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These architects want to build a tiny fairy forest in Detroit

detroit-park-43
atelier WHY

One of the great upsides of Detroit's downsizing is that it's opened up room to rethink how cities should look and work. Case in point: An "architectural collaboration team" called atelier WHY dreamed up a plan to create a tiny forest in the middle of the city. Fast Company reports:

It proposes the addition of a swath of trees to the city’s Hart Plaza, situated just on the edge of the Detroit River across from Canada. That arboreal cover is intended to arouse "curiosity and poetic imagination in people," the duo write -- an ambitious goal for a downtown that has been known to be less than accommodating to "curious" pedestrians in recent years.

In addition to your basic forest paths and trees, the park features a knoll that can host concerts, movie screenings, and plays, with the forest as a backdrop. We have to say, though, that the proposal for features like a small concert space in the woods "with scattered seating areas designed to look like tangled tree roots" verges on the dangerously twee.

Read more: Cities

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Starbucks is now selling reusable cups for a dollar

starbucks_mug

You know you should be bringing reusable cups to the coffee shop, but let's be real: It's haaaaaaaaaard. It costs MONEY and you have to REMEMBER it and shit. Well, Starbucks has just kneecapped your excuses, because you can now buy a reusable cup for a dollar.

This is a win-win solution. You win because the cup pays for itself -- you can fill it again and again, and Starbucks will take a dime off the price of each coffee you order. The planet wins because you throw away fewer plastic and Styrofoam cups. And Starbucks definitely wins, because it continues to make a shitload of money peddling coffee and the idea of some sort of genteel, caffeinated intelligence. (The cups are made in China, so the U.S. economy is perhaps the one big loser here.)

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If these kids can understand why mountaintop-removal mining is stupid, the government can too

cute kid
Appalachian Voices

Here are a couple of downer facts about mountaintop-removal mining: 500 of the oldest mountains in America have been destroyed. There are 2,000 miles of streams poisoned.

Feel kind of shitty about that? Well, you will feel worse once you watch these kids tell you more about how terrible mountaintop-removal mining is. Their pitch is this: "We're children. We're not scientists. But we understand what's happening." And if they can understand it, so can other, more grown-up people, like, say, President Obama.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Hot chocolate tastes better in an orange cup

hot_chocolate
Memphis CVB

If you have drunk a really delicious cup of hot chocolate lately, there is a very good chance it was served in a white or orange cup. This is because, according to researchers, hot chocolate actually tastes better to people when served in certain colored cups. No, it is not different hot chocolate. It's just in a different-colored cup, which makes people think it's better. Does that sound weird? Well. Sorry, because it's just true. Scientists said so.

Read more: Food

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Concord, Mass., is the first city to ban plastic water bottles

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Klearchos Kapoutsis

Leave it to Massachusetts: trailblazers in gay marriage and just all-around good old-fashioned community-minded liberal folks. Mitt Romney notwithstanding, can the world really be surprised that the adorable Massachusetts town of Concord is the first city in the country to ban single-use water bottles? (Some college campuses have enacted bans already, but not even so many of those.)

The ban comes as the result of a three-year fight from local activists, who are quite understandably appalled that Americans use 1,500 bottles every second. A small percentage of these are recycled to make things like jeans and birdhouses, but mostly, they just get thrown out. Which sucks.

Read more: Uncategorized

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This nursing home cheers up patients with therapeutic llamas

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Jen Osborne

Two of the certified therapists at Washington's Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation Center have an incredibly sweet deal -- they only come in to work once a month, they never had to go to graduate school, they're massively popular, and they get cool names like Marisco and N.H. Flight of the Eagle. That's because, unlike the other therapists at the center, they are also llamas.

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Jen Osborne
Read more: Uncategorized

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Soda Drinker Pro is the most advanced soda drinking simulator ever created

soda_drinker_pro

Given the amount of time and effort that people put into video games, it's really too bad that most of the skills don't translate into real life. Chances are you'll never have to kill Reapers or deploy Weighted Companion Cubes as part of your daily routine, and I hate to break it to you, but you're not learning any actual guitar hero skills from Guitar Hero. Even worse, if you already have guitar chops, you'll probably do shitty at the game. But with Soda Drinker Pro, you can finally apply your real-life expertise to a video game, plus use it to build up skills you'll actually need.

That's because Soda Drinker Pro is the world's most advanced FPS, or first-person soda, game.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Indonesian city orders women to stop straddling bikes

All sorts of nonsense goes on in America about bikes and motorbikes and the proper way to use them and ride them. But at least we have decided that it is OK for people of both genders to be seen astride a two-wheeled contraption. In one city in Indonesia, they're still fighting over that. The mayor of Lhokseumawe argues that Islamic law means women shouldn't straddle bikes and others say that's totally ridiculous.

Here's the mayor's argument:

"When you see a woman straddle, she looks like a man. But if she sits side-saddle, she looks like a woman," Suaidi said.

And here's the counter-argument:

Read more: Uncategorized

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Excuse me but there is a giant eyeball in space

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Raghvendra Sahai and John Trauger (JPL), WFPC2 science team, NASA
Click to embiggen.

Of all the many space photos that Wired has posted as Space Photo of the Day, this one is surely the most existentially terrifying. Apparently the MyCn18 nebula is watching your ass, and it saw what you did, and it's pretty disgusted.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Vultures will eat your car

vultures
hyperion327

Vultures have a reputation as serious scavengers: You don't want to know what they'll do with a delicious cow carcass. But it turns out that you can't leave these guys alone with your fancy car, either, because they will eat it, and if they don’t eat it, they will at the very least poop all over it. At least, the ones living in the Everglades will. The Miami Herald reports:

Nothing has curbed the curious appetite that migrating vultures have developed for windshield wipers, sunroof seals and other rubber and vinyl vehicle parts. So this winter, the park is shifting to purely defensive tactics against the big birds, expanding a program that provides visitors at the most trouble-prone sites loaner “anti-vulture kits” consisting of blue plastic tarps and bungee cords.

Apparently, vultures also have been known to eat roof shingles and pool screens, and scientists don't really know why they do it.

Read more: Uncategorized