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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Here’s what a day looks like for New York’s pothole crusaders

Tumblr's Storyboard spent a day with one of New York City's pothole crews -- the people who make it possible for cars to drive on city streets without getting destroyed, despite the huge amount of wear and tear the roads suffer. In one year, pothole crews might repair more than 200,000 potholes across New York City.

In the morning, the crew looks at its daily pothole spreadsheet and sets out to find and destroy these menaces. If they don't get to the potholes today, they stay on the list. "We'll get those potholes," says Richard Cicale, the director of street maintenance in Manhattan.

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Got a New Year’s hangover? Chicago has a clinic just for you

There is help for you even if you drank a lot
Scott Feldstein
There is help for you even if you drank a lot

Other than being terminally ill or getting dumped or fired, and maybe being forced to work in a quarry since the age of three, there is nothing worse than having a hangover. Hangovers hurt physically, they hurt mentally, and the worst thing is that you did it to yourself, because apparently it is impossible for you to have a good time unless you're absolutely trashed, you fucking lush.

Needless to say, it would be a miracle if someone would just take your hangovers off your hands, and now, for just $99, a Chicago clinic will actually do just that. That’s right. You can just hand it over to them, as if it were a re-gifted bottle of Cîroc vodka or a copy of Moby-Dick or, well, a hundred dollar bill.

Read more: Food

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The cutest, most incredibly depressing animated film you’ll see today

Awww, lookit animator Steve Cutts' adorable cartoon guy run roughshod over the Earth and all its creatures until it's just a smoking ruin!

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Parrots have different favorite bands, but all of them hate dance music

"Play Freebird!"
James Arnott
"Play Freebird!"

Have you ever wondered what kind of music parrots like? I never had, but now that someone has taken the trouble to find out, I actually wonder why I ever bothered to be curious about anything else.

What happened is, a British person (big surprise) put two parrots in a cage. He put two buttons in there which the parrots could press to turn on music. The music choices were Vangelis and Scissor Sisters. One of the parrots, named Leo, was into Scissor Sisters, and the other one preferred Vangelis. They did this study for a whole month, and the parrots were unwavering in their choices.

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Kansas City is making millions by using municipal sewer sludge to fertilize a farm

The Kansas City government made $2.1 million over the past six years from a resource that most people would not think of as an asset -- the human waste that city residents flushed down their toilets.

After turning the waste into fertilizer, last year the city used 9,982 tons on 1,340 acres of corn and soybean crops. Gross? Yes. Since it's not exactly the best idea to eat crops grown from municipal waste, the city sells its crops to biofuel makers.

Beyond being perhaps the best use of sewer sludge that anyone's ever come up with, this project is an example of government efficiency.

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Single people aren’t as good at recycling as couples are

Single people often face a stigma: The coupled-up among us just can't figure out how anyone could live a full and accomplished life without a partner. And in most cases, this stigma is totally ridiculous and unjustified. Apparently not for recycling, though. In Britain, at least, single people just aren't as good at it.

According to the Guardian, while 79 percent of mixed-sex couples recycle, only 65 percent of single people do. And the worst of the worst were single men, only 58 percent of whom could be bothered with the small task of putting paper, plastic, and metal products in a separate bin from their rotting food. 

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Chick-fil-A is using a classic picture book about farming to brainwash kids

You know that old adman's mantra "get 'em while they're young"? Whoever's doing Chick-fil-A's brand management took that to heart. Kids are taught to like barnyard animals, and some fast-food companies get to associate themselves with this bucolic vision of meat-making without even trying. McDonald's lucked out that its founders just happened to have more or less the same name as Old MacDonald, who, we've heard, had a farm. (Or was it luck? Hmmmmmm.) But Chick-fil-A wasn't so fortunate. Instead, the company's tried a different strategy: releasing a version of the classic kid's book The Jolly Barnyard branded with the company's logo.

It's a pretty insidious idea, considering that mass-produced chicken sandwiches and nuggets generally don't come from chickens that have spent their lives pecking around farmyards. Of course, that's exactly why a company like Chick-fil-A might want to associate its brand with happy farms. David Sirota writes at Salon:

They don’t want kids to equate a Chick-fil-A sandwich with inhumane treatment of chickens in crowded factory farms -- they want kids to equate that sandwich with the page in the “Jolly Barnyard” where Farmer Brown feeds his chickens a treat while they roam free. They don’t want kids to equate a Chick-fil-A meal with the unsustainable and often unsafe monoculture practices of corporate agribusiness -- they want kids to equate that meal with the agriculturally diverse operations of individuals like Farmer Brown.

The scary thing is that this works, on some level. Sirota knows from experience:

Read more: Food

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These DIY bike signals are so easy to make there’s no excuse not to

signals
harmless matt

We've written about DIY bike signals before. But now Lifehacker has turned up another set, and these are WAY easier to make.

Materials:

  • Mittens with flip-up fingers
  • Reflective tape
  • Scissors
  • That's it
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Asparagus may keep you from getting a hangover

asparagus_drink
Brent Buford

Next time you're planning on getting hammered -- and it being the holiday season, we imagine you're planning to get hammered in about 15 minutes -- you might want to eat some asparagus before you hit the bar. Scientists (i.e. the smart people who study stuff and learn things while you get wasted) at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in Korea have discovered that some of the amino acids in asparagus lower the toxicity of alcohol.

What does this mean? Like you can just have a few stalks of asparagus and go out and get obliterated and the next day you will feel fine? Don't count on it. For one thing, the leaves are apparently a little more potent than the shoots, which are what we normally eat, and I have no idea where you get asparagus leaves, and I assume you don't either. Needless to say if you go in search of them it is best to do so during a period of relative sobriety, which we have already established is going to last for about 12 more minutes, figuring in the time it took you to read the last two paragraphs.

Read more: Food

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Christmas trees aren’t just festive, they also eat methane

christmas-tree-lights-lighting
Andy Castro

Everyone knows that trees are good for the environment because they consume carbon dioxide. This is not news. But researchers in Sweden (what is it with all these German and Swedish scientists who are obsessed with Christmas tree research?) have recently discovered that the evergreen trees most often marketed as Christmas trees (spruces, pines, firs) not only cleanse the air of carbon dioxide, but ingest something even more harmful -- methane. Wow, some good news about the environment? And it involves Christmas trees? Maybe there really IS a Santa Claus!

Read more: Climate & Energy