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Grist List: Look what we found.


Scientists have discovered a tiny lost continent under the Indian Ocean

The shape and size of the continents has changed a lot over the history of our planet. Sea levels have changed, plates have drifted, and in all the upheaval some large chunks of land have gone missing. Now geologists think they've found one -- a lost chunk of continent (otherwise known as a microcontinent) called Mauritia, which once connected India and Madagascar, before sinking deep under the Indian Ocean.

To find the continent, scientists dove deep down into the ocean and found a lost world, complete with mer-dinosaurs and other weird creatures. We wish. Actually, they analyzed some sand.

Read more: Living


This map shows you where to find love in every state of the union

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

Are you dying to meet someone serendipitously -- perhaps glimpsing Mr. Right on a subway car going in the opposite direction, or making eyes at the girl of your dreams on the elliptical machine? Well, cartoonist Dorothy Gambrell of Cat and Girl has crunched the numbers on Craigslist "Missed Connections" ads from all over the country, and generated this map that shows you where to hang out and wait for Cupid to strike.

Public transit fans looking for love should opt for New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, D.C., Oregon, and Washington. If you'd rather get laid from the driver's seat, you can go to Georgia, the only state where most missed connections spot each other from their cars -- or you can head for a gas station in Colorado or a parking lot in Rhode Island. In most of the rest of the country, Walmart seems like a good bet, alas. 

Read more: Cities, Living


Once a year, this waterfall looks like a stream of falling lava

Joe Azure

This is Horsetail Fall. On most days, it is a beautiful waterfall in Yosemite Valley. But once a year, if the sky is clear and the snowmelt abundant enough to pour water down the cliff, it lights up like a stream of fiery lava.

Tom Bricker

The New York Times reports that photographers have been chasing the elusive firefall since 1973:

The photographer and mountain climber Galen Rowell was driving through the park after a winter climb when he spotted the light catching in Horsetail Fall. He rushed across the valley and took what is believed to be the first image of the illuminated waterfall. ...

Read more: Living


Please enjoy this cartoon of tubby, fast-food-eating animals rolling around like balls

I wish I could hunt better but i am too fat

Someone has made a rather silly but funny video about what would happen if animals ate fast food and got all fat and useless. A very round alligator swims past a flock of flamingos, but can't manage to attack before his considerable weight pulls him underwater. A roly-poly leopard rolls out of a tree. A cheetah chases down an antelope, but as it makes the final leap towards its prey both lose their footing and end up bouncing across the savannah like two balls.

Read more: Food


Socially and sexually deviant species of octopus shares room with preteen girl

I am rare and was discovered in the 70s.
Dr. Roy Caldwell

The recent story of the unusual Larger Pacific Striped Octopus wanders off in exactly eight directions, one for each of its tentacles. It is therefore difficult to know where to begin, or end, or focus one's attention.

1. The species was only discovered very recently, in Nicaragua in the late 1970s. Its preference for living 130 feet underwater, near the murky mouths of rivers, made it virtually unspottable by divers. A Panamanian biologist named Arcadio Rodaniche discovered it, and he wrote up his findings in a 1991 paper that was never published.

2. Although the Larger Pacific Striped Octopus was discovered more than 35 years ago, two scientists, Roy Caldwell and Richard Ross, last week issued a press release to let people know about the species. It's been sort of neglected by everyone but Caldwell and Ross, and they are choosing this moment to say "Hey, look at this rare and unusual octopus. Stop ignoring it. It is special." (I paraphrase.)

Read more: Living


These houses share a backyard, but it would take two hours to walk from one to the other

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

The houses marked A and B on this map are essentially touching butts, and yet if you wanted to drive from one to the other it would take nearly 20 minutes. And god forbid you wanted to walk -- if you stick to the roads, that would take more than two hours. 

Read more: Cities


Pollution may be endangering otter penises

otters 04
"Not tonight, dear, I'm self-conscious about my dong."

If you needed another reason why we don't want harmful pollution in our waterways, try this one on for, ahem, size: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in U.K. rivers may be shrinking otters' penises.

otters 12
"Noooooooooooo! My weenie!"

Researchers surveying otters in England and Wales found that the average weight of their penis bones has decreased over time. This of course raises an important question: "Otters have BONES in their PENISES??" The answer is yes; like other mustelids and rodents, male otters have a wang-bone called a baculum, because mustelids and rodents are a walking boner joke. But the new data raises another, less pressing question too: Why is this happening? Scientists think human-made endocrine-disrupting chemicals are to blame.

Read more: Living


Watch a man jump into freezing water to save a dog stranded on an ice floe

I'd like to think I would be this guy, leaping into Siberian waters to save a stranded dog. But realistically I ... no, you know what? Fuck it, I'm not doing this charade where I pretend I wouldn't do this in order to be humble. I WOULD TOTALLY DO THIS. I care way more about dogs than about not getting hypothermia. But I still think this guy is a hero, and this video is utterly heartwarming.

Read more: Living


Homemade dehydrated food lets you cook dinner just four times a year

Chiot's Run

Julie Languille has an idea that's so good and wholesome and savvy that it makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Her larder is stocked with whole, ready-made dehydrated meals, which she cooks in batches of 40 at a time, Smithsonian writes. And unlike the pre-prepared food you can buy in a store, this food is actually good for you:

“The meals that I have on hand are tastier than the commercially prepared dried foods,” says Languille, who doesn’t use any artificial flavoring, coloring or preservatives in her recipes, save for a few packets of oxygen absorbers, which keep food from changing color or growing mold.

By putting a lot of work in at the front end, Languille saves time when she actually gets around to serving these meals -- all she needs to do is add water.

Read more: Food, Living


Horse meat shows up in IKEA meatballs

First the horse meat showed up in Ireland and in England. Then it came to France. It showed up in supermarkets and frozen lasagna. It appeared at Burger King. It was linked to the mafia. And we laughed and shook our heads and moved on with our days because those places are mostly far away and we don't eat Burger King.

But then the horse meat showed up at IKEA.

The company had tested its own meatballs and come up empty. But now Czech authorities have said they found traces of horse meat in the company's Swedish meatballs, and IKEA is pulling them from the shelves "in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Britain, Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Ireland," according to The New York Times.