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Grist List: Look what we found.


These beautiful bridges are just for animals

Highway A50, Netherlands. (Photo by Niels Verheul.)

If we're going to keep putting roads in the middle of their habitats, animals are sometimes going to need to cross the road. But it's better for everyone involved if they don't have to push a button and wait for the light to change, because they don't have thumbs and nine times out of 10 they'll just careen into the side of your car. Which is why some highways have overpasses built specifically for animals like deer, elk, and grizzly bears.

Banff, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Joel Sartore.)
Read more: Animals


The ocean’s tiniest, strangest creatures

Polychaeta. (Photo courtesy of Tara Oceans.)

The Tara Oceans is a 118-foot research ship that collects ocean zooplankton and phytoplankton -- microscopic marine organisms that we often know nothing about. These tiny critters have a crucial place at the bottom of the food chain, but global warming is killing them off at a rate of 1 percent per year. The Tara Oceans wants to chronicle these often-unstudied species before they're lost -- because they're important, because they're rare and mysterious, and also because they're SO WEIRD.

Read more: Animals


If you promise not to panhandle, San Francisco will give you a puppy

Photo by: Jessica R.

San Francisco has an overabundance of dogs who need love and homes, and a large number of people who make their living by panhandling. This summer, the city's starting a program that could benefit both groups. The program, called WOOF (which, in a textbook example of why coming up with the acronym first isn't always a great idea, stands for Wonderful Opportunities for Occupants and Fidos), will pay residents of supportive housing $50-75 a week -- about the same amount a panhandler might take in -- to foster adorable puppies who need to get accustomed to human companionship.

It's a great idea, but Atlantic Cities reports that some dog-loving San Franciscans worry about whether the dogs will be getting the best of care. I mean, whose dogs are these? How can anyone just sit there eating while they're tied up to poles? Who puts their dog on a pole like a stripper?

Not to worry, Portlandians San Franciscans, the organizers of the program are on it:

Read more: Animals, Cities


Chinese police save 3,600 endangered crocodiles from being eaten by humans

In southern China, police intercepted three foreigners trying to sneak over the border with precious cargo -- more than 3,600 crocodiles. By the time police arrested the smugglers, 42 of the Siamese crocs (an endangered species) had died of dehydration and overheating. But if the police hadn't intervened, the rest would have met an equally gruesome fate, as dinner for the culinarily adventurous in Guangdong province.

This was a particularly large load: The crocodiles weighed more than 17 tons in all. But according to the Guardian, environmental watchdogs like Zheng Yuanying, southern China program director for Green Eye of China, say that smugglers are slipping smaller shipments of reptiles over the border all the time:

Read more: Animals, Food


June’s 3,282 heat records, in one handy chart

In the U.S., June heat broke 2,284 daily maximum temperature records and tied a further 998, according to the National Climatic Data Center. Here's what that looked like for the lower 48 states: basically, a horrible case of heat rash.

Read more: Climate Change


Street artist turns Chicago into a Monopoly board

Socially conscious graffiti is nice and all, but we prefer it when street artists have a sense of humor. So this work by artist (or art collective) Bored is right up our alley (ha) -- it uses 3D sculpture to turn the streets of Chicago into a Monopoly board.

Read more: Cities



Breathtaking video of Earth seen from space

It's worth cleaning off your monitor before you watch this extraordinary video -- full-screen, of course -- so there's no dust or smudges interfering with your sense that you're hovering over the glowing planet as it turns beneath you.

Read more: Living


Life-size LEGO garden sprouts up in Australia

In the Age of the Anthropocene, nature is what humans make it. LEGO took this idea quite literally when it graced the Australian town of Broken Hill, in New South Wales, with these giant versions of LEGO flowers and trees.

Read more: Green Home


Fit in with the masses with this reusable tote that looks like a plastic bag

If those reusable "I am not a plastic bag" totes earn glances of hippie-hating scorn from the populace, the THANK YOU THANK YOU bag helps green-minded people blend into the crowd while still sticking to their principles.

Read more: Living