Grist List

Male killer whales need their mommies to survive

Girl humans tend to go all gooey when a guy loves his mama — like tipping well, it’s an indicator of good boyfriend material. Girl orcas, though, might just sneer and say “oh, of course you’re nice to your mom. You’re just trying to not die.” A new long-term study of about 600 orcas showed that orcas are the ultimate mama’s boys — when male orcas’ mothers die, their own chances of survival drop sharply. ScienceNow explains: Young males were three times more likely to die the year after their mother’s death than were males whose mothers were still around. …

Northern Virginia seems to have a rabid beaver problem

If you don't want to get bitten by a rabid beaver, best to avoid Northern Virginia, where there have been a spate of attacks.

Climate & Energy

Four decades of BS coal ads has amassed quite a collection of misleading coal ads, misrepresenting coal’s safety, its abundance, its environmental impact, and how likely it is to save us from totalitarianism. Here we present samples of ads by coal companies and coal industry front groups from the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s — showing that the more things change, the more coal executives just keep lying like weasels. Is this guy supposed to be a hippie? Is that what hippies looked like in 1974? Anyway, looks like the “green energy kills jobs” canard has a long pedigree. And look — bonus Scary Arabs …

Exposed: Manufacturing conglomerate’s plan for moving humans off of Earth

Sean Ragan of MAKE magazine just posted this amazing graphic, which he tracked down after being mildly obsessed with it for more than a decade. It’s an “Integrated Space Plan” drawn up by Rockwell International, a conglomerate of manufacturing companies in the aerospace, electronics, and truck component industries. The plan was created in the ’80s, and is supposed to be a detailed flow chart for establishing a permanent human presence in space. And it. Is. Amazing.

You should probably spend all day watching this brand-new baby panda

Suspend all activities you had planned: THERE IS A NEW PANDA CUB AT THE NATIONAL ZOO.

I promise you will enjoy watching this man get attacked by a bear

In fact, it may make YOU want to get attacked by a bear.

Guam is entirely infested with spiders, and it’s all the fault of invasive snakes

The island of Guam has up to 40 times the normal number of spiders — on average, about one spiderweb every two feet during the rainy season. And if that’s not enough, it’s also infested with brown tree snakes. That’s not a coincidence. According to a study published in PLoS, Guam’s spider explosion comes from its lack of bug-eating birds, which in turn comes from its overabundance of the invasive snakes, which were introduced to the island in the 1940s.

Scientists are using new technology to identify zombie bees

Some of the scientists investigating the mysterious honeybee die-offs suspect zombie bees, bees that are being mind-controlled by parasitic scuttle fly maggots. Unlike human zombies, bee zombies (or, inevitably, “zombees”) do not have telltale tattered clothes or dark eye makeup. So in order to tell whether they’re dealing with bees or zombees, researchers are affixing the little guys with miniature radio trackers. Here’s how the zombee nonsense started: Last year, while San Francisco State scientist John Hafernik was looking for dead bugs to feed insects, he discovered some maggot-infested bee carcasses under a streetlight. (Picking up dead bugs that are …

Climate & Energy

Apple’s massive solar farm looks kind of awesome from the air

Apple is building a giant solar farm to power a data center in North Carolina, and GigaOM has aerial shots that show just how huge it is. The pictures were taken by North Carolina television station WCNC-TV. At 100 acres, this is going to be the world’s largest privately owned solar panel farm — you can see from the photo above that it dwarfs the 500,000 square foot data center, which is that white building in the upper middle.

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