Skip to content Skip to site navigation
Grist List: Look what we found.


Comments

The condoms of the future could disappear when you’re done with them

Sperm caught in a nanofiber mesh.
University of Washington
Sperm caught in a nanofiber mesh.

Condoms! We love you! Now go away.

Seriously, condoms are great for public health and for controlling how many babies you want to have, but they've got a LOT of room for improvement. They're messy, they're a pain to use, and some people are allergic to latex. Which is why researchers at the University of Washington are trying to improve the prophylactic paradigm, replacing the humble cocksheath with a space-age nano-fabric that's actually woven out of medication.

Read more: Living

Comments

Holy crap it used to take forever to get anywhere in this country

Oh Hmmm... maybe I will just stay home.
Oh hmmm ... maybe I will just stay home.

Louis C.K. was on Conan last year and his visit was much shared on Facebook and Twitter because he made the very good point that bitching about air travel is kind of stupid, considering that it used to take for fucking EVER to get anywhere. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that we should all be sitting there in our seats not complaining about how small they are, and how little leg room we have, but marveling over the miracle of flight. Looking at these old maps of travel times, ranging from 1800 to 1930, I am rather inclined to agree with him. OK, yes, there's the whole thing where fast travel burns fossil fuels that will kill us all, but consider the alternative!

travel_1830

Read more: Cities

Comments

Doctors save elephant’s eyesight with historic cataract operation

elephant_eye
Tarique Sani

Duchess the elephant weighs 4.4 tons,  she only has one eye left (she lost the first to glaucoma) and the other one is riddled with cataracts. Lucky for Duchess she has a lot of nice people who care about her and want to help her and those people are giving her a cataract operation. It's only the second elephant cataract surgery ever performed.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Green is the official color of 2013

pantone_emerald
Next year, it will finally be easy being green -- or, if not easy, at least popular. Because Pantone has declared emerald green, Pantone shade 17-5641, to be the official color of 2013.

OK, so that doesn't necessarily translate into green actions, green concerns, or green priorities. But there will probably be green shoes and green nail polish, at least according to Pantone's trained chromatognosticators. Baby steps, right?

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

This gravity-powered lamp could bring nearly free lighting to the developing world

gravity light
GravityLight

Two London designers spent four years developing this gravity-powered light, which, now that it exists, seems like such a simple and obvious idea that it's a mystery why no one thought of it before. It works any time of day or night, and could be super, super cheap -- the designers' target is less than $5.

For now, though, they're raising money through Indiegogo to get the lights into off-the-grid communities to test out. Here's the plan:

We will gift them to villagers in both Africa and India to use regularly. The follow-up research will tell us how well the lights met their needs, and enable us to refine the design for a more efficient MK2 version. Once we have proved the design, we will be looking to link with NGOs and partners to distribute it as widely as possible. 

Comments

Awesome metal squid will guard your bike

bikesquid
bananavich

This squid, modeled after "a deep-sea creature that might be found at the depths of Puget Sound," has been guarding bikes in Seattle -- up to eight at a time -- since May.

Read more: Cities

Comments

The Curiosity rover left space trash all over Mars

Debris from one of Curiosity's tungsten blocks.
NASA
Debris from one of Curiosity's tungsten blocks.

Being a robot rolling around on the surface of Mars is a little like being the first one to walk on freshly fallen snow. In an untouched landscape, everything you do looks kind of cataclysmic. In that sense, we're sympathetic to NASA's Curiosity rover -- it may have had the best intentions to take only pictures and leave only awesome Morse code footprints. But its mere arrival on Mars scattered the planet with debris. There's humanity for you. Even our science pollutes.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

Move over, Marlboro man — here comes the Marlboro bird!

Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Or put 'em in your nest.
splashdolphin
Smoke 'em if you got 'em. Or put 'em in your nest.

Birds are very smart. They have always used aromatic plants like lavender and yarrow to deter certain insects from invading their nests, and in the modern age, they have come up with a repellant which is perhaps more toxic and less fragrant, but nonetheless effective: cigarette butts.

Read more: Living

Comments

China has plans for a victory garden in space

The Chinese have figured out how to make a bio-dome IRL. Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin have not.
The Chinese have figured out how to make a bio-dome IRL. Pauly Shore and Stephen Baldwin have not.

Everyone knows fresh vegetables are really good for you. The Chinese are not going to skimp on proper nutrition while colonizing the Moon and Mars, so they are trying to figure out how to grow vegetables there.

Read more: Uncategorized

Comments

French catfish jump onto dry land to eat pigeons

There is a group of catfish that have discovered they have more in common with kitty cats than just whiskers. They also like to chase and eat birds. Even if it means they have to wriggle up on dry land to do so. Watch -- it's incredible:

Ed Yong explains at Discover Magazine:

As the River Tarn winds through the city of Albi, it contains a small gravel island where pigeons gather to clean and bathe. And patrolling the island are European catfish -- 1 to 1.5 meters long, and the largest freshwater fish on the continent. These particular catfish have taken to lunging out of the water, grabbing a pigeon, and then wriggling back into the water to swallow their prey. In the process, they temporarily strand themselves on land for a few seconds.

It's not really clear why the fish are doing this, other than that they live in France, where it's considered good taste to eat pigeons.

Read more: Uncategorized