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Grist List: Look what we found.


Bogota’s miniature public libraries will make you want to move to Colombia

Reading fans in Colombia, especially the capital city of Bogota, never need to worry about being without a book on a beautiful day. There are nearly 50 of these perfect little library kiosks scattered around the city's parks, and 100 across the country. 

Read more: Cities


Bookshelf that hides extra furniture is small-apartment genius

If, like me, you have ever lived in a small apartment, you know that there is no good place to put furniture that you need sometimes but not all the time (like extra chairs). Therefore, Orla Reynolds is my new hero. Her furniture emerges "as if from nowhere" -- her bookshelves hide a table and four extra chairs.

Read more: Cities


Wool balls keep your laundry soft, and maaaaybe save energy

When I was taught to do laundry, I was told that a Bounce dryer sheet went into the dryer with every load of wet clothes. But the green-minded among us have come up with a better solution to keeping your clothes static-free and soft (without involving PVC in the process): wool dryer balls.

Get a few of these thingies, and you will not need to buy dryer sheets for years. You can even make your own, with minimum craftiness required.

The companies that make balls like these claim that they save energy, too, which would be great if it were true, since dryers suck up a ton of electricity. But the few industrious people who've tried to confirm this claim have come up way short.


New perfume lets you smell like New York City, because THAT sounds great

I don’t know about you folks, but when I think of the “essence and spirit" of New York City "in an olfactory memento" … well, if it's summer, I mostly think of quickly rotting trash. If we're talking Queens, I'll give you the smell of Indian spices in Jackson Heights. Brooklyn smells like the sea in some places, though that may just be the roving gangs of artisanal picklers. But never, never would I think of the scene that Gerald Ghislain and Magali Senequier chose for their Scent of Departure fragrance line:

A lovely sunny day in the Big Apple City. The air is filled with the scents of lilac and rose from the vast and majestic Central Park. You are walking along Times Square under the mild and fresh breeze from New York harbor. Enjoy this modern, crisp and invigorating fragrance with sparkling and sourish notes of apple.

Lilacs, rose, apple, and a “mild and fresh breeze.” Right. Have these guys actually been to New York, or did they just watch Sex and the City on repeat?

Read more: Cities


Lonesome George, the last Pinta tortoise, dies at age 100

Lonesome George wants you to get off his lawn. (Photo by A. Davey.)

Lonesome George, the last of the tortoise subspecies Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni from Pinta island in the Galapagos, has died at age 100. Previously known as the world's rarest tortoise, old George is survived by his girlfriends Becki and Becki (I assume) of subspecies C. nigra becki -- conservationists tried breeding George with similar tortoises in hopes of perpetuating the Pinta genes, but even when mating was successful, the eggs all failed to hatch. Still, if you have to go, this isn't a bad way to do it: famous, old, and surrounded by exotic women.

Read more: Animals


These weed-eating goats make more money than you

Photo by Just Chaos.

Staten Island's Freshkills Park, a former landfill that's being transformed into a public parkland and "laboratory for green practices," is engaging in job creation -- for goats. Twenty Anglo-Nubian goats are nibbling away at invasive weeds called phragmites, as one step of the wetlands restoration process that will turn Freshkills less killy and more fresh. And what are the goats getting for the privilege of eating tasty weeds, which they would probably do anyway? Oh, only $3,437.50 a week, which would work out to $178,750 a year.

Read more: Animals, Cities



This video might ruin cute animal videos for you forever

Hey, remember that video with the slow loris being tickled? The one that used to make me laugh until I peed?

Yeah, well, get ready to never want to watch it again, after you watch this video of a Jakarta animal market selling lorises and other exotic and domestic pets.

Read more: Animals


Insane bird’s-eye view of the Colorado wildfires

Click to embiggen.

A National Guard member who was called in to tackle the wildfires currently raging in Colorado shot this amazing aerial view, and a member of the unit posted it on Reddit, where he and some other firefighting experts answered a few questions as well.

Read more: Uncategorized


Heritage wheat could let gluten-sensitive people eat bread again

One of my greatest fears in life is that I'll find out I'm gluten-intolerant, because there is almost nothing I love to eat more than really good bread. (I know that there is bread made with non-wheat flour, but … it's just not the same.) But it turns out, according to Pacific Standard, that there's a strain of heritage wheat that even gluten-sensitive people might be able to digest. It's nutty-tasting, and it has an excellent name: "einkorn,” which I'm going to roughly translate as The One True Grain.

Einkorn was apparently the first cultivated wheat, and it has an different gluten structure -- one that's easier to digest -- than most of the wheat we eat today.

Read more: Food


This 11-year-old environmental activist is oil companies’ worst nightmare

At Rio+20, Tai'Kaiya Blaney, 11, spoke -- mic-check style -- against a future where the land is filled with pipelines and oceans are empty of life:

Blaney's a member of the Sliammon Nation in Canada and has already built up an impressive record as an environmental activist. She's been fighting against tar-sands pipelines in Canada and has already been escorted off of pipeline company Enbridge's property, as Yes! Magazine reported:

Read more: Climate & Energy