it tells you everything from the average age of neighborhood inhabitants to their voting habits and how much cash you'd have to part with if you wanted to rent or buy there.

Sitegeist also has useful information on things like local restaurants, museums, and other potentially exciting destinations. It even tells you how many people in a given area commute by car, bike, or public transportation. And it tells you how many people feel smug for not owning a car. No, it doesn't. But that would be a really good app, right?

Read more: Cities

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The Brazilian treehopper is the creepiest, raddest insect you will ever see

bocydium-globulare-leafhopper

The thing that you are looking at is a Brazilian treehopper. More specifically, a model of a Brazilian treehopper, the Bocydium globulare. Yeah, this particular picture is just a sculpture, but trust: This bug is real. The blog Why Evolution is True puts it best: "If Dali invented insects, they’d look like these."

Why Evolution Is True also answers the question that you are thinking right now:

“What the bloody hell is all that ornamentation on the thorax?”

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San Francisco has its first river otter in 30 years

sutro sam
Caitlin Burke

Centuries ago, river otters lived up and down the California coast, but after the fur trade wiped many of them out and development took over their habitat, their numbers dwindled. Once, they even lived in San Francisco, but until Sutro Sam showed up in October, no one had seen an otter in the city for at least three decades.

Sam lives in the Sutro Baths, the ruins of a once-privately owned swimming complex that are now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. He swims, he sunbathes, he eats fish, he tolerates his many fans, he tweets. He's a bona fide animal celebrity.

Read more: Cities

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‘Smart fork’ tells you how much you’re eating, and also possibly that you’re insane

hapifork

This year, your resolution to lose weight is totally going to be different. Sure, it didn't work last year with Weight Watchers or the year before with Atkins or the year before with South Beach. But now, truly, the answer has arrived: a fork that measures the number of bites you've taken! This fork proudly boasts not just the usual food-piercing tines but a sensor, Bluetooth, and a little thingy that vibrates to tell you you're eating too fast. 

Read more: Food