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Grist List: Look what we found.


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The cities of the future could be built out of animal blood

Jack Munro
Yes this looks like a steak but it is in fact a brick.

Usually, when your house's walls are dripping blood, it's a sign you are living in the Amityville Horror and it's time to move. But recent architecture school grad Jack Munro (who is British -- big surprise when the British people have the weird ideas) thinks bloody walls could potentially be a feature, not a bug. Munro has discovered that bricks made out of animal blood and sand might be a pretty darn reasonable building material.

Read more: Uncategorized

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Will.i.am is turning plastic water bottles into pants, other stuff

Don't worry, bro, that dude from the Black Eyed Peas is going to make us into board shorts.

Since we use about 50 billion plastic water bottles a year, it would kind of behoove us to maybe do something useful with them. Which is why Will.i.am (of the Black Eyed Peas) and Coca-Cola (of the thing you drink when you're hungover) have come up with an environmental initiative called Ekocycle to turn these bottles into clothes and household products, rather than just shit that floats in the ocean and kills stuff.

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GOP candidate: ‘My opponent believes in global warming and has been to other countries, he is basically a monster’

The South Dakota GOP, in support of Kristi Noem, a representative from that state, has released an ad enumerating the many, many reasons that her opponent Matt Varilek is untrustworthy. They are as follows:

  • Earned TWO master's degrees -- who needs that much education?
  • Studied something called "the environment," clearly code for "communism."
  • Lived in or visited several places that are not South Dakota.
  • Believes in global warming.
  • Corn dogs.
republicanconference

Kristi Noem, by contrast, had the integrity to not finish college, since she had to raise a farm and manage a family and didn't have time for fancy lectures about imaginary global warming from liberal homosexuals. (UPDATE: I should have made it clearer that Noem says she left college because she had to manage the farm after her father died. This ad is idiotic but it's not fair for me to make it look like anti-intellectualism made her shun education. That's the South Dakota GOP's job, clearly.)

Read more: Politics

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Planes can’t land in Antarctica because the runway is melting

eliduke

Australia has three research stations in Antarctica. Because Antarctica is an icy wasteland more or less unfit for human habitation, from time to time, Australia sends planes full of supplies to the scientists holed up there. The planes mainly use one runway, carved into the ice, for takeoff and landing. But now, that runway is melting.

Discovery reports:

Instead of the 20 flights a season predicted by the Australian Antarctic Division before the runway opened, just two landed in the 2010/11 season with the runway closed from December to February due to melt.

Four landed last season and six are planned this year.

Don’t worry: If the planes don't land, the Australian scientists won’t be stuck without supplies in a frozen (if slowly thawing) expanse of nothingness.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Baby echidna may be cutest, weirdest baby animal ever

Taronga Wildlife Hopsital

Echidnas are spiny mammals that live in Australia and are like the weird cousins of duck-billed platypuses. Like a momma platypus, a momma echidna lays eggs, which she then hatches in a marsupial-like pouch. And the babies are called puggles! And they’re super weirdly cute!

You can see this for yourself, because a rescued puggle, which likely fell out of its mother's pouch, is currently living at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital near Sydney. You will basically die of cuteness watching this video:

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The newest gourmet coffee is made out of elephant poop

Nathan Colquhoun

We are used to all kinds of displays of gourmet-ness now. Every other day, some crazy person posts on Facebook that they want to borrow a blow-torch to make their own crème brûlée. Molecular gastronomists make entire meals out of foam that tastes like other foam. And now, elephants are shitting out coffee.

If you are saying to yourself right now, "No way elephants are really shitting out coffee, that's just something you said to get me to read this," well, sorry. I do want you to read this, but I only want you to read it so that you can understand that elephants are LITERALLY shitting out coffee. Coffee is what they are literally shitting out.

Read more: Food

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Liquid metal battery inventor goes on Colbert, still manages to teach us some stuff

Donald Sadoway, MIT materials science professor and inventor of a new liquid metal battery that could revolutionize energy storage, went on Stephen Colbert's show last night. The segment wasn't all that funny, per se, but it was surprisingly informative -- Sadoway didn't get rattled by Colbert's "relentless ignoramus" routine, and Colbert knew when to back off and just let the good doctor do his spiel.

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Lady Gaga is going to launch a brand of bottled water

I wonder if it will be carbonated.

The Haus of Gaga creative team (would it have killed them to have spelled it House? Perhaps) is launching a Lady Gaga-themed water. The name and shape of the bottle is a secret for now, which means that the unbearable yearning we have inside of us to know every detail about this will have to somehow lay dormant until further notice.

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This light switch forces kids to save energy through emotional manipulation

Danny Taylor is a genius. He is going to teach an entire generation of children to turn the lights off when they leave the room, and he’s going to do it in a time-honored way: by traumatizing them.

Taylor has designed this dimmer switch which smiles when the lights are off and frowns when they're on:

Danny Taylor 

Lights on = bad. Lights off = good. Simple. Kids with this in their bedroom are going to be followed for the rest of their life with a vague sense of unease if they leave the room and the lights are still on. Turn them off, and -- aaah, that feels better right? Now the light switch loves you, because now you deserve it.

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Dutch towns could heat their bike lanes during the winter

Heated floors are pretty much the height of luxury. It is incredibly decadent to have the very floor you walk on warmed to the perfect temperature for your feet. So it just goes to show how much Dutch people treasure their bikes that they want to heat the ground their precious wheels touch. That's right -- towns in the Netherlands are thinking of creating heated bike lanes.

Of course, these towns are less worried about the feel of the icy road on the bike's worn, sensitive tires than the danger it poses to the bike's rider. The idea isn't to make the bike lanes toasty so much as not icy, because non-icy roads mean fewer accidents.

Read more: Uncategorized