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Grist List: Look what we found.


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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.

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By next year, you could go to work in a building powered by algae

Splitterwerk Architects

This new building, designed by Splitterwerk Architects and slated for completion next year, is powered by algae. (It is -- literally -- a green building.) The algae serves more than one purpose: It provides heat energy that can be turned into power, it shades the interior of the building, and it makes for dramatic, lush walls that make workers feel like maybe they're out in nature instead of a soulless office building.

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Levi’s is making jeans out of plastic bottles

Levi's

We are pleased but not totally surprised that this spring, Levi's will debut a pant that is 20 percent recycled material. After all, ever since the first coal miner put on a pair of Levi's in 1873 and said to himself, "I'm going to go out and make money and get mercury poisoning, but hell if I ain't gonna look good doing it," Levi's have been cool. Turning 3.5 million water, soda, and beer bottles into polyester fiber (which will then be woven with cotton fiber to make fabric) is just the next step in that cool evolution.

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Here are some cute bike messengers and their butts

Mpls NACCC
I'm smoking and drinking, but I'm doing it IRONICALLY

The Minneapolis Bike Messenger Association is selling saucy calendars, which are bursting at the seams with 13 months of bike-enhanced rumps. (I guess bike messengers don't know how many months are in a year.) They sent us a few pictures -- that's the least buttocky one above, just to ease you into it, but after the fold it gets REAL.

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Watch a cute rescued fox eat his birthday treat

This fox was rescued from a fur mill when he was just a pup (baby foxes are called "kits" but they clearly have more in common with puppies than kittens so let's be etymologically rational here). So you can hardly begrudge him an annual treat to celebrate his rescue day, even if that treat is an entire bag of marshmallows. After all, he's saving some for later.

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People who eat more vegetables are happier

Jørgen Schyberg

Now, we're not saying that eating vegetables will make you happy, and we're not saying that happy people tend to eat a lot of vegetables. But it does appear, from a recent study of 80,000 Brits, that people who eat seven or more servings of produce every day also report higher life satisfaction.

The effect was small -- veggie-guzzlers rated themselves 0.27 points higher on a 1-10 scale of personal happiness. If we were talking about the mood benefits of, say, bathing in lye or hitting yourself with a mallet every day, I'd be inclined to wonder how much it matters to be 2.7 percent happier in the long run. But vegetables also taste good, so what the hey. (In fact, maybe that's why produce-eaters are happier -- their food tastes better.)

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Mars’ grand canyon can kick our Grand Canyon’s ass

European Space Agency

Mars may or may not have water, but it does have a gigantic, beautiful canyon that puts America's Grand Canyon to shame. It's 2,485 miles long, to the Grand Canyon's 277 river miles, and 124 miles wide, to the Grand Canyon's average 10.

The Grand Canyon could fall into this canyon and not make a sound. The Mars canyon probably has minor branches that are bigger and longer than the Grand Canyon.

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This woman’s trying to break the Guinness record for fastest tour of the NYC subway system

At noon today, Stefanie Gray, the campaign coordinator for NYC-based Transportation Alternatives, swiped her Metro card at Penn Station. If she can visit every single one of the New York City subway system's 468 stations in the next 22 hours, 52 minutes, and 35 seconds, she will have made the fastest tour of the entire subway system in history and broken a Guinness World Record.

She's not doing it for the glory, though. She's doing it to call attention to proposed fare hikes that could raise the standard subway fare to $2.50, a change that would affect the subway's poorest riders the most.

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New species of jellyfish lives in Portland International Airport and feeds on anxiety

If you happen to be migrating through Portland International Airport, you may have come across this tank of jellyfish gently drifting in the currents.

Sayuri's World

The tank is inhabited by seven different species of jellies, which range from two to six inches in diameter.

Sayuri's World

And even if a jet-lagged traveler threw caution to the wind and jumped into the tank with the jellies, she'd be safe from stings and other jelly dangers. Atlantic Cities explains:

The underwater scene is the handiwork of Sayuri Sasaki Hemann, an ex-Portland resident now in Iowa City who's fascinated with natural phenomenon (she spends her days "visiting sheep farms" and "counting bunnies"). Hemann's been fashioning gelatinous zooplankton out of fabric netting since 2009, becoming so invested in her project that each "species" of jelly has developed its own peculiar personality.

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