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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Super-cute new primate species is already almost extinct

Maybe you've seen a slow loris, the primate that looks sort of like lemur, but cuter. But have you seen the Nycticebus kayan -- the extra cute, extra big-eyed slow loris that only comes out at night and that scientists just decided was its own special species? No? Well, you have to check this guy out:

kayan
Ch'ien C Lee

Take a good hard look at that photo, because it might be the last one you see: This new official species is already badly endangered.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Apocalypse-ready German designer makes tiny houses from dumpsters

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German designer Philipp Stingl has fashioned homes for the homeless out of dumpsters. They're actually pretty nifty, too. They have locks, trash disposal systems, even a little sewage system. Sure, they're not spacious, but if they're your only alternative -- if you're homeless, but also if you're just trying to hide from marauders after the coming ecopocalypse -- they seem reasonably cozy.

Read more: Living

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Teeny rescued Brooklyn owl is totally fine, everyone!

owl_jolson

Apparently a Brooklyn man brought this tiny saw-whet owl to Parks Department HQ in a shoebox, said "here's an owl," and walked away. But from these humble beginnings, Owl Jolson (YES) has gone on to become a local celebrity. Or, if that's too much of an exaggeration, we can definitely say that he's gone on to become a healthy owl, which is probably a better ambition for a baby owl anyway.

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Lizard named after Obama was wiped out by climate change

The little thing to the left in the front is the lizard in question
Carl Buell
The little thing to the left in the front is the lizard in question.

Well it was just a matter of time before some commie scientists named an extinct animal after the 44th president of the United States. Obamadon gracilis is the name, and the foot-long creature -- which was discovered in a fossil bed in Montana -- has been extinct for about 65 million years. And ironically, its extinction may indicate that paleolithic changes in climate affected animals differently than previously believed.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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This video of a city-sized iceberg breaking off from a glacier will blow your mind

It's all very well for us to write about glaciers calving, or even show it from above. But to really understand what happens when an iceberg breaks off from its parent glacier, you have to see it from the ground. Which is why this scene from the documentary Chasing Ice is so mindblowing. From this perspective, you can tell that the shelf of ice that's sliding away from the glacier here is literally the size of a city. Filmmaker James Balog compared it to "Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes."

Read more: Climate & Energy

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This gingerbread Brooklyn is way too amazing to eat

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Kitchen Table Scraps

Renee Baumann, of Kitchen Table Scraps, is putting her culinary and architecture school skills to use baking an entire block of gingerbread brownstones. Sure, they're bigger than gingerbread houses, but think how many people could live in/eat this dense, walkable, edible neighborhood!

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Kitchen Table Scraps

It also took a bunch of people to make it -- talk about community building!

Read more: Cities

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This 15-year-old is fighting to keep flame-retardant chemical out of Gatorade

gatorade
Sarah Pillard

Sarah Kavanagh is 15, a vegetarian, and a resident of Hattiesburg, Miss. She also sometimes drinks Gatorade, and when she looked at the label one day to check it for animal products, she discovered that it contained something scary-sounding: brominated vegetable oil.

“Vegetable” sounds good, but “brominated” is a little concerning, and what is “oil” doing in Gatorade? A little bit of research told her she was right: This stuff is kinda scary. As The New York Times explains:

Brominated vegetable oil contains bromine, the element found in brominated flame retardants, used in things like upholstered furniture and children’s products. Research has found brominate flame retardants building up in the body and breast milk, and animal and some human studies have linked them to neurological impairment, reduced fertility, changes in thyroid hormones and puberty at an earlier age.

Limited studies of the effects of brominated vegetable oil in animals and in humans found buildups of bromine in fatty tissues. Rats that ingested large quantities of the substance in their diets developed heart lesions.

It's also banned in places like Europe. But, hey, it keeps the fruit flavoring in citrusy drinks like Gatorade, Fanta, Mountain Dew, and Sunkist Peach soda evenly distributed!

Read more: Uncategorized

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Watch a baby hippo learn how to eat

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How cute is this little hippolet, prancing around the enclosure trying to get her first ever meal down her wee snout? Just try not rooting for her to work out this "solid food" thing, even though frankly hippo food pellets do not look all that appetizing.

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You can now donate to the homeless through a parking meter

parking_meters
memories_by_mike

A new program in Los Angeles, based on an existing program in Denver, aims to give the humble parking meter the power to truly heal. It will do so by turning the city's 1,140 sad, outdated meters (they are switching from coin to card-operated) into donation centers for the homeless.

Read more: Cities

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This 40-foot Christmas tree is made of 40,000 recycled plastic bottles

kaunas_tree_1

Last year, the city of Kaunas, in Lithuania, decided it would be in the Christmas spirit to kill two turtledoves with one stone. Instead of cutting down a tree to decorate, the city enlisted artist Jolanta Šmidtienė to dream up a holiday decoration where no plants had to die. And, at the same time, it reduced waste by finding a new use for nearly 40,000 discarded plastic bottles. Because Šmidtienė's beautiful tree is made of bottles, linked together with zip ties and illuminated from within.

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Read more: Uncategorized