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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Hedgehog rescued from potato chip bag by professional hedgehog-rescuers

That was tiring, now I will curl up on this flattering red surface.

Last week, a hedgehog was rescued from a potato chip bag outside a supermarket in Weston-super-Mare (in Somerset, on England's west coast). Apparently he had burrowed in there to get warm, and then people were like, why does that crisp packet keep moving, not like in the wind moving but has a hedgehog inside it moving? (Brits call potato chips "crisps" and wrappers "packets" because they are adorable.) The hedgehog, who is now fine, was named Crispian.

Here's where it starts getting weirder: Crispian was saved by a hedgehog rescue organization. Yes, England's western counties have their very own hedgehog-saving league.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Here’s why you can’t just nuke a storm

Peter Patau

In case you really needed to be told: No, you can't just blow up storms with nuclear bombs.

Apparently, some people do need to be told this. They ask the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about it every year, according to this entry in NOAA's list of frequently asked questions:

During each hurricane season, there always appear suggestions that one should simply use nuclear weapons to try and destroy the storms. Apart from the fact that this might not even alter the storm, this approach neglects the problem that the released radioactive fallout would fairly quickly move with the tradewinds to affect land areas and cause devastating environmental problems. Needless to say, this is not a good idea.

Oh, it's needless to say, is it? EVIDENTLY NOT.

But, OK, just for curiosity's sake, if you can deflect an asteroid using paintballs, why can't you just nuke the shit out of a storm?

Read more: Climate & Energy

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British charity is recycling ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ as toilet paper

Fifty Shades of Grey, for the uninitiated, is a madly popular, rather trashy book in which a young woman has an affair with an older businessman. There's some bondage involved. Many people do not like the book at all. Among those people are the people in charge of Wearside Women in Need, which the BBC describes as "a charity for abuse victims." The group's been collecting copies of the book in order to destroy them -- by turning them into toilet paper.

Originally, they planned to burn the books, which is not great for the environment, and also makes you look like kind of a fascist. But now the group has a better idea:

We will be cutting them up, using them for toilet roll and sticking them on our compost heap and they will go back into the ground.

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Rare whale seen for the first time only to die hours later

Current Biology

The first time anyone came across evidence of the spade-toothed beaked whale's existence was in 1872, when a partial skull was found in New Zealand. Over the years, two other skull pieces turned up, in New Zealand and Chile, one in 1950, one in 1986. But no one had ever seen the whale in the flesh, let alone alive.

Then, in 2010, two whales showed up on New Zealand's Opape Beach. They died soon after they were found. And it wasn't until much later that anyone realized that these whales were spade-toothed beaked whales -- the first of their kind ever to be seen by human eyes.

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This post-Sandy image will seriously mess with your head

Nirnroot
Click to embiggen/boggle at.

It took me a while to find the source for this mindbending photo, which has been going around the internet labeled as a pic from Sandy. I kind of suspected it of being an old picture getting new life through spurious association with current events, though I probably still would have posted it, because WHOA. But it appears to be the work of Reddit user Nirnroot, who doesn't say where he lives -- clearly somewhere that was hit hard enough for tree damage, but not hard enough to make jokes turn to ashes in the mouth. He does give the useful context that he was resting "93% of my body weight" on his hand to create this optical illusion.

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Artist wants to replace L.A.’s billboards with elevated bamboo forests

Urban Air is a project by L.A. artist Stephen Glassman to turn billboard infrastructure into mini-bamboo groves floating above the traffic clogged streets. It's a pretty idea; just check out the mock-up:

Urban Air via Treehugger

Treehugger writes:

This Kickstarter project is unlike many we’ve come across. It is designed, engineered, sourced and billboard space has been acquired. All Urban Air needs is funding to complete the project.

It is also unlike many Kickstarter projects in that it's trying to raise a rather large sum of money -- $100,000. These mini-groves have a lot of bells and whistles: misters to irrigate the bamboo so the floating forests look like cloud forests, "climate monitoring technology" (which, as far as I can tell, just means air quality monitors), and wifi connections to collect that information for no obvious purpose.

Read more: Cities

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House candidate Doug LaMalfa is the archetypal climate-denying idiot

LaMalfa campaign
I will tell you my stupid ideas about climate change so you can die from boredom instead.

When we talk about climate denial, especially during this heated election, and in the aftermath of the biggest storm to ever hit the East Coast, it's so easy to focus on the obvious crazies. Like Paul Ryan, who said "fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow." There's just something dazzling about this kind of willful ignorance.

So dazzling, in fact, that we now realize we'd been blinded to the real heroes of climate denial: people like Doug LaMalfa, former member of the California Senate, now running against Democrat Jim Reed to become a representative to Congress from California's rural First District. Cleverly worded idiocy that gets ink? Not LaMalfa's thing. But rattling off the exact same fucking jackass idiot talking points we've heard from all the other jackass idiots: totally his thing. Watch.

Read more: Politics

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London traffic light has 75 anxiety-inducing signals

Metro Centric
I wish I were in a horse and buggy right now.

It is already very stressful to drive in a city. So we can't imagine that anyone fashioning an urban traffic-control contraption would just intentionally find a way to upset drivers more than they are upset already. And yet -- what is this thing in the Canary Wharf section of London, with more colors beaming off of it than a hanging Swarovski crystal? Well, it's a monstrous hell-tree made of dozens of conjoined traffic lights, that's what.

The light does have something going for it: It's not real. It's a piece of public art. Aren't you relieved? Now when you see the thing you will know not to jump out of your car, abandon it forever on the street, and hail a cab, where you would tell the driver, "Don't say anything. Just hold me."

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These beautiful, sobering murals are made entirely out of sugar

Shelley Miller

Most artists are mired in the whole paint paradigm, but Montreal-based artist Shelley Miller has too crazy/brilliant a brain for that. Her message? History was definitely not very sweet. Her medium? Sugar. It's thematically appropriate, it's beautiful, and it's public art that can disappear without a trace.

Miller has spent the last couple of years making large murals out of piped icing (like what they make cake roses with) and sugar tiles (like uh, tiles made of sugar) depicting slavery in all parts of the Americas. (Yes. Canada had slaves too. They weren't always so frickin' perfect.)

Read more: Cities, Food

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker is checking on people’s families, hosting sleepovers, and generally being amazing

Anyone who doesn't already have a massive brain-crush on Newark Mayor Cory Booker hasn't been paying attention. He's handsome, he's funny, he saved a lady from a fire -- as I said earlier this year, he's basically the Ryan Gosling of politics. And in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he's been turning in an Oscar-worthy Best Leading Mayor performance.

Booker's Twitter feed shows him running around the city, checking on constituents and the family members they're worried about, dispensing supplies and supportive words. He manages to encourage patience without denying that people are hurting, and applaud the efforts of repair workers without ignoring the fact that they can't possibly work fast enough to avoid leaving some residents in the cold and dark for an unacceptably long time. He's a Twitter whirlwind of accountability, responsibility, good humor, and putting his money where his mouth is -- he's even letting people crash at his house.

Here's a sampling of Cory "Gosling" Booker's extreme Twitter awesomeness:

Hey girl, I just want to keep you warm:

Hey girl, why don't you spend the night at my place:

Hey girl, let me buy you lunch:

Read more: Cities, Politics