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Grist List: Look what we found.


Condom-themed restaurant will solve hunger and overpopulation simultaneously

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.)

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.

Neverending Footsteps
Read more: Food, Living


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out a hoax press release, purportedly from ANZ bank, which said that a $1.2 billion loan to the coal company had been rescinded.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.

Read more: Uncategorized


Climate change could lead to more volcanic eruptions


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


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


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


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


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?”

Read more: Uncategorized


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


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


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


The unkillable tree lobster is getting its own animated film


If you read Grist, chances are you already know about the Lord Howe Island stick insect, otherwise known as the tree lobster. Our post about the tree lobster and how it survived 80 years in hiding was the most popular of 2012. If you don't remember, here's a refresher:

In the early 20th century, a British trade ship crashed on the South Pacific island that these stick insects inhabited, and black rats from its hold took over the island and ate all the bugs. One very small population survived, hanging out around one tiny little bush on another island (really more of a bare outcropping of rock), until a couple of Australian scientists found them there.

And here's a video of it hatching:

Now, like many other things that look like aliens -- facehuggers, E.T., James Carville -- the tree lobster is making the leap to film. Australian animator Jilli Rose will be bringing its story to life in her short documentary Sticky.

Read more: Uncategorized


Narwhal-horn smuggling ring busted in Maine


There's not much going on in Maine, unless you count the prostitution ring that's being running out of a Zumba studio, and, most recently, a busted-up illegal narwhal tusk importing racket. Two unnamed Canadian smugglers are being charged in Canada for arranging the sales of around 150 narwhal tusks via Fed-Ex, and two American men, Andrew Zarauskas and Jay Conrad, will be arraigned this week for receiving the tusks. At least one of them is being represented in court by a public defender, probably because he spent his rainy-day lawyer money on narwhal tusks, which can sell for up to $7,000 each.

Read more: Uncategorized


The next space shuttle could be made out of trash


Space travel produces a lot of garbage -- towels, food packaging, human waste, javelins. (Yeah, I don't know about the javelins -- ask the astronauts.) So NASA is looking for ways to recycle some of that refuse into stuff that's actually useful for a space mission. For instance, researchers at NASA's Ames Research Center have devised a trash compactor that turns waste into eight-inch radiation-shielding tiles.

Read more: Uncategorized