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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Mexico City has an awesome masked defender of pedestrians, and we’re jealous

Stop in the name of Peatónito!
Peatónito
Stop in the name of Peatónito!

Mexico City is super awesome. It's kind of like L.A. with all the cool people and none of the annoying ones, and yeah, no beach, but whatevs. The existence of Peatónito makes it even better. Peatónito is the alter ego of one Jorge Cáñez, a 26-year-old political scientist by day who, at the blink of an eye, transforms into a traffic-stopping superhero.

Planning on barreling through an intersection without even pinche looking? Well you are going to meet the wrath of Peatónito, who will jump out and stop you in your tracks. You will be surprised. You will feel dumb. You will perhaps begin to drive in a way that acknowledges the existence of other people.

Read more: Cities, Living

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Little kid writes adorable letter apologizing for taking sticks out of Yosemite

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

Everyone knows the hiker's code: Take only pictures, leave only painfully cute apology notes for accidentally taking sticks as well. Or at least, that's the code of a Yosemite Junior Ranger named Evie, who was so chagrined at discovering she'd removed two sticks from the park that she sent them back to rangers with a heartfelt letter.

Read more: Living

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Titantic replica will have to dodge even more icebergs than the original

titanic

Possibly-crazy rich guy Clive Palmer is spending his hard-earned fortune on building a replica of the Titanic. A pretty exact replica, which, on its maiden voyage, will try to finish the journey the original Titanic started, through the icy Atlantic.

But don't worry about that, Palmer told reporters:

One of the benefits of global warming has been that there isn’t so many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days.

Which would make us feel better … if it were anywhere close to true. But as National Geographic reported in April, there actually could be more icebergs on that route now than in the late 19th century:

As more ice melts under glaciers and ice sheets -- particularly in Greenland and Antarctica -- the water lubricates the ice masses, sending them to sea, and eventual breakup, at a faster rate.

Read more: Living

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We used to respect animals enough to give them a fair trial before putting them to death

sad pig
Amador Vs Foto

From the medieval period all the way through the 18th century, when a domesticated animal like a pig or a donkey committed a crime, the society in which they lived put them on trial. It was sort of a cross between Dr. Doolittle and Judge Judy. Judge Joolittle? No.

What crimes can an animal commit, you ask? Well, apparently pigs are cold-blooded murderers. And at least one donkey was put on trial for “bestiality” with a human, which seems really unfair. (She was exonerated.)

According to Slate, those trials took into account the moral character of the accused, just as they might for a human:

Only domesticated animals were subject to such character examinations -- the expectation being that, living among humans, they better understood the difference between right and wrong. When pigs behaved badly in the courtroom -- such as by grunting loudly in the prisoner’s box -- this lack of composure could count against them during sentencing.

These trials took into account the animals' cruelty or their reputation for honesty. Young, immature animals were judged less harshly -- like juvenile offenders today, they were considered too young to understand the full import of what they'd done.

In the Slate article, James McWilliams argues that this approach to animal justice probably had something to do with the intimate relationships humans had with animals.

Seventeenth-century farming account books suggest that farmers of that era spent up to 16 hours a day observing and caring for domesticated beasts. They watched these animals make choices, respond to human directives, engage in social relationships, and distinguish themselves as individuals with unique personalities.

What changed? Factory farming was introduced:

Read more: Living

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Street photographer gets screwed by corporation, responds by raising money for disadvantaged kids

hony_y_kids
Brandon Stanton

Our favorite street photographer, Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (featured on Grist List here, here, here, and here), was recently approached by clothing company DKNY, which offered him $15,000 to use 300 of his photos in store displays. Stanton declined, feeling that $50 a picture was not worth selling out for. He asked for more money, and DKNY said forget it -- but it turns out they just meant "forget us paying you anything," because they went ahead and used his photos anyway.

Stanton's photos on display in a Bangkok DKNY store.
Stanton's photos on display in a Bangkok DKNY store.

Stanton's extremely classy response was to ask the company to donate $100,000 to the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, which I like because it is my YMCA. More elliptical machines for me! No, actually, Stanton wanted this donation to go to the much more admirable goal of sending city kids to summer camp. DKNY's slightly less classy rejoinder was to admit that they screwed up and donate $25,000 instead. So Stanton is calling on his fans to make up the shortfall. His Indiegogo campaign has already raised more money than a giant multinational photo-stealing corporation was willing to contribute.

Read more: Cities

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This funny-looking creature is your ancestor, and it needs a name

shrew
Carl Buell

Earlier this month, scientists announced that they had reconstructed the anatomy and the appearance of the earliest ancestor of every mammal now living -- including us. It's a four-legged shrew kind of creature that looks, in an artist's drawing, like a cross between a mole and a squirrel with a monkey's long tail. It's pretty cute.

But it doesn't have an official name. The best option right now is to call it the "hypothetical placental mammal," which doesn't really have much of a ring to it. Radiolab explains:

You see, scientists are actually not allowed to give it an official, Latin name (such as Homo sapien, the Latin alias for humans). Why? Because so far this ancestor of ours exists only as a drawing. We haven’t found any fossils of it. Instead, the team of researchers re-created it by crunching a whole lot of data, and then collaborating with an artist to show us what it looked like.

So Radiolab and the American Museum of Natural History are teaming up to give our collective ancestor a better identity -- not an official, scientific name, but a nickname.

Read more: Living

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For just $65 and the cost of a trip to Japan, you can have a gummi bear that looks just like you

This looks just like me except it is red and see through and still in possession of the 6,000 yen i spent buying it.
FabCafe
This looks just like me except it is red and see-through and costs 6,000 yen.

So the last time I made fun of Japan, I was sharply taken to task by some guy who said I didn't get Japan, and boy was he right. And I'm afraid I am going to just give him another opportunity, what with this gummi bear portrait that's just been rolled out by a Tokyo bistro called FabCafe. For only 6,000 yen, or roughly $65, it will take a 3D scan of your body, which is used to create a mold for the gummi stuff. I'm sorry, this product is weird.

Read more: Food

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Screaming goats are now doing karaoke

Oh, internet. There's not a single thing you won't either make porn of or mash up with Nicki Minaj, and the screaming goats are no exception. Apparently "goat editions" of popular songs are the new YouTube meme, and Buzzfeed has rounded up a bunch for you.

This one is my favorite, hands down:

But that's probably because I'm old and am like "what's a One Direction?"

Read more: Living

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Wasted? Eat this burger the size of an IKEA lamp

Now if I can just get my jaw unhinged
Now if I can just get my jaw unhinged.

Late-night menus are basically for one kind of person, and where I come from (Massachusetts), we call that kind of person "wicked fucken hammahd." When you are wicked fucken hammahd, you want to stuff your face with things, things like this seven-patty burger that Steak 'n Shake has just begun selling as part of its "late night" (i.e., for wicked fucken hammahd people) menu.

Read more: Food

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‘LEGO bombing’ reveals the plastic-brick framework of your city

lego_bombing_italyBocchignano, Italy.

Street artists worldwide are beautifying crumbling streets, walls, and buildings by filling in the holes with LEGO bricks -- which not only makes old structures whole again, but gives the illusion that they're LEGO buildings that have been camouflaged with plaster or stone.

lego_bombing_israelTel Aviv, Israel.
Read more: Cities